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Saturday, May 2, 2009

2009 Kentucky Derby Pick: Friesan Fire

In February, when first asked to compile my top ten Kentucky Derby horses for Ray Paulick, my list looked like this:

1. Friesan Fire
2. Old Fashioned
3. Taqarub
4. Stardom Bound
5. Rachel Alexandra
6. Desert Party
7. Dunkirk
8. Chocolate Candy
9. Papa Clem
10.Mr. Hot Stuff

The two fillies took other paths, while Taqarub didn’t pan out and Old Fashioned recently retired after an injury. That still leaves six of my initial ten as Derby runners—not bad. My list at the beginning of this past week looked like this:

1. Friesan Fire
2. I Want Revenge
3. Regal Ransom
4. Musket Man
5. Papa Clem
6. Dunkirk
7. Mr. Hot Stuff
8. Chocolate Candy
9. General Quarters
10.Summer Bird

Notice the common denominators: Friesan Fire, on top of Chocolate Candy, Papa Clem and Mr. Hot Stuff. I’ve pretty much decided that’s my superfecta. Dunkirk, for me, is still the big question mark, while I Want Revenge is looking less likely the more I ponder it.

Oh, I may throw in a show bet on Musket Man if the odds are high enough, as I suspect this is a horse who can (as he has already proven) outrun his pedigree—although probably not this day. Also, after I made a point of highlighting Summer Bird, you better believe I’m going to put my money on him across the board—just in case.

On top, it’s Friesan Fire all the way for me. Fortunately, I have a 18-1 futures wager on him from Pool 1, because he looks to be way under that come post time.

I love everything about this colt and his connections. I’ve written before about his breeding, particularly his Australian connections. Curious, I contacted Lee Freedman who trained his second dam Bint Marscay as well as several other close relatives, namely two offspring of his dam Bollinger’s half-sister Mannington—G1 VRC Victoria Derby winner Benicio and the very gutsy G2 Classic Stakes victress Romneya. He very kindly offered the following comments, “Bint Marscay was a brilliant two-year-old with so much natural ability. She has passed this on to a lot of her descendants and I have been fortunate enough to train the two horses you mentioned [Benicio and Romneya].” He also went on to note this is a “very tough and reliable family,” and speculated that only industry insiders can appreciate just how good Friesan Fire’s breeding is. There’s already excitement Down Under regarding Vinery shuttling him when he does retire to stud, not only because of his dam side, but more particularly since the A.P. Indy bloodline hasn’t made an appearance there.

Breeding aside, I thoroughly appreciate Larry Jones as a man of honesty and a true horseman. To have finished second with Hard Spun in his very first Kentucky Derby, and then another second with the ill-fated Eight Belles—no one deserves to win a Kentucky Derby more. His young jockey Gabriel Saez also took unbelievable abuse after last year’s Derby, and owner Rick Porter is one of the most forthcoming and transparent owners when it comes to the important issues facing horse racing today. It’s time to cash in on some good karma for a change—let’s hope the racing gods shine down on Friesan Fire this day.


malcer said...

Friesan Fire and all of his connections are definitely my sentimental favorite, and regarding all aspects (draw, tactics etc.) I also see him as one of the most likely Derby candidates. Would be nice to have a redemption story on the first Sunday in May for once.

Mark Ripple said...

I Want Revenge is very unlikely as he is scratched. I like Chocolate Candy too, but for 2nd. Probably will "dutch" 1. Hold Me Back 2. Chocolate Candy and 3. West Side Bernie.

Gonna be a great day!

Good luck all :)

Mark Ripple
Handicapping the Wall Street Way

Rebecca said...

I'm stil not sure we weren't separated at birth.

I also liked Friesan Fire best all the way back in February, and if possible love him even more today. Let's hope we're both right. My superfecta is FF, PotN, Hold Me Back and Chocolate Candy. With I Wanty Revenge as a late scratch, you've just eliminated the one thing I thought could stand in their way.

Amateurcapper said...


Great sticking to your guns...that's what I'm doing w/ PotN.

How did DESERT PARTY slip from your original list? Give him any chance w/ scratch of IWR?

Good luck.