Kentucky Derby Trail: No Lucky Questions

Kentucky Derby Trail: No Lucky Questions
Photo: BenoitPhoto.com
No questions for Lookin At Lucky
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They all have questions. Eskendereya  : Has he peaked too soon? Sidney's Candy  : Can he rate off the lead and win, and can he handle the dirt as well as synthetics? Rule: Can he rate off the pace and win, and can he overcome a six-week layoff? Super Saver  : Can he rate off the pace and win? American Lion  : Can he rate off the pace and win? Dublin  : Can he pass horses in the stretch? Ice Box  : Can he overcome a six-week layoff? Stately Victor  : Is he a Polytrack/turf horse and is he fast enough from a Beyer standpoint? Paddy O'Prado  : Is he a Polytrack/turf horse and is he fast enough from a Beyer standpoint?  Endorsement: With only four career starts, can he do something that hasn’t been done since 1918?

 

Lookin At Lucky  : Uh, let’s see. There has to be a question. Let’s go down the list. Two-year-old form and foundation? Check. The right mind? Check. Consistency? Check. Class? Check. Speed figures? Check. Running Style? Check. Ability to overcome trouble? Check. Big work at Churchill Downs? Check. Pedigree? Sire line, check. Dam’s side, possible question, but his half brother, Kensei (by sprinter Mr. Greeley), won the nine-furlong Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), so we’ll give him a check. Trainer? Three-time Derby winner; check. Jockey: Check.

 

So, what else is there? If you’re looking at the Derby in black and white (even though the Derby is rarely black and white), how can you not bet on Lookin at Lucky, even in the exactas and trifectas?

 

Now, granted, he has not lived up to his name; not like Woody Allen’s Lucky Lorenzo, who was given that name when he was uninjured after a bomb went off in his hat.

 

Lookin At Lucky hasn’t been lucky enough to escape misfortune in three of his biggest races, but he has overcome it enough to finish first, second, and third. We don’t even know what this horse is capable of with a clean trip.

 

And like Lucky Lorenzo, he has emerged from his ordeals unscathed and ready to fight again.

 

In short, Lookin At Lucky is the kind of horse every trainer wishes he or she had. And he certainly could be the kind of horse every bettor wishes he or she had after the race.

 

Taking the blinkers off him for the Derby normally would be considered a bold move, as most trainers are reluctant to make an equipment change going into the Derby. But with so much speed in this year’s Run for the Roses, and as determined a horse as Lookin At Lucky is, it is essential to keep him as far off the lead as possible. Baffert knows his horses as well as anyone, and he realizes that Lookin At Lucky is going to wind up running no closer than mid-pack in the Derby whether he wants to or not, and blinkers are no longer necessary.

 

One final note on Lookin At Lucky. Baffert has had the Derby in mind for this horse since last summer and has been focused on getting him there for the past eight months.

 

*****

 

Another horse who really doesn’t have any major questions, other than, is he good enough, is Awesome Act. He has the pedigree, he has a European turn of foot, he loves to race with cover in big fields, he had a legitimate excuse in the Wood Memorial, the horse he defeated in the Gotham (gr. III) came back and ran huge in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), he’s run big on dirt, synthetics, and grass, and his British trainer knows a thing or two about springing upsets in other countries.

 

With him it is all about timing his move to perfection, because his best race is when he can make that quick burst of speed. He’ll give you that one big explosion, but it’s a question of how long he can sustain it. That’s why it is important for Julien Leparoux, who fits him perfectly, to time his move right.

 

*****

 

As of now, the two price horses that really intrigue me: Mission Impazible   and Paddy O’Prado. More on them next week.

 

 

 

 

 

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