All eyes will be on I Want Revenge on Saturday in the Wood Memorial; it goes without saying that the colt looks very tough to beat. Hopefully the focus will remain on him for all the right reasons, but he’s been saddled (as it were) with some baggage – a trainer with a taste for milkshakes and bling, and an expanded ownership group now including IEAH, who are apparently operating in Must Buy Derby Horse mode (although it would have been cheaper to simply get a luxury box for the day if they simply wanted to go to the race – I’m sure Churchill Downs would have been happy to put together a deal, since they still have Stardom Bound in the Oaks).
Given this group of shady connections, it could be difficult to root for I Want Revenge – however, I don’t have the aversion for him I had for Big Brown for two major reasons: first, he’s had reasonably solid foundation (seven starts – which nowadays seems remarkable for a high-level 3-year-old) showing improvement over time; secondly, he’s got an interesting pedigree, with a lot of Argentine blood on his dam’s side. (One would hope he puts in a better performance on Saturday than Argentina’s amusingly lamentable World Cup qualifier yesterday, in which the Hand of God apparently allowed Diego Maradona’s side to get hammered 6-1 by Bolivia).
However, he should have some good competition from horses who seem to be maturing just at the right time – notably from Imperial Council. But this race may or may not be a Derby prep for the lightly-raced son of Empire Maker – it all depends on where and how he finishes. West Side Bernie is hoping to rebound from his disappointing Lane’s End effort and the switch back to real dirt could do the trick for him. Some are excited about Atomic Rain and Lime Rickey, but this race is I Want Revenge’s to lose – on paper.
We’ll see what happens on the day!