Two Reasons for Derby Season #148 plus Sunday Musings returns
Real Writing on Racing 💯
A lighthearted look at the prospective Derby field
It’s prime Kentucky Derby-time as we slip inside two weeks till the big day and that means hype season is in full swing! People that normally wake up closer to sunset than sunrise become Clocker Lawton, analyzing works and gallops and hair coats and other horse related minutiae that they have little time for the rest of the year. We see horses paddock schooling to breathless analysts that tell us that so and so couldn’t look better, counting the dapples and insisting that they are really, really blossoming now. There are video analysis of the preps being done, numbers being crunched, pedigrees being dissected and the worst of all…historical Derby trends being bandied about. I feel for the poor people whose horse draws the “dreaded” post one (Churchill Media maven Darren Rogers insists that “dreaded” is the only adjective used when describing post one per new CDI rules*) as they will be asked about it at least 374 times in 13 different languages, 14 if Un Ojo is number 1 as the Acadiana Times will be covering the race but no one at Churchill other than Ricky Courville speaks Cajun since Calvin Borel retired.
* I made that up!
Well here at Going in Circles aren’t going to try to impress you with some brilliant calculations of the ‘foot per second’ turn time for the Lecomte stakes runner up, nor will we bore you by telling you that no horse whose name started with T has won the Derby in 26 years (name him without looking it up!). No sir, we are going to run through the field and give you one reason that you should bet on each horse…and one reason that you shouldn’t! If you are somehow connected with any of the runners and take offense at anything uttered in this “analysis” please report directly to the no fun zone 🚫☹️.
⚠️ As the bookie cards used to state as a disclaimer - this list is NOT to be used for gambling, it’s strictly for entertainment purposes. In no particular order here are the twenty 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders:
Cyberknife - You should bet him because he is a talented if quirky horse that worked great 💨 this week (all the ‘experts’ loved it).
You should not bet him because I have a personal wager with Chad Summers where if Cyberknife doesn’t win the Derby, Chad has to lose 40 pounds. If Cyberknife wins I have to lose 40 pounds. I don’t wanna be skinny 🙁 help me out here people!
Messier - You should bet him because he was named after a super cool hockey player that once guaranteed a win that led to the NY Rangers (it’s a hockey team 🏒🥅 for all you people from Kentucky that have never seen one) to its first Stanley Cup (it’s a 🏆 Kentucky peeps) since hockey was invented in 1406 by Vikings from Norway 🇳🇴 .
You should not bet him because he couldn’t even hold off a maiden breaker in his last race.
Summer is Tomorrow - You should bet him because we know almost nothing about him or his trainer or owners so we don’t have any inherited bias against them and he has speed in a race that isn’t overflowing with it.
You should not bet him because horses from UAE Derby often do…uh…interesting things 👀 once they ship over from the other side of the pond.
Charge It - You should bet him because he is an immensely talented colt who seems to be peaking coming into the biggest race of his life.
You should not bet him because he swerved down the stretch of the Florida Derby like he had been hanging out with Kegasus (RIP 😞) 🍻before the race.
Tawny Port - You should bet him if someone in your immediate family was a sailor 🚢, a longshoreman or served in the Navy ⚓️.
You should not bet him because his chief qualifications were earned in a race named after strip steaks 🥩 and a junior varsity race.
Zandon - You should bet him because he just might be the best horse in this field, has experience being jostled around (when Irad committed four felonies 🚓 on Mo Donegal against him in the Remsen stretch run) and has never not improved in each of his races.
You should not bet him because it’s about a certainty that Happy Jack is gonna get in his way on the far turn costing him momentum and ground as he rallies from 17th.
Simplification - You should bet him because he is a versatile type that isn’t married to one running style plus the post race interview with trainer Antonio Sano 🇻🇪 would be epic as there is a good chance that he may pass out from happiness at some point.
You should not bet him because I have a nagging feeling that ten furlongs might be one too many.
Un Ojo - You should bet him if you have a thing for one-eyed horses (Patch!), I can’t really think of any other reason outside of maybe his status as a handicapped horse might grant him a head start? The connections really should get a special Eclipse award for earning $650k with him so far.
You shouldn’t bet on him because he is turtle 🐢 slow for this caliber of race.
Tiz the Bomb - You should bet on him because he has a cool name and if he wins it will be with a closing rush that will sure to be exciting 🆒.
You shouldn’t bet him because unless CDI decides that they are going move the race to Turfway Park because he is a whole lot better on surfaces other than dirt.
Epicenter - You should bet on him because he is really good, has consistently run excellent figures📈, has tactical speed yet also has shown adaptability to rate as in his most recent win in the Louisiana Derby.
You should not bet him because his trainer is o’fer in the race with his best showing being the illustrious Lookin at Lee.
Crown Pride (JPN) - You should bet on him because the Japanese 🇯🇵 have been running a training clinic at every international event that they have targeted lately.
You should not bet him because the UAE Derby runners are traditionally awful in the Kentucky Derby (see Summer is Tomorrow above) and he has already dropped his rider coming out of the starting gate which might be a problem in a 20 horse field.
Barber Road - You should bet on him because his latest work was universally reviled by the unwashed masses 🗣 whose advice you should generally never take.
You should not bet him because he took the Arkansas route to the Derby which was particularly abysmal this year (everybody turned into Concert Tour, just earlier) and he always seems to find trouble in races which bodes poorly in a 20 horse field.
Zozos - You should bet him because he has tactical speed and a horse with a name that begins with Z hasn’t won the Derby since Zev in 1923 so it’s due for a winner.
You should not bet him because he feels like this years Soup and Sandwich 🍲 🥪
White Abarrio - You should bet him because Mike Rennie-time loves him and he is a sharp cat 🐈.
