Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Groundhog Day, Bill Murray, and the Kentucky Derby

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 BoundsMedaglia 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 FlyCanonero II – Could the South American dream come true story be upon us again 41 years later … you never know!
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Older Comments about Groundhog Day, Bill Murray, and the Kentucky Derby...

I love that movie!!
Let us hope Hansen doesn't break down as well.
Thanks, annmatt and travel_vic ... good stuff!
There's a YouTube video of Gary Stevens visiting some of the horses he rode, or followed, who are now retired to stud around Lexington. Smarty Jones, Thunder Gulch, and the other was Point Given. He gets very emotional when talking about their failed Derby run, says that Point Given was the best horse never to win a TC. Worth a look-see...http://youtu.be/6eUDQlOlvY0
In that movie, look for a cameo by John Candy. When Murray is confronted by the insurance agent who says BING!...Up the street behind them the old man who later dies and Murray follows him to the hospital, is begging for change and Candy puts money in his cup, several times
Is it Groundhog Day again???
funny what you say about Fly Lexis Fly when you first gave your sweet 16 list the other day Canonaro II was first thought I had about him too FLF won't have all the other drama going on so celebration won't be as much fun prob
Love the Groundhog Day analogy. That movie cracked me up!
Time to consider that the KD is a two bit race. It is the pinnacle race in the USA. Foreigners ignore it. The Sheik dabbles occasionally and black type awarded to the winner is worthless.
Codex is not a classic winner-he's just a horse that bullied a great filly off her stride.....Good article!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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