For many connections of lightly-raced 3-year-olds, the strains of “My
Old Kentucky Home,” played during the Kentucky Derby post parade on the
first Saturday in May, are nothing more than a siren song.
“Derby Fever” is contagious during the opening months of the racing
season and many promising youngsters are rushed onto the Triple Crown
trail before they are ready.
There’s probably a reason that it has been more than 130 years since
we’ve seen a Kentucky Derby winner that was unraced as a juvenile.
Perhaps the daunting 10 furlongs is too difficult a task for a runner
lacking a solid foundation.
But, as we’ve seen in recent seasons, several Derby trends and jinxes
have fallen by the wayside and some owners and trainers of
inexperienced 3-year-olds soldier on, hoping that they are the ones to
break Apollo’s curse.