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Kentucky Derby 2012: On the Record

It’s that time of year again! As ever, I don’t think there is a requirement for there to be twenty horses again this year, but twenty there are, so let’s have a look (and make sure to follow @superfecta on Twitter for more):

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML Odds
1. Daddy Long Legs Aidan O’Brien Colm O’Donoghue 30-1
He has the distance foundation and he’s probably the least-likely horse in the field to be compromised by this post position, given his grass-racing background, but he did not seem to love Churchill Downs when he was here before; the surface remains a question mark.
2. Optimizer D. Wayne Lukas Jon Court 50-1
I think Jon Court is a great jockey and it’s nice to see him get a Derby mount, but it’s hard to rank Optimizer up with even the middle ranks of this field.
3. Take Charge Indy Patrick Byrne Calvin Borel 15-1
He had everything go his way when he won the Florida Derby, and he has Calvin Borel in the irons – and, more importantly, near the rail – but with a field this size, I don’t see him getting lucky again here.
4. Union Rags Michael Matz Julien Leparoux 9-2
I would have preferred to see him a little further out and I still worry a bit about his pedigree for the distance, but he always seems to want more; I’d never bet against Julien Leparoux at Churchill Downs, though, and he is my ‘local’ horse, so I’m hoping for a good result. And you should go watch his documentary (not just because I’m in it)!
5. Dullahan Dale Romans Kent Desormeaux 8-1
Mine That Bird’s little half-brother tries to follow in his footsteps, but the surface switch is a question mark – even if recent history suggests that it’s no big deal.
6. Bodemeister Bob Baffert Mike Smith 4-1
Given Bob Baffert’s heart attack in Dubai, it’s only natural to root for him here, especially with a horse named after his young son, but while Bodemeister looks like he’s growing into a very nice horse indeed, it might be happening a bit too late for this race. I expect to see him as a major threat later this year, and he could well be in the money.
7. Rousing Sermon Jerry Hollendorfer Jose Lezcano 50-1
He just seems like a solid G2-G3 horse, I can’t see him being a factor here.
8. Creative Cause Mike Harrington Joel Rosario 12-1
He has the right breeding and a good foundation, and I expect to see him as a contender.
9. Trinniberg Bisnath Parboo Willie Martinez 50-1
He looks like a sprinter, and a very good one too; I’d love to see him in a shorter race.
10. Daddy Nose Best Steve Asmussen Garrett Gomez 15-1
Another who seems more comfortable on turf, although his pedigree could keep him in contention.
11. Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin Rajiv Maragh 15-1
He seems to be flying under the radar, but he could be a serious threat; do not discount him.
12. Prospective Mark Casse Luis Contreras 30-1
His last-place finish in the Juvenile does not bode well for his chances here; seems overmatched.
13. Went the Day Well Graham Motion John Velazquez 20-1
He’s the grass-to-dirt horse to back in my opinion; he seems to improve a bit each time out, although he’s probably more likely to hit the board than finish in front.
14. Hansen Mike Maker Ramon Dominguez 10-1
I wish they would allow him his blue mane and tail, but even without them, he has a fine chance if he avoids an early speed duel; his post position seems a bit better for him in that regard, but early speed is a concern.
15. Gemologist Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 6-1
This horse should be getting geek cred for his dam’s name referencing The Dark Crystal, and he should be getting racing cred for his undefeated record. I would be thrilled if he went off at 6-1.
16. El Padrino Todd Pletcher Rafael Bejarano 20-1
Like Union Rags, he had an unfortunate Florida Derby, but on paper, he looks good. Will he have the luck?
17. Done Talking Hamilton Smith Sheldon Russell 50-1
He seems unlikely to step up to this level of competition.
18. Sabercat Steve Asmussen Corey Nakatani 30-1
I can’t see him featuring much beyond the start.
19. I’ll Have Another Doug O’Neill Martin Gutierrez 12-1
I like this horse a lot, though it’s a tough field – he’s my longshot and I would not be surprised to see him near the winner’s circle.
20. Liaison Bob Baffert Martin Garcia 50-1
I haven’t been that impressed by his efforts this year and I don’t expect that to change on Saturday.

Prediction: Union Rags, Gemologist, Hansen, Creative Cause
Longshot: I’ll Have Another/Alpha

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