Kentucky Derby 2011 Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
All of a sudden Kentucky Derby time has rolled around and you haven’t been paying attention. For shame, especially when we’ve made it easy for you with our Derby Prep Alert!
Paying attention to the prep season that starts at the beginning of the year is certainly one of the better ways to feel prepared for the Derby, but because we like you, we want you to feel ready for the big day (but subscribe to the Derby Prep Alert for next year, ok?).
See the Raceday 360 Link Roundup for quotes and information on the contenders as it becomes available!
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of this year’s field by post position including the morning line odds.
1. Archarcharch (10-1) – has been quietly running well at Oaklawn Park for an old school trainer with a great name. Hard not to root for him and his connections but it’s a brutal post position.
2. Brilliant Speed (30-1) – he can certainly do well at the distance, but his prior starts on dirt don’t inspire much confidence. On the other hand, he seems to be making a good impression in the morning at Churchill Downs.
3. Twice The Appeal (20-1) – winner of the Grade 3 Sunland Derby will take a lot of action because of jockey Calvin Borel, plus 2009 Derby upset Derby winner Mine That Bird came out of New Mexico. Who are we to argue with the Derby power of Calvin, but it would be a bit of a surprise.
4. Stay Thirsty (20-1) – stablemate of Uncle Mo, has been training well at Churchill and has the better pedigree for the distance of the two.
5. Decisive Moment (30-1) – quietly racked up earnings by hitting the board in stakes races, and at one point he was making a good impression in the morning. Likely to be one of the speed horses that doesn’t last.
6. Comma to the Top (30-1) – dead fit with a solid foundation of 13 races, but his ability to perform well at the distance is a serious concern. He’ll be up front early.
7. Pants on Fire (20-1) – has recently shown that he doesn’t need to run on the lead to win. His jockey is trying to become the first female to win the Kentucky Derby and they’ve got a shot.
8. Dialed In (4-1) – has been first or second in all of his preps this year, including the Grade 1 Florida Derby. His come-from-behind running style won’t do him any favors, plus he actually runs slower late.
9. Derby Kitten (30-1) – last minute entrant after the injury of Toby’s Corner, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Despite having “Derby” in his name, he’s already run twice in the last 30 days and is out of a top-notch turf sire, not the best preparation, even with the name.
10. Twinspired (30-1) – another one named for the occasion with a turf pedigree. Expect plenty of Derby Kitten / Twinspired exacta boxes!
11. Master of Hounds (30-1) – second place finisher in UAE Derby in Dubai, his only start this year. Has the advantage of having run a longer race than any of the Americans but seems to be more suited to turf.
12. Santiva (30-1) â€“ half brother to last year’s Derby winner made a nice showing in the Risen Star and an “eh” showing over the synthetic at Keeneland. Seems like he has potential but is a wild card.
13. Mucho Macho Man (12-1) – this big colt has shown the right amount of fight to be considered a serious contender. Lost his shoe coming out the gate in his final prep race. – SHOW (3rd)
14. Shackleford (12-1) – eligible for a second-level allowance race, he’s performed well enough in stakes races to be considered a wise guy play. He’s also been working aggressively in the mornings.
15. Midnight Interlude (10-1) – won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby off a maiden win and did it impressively. He may not have the foundation of some of the others, but he seems to have the talent.
16. Animal Kingdom (30-1) – wise guy darling with a beautiful turf pedigree. He’s also impressed in the morning training over the dirt. – WINNER
17. Soldat (12-1) – recently threw a clunker in the Grade 1 Florida Derby but has otherwise had a good year and is training forwardly. A sloppy track makes him a serious contender if you think he can get the distance.
Uncle Mo (9-2) – last year’s champion spent most of the year being the Derby favorite, but he only prepped twice and came in third in his only graded stakes race, the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. There are plenty of rumors that he might scratch before the race. SCRATCHED!
19. Nehro (6-1) – it took him a few tries to win his first race, but he’s been rapidly improving. The wise guys seem to really like him. – PLACE (2nd)
20. Watch Me Go (50-1) – has been a mixed bag performing well at Tampa Bay Downs and not well at all at Hawthorn. He’s made a favorable impression in the morning as of late but probably watched any shot he had go when he drew that post position.
We also have a more in-depth look at who is most suited to excel at the Derby distance based on pedigree (last year we pointed out two of the top three finishers!) and we’ve broken down the field by running style.
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