1 – Mubtaahij
Many have underestimated him for many reasons, he’s traveled half way around the world to get here, his original food mixture could not be flown in due to FDA regulations, and finally the most talked about argument is his «apparent slow fractions and final times» in his races in Dubai and most recent race, winning the UAE Derby, he was giving a 97 Beyer figure, BUT here lies the rub. Meydan’s fractions and those posted at tracks in the United States are not measured equally. In North America, the teletimer does not automatically begin once the horses break from the gate. There is a run-up to the start of the clock. At Meydan, the time begins when the gate opens. If calculated correctly, he would have a Beyer figure way up in the hundreds and that’s a whole different picture !, also if he repeats that moooooonster turn of foot he showed in the UAE Derby, he will be without any doubt in my mind, the winner of the 141 Kentucky Derby. Trainer Mike de Kock, has run 6 times in the USA in 5 Graded I Stakes and 1 Grade III, he has won twice (although “The Apache” was placed second after an objection in the G1 Arlington Million in 2013) trainer Kock’s worst performance in the USA was a single third place. Now that’s a stat to respect.
2 – American Pharoah
Freaky good, almost scary the way he could go fast and finish even faster with seemingly no effort at all, but he’s never been tested on the lead with a lot pressure behind him and although he can rate, he shouldn’t, his only logical place in the race, will be in the lead, he will be as vulnerable as Bodemeister was, he’s chance will depend on how slow he can lead the field in the first 6 furlongs. Great champion without any doubt, but in my opinion, vulnerable for the first time. One little stat that might mean nothing this time, but it’s there, Bob Baffert is 0-6 with Kentucky Derby favorites.
3 – Firing Line
He’s peaking at the right time, his easy record breaking performance in the Sunland Derby, his style of running, and the speed that should develop in the race, gives him in my opinion the edge over his nemesis “Dortmund”, some might say that he’s already lost to him in the past, but today, is not yesterday, and if the race develops as it should be, a fast pace race, this horse will not be beat by “Dortmund” at Derby day.
4 – Frosted
After champion trainer Kiaran McLaughlin made the right corrections to the horse, having a minor throat surgery performed to make sure the colt wasn’t flipping his palate, added blinkers, and subtracted one jockey, switching from Irad Ortiz to Joel Rosario, this colt just exploded in the Wood Memorial, he came from off the pace and past everyone so easily that he seems to have transformed himself. Giving the fast pace that should develop during the race, his racing style fits perfectly to be one of the fastest running in the final furlong.
NOTE: And for those of you, that keep asking me about Dortmund, I just didn’t like the way I saw him being «all out» beat nobody in the Santa Anita Derby. He is special, but I’m convinced that he does not have what it takes to win the Derby.