Frankly, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to awake this morning to the news of Uncle Mo’s Derby defection—and you won’t see me crying about it either. It’s not just a recent phenomenon that brilliant 2-year-olds often don’t match that form when they age, so thanks for the memories, Uncle Mo. Now can we finally appreciate what’s in front of us instead of simply bemoaning how bad this crop?
Those like Bob Baffert who suspected Repole was hedging on Uncle Mo to get a better price on him come race time are in the right forest, but barking up the wrong tree—it’s his other entry Stay Thirsty who is completely flying under the radar. From all accounts, he’s working gangbusters these days (in a perfectly subtle way), and talk about a horse bred for this race! As if you need MORE information to consider in your Derby handicapping, check out the stamina pedigree analysis I do over at Hello Race Fans! here. At the time, I was pleased to get 20-1 on Stay Thirsty in the second futures pool, but he might be an even longer price on Saturday, so count me in.
Sentimentally and on merit, my Derby horse is Pants on Fire though. I just love everything about this horse and to witness Rosie Napravnik smash that last glass ceiling for female jockeys would be simply amazing. As an architectural historian, how could I not love Archarcharch? He’s a gorgeous animal with another great back-story in trainer Jinks Fires and jockey Jon Court (he lately of “Jockeys” fame). Ditto for Mucho Macho Man, but I just think the son of Macho Uno will come up a tad short on Derby day. Midnight Interlude is a quickly improving raw talent, but I’m thinking he’s more a Belmont horse. Nehro is another one who is quickly improving, but I’m thinking Preakness for him. Still, I wouldn’t be too upset if he won, especially since the Zayats avoided the temptation to bestow upon him some damn “Z” name.
If any turf horse in the field could win, it’s Animal Kingdom who’s got stamina galore on his damside; news that John Velazquez will take over for the injured Robbie Albarado is, to my eyes, a good sign. Master of Hounds is a joke being here—there, I said it. Now make a fool of me, horse.
Just sitting here, writing this has clarified a lot—now if I can just suppress the urge to rethink it all tomorrow. For exactas and trifectas, I’m going with #1 Archarcharch, #7 Pants on Fire, and #4 Stay Thirsty, with #15 Midnight Interlude and #19 Nehro thrown in for good measure.
For the Oaks today, I can barely suppress my joy for Joyful Victory. What a dynamic talent! I would love to see a Rachelesque-type victory by her, but would also not be bothered if Larry Jones’ former trainee Summer Soiree won—I love my 55-1 future wager on her! Still, I suspect if any entrant can upset Joyful Victory, it’s Panty Raid’s little sister St. John’s River. Oh, believe me, I’m full in on her chances. I’ve thoroughly picked the Oaks apart for HRF’s Derby Prep Alert, for ThoroFan, and for Raceday 360. Now it’s just time to sit back and watch them run. Godspeed to all!