Tough Picking a Kentucky Derby Favorite

By Fred

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.

Winning is the best Revenge. (Photo - Benoit & Associates)

Winning is the best Revenge. (Photo - Benoit & Associates)

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, are you my new idol? (Photo - AP)

Pioneer, are you my new idol? (Photo - AP)

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.

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2 Responses to Tough Picking a Kentucky Derby Favorite

  1. Adele says:

    Fred, what happened to Stardom Bound? In this house, we always like to see a filly with a chance. I’m hoping you get a feeling before the Derby, since I frequently get together with friends and we make modest bets. Keep us posted.

  2. catsworking says:

    Adele, I also had high hopes for Stardom Bound, and she was the favorite in her race on Saturday after 5 previous wins, but she came in third, so she won’t be going to the Derby to race against the guys. Also, she’s owned by IEAH Stables and as of Saturday, Ricky “the Needle” Dutrow became her trainer of record, so who knows what she’ll be doing next?

    There’s another big Derby-qualifying race this coming Saturday I hope to catch (although the name escapes me). Who knows? Maybe some dark horse will come out of nowhere and blow us all away.

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