Meet the 2012 Kentucky Derby Pretenders

Toss ‘em. No chance. Throw them right out.  
Often when wagering on the ponies, half the battle is eliminating those horses that will not win. And when the field is twenty horses deep, it becomes all the more essential to put a line through as many as you can. Luckily, twenty horses in American racing only happens once a year. Love it, or hate it, we’ll see that mass of horseflesh busting out of the Churchill Downs once again for the Kentucky Derby. In hoping to get a firm handle on the huge field, I’ve begun dwindling down the field to a more manageable number.
The following list represents horses that I will not play. I feel strongly they will not win, nor will they fill out the exacta. These are the horses that we can safely draw a line through. I stake my reputation on it. Of course we know anything can happen in racing, so if one of these pretenders does somehow run big on the first Saturday in May, you can just call me mud.
1. Daddy Long Legs  (Scat Daddy-Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake) Aidan O'Brien – Daddy Long Legs will not win the Derby because he will never win at ten furlongs on the dirt. I see a lot of people wanting to put this invader high on their list, but I'm not buying it. He has the breeding to get leg weary at the distance, and his only previous race on dirt (at Churchill, no less) was dreadful. Yes I know, he has already won at 1 3/16, but that was not on dirt, and I don't believe the UAE Derby comes close to the Kentucky version in quality this year.  

2. Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit-Rousing Again, by Awesome Again) Jerry Hollendorfer – Rousing Sermon will not win the Derby because he's just not quite good enough. I went back and forth on this one, but in the end, I just don't see the quality to get the job done in the run for the roses. His consistent rally is admirable, but he seems to have proven that he can't get by good three-year-olds, let alone the tigers he will face in two weeks. Like the top one, he is a threat to rally up for only about sixth place at the best. 

3. Sabercat  (Bluegrass Cat-Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner) Steve Asmussen – Sabercat will not win the Derby because this is not Delta Downs. The weaker half of the Asmussen pair's claim to fame is winning the Delta Jackpot. It gave him all the earnings to make it into the Kentucky Derby field, but that race on a bullring last year is about as different from the Derby as you can get. His two races this year have not been very good, and if he could not get by Secret Circle in Arkansas, how on earth is he going to do much in the long Churchill stretch? 
4. Mark Valeski  (Proud Citizen-Pocho's Dream Girl, by Fortunate Prospect) Larry Jones – Mark Valeski will not win the Derby because he is not a distance horse. I like this horse, I really do, just not for the Derby. He is not bred to run long, and in both of his stakes tries in Louisiana he could not quite get the job done, narrowly losing to El Padrino and Hero of Order. The combination of tougher competition and 1 1/4 miles will simply be too much for him to handle. Look for him to make noise later this year in 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 mile races. 
5. Liaison  (Indian Charlie-Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop) Bob Baffert – Liaison will not win the Derby because he was better at two then he is at three. He was on the short list of the best juveniles in the nation last year, but has not carried that form over to 2012. Already a question mark as far as handling the distance, he simply has not shown enough  in any of his three races this year to consider him a legitimate threat in a field like this.
6. Prospective  (Malibu Moon-Spirited Away, by Awesome Again) Mark Casse – Prospective will not win the Derby because class will tell. Unfortunately for Prospective, he doesn't quite have enough to run with the big boys. If his 13th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was not enough proof, his 6th place finish in the Blue Grass did the trick. He's a nice horse who does well against horses he fits with, as evidenced by three stakes wins, but they were all a fair amount cheaper than the crew he will face in the Derby.

7. Done Talking  (Broken Vow-Dixie Talking, by Dixieland Band) Hamilton Smith – Done Talking will not win the Derby because he is not fast enough. As much as I love Illinois racing, let's face facts, the Illinois Derby was not much of a Kentucky Derby prep this year. Neither the level of competition nor the speed displayed by any horse in the race at any point in the contest, leads me to believe that Done Talking can make a serious dent in the run for the roses. 
8. Reveron  (Songandaprayer-Carolina Sunrise, by Awesome Again) Agustin Bezara – Reveron will not win the Derby because the Florida Derby result will be as good as it gets for the speedy son of Songandaprayer. Not only was Take Charge Indy a benefactor of the first six furlongs of the Gulfstream prep, so was this one. Despite running nothing but good ones of late, Reveron will only be heard from in the early stages in the Derby, and will be one of many going backwards the entire stretch run.


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Older Comments about Meet the 2012 Kentucky Derby Pretenders...

