As promised, here is the 2011 lineup of three year olds taking the field on Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs. The drawing was held Wednesday, May 4.
2. Brilliant Speed
* 3. Twice The Appeal – a favorite only
because Calvin Borel is the jockey
4. Stay Thirsty
5. Decisive Moment
6. Comma To The Top
7. Pants on Fire
* 8. Dialed In – favorite to win – in same
spot as Barbaro in 2006
9. Derby Kitten
*11. Master of Hounds – favorite
13. Mucho Macho Man – trained by
15. Midnight Interlude
16. Animal Kingdom – jockey has a
broken nose requiring special gear.
*18. Uncle Mo – was favored to win –
now suffering from intestinal
infection and may be pulled from
lineup. Trainer – Todd Pletcher – to
20. Watch Me Go – Trained by Kathleen
There was a field of 22 horses slated to run, but two have already dropped out and Uncle Mo may join them if he doesn’t show a major improvement and decisive chance to win. Todd Pletcher, his trainer, will announce today whether or not he will be up for Saturday’s race.
Dialed in has drawn the same position as Barbaro, the 2006 Derby winner. Already a favorite, this is a premium slot for such a horse.
Animal Kingdom’s rider, Robby Albarado, suffered from a fall Thursday when the mount he was on, Smoke’n Al, threw him then stepped on him. He was taken to the hospital and has facial injuries including a broken nose. It is unclear whether or not he will be able to ride in Saturday’s race. A special helmet is being sought to protect his injuries, but imagining the pain involved in the bounce alone leaves me to doubt his ability to complete this ride successfully.
My bet would be Twinspired by name alone. But the fact that Calvin Borel is riding Twice the Appeal, makes that horse go from 50 – 1 odds to at least 20 – 1. Calvin Borel or ‘Bo-rail’ as some call him, because of his tendency to ride along the inside rail, is the jockey that has won three of the last four Kentucky Derbies.
In 2007 he rode Street Sense to victory. In 2009 it was Mine That Bird and then Rachel Alexander in the Preakness, and in 2010 he won aboard Super Saver.
This tough horse loving cajun born in 1966 in Louisiana has become a crowd favorite for the manner in which he loves and respects his mount. This won him notice in 2007 when the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, witnessed not only the winning ride at Churchill Downs, but his post race care of Street Sense.
Soon this American Jockey whose largest dream was just winning the Kentucky Derby, found himself accomplishing not only that dream, but sitting amongst royalty and celebrities at a state dinner hosted by the White House. Former President Bush greeted him personally and he met such people as Colin Powell – then Secretary of State – former first lady Nancy Reagan, and sports stars Peyton Manning and Arnold Palmer. I recall headlines that announced: ‘From the outhouse to the White House!’
Ever the disciplined jockey, he was reported to have eaten only a spoonful of each dish served and avoided dessert all together.
I have always remembered an interview I saw with one of the greatest jockeys in history, Laffit Pincay. He said he took a single peanut with him on flights and ate half at take off and the other half during the flight. He was always rumored to be weight conscious and had difficulty in maintaining the super thin physique demanded of jockeys.
This year we also have two entries trained by women; Mucho Macho Man trained by Kathy Ritvo and Watch Me Go trained by Kathleen O’Connell. No female trained horse has won the Derby yet, although there have been a few attempts – thirteen actually. That’s not many considering this is the 137th Derby and the field of horses is usually over twenty per race. Perhaps this will be the year when history will be made at the track.
But don’t make your decision based on my random thoughts. Check out this field of three year old thoroughbreds and make your decision. The race is well worth your pre-race interest and mixed with a carefully chosen hat and a mint julep, you’ll be set for an enjoyable evening.
I’ll start viewing early as I like the back stories – who owns the horses and how did they get into racing, the training, the breeding, the unusual tidbits of information that connect me to the horses as they strut over to the gate. This is horse racing at its best – no artificial turf or weather cancellations. I’ll meet you at the track!
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When I was a little kid, I was a major horse racing fan. We (that is, the parents) subscribed to the two daily newspapers, the Pasadena Star-News and the Pasadena Independent. (Imagine having the time to read two daily papers.) Both had handicappers for Santa Anita and each day I pored over their recommendations and made my picks and placed my (imaginary) bets. I did pretty well. I followed the Kentucky Derby closely then. Citation was my horse hero. I think my dad took me to Santa Anita a couple of times, but as a little kid, I was so annoyed you had to wait around so long between races. I didn’t appreciate the time required to make (actual) bets.
I have vague recollections of attending races occasionally as an adult. It must have been at Del Mar. For many years I wanted a horse, but the dream faded into impracticality. I did go on a two hour ride with my grandkids a few years ago. I was so surprised, having reached “mature years” and not having ridden for eons, that I wasn’t at all stiff and sore after the adventure.
If I can figure out what time the actual race is, I usually tune into just that for the Kentucky Derby, and I’ll pay enough attention to know whether the winner also claims the Triple Crown.