Kentucky Derby Trail

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Ky. Derby Trail: Memorable Moments

Ky. Derby Trail: Memorable Moments

We're getting close to judgment day -- finding that single horse or betting angle or most attractive overlay possibilities. Until the horses can be observed in the flesh starting next week, here are some of the most memorable moments on this year's Derby trail in one person's opinion that will help in finding potential overlays.

Ky. Derby Trail: It's Miller's Time, Too

Ky. Derby Trail: It's Miller's Time, Too

Like all quarters, General Quarters is a two-sided coin. So far, it's only come up heads, with the face of Tom McCarthy and his Cinderella story receiving all the press. But a flip of the coin to the tails side will reveal the faded and forgotten face of Mark Miller.

Ky. Derby Trail: Old Fashioned Blunder

Ky. Derby Trail: Old Fashioned Blunder

Starting from the first Derby Dozen, I had Old Fashioned ranked No. 1 for five consecutive weeks, despite many people insisting he hadn't beaten anyone and would not stay the mile and a quarter. Prior to the Rebel, my comment on Derby Dozen concluded with, "Don't expect any fireworks until the Arkansas Derby."

Ky. Derby Trail: Coast Clash Looms Big

Ky. Derby Trail: Coast Clash Looms Big

It's not quite the Sunshine Millions, but this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is looking like a regional battle between California- and Florida-based horses, who at this point appear on their way to occupying the top four favorite roles in the Run for the Roses.

Ky. Derby Trail: The Key Word is Prep

Ky. Derby Trail: The Key Word is Prep

Saturday's big three Kentucky Derby preps should be pretty formful, with one or two standouts in each race. But, there's a lot more to these races than who is going to win. While they are all prestigious events, let's not forget the fact that they are indeed preps.

Ky. Derby Trail: Quality Performances

Ky. Derby Trail: Quality Performances

There are three ways of looking at the Florida Derby (gr. I): the best horse won, the best horse finished second, and both horses ran sensational races and established themselves as major Kentucky Derby contenders. The consensus would have to be number three.

Ky. Derby Trail: Rabbit Punch

Ky. Derby Trail: Rabbit Punch

On several occasions over the past few years, Todd Pletcher has reached into his hat to pull out a rabbit, and in most cases the trick didn't go quite as planned. Despite some bad hare days, Pletcher has decided to try his luck at prestidigitation once again in Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I).

Ky. Derby Trail: Louisville Shuffle

Ky. Derby Trail: Louisville Shuffle

As often happens on the Kentucky Derby trail, they fell like proverbial bowling pins last weekend, although two of the bigger names reinforced their strong position. Not all the vanquished will be taken off the trail, as some deserve another chance after racing on less than desirable surfaces, but they have put themselves in a desperate situation.

Ky. Derby Trail: The Total Package

Ky. Derby Trail: The Total Package

March means many things to owners and trainers of horses on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail. There's the nail-biting, the sleepless nights, and the early morning phone calls that every owner dreads. And for many it sadly means the end of the road.

Ky. Derby Trail: Road to the Roses

Ky. Derby Trail: Road to the Roses

The last Saturday in November is NYRA's farewell to grade I and grade II racing, with the running of the Cigar Mile (gr. I) and the grade II Remsen and Demoiselle Stakes for 2-year-olds. But last year, there was a buzz in the air that had nothing to do with any of those three races.

Ky. Derby Trail: Southwest & Middle East

Ky. Derby Trail: Southwest & Middle East

Although there was nothing over the weekend to knock your proverbial socks off, there were a few races that could steer you toward a horse or two as potential Derby material. With the Southwest Stakes having just been run, we'll briefly discuss the race and go over it in more detail next week.

Ky. Derby Trail: The Challenge is On

Ky. Derby Trail: The Challenge is On

So, 23 "elite" 3-year-olds have been chosen to make up the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager field. Well, several of those who didn't make the cut are up in arms over the selections and are offering a challenge to the so-called leading Derby contenders.

Ky. Derby Trail: Florida Follies

Ky. Derby Trail: Florida Follies

Either tracks like Gulfstream and Oaklawn are getting noticeably slower or the horses are. From all indications, it is the tracks, which is fine if they keep horses sounder. (See end of text for first official Top 30)

Ky. Derby Trail: Sneak Preview

Ky. Derby Trail: Sneak Preview

The first Derby Dozen comes out next week, but we'll get a jump on it with a more comprehensive look before this weekend's stakes. Then we'll make any adjustments based on the results. So, this is more of a speculative list, with a great deal riding on the Hutcheson and Holy Bull Stakes.

Ky. Derby Trail: Let the Lists Begin

Ky. Derby Trail: Let the Lists Begin

With the first Derby Dozen list scheduled for early February, this is a good time to make up a Top 10 list of horses who haven't accomplished enough just yet to make the official list, but who have a good chance of making it in the near future.

Kentucky Derby Trail: California Comets

Kentucky Derby Trail: California Comets

With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.

Ky. Derby Trail: Welcome to Louisville

Ky. Derby Trail: Welcome to Louisville

The first morning at Churchill Downs brought sunny skies and warm temperatures, as the Kentucky Derby horses began their final stretch to racing's biggest day. From here on, there is no room for error. We'll give a brief rundown of the day's activities and continue with the plusses and minuses of each contender.

Ky Derby Trail: Questions and Quandaries

Ky Derby Trail: Questions and Quandaries

Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.

Ky. Derby Trail: Tale of the Colonel

Ky. Derby Trail: Tale of the Colonel

Well, we're down to our final two major preps, the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), with the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) thrown in for good measure. The question right now is: what did we learn from last Saturday's preps?

Ky. Derby Trail: Hot Brown on Derby Menu

Ky. Derby Trail: Hot Brown on Derby Menu

By now, just about every superlative has been used to describe Big Brown's performance in the Florida Derby (gr. I). How many times do you think the word "freak" has been uttered since Saturday? Well, there is no doubt that the colt has accomplished freakish things in his brief career, but so did Curlin, and he couldn't win the Derby off three career starts.

Ky Derby Trail: Is Pyro Really Too Slow?

Ky Derby Trail: Is Pyro Really Too Slow?

Despite being ranked No. 1 or 2 on just about every Derby poll, Pyro, for some reason, has been branded by many a slow horse and simply the best of a bad lot. Yes, the pace in his two starts this year has been slow, and his final times have not exactly set the Fair Grounds teletimer aflame, but is this horse really as slow as many of the experts say he is?

Ky. Derby Trail: Py in the Sky

Ky. Derby Trail: Py in the Sky

On Saturday, in one corner of the country, the mighty Pyro once again crushed his foes, winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in grand style. On the same day, in the opposite corner of the country, a humbly-bred colt who sold for meager $1,000 as a yearling, Autism Awareness, mowed down his field to win the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).

Ky. Derby Trail: The Cat and the Colonel

Ky. Derby Trail: The Cat and the Colonel

So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.

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