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Friday, May 1, 2009


Who knows?

Every year there are horses that we would categorize as “marginal” Kentucky Derby contenders. This year that group includes (in post position order):

WEST SIDE BERNIE (#1 – second to I Want Revenge. The winner fell down coming out of the gate, got blocked in once if not twice, and still beat him. Don’t think the extra furlong will help.)

ADVICE (#4 – Surprise winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is either improving daily or his Derby prep win was a fluke. Who knows? As Wayne Lukas once said “People have opinions, the horses have the facts.”

HOLD ME BACK (#5 – Has the connections and the pedigree and was second in the Blue Grass Stakes, a major Derby prep.)

REGAL RANSOM (#10 – Upset winner of the United Emirates Derby which means he’s the upset winner of the United Emirates Derby. Good luck figuring that out.)

CHOCOLATE CANDY (#13 – Second to Pioneerof The Nile in the Santa Anita Derby (polytrack), but has never run on good old fashioned dirt.

Which leads us to the real contenders, and they are horses who have either won or been closely placed in the major Kentucky Derby prep races. In post position order, they are:

MUSKET MAN (#2 – Second to I Want Revenge last out)

FRIESAN FIRE (#6 – Won three Derby prep stakes in Louisiana. Not great, but good enough)

PAPA CLEM (#7 – Won the Arkansas Derby)

GENERAL QUARTERS (#12 – Won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland)

I WANT REVENGE (#13 – Won the Gotham Stakes by 8 ½ lengths and then won the Wood Memorial Stakes impressively after stumbling badly from the gate)

DUNKIRK (#15 – A $3.7 million yearling who ran an impressive second to Quality Road in the Florida Derby over a speed-favoring track most likely not to his liking.)

PIONEEROF THE NILE (#16 – Won the Santa Anita Derby - pictured)

Picks: Pioneerof The Nile, Dunkirk, Friesan Fire

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