The horses are auditioning for the May 2 Kentucky Derby, and I’m feeling conflicted.
As widely expected, I Want Revenge won the Wood Memorial in New York last weekend — even after faltering out of the gate and beginning the race dead-last. Once he hit his stride and tried to pull ahead, Revenge found a wall of tails in his face. It was amazing to watch his 19-year-old jockey, Joe Talamo, squeeze Revenge through an opening in the final stretch, winning the race by 1 ½ lengths.
Now the buzz is that I Want Revenge has a shot at succeeding Big Brown as king of the Derby, even though he’s only won 3 of his 7 races so far. Brownie’s owners, that wacky bunch at IEAH Stables, must think Revenge is sweet because they just bought a 50% piece of him.
So I was beginning to feel a new cat-on-horse crush coming on until I saw Pioneerof the Nile (no, the silly spacing is not a typo) win the Santa Anita Derby that same day.
Pioneer didn’t win his race as decisively as Revenge did, but he’s got 5 wins under his saddle out of 8 starts (including 2 wins against Revenge), and his jockey is the seasoned Garrett Gomez.
On the other hand, Pioneer may have caught a break at Santa Anita when his main rival, The Pamplemousse, got scratched after injuring his right front leg.
So right now, I’m feeling torn between 2 great horses and will have to see them run on Derby Day to make up my mind.