Monday, April 16, 2012

The Road to the Kentucky Derby

This is the second of four parts of a series reviewing the key prep races and taking a look at the contenders for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Oh, boy. Race on, thoroughbred fans.

The 2012 Kentucky Derby is officially a wide-open, free-for-all with close to half the field being legitimate contenders to take home the roses on May 5.

This past Saturday's two key prep races - The Blue Grass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby - had winners that were impressive and force the avid railbird to take a second look when handicapping the Kentucky Derby.

Dullahan rallied from well off the pace to nail front-running Hansen in the Blue Grass to put trainer Dale Romans on alert as the trainer of the self-proclaimed Derby favorite. Great late-running style for the 1 1/4-miles at Churchill Downs, but the synthetic surface is a possible detraction.

The most visually stunning prep win of the season goes hands down to Bodemeister, who destroyed the field at the Arkansas Derby by almost 10 lengths. The Bob Baffert-trained colt ran a big Beyer Speed Figure and seems to be blossoming as a lightly raced horse who didn't make a start as a 2-year old.

So, now what?

Stay tuned. The top 20 graded stakes money earners will head to the post position draw in a few weeks. We will continue to monitor the field and try to help pick a winner.

This is shaping up to be one of the deepest Derby fields in a long time.


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