May 1, 2010

Kentucky Derby 136 goes to Super Saver and Calvin Borel

Initial thoughts... damn, that was over so fast. Unfortunately, NBC sports didn't show most of the split times, but it seemed like Conveyance and Sidney's Candy were zipping along at a pretty solid clip. I will eat a little crow and admit I thought the pace would be a bit slower, although I'm not sure what the effect of a wet-sealed track had on fractions. Smarty Jones (who stalked in 3rd/4th) won in 2004 on an "off" track that Lion Heart controlled the splits of 22.99, 46.73, 1:11.80, 1:37.35, 2:04.06, yet continued to finish well for the place. Today's fractional times of 22.63, 46.16, 1:10.58, 1:37.65 and 2:04.45 were comparable other than the 6 furlong time which was about a full second faster and likely caused the two front-runners to burn out in the stretch. Also, the sealed track seemed to be favoring closers for much of the day as several strong favorites that typically run on or near the lead fizzled out. But Calvin Bo-rel was able to relax Super Saver enough to keep him 6th for the first six furlongs with a ground saving rail trip before passing Conveyance en route to Borel's third Derby victory in four years. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. How bout the fact that he still calls everyone 'sir' or 'ma'm' even though Bob Costas is shorter than he is?! And Todd Pletcher finally gets the monkey off his back.

The filly Devil May Care ran a big race before tiring in mid-stretch, as did Noble's Promise, who looked like a winner turning for home. Very poor showings by 5th choice Awesome Act and well-backed Mission Impazible and Stately Victor, who never threatened. The relatively unknown Paddy O'Prado ran a big one to just get nipped at the wire for second and the real shocker of the day was the last horse to get in, Make Music for Me, which sparked a $202,000 superfecta! One of these years I'll hopefully hit one this nice!

I'll tell you one thing, Lookin at Lucky was anything but "lucky" for a second race in a row - typical from a #1 post position - and will be my pick if they choose to run him back in the Preakness Stakes. Depending on the pace scenario, I don't think Ice Box will be as effective at Pimlico Race Course in two weeks. Most of the other horses in the race have a plausible excuse with the wet sealed track, which may actually discourage many trainers from running back in two weeks. I will be there for the Preakness this year so it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if Borel's prediction comes true - he said he wants to "get it done" this year for the Triple Crown... stay tuned!

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