The most exciting two minutes in sport, the Kentucky Derby goes this Saturday with a 20-horse field. The love and beauty of the thoroughbred, the intense rush of action, and the sentiment of My Old Kentucky Home blended with an ounce of bourbon, make the Kentucky Derby a truly unique moment in the sports world.
This 138th running of the Kentucky Derby pits a talented group of 3-year-olds against one another looking for the right to call themselves the best in the world. It’s always difficult to predict what will happen in this notoriously rough and tumble race, and how the pace scenario will unfold.
Longshot Trinniberg should go right to the front, but what will Hansen and Bodemeister do? If they rate, will they be able to pass horses? It was pointed out that 4-1 morning-line favorite Bodemeister is 2-for-2 when he makes the lead but 0-for-2 when he doesn’t. If Hansen and Bodemeister attempt to go to the front they risk engaging in a suicidal duel with Trinniberg and setting the race up for the closers.
Those benefiting from a hot pace would include Sunland Park Derby winner Daddy Nose Best, Santa Anita Derby winner I’ll Have Another, Rebel Stakes runner-up Optimizer and Delta Downs Jackpot winner Sabercat.
Union Rags, the second choice on the morning line at 9/2, breaks from post 4, which may hurt him, as he likes to sit just behind the leaders and circle the field. The 20-horse field in the Derby will likely feature numerous traffic jams and he may find it difficult to get clear running room.
The two horses in this year’s Derby trained by Todd Pletcher, Gemologist and El Padrino, drew posts 15 and 16 respectively. Gemologist should be able to work out a nice trip from the outside and make his one run on the turn for home. El Padrino has not worked well in the mornings leading up to the race but if he returns to the form he displayed winning a Gulfstream allowance race over Take Charge Indy he can take a piece.
Take Charge Indy gets the services of rail-rider Calvin Borel and should tuck in behind the leaders and wait for his chance to run on late, which he looks like he will do. He has a sharp trainer in Patrick Byrne, who brings his horses ready to run.
Below are my picks for the 2012 Derby with morning-line odds, trainers and riders.
- Daddy Long Legs (30-1) Aiden O’Brien - Colm O’Donoghue
- Take Charge Indy (15-1) Patrick Byrne - Calvin Borel
- Union Rags (9/2) Michael Matz - Julien Leparoux
- Alpha (15-1) Kiaran McLaughlin - Rajiv Maragh
- Gemologist (6-1) Todd Pletcher - Javier Castellano
Wait? What? Where did Daddy Long Legs come from? This beautiful looking colt is trained by world-class super trainer Aidan O’Brien in Ireland. He won the UAE Derby in Dubai by a comfortable margin and has been training brilliantly. Daddy Long Legs should be able to secure a good position in mid-pack, he should get the distance, and we expect him to make a good run at big morning-line odds of 30-1. He is part of the first crop of hot stallion Scat Daddy, who also sired Daddy Nose Best.
O’Brien will not make the trip over for the Kentucky Derby, as he runs Camelot in the first leg of the English Triple Crown, the 2,000 Guineas, on Saturday morning. You can watch the Guineas Saturday morning from Newmarket on HPI while enjoying a Derby breakfast!
Camelot is the 7/4 favorite in the books at William Hill at the moment and is being compared to the great European miler Rock of Gibraltar. That brings me to one of my favorite race calls of all time, the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Mile with Tom Durkin. Watch "The Rock" roll late after a poor trip.
Good Luck in the Derby!