Now, we're not one to indulge in hyperbole, but the fact is, Monarchos was a million lengths the best in Saturday's Florida Derby. OK, so we will indulge once in a while. After all the waiting, listening to nothing but faint rumblings, the smoldering volcano finally has erupted. Although metaphoric cataclysms on the Derby trail normally signify uplifting events, such as Monarchos' explosive display, that is not true when mentioning Sunday's Louisiana Derby. This was more like an earthquake that nearly swallowed up favorites Dollar Bill and Hero's Tribute.
For a million-dollar purse, and with no clear-cut favorite, it's no surprise that 13 horses passed the entry box for Saturday's grade I Florida Derby. The likely choices will be Songandaprayer, Monarchos, and Outofthebox. The only real surprises in the field are California invader Trailthefox, last year's Arlington-Washington Futurity winner who was supposed to stay in sprint races, and the Nick Zito-trained It's So Simple, an impressive allowance winner at the meet whom Zito called "the best kept secret on the backstretch."
A week ago the presence of Dollar Bill didn't scare anyone involved with bringing a top notch 3-year-old to the Louisiana Derby. And although highly touted Millennium Wind and Hero's Tribute are still on track for Sunday's grade II Kentucky Derby prep, the local flavor is simmering out.
When a non-winners of two allowance race at Santa Anita and the Herat Stakes at Laurel are the two biggest races of the week, then it's time to step off the Derby trail, get out a blanket and some cheese and crackers, and take time to ponder where we've been and where we're heading. But in a year like this, not only do we not know where we're heading, we're really not quite sure where we've been. The only 2-year-olds within 10 pounds of the leader on the Experimental Free Handicap that we can sink our teeth into are Dollar Bill and Millennium Wind. For the sixth straight year, the Experimental topweight will be a non-entity in the Triple Crown.
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