Post by Neco on May 15, 2020 9:54:04 GMT -5
Kentucky Derby 2020 - Your Field for the Roses
Welcome one and all to our Kentucky Derby pre-show! The race will be run tomorrow (sometime hopefully haha) and the owners of our courageous colts and fabulous fillies have graciously given their time and photos to give everyone a small history and behind the scenes look at their contenders.
I wanted to do more with these images, but unfortunately I just ran out of time. My deepest apologies, if you'd like a full Derby image of your horse, PM me and I'll do that once I have a bit more time on my hands.
Owned by Aragorn
Owner Background: Cahokia Sky is my first Grade I horse and to be honest, he introduced me into world of racing and I learned a lot about handling my racehorses just on his example... He's not only good looking fancy TB, but also excellent sport horse! It's always a pleasure to work with him, because he never refuses to work and offer me a lot - from backing ups and barrel spins to complicated dressage moves. His bravery and curiosity make him a great companion, especially in new situations and disciplines. His greatest achievements are two medals from Rio Olympics - gold in Halter and bronze in Dressage and some wins in the Dubai World Cup preps and Kentucky Derby preps. That's his last racing season before retirement, then he will make some space for his kids - Rash (see below!) and Chert. :) His form got uneven on the end, so it's hard to predict, how he will do on track.
Analysis: Cahokia has been missing from the last two preps, so it's hard to judge his current form, but when he was racing, he was always truckin' at the end. His best finish so far is a pair of thirds, but that may be deceptive - somehow this colt always finds trouble in traffic, and he has a bad tendency to break slowly, hence his gate schooling. Breaking slow ends up costing him valuable position space, as all of his wins tend to come from just off the pace, and in his last several preps, he's been shuffled back further than he seems to like and can't quite put himself into the race afterwards. However, when he does break on his toes, he is one dangerous foe and I think he has a good chance on Saturday if he can leave the gate sharply and sit behind the leaders.
Owner Background: He's my own example "from zero to hero". ;) We got him as foundation stud from BlueJay stables - he was never on a racetrack or in show rings beforehand. I began training him and that paid off well! He was very succesful in Halter and Show Jumping, also finished his In-Hand title really quick! His career on the racetrack wasn't extravagant, but he has few nice wins on account - 3rd place in Dubai Golden Shaheen, part of the Dubai World Carnival and 4th place on Rio Juvenile Turf Mile. He's very focused on work and also learn very quick! I believe he will start this year career in Dressage and Eventing, but time will tell more. ;)
Analysis: Cancer is a dependable sprinter but I'm not sold on him in the Derby. 10 furlongs is just beyond his wheelhouse and in the preps, he unfortunately hasn't shown his best form. His best finish is a fourth in the Arkansas Derby several months back, and since then he's been on a wild swing of ups and downs. When he can shake off the field and get a comfortable lead, he tends to do quite well, but throw him in with a few other front runners and you can see those ears get pinned and that head come up. With an overabundance of speed horses in the preps and the Derby, he's gotten the short end of the stick and with the Derby at 10 furlongs, I'm not sure if