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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ill-Conceived Derby Dreams

With less than two weeks remaining, exactly who to bet on Kentucky Derby day is becoming, at least to my thinking, even more confusing as so many more potential entrants this year actually possess the kind of stamina breeding you want to see in a Derby candidate. Not among them, however, is Trinniberg whose connections have most unwisely chosen to pursue their Derby dreams on the back of a horse so uniquely unqualified for the distance.  Consider, in seven lifetime starts, this son of Teuflesberg has never run around two turns. He’s never run beyond seven furlongs. His gutsy but incredibly hard-raced (and at times ill-placed) sire at least had some foundation before attempting the Derby, having won the 1-mile Southwest (over Hard Spun, no less) before finishing third to Curlin in the 8.5 furlong G3 Rebel Stakes and then a close-up fourth in the 9-furlong G1 Blue Grass. After contesting the Derby early, Teuflesberg’s breeding kicked in, and he faded to finish 17th out of 20 entrants. Trinniberg’s damline doesn’t possess a lick of stamina. That’s no exaggeration, either. That owner Shivananda Parbhoo based his decision to enter Trinniberg on the defection of Secret Circle is beyond na├»ve; does he really think he can steal the race on the front end against such seasoned horses? I could see taking a chance with a weaker field of candidates, but that’s not the case. This may ultimately be one of the more talented Derby fields in recent years, so what a shame it is to potentially ruin a nice sprinter like Trinniberg on an ill-conceived flight of fancy. Still, it’s his horse to do what he will so good luck, Mr. Parbhoo. You’ll need it.

Again this year I’ll be contributing “Going the Derby Distance 2012” to Hello Race Fans!, a feature that over the past two years has been incredibly accurate. In 2010, I nailed the exacta with Super Saver and Ice Box; ditto in 2011 with Animal Kingdom and Nehro among the top stamina-bred horses. As previously noted, it’s going to be a whole lot more difficult this year finding contenders based solely on that criterion, as both top and bottom breeding for many looks stamina-rich. We’ll see how significant a role workouts, jockeys, post positions, and track conditions play, but more than at any time in recent years I’m hopeful we may see an extremely competitive Triple Crown series.