If you are human and regularly visit Craig’s Trailmix you know that we have a tradition of picking horses for the Kentucky Derby. To join in simply pick a horse for the greatest two minutes in sports for the prize of bragging rights about your good judgement. Everyone is welcome, simply put your selection in the comments.
If you are a horse, the route is much more strenuous. All the horses in the Kentucky Derby are three years old. For the sake of equality in racing, every horse in the Northern Hemisphere is born on January 1 no matter the actual birthdate. Breeders try to get as close to this date in early spring as possible as a late spring colt can be handicapped in size for their first racing season.
If you want a horse for the Derby, you either breed one with your own horses or by arrangement with another breeder or buy one at the yearling sales. Either way you are looking for the best possible heritage. Any time you want to know a thoroughbred’s ancestry, you go to the www.pedigreequery.com and plug in the name. You will immediately get six generations of very carefully recorded genealogy with blue for the stallions and pink for the mares (probably much better lineage than the humans betting on them). Reading one of these charts for a Derby qualifying horse is like looking at the Who’s Who for great horses of the last 50 years.
In the last half of their second year, training gets serious and most will start racing the shorter distances towards the end of their second year. The main thing to remember about the Derby horses is that they are very young and the Triple Crown is one of the most grueling series of races. This is why a Triple Crown winner is so rare and except for the winner of the Derby, most of the other horses will not run all three and why they usually retire to stud within a few years rather than risk such a valuable investment.
Most of the horses aiming for the Derby will be highly trained but lightly raced. There are 36 Derby qualifying races where a horse can earn points towards eligibility. The most prestigious races take place in the late spring prior to the Derby. These are the Wood Memorial, the Florida Derby, the Arkansas Derby, the Santa Anita Derby, the Louisiana Derby, the Toyota Blue Grass, and the U.A.E. Derby in Dubai.
These are the horses this year that won those top seven races and why this year is considered one of the best fields in Derby history.
Materiality won The Florida Derby (March 28)
International Star won the Louisiana Derby (March 28)
Mubtaahij won the U.A.E. Derby (March 28)
Frosted won The Wood Memorial (April 4)
Dortmund won the Santa Anita Derby (April 4)
Carpe Diem won The Blue Grass (April 4)
American Pharoah won The Arkansas Derby (April 11)
The post position Draw was held on Wednesday afternoon and the morning odds for race day assigned. You have until noon Saturday (East Coast Time) to give me your choice in the comments.
|Jack, Solar||01||Ocho Ocho Ocho||Elvis Trujillo||50/1|
|Jamie, Blue Bronc, Sturgeone, XR||02||Carpe Diem||John Velazquez||08/1|
|05||Danzig Moon||Julien Leparoux||30/1|
|07||El Kabeir||Cal Borel||30/1|
|10||Firing Line||Gary Stevens||18/1|
|12||International Star||Miguel Mena||20/1|
|14||Keen Ice||K. Desormeaux||50/1|
|Patd (alternate)||15||Frosted||Joel Rosario||05/1|
|16||War Story||Joe Talamo||50/1|
|17||Mr. Z||Ramon Vazquez||50/1|
|Pogo/Renee||18||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||05/2|
|20||Far Right||Mike Smith||30/1|
|AE||Tale of Verve||Will run if any of the first 20 drop out|
— Jamie is a Trail Mix Contributor