You shouldn’t bet him because his name sounds like a place where Eminem grew up and is the only horse whose mane isn’t as prolific as his trainers (Steve A used to be tops in this category but bowed out when he cut the locks). Oh yeah and you could have timed his last furlong in the Florida Derby with a ⏳
Smile Happy - You should bet him because he is a quality horse that might be ready to fire his best race yet after moving a little too early in the Bluegrass and maybe getting a little leg weary.
You should not bet him because if you were sick of seeing Run Happy advertisements before 🤯…oh man Mattress Mack will be commissioning a fleet of blimps to fly across the country with giant RH ads flashing if a son of his were to win the Derby.
Early Voting - You should bet on him as he is potentially going to be on a loose lead and speed is always dangerous in this race which always has plenty of chaos.
You shouldn’t bet him because he has little experience against top competition as his biggest win was over a handicapped horse (Un Ojo) and he still couldn’t hold on despite a close to a perfect setup in the Wood 🪵.
Taiba - You should bet him because he has won both of his races with powerful efforts and recorded the fastest speed figure (TG 0️⃣) on the Derby trail by virtually all measures when capturing the Santa Anita Derby.
You should not bet him because his winning the Kentucky Derby is going to embolden “you know who’s” acolytes into record setting levels of annoying 😵💫 on social media plus there is that little issue of no experience in dealing with virtually anything as there hasn’t been a straw in his path in either of his races.
Pioneer of Medina - You should bet on him because he just secured a spot in the field and not a single person on horse racing Twitter or any other social media has even uttered his name yet so there is plenty of space on the bandwagon. Plus he has a punchers chance 🥊 at a huge price 💰.
You should not bet him because I have been the only person (literally the only one) that has trumpeted his potential and every Derby I attach onto some huge longshot that usually turns out to be a clunker (Dynamic One 😭) and it looks like for the 2022 Kentucky Derby this guy is it. Plus if he were to win we would be bombarded with horses with ‘Medina’ in the name as it would now be considered a ‘Derby winning trend’. Plus if I were to name a horse after trainer Robbie Medina no one would believe it then.
Mo Donegal - You should bet on him because he finally put it all together in his final prep and ran a huge race, overcoming traffic trouble to earn the required points for a spot in the Derby gate.
You should not bet him because he has no early speed, is prone to traffic trouble and the Wood 🪵 has had a dreadful history as a Derby prep since Funny Cide which seems like a hundred years ago (I’m resisting the cheap Barclay Tagg old age joke here)
And that brings us to…
Happy Jack - You should bet on him if your name is Jack or you were ever a customer of Happy Jack’s Bait Shop a now defunct fisherman’s hangout in Pompano Beach where the local racetrack also just went defunct too.
You should not bet him because he is the least qualified horse to run in the Kentucky Derby in a long, long time. Un Ojo is a 🐢 but he did actually win a Derby prep (a bad one but 🤷🏼♂️) but Happy Jack has averaged being defeated by more than 16 lengths in his three prep attempts and has never been within 10 lengths of the winner in any of them.
Good luck 🍀
⭐️ She has benefited from many favorable pace scenarios over the past year and a half but I finally learned my lesson that you just aren’t gonna beat Letruska unless she is facing extreme early pressure. Props to Fausto Gutierrez for keeping her sharp for a long time and having her ready to run her ‘A race’ yesterday as a 6 year old in the Apple Blossom. Keeping a strong willed mare that good for that long is not an easy task. The two that ran behind her are legit grade I fillies and mares and she fended them off once again.
🤷🏼♂️ What is the purpose of the Oaklawn Stakes for three year olds? That was not a stakes quality field, hell Oaklawn runs tougher allowance races. I know that they are swimming in money 💵 over there but this sport needs a real contraction of stakes races, not additional ones, especially when we can barely fill what we have now.
💡 The Oaklawn Park Handicap was a competitive race won by a decent enough horse but can’t we figure out a way to tie the Pegasus, Santa Anita Handicap, Oaklawn Handicap, Pimlico Special and Stephen Foster into a series for the domestic older dirt horses, perhaps culminating with the Whitney or Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga? Add some sort of bonus money/standings if you win more than one or accumulated points and a huge prize if you can sweep the five?
🥇 Kudos to the old guys that won a couple stakes yesterday. 61 year old Jon Court who was aboard Last Samurai in that Oaklawn Handicap and True Valour an 8 year old trained by Graham Motion won the King T Leatherbury stakes at Laurel which is named after yet another old guy.
🦶 Morello is going to miss the Derby with some lingering foot trouble stemming from his disastrous start in the Wood. Hopefully he will heal up quick as he is a super talented middle distance type in the Jackie’s Warrior mold and looking back a few months from now this may have been a blessing in disguise.
💨 Keeneland always goes by so fast
🌞 Maybe it’s just me but looking forward to the summer tracks, this winter seemed to have lingered far too long
🏀 You want some racing/sports comparisons? How about Ben Simmons = Flightline? That’s more about availability as Flightline has a far better three point stroke than Ben but neither seems to spend much time on the court/track.
🇨🇦 A great racing blog to follow is penned by legendary North of the border racing Twitter stalwart @Pullthepocket whose stuff is always thought provoking yet brief. Check it out here
🚨Game of Silks is launching this week! 🚨
Don’t get left behind, this is a great opportunity to get involved at the ground floor level in an exciting new twist on racing combining the future, Metaverse and the present, real life world of Horseracing! If you ever wanted to own a horse but couldn’t afford it or you already are an owner, the relatively low cost of entry with unlimited upside potential should be appealing! Go to www.silks.io or for more info contact me at Goingincirclespodcast@gmail.com and I will get you steered in the right direction!