No easy task
Special to ESPN.com
May 5, 2012

The most difficult question in racing: So, who do you like in the Derby?It is a question that will be posed countless times this week in various languages from Caribou, Maine, to San Diego; Hong Kong...
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rune_lioness 
I'll be waiting until post positions are drawn and the weather forecast updates to make my pick. :)
119 Days ago
GeorgeAEdmondsIII 
look out for daddy nose best. sleep horse you can bet on to show and make a decent amount of money. Depending on where triniberg is posted. that horse will set the field at a rediculous first half pace till he tires. making last spurt runners in this derby have a advantage depending on weather and track conditions
119 Days ago
Nicholas2573 
I like him for what he has accomplished and he should have a fine career. But as I wrote, unraced as a 2yo and hasn't won at 1m or longer without the early lead. In addition, though it's not one of my criteria, Storm Cat dams have had a numbers of Derby runners with no success.
120 Days ago
Consumetheshroom 
What are your knocks on Bodemeister? The horse is a complete badazz!
120 Days ago
Nicholas2573 
This is based on 18 criteria for Ky Derby winners. THROWOUTS Daddy Long Legs, Done Talking, Liaison, Optimizer, Prospective, Rousing Sermon, Sabercat, Trinniberg PRETENDERS ( with knocks) * Union Rags--at stretch call of last race, wasn't 1st, 2nd, or within 2 lengths; in last race, half mile time was slower than 48.1 * I'll Have Another--jockey has no previous Ky Derby experience; has not raced in a field of more than 10 * Take Charge Indy--hasn't won at 1m or longer without the early lead; BC Juvenile effort at CD was not a sharp effort * Bodemeister--unraced as a 2yo; hasn't won at 1m or longer without the early lead * Dullahan--at stretch call of last race, wasn't 1st, 2nd, or within 2 lengths; did not break maiden in first or second race * Daddy Knows Best & Went the Day Well--last race more than 35 days before Ky Derby; didn't break maiden in first or second race CONTENDERS (and knocks for some of them, too) * Gemologist * Creative Cause * Alpha--bad effort at CD in the BC Juvenile; jockey?? * El Padrino--at stretch call of last race, wasn't 1st, 2nd, or within 2 lengths * Hansen--lost position from stretch call to finish in last race FINAL THREE (post position draw is final determinant): Creative Cause, Gemologist, El Padrino
120 Days ago
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Nicholas2573 
Nothing in the post-position draw changes my top three of Creative Cause (ML 12-1), Gemologist (6-1), and El Padrino (20-1). But now that I know Alpha has an experienced Derby rider, I'm tempted to put him in the mix.
119 Days ago
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GeorgeAEdmondsIII 
i agree with you jimmy makes me wonder if nick even saw rags last race. and creative cause is the sleeper in this field minus his poor showings of lately
119 Days ago
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Nicholas2573 
I did, George. Troubled trips are a part of my overall handicapping, but not part of my historical criteria. I'll never forget the trouble Sea Hero had in the stretch of the '93 Blue Grass (finishing 4th) and then went on to win the Derby at about 13-1. Regardless, I don't believe that Union Rags had significant trouble coming into the stretch of the Fla. Derby--and I've watched the replay of that race several times.
119 Days ago
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GeorgeAEdmondsIII 
you fail to mention union rags got boxed in when he was coming to the front stretch and basicall ran down take charge indy. union rags if rode with a good jockey with the right line hands down is the favorite and will either win or place
119 Days ago
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jimmy5756 
Union Rags makes El Padrino and Alpha look like claimers. He is the best horse in the race. Unless he gets boxed in, he is going to win the derby
119 Days ago
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nvrlose37 
A lot of your knocks are theories of the Derby losers which have basically been debunked in the past few years. I do appreciate your take on Bodemeister though. He could resemble a Bellamy Road from '05 if the lead really means that much to him.
119 Days ago
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Nicholas2573 
I'm not sure how they've been debunked . . certainly not by the recent historical record. For Union Rags, Dullahan, and El Padrino--no Derby winners since 1986 who weren't 1st or 2nd or within 2 lengths at the stretch call of their last race. For Take Charge Indy and Alpha--no Derby winners since at least as far back as 1985 who raced at CD and did not have a sharp effort. For Dullahan, Daddy Knows Best, and Went the Day Well--since 2000, only one Derby winner, Monarchos in 2001, did not break his maiden in his first or second race. For Take Charge Indy and Bodemeister--since 1998, only one Derby winner, Super Saver in 2010, did not have a win at 1m or longer without getting the early lead. For I'll Have Another--since at least 1985, only one Derby winner, Smarty Jones in 2004, won with a jockey who had no Derby experience; since at least 1985, only one Derby winner, Silver Charm in 1997, did not race in a field of 11 or more. For Bodemeister--we don't need to rehash the Apollo curse on Derby runners who did not race as juveniles. For Hansen--since at least 1985, only one Derby winner, Silver Charm in 1997, lost position in the stretch of his last prep. For Daddy Knows Best and Went the Day Well--since at least 1985, only one Derby winner, Animal Kingdom in 2011, had a last prep more than 35 days before the Derby. Have I missed something? I don't believe that just a single winner in a long period of time debunks a solid angle. My criteria certainly aren't golden, but they help me to narrow the field.
119 Days ago
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