Sorry, but if you say Groundhog Day to me, I think of the 1993 Harold Ramis film titled the same, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, way before I think of the chubby rodent from somewhere in Pennsylvania. I like movies, what can I say. If you’ve never seen it, by all means rent it and hunker in for about two hours of fun. One of the themes of the movie is the phenomenon known as déjà vu. In this case, a severe case of déjà vu, as Murray’s character keeps reliving the same day, day after day, until he gets everything right. In watching and handicapping the races for as long as I have, déjà vu is a common occurrence, and one I use in making my selections, especially in a big race like the Kentucky Derby.
If an event, pattern, or outcome happens, it is likely to repeat itself. This is true whether we are talking the history of the world or in horse racing. How does that help me in handicapping the contenders for the 2012 Kentucky Derby
? Well, it’s certainly not an exact science, but I often find big similarities from horses in the past to current runners … racing déjà vu if you will. Horses that strongly remind me of other horses that fizzled before, or on, the first Saturday in May will often follow down that same unfortunate path. Conversely, strong similarities with horses that succeeded during the Triple Crown path will be horses I pay special attention to the next few months.
Here are my recently released Down and Derby Sweet 16, and for good or bad, the horses from the past they most remind me of. What will this mean come May? Only time will tell, but it certainly will be one factor in my decision making, because just like Bill Murray, I plan to learn from past success, as well as, past mistakes. I invite you to tell me who these horses remind you of.
1) Union Rags - Point Given - Big beautiful and athletic, the failed Derby favorite came back to win the Preakness and Belmont impressively.
2) El Padrino - Pleasant Colony – Bred to be a runner, he was not the best until the spring came around and the distances got longer.
3) Liaison - Silver Charm – It took a while for many to believe, but the Derby and Preakness victor just kept on winning.
4) Algorithms - Bernardini - A bit of a late bloomer, Algorithms sire was able to prove his talent could carry over to classic distances on Preakness day and beyond.
5) Creative Cause - Best Pal - The gray has a long way to go to duplicate the accomplishments of the great gelding, but his toughness and consistency in California remind me of him.
6) Hansen - Holy Bull - This comparison to the grey speedster may not serve him well for the Derby, but it will mean good things for his career.
7) Out of Bounds – Medaglia d’Oro – 0 for 3 in the Triple Crown, but he did have an excellent career, and he sired a pretty good filly with the initials RA.
8) Ever So Lucky - Soto - In the hands of a master, and with plenty of talent, it will be up to fate to see if this one can make it farther than Soto did ten years ago.
9) Rousing Sermon - Cavonnier - In the best race of his life, it looked like he was home free at the Derby eighth pole, but alas it was not meant to be.
10) Gemologist - Any Given Saturday - Not quite ready for primetime in May, the well bred Pletcher runner was topnotch by the time the summer rolled around.
11) Sky Kingdom - Codex – While this one will likely not be left out of the Derby due to an oversight, he will have done well for himself if he can peak in May like Codex did.
12) Discreet Dancer - Pulpit - Big talent, but will he be ready to take down the best at ten furlongs on May 5? Probably not.
13) Alpha - Stay Thirsty - Great in New York, but not so much anywhere else, both are sons of Bernardini who failed when they left the Big Apple for the first time.
14) Junebugred - Kimberlite Pipe - Who? That may be part of the problem. A nice colt on the improve, but likely up against it when it comes to the Triple Crown.
15) Secret Circle - Artax - Kentucky Derby success was not in the cards for Artax, but he did leave California to become a heckuva nice sprinter.
16) Fly Lexis Fly – Canonero II – Could the South American dream come true story be upon us again 41 years later … you never know!