Do you know which genes alone or in combination produce one trait or the other? How would one be able to choose those specific genes that would then be in a gamate? many genetic qualities are only espressed when thereare COMPLIMENTARY genetic choices in the mate. Add to all of this those genes that are controlled byoperator genes and environmental triggers. An a simple breeding cannot predict a single aspect of any of those considerations. Nary a one!
There are at least 3 horses in this no chance list that do indeed have the chance, and have proven they can go the distance. If the author of this article plans on only picking a winner he won't make much, as the money comes from the exotics. I especially disagree with his analysis of Reveron. When pushed that horse pushed back, if you watch after the race, he was not tired. Union Rags would have needed a lot more ground to pass him.
trinniberg will make sure the pace is going to be will definitely set up a 4-5 horse run up the back stretch...i do believe union rags will be closer to the pace this time around...leparoux can't afford to be trapped again....and i think this race sets up for deep closers such as sabercat/dullahan/and yes rousing might get a 109-110 six furlongs in this race..thus setting up a deep closer...remember monarchos and giacomo...those races had bs speed in them..these horses are legit speed...i didn't evenmention bodemeister...i'll have another all close to the will be live and honest!
If Trinniberg loads intoand comes out of the gate cleanly, you can add Hansen and Bodemeister to the "pretender" list because all 3 of them will be cooked by the far turn.
Don't expect Mine That Birds.
Add Trinniberg's name to the list of pretenders.
I can agree with this.. BUT wouldnt it be nice for an underdog? Since my fave horse is out.. I'm rooting for the underdog!
travel_vic, I get what you are saying, but my question is different. Would it be safe to say you don't use pedigrees at all?
Imagine overlaying BREEDING in other situations, Muhammed Alli, Babe Ruth, roger Staubach....were all great because ofBREEDING? in other contests it sounds ridiculous because the INDIVIDUAL is what is either good or not and that is it
I was just curious as to how people use them, consider them, etc, that's all. I've read people say so and so not bred to run, or throw out because of pedigree. I wasn't trying to imply it was anymore than one tool to take into consideration.
Horses run. Thetell us what THEcan do. Pedigrees tell us what the BREREDER THOUGHT they could do and that is it
Pedigree is simply a piece of the puzzle.
It is what colts do on the track that counts not some THEORETICAL genetics evaluation
I agree completley!!! Well done. However, I think if Reveron runs well he'll sneak into the super... maybe
While I like to look at pedigrees I don't really consider all that much in the end. I do a lot of research like you said, that in the end don't use, and sometimes leads to over analyzing. Acctually, my family often gives a hard time because my pick comes after I can see them start the post parade and seem to do better that way. I've seen people make comments on pedigrees so I was/am curious. Someone I think mentioned Storm Cat. And while I can't think of Derby winner by him, I believe his sire Storm Bird is seen in Charismatic and Thunder Gulch, so was wondering if that would be taken into account by some. Curious as to how some use pedigrees or why etc. Thanks for sharing Mary Z.
HD, I don't put an exact percentage on that. I want to see Classic Distance stakes (grade 1 preferred) wins by the sire and sire line. Bottom part of the pedigree full of distance genes, winners and producers of distance winners. I don't like to see speed on the bottom with no distance. Could be turf winners, not just dirt, but should have some dirt ability close up. It's a very pleasant time to get lost in the many generations but I'm looking for what's offered in the first 3-possibly 4 gens. As you know, those genes have to come through on the track. They don't do any good on paper, until that horse later goes to the breeding shed. Then, I go through the parents' and grandparents' race records to see what type and distance of stakes wins they had, how long their careers lasted, how they won, times, margins, competition. How do their other offspring perform? That's for Classic races, not weekly races. This might b e a lot of research for not much gain. I don't know as far as the Derby goes because here's my record this century: War Emblem. Just loved his Illinois Derby win. Heard something about the Mr.Prospector line before the race. Had no idea who that was, then, as I'd missed racing from 1980-1998., and didn't remember him from the '70's. Street Sense: loved his BCJ win--who didn't? I knew he didn't know that he lost the Blue Grass. And he must not have known. That's it. Last year I had two of the first four, not the winner and not in the right order, MMM and Nehro. Loved sprinter Sway Away and still do--talk about great distance genes not coming through, picked Soldat?? as an afterthought-had some slight potential at the time, and the ill-fated Arch X 3. Hoping to have my third winner this century. How about you?
I guess another question I have also is how/parts of the pedigree does one use?
When people consider a horse for the Derby, how much empahasis does one put on pedigree?
Brian., I may be mistaken but I do not believe a drop of Storm Cat blood has ever worn roses. Add Pletcher being 1-29 or so and the UAE Derby horses being 0 for the board. It requires some harsh cuts but this year in particular it seems that wil be necessary. Bigger problem might be deciding when to brinng them back into the fold on vertical wagers.
You'd have to really sell me on Liaison's not liking S.A. excuse, because he was just fine there last fall in that 7f. win.

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