Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 0
The Countdown is over, the time has come. The biggest day in racing jumpstarts me out of bed like Christmas morning used to do years ago. Instead of scurrying to open the presents tucked under the tree, I tear open my racing form with giddiness of a little boy. Even after handicapping these horses for months, I am still excited. I can only imagine how the connections of these great athletes feel. For them, and their horses, there is nothing like the Kentucky Derby. Two minutes on the track can be the moment of a lifetime. If you win the race, you are enshrined into an elite club of American racing royalty. Immortality is yours.
Looking down on the Churchill Downs track from the 6th floor press box on the first Saturday in May is a special feeling. Filled with a mixture of nostalgia and excitement, it is a feeling I hope to retain for the rest of my days.
But enough about all this sentiment, it’s time to get Down and Derby!
This year’s Derby presents one of the more interesting handicapping challenges I can remember in many years. Uncle Mo, the great juvenile of 2010 is out, which I’m sure is the best thing for the horse. I wish him a full and speedy recovery from whatever it is that ails him. His defection leaves us with a field of 19. Still a number plenty big enough to create trials and tribulations for that unlucky group of horses destined to be a Derby footnote. No matter who you believe will win the race, part of the winning formula needs to include a strong dose of racing luck.
I will not attempt to predict who has the best chance of getting a good trip, as I truly believe that is left mostly to fate. What I can do, is predict the horse most likely to win the Kentucky Derby with all things being equal. A horse that looks like a Derby winner to me, a horse that is improving at the right time, a horse that should be finishing strongly in the grueling final furlong of the Derby…
That horse is Nehro.