The first Saturday in May has always signified the start of summer to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve watched the Race of Kings. Cheering on my favorite to take the blanket of roses. Many people are shocked that a country girl like me, one who loves her western sports with a rabid passion, is Thoroughbred Horse Racing fan. I’m not that much of a fan. I’m more like those people who start following the home team just for the playoffs. I only follow Thoroughbred racing during the Triple Crown season (May – June), and then again in October for the Breeder’s Cup.
Every year thousands of Thoroughbred foals are born every spring. Each one carries the hope of their owner that they will be the next Kentucky Derby winner or even the next Triple Crown Winner. We haven’t had a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed won. In the history of the Triple Crown, this is the longest we have gone with out a Triple Crown Winner. During that time, there have been 18 horses who have one 2 of the 3 races. The most recent was Big Brown in 2008. Many suspect that if Barbaro had not suffered his catastrophic injury in 2006, he would have broken the drought. But many also thought Big Brown was a shoe in to win the Triple Crown. In the Triple Crown, you never know what will happen.
As for today’s race, there are four horses who have caught my attention. But I believe that only one is capable of winning the Triple Crown. Now for the “post parade” of my picks to win the fastest two minutes in sports.
Bodemeister (Current odds: 6:1)
This bay has impressive breeding and has been trained by the amazing Bob Baffert. In his last race, the Arkansas Derby, he took first place with a HUGE lead. He won by 9.5 lengths (76 feet). In his four starts he has place in the top two places in everyone. The two races in which he won first place, he did so with commanding leads.
I believe that this horse has what it takes to win the Triple Crown. He is my pick to win the Derby. But he has some stiff competition.
I will say I’m a bit biased toward Bodemeister due to his trainer, Bob Baffert. Baffert started training as a Quarter Horse Western Pleasure trainer before going back to his love of horse racing. He is an amazing man with an understanding of horses that I envy.
Gemologist (Current odds: 8:1)
This bay colt has an impressive race record. He has won every one of his 5 starts in his young career, but none of the wins had a commanding lead. His largest win was 7 lengths (56 feet). He mostly has had less than 1 length (8 feet) between him and second place.
While this animal is a beautiful mover, I’m not convinced he has what it takes to win the Derby much less the Triple Crown.
Todd Pletcher has been the trainer to beat over the past few years. So this horse might surprise us all.
Union Rags (Current odds: 5:1)
I will admit that at first I didn’t really look at this horse. I figured that he was only a favorite because his trainer trained the amazing Barbaro. I believed that he was the emotional favorite, not an actual contender. But looking at his Past Performances changed my mind. He has 6 races under his belt and has pretty good record on them.
Do I think he could win the Derby, no. But looking at his past races, he will give everything he has and will end up in the top four.
I’ll Have Another (Current odds: 13:1)
Once again, not a horse I had originally looked at. But this chestnut does have a pretty impressive record for the 2012 season. He has had 5 life time starts, of those 3 were first place finishes (2 of which were in 2012). He has not raced against any of my other three picks, but I believe that he will put in a good showing for this race. I don’t know if he will break the top three, but I’m sure he will be in the top 5.
Just because I’m a girl and I love pretty horses, here is my pick for the prettiest horse in the race. He does have an impressive race record and could easily be in the top five.
May the best horse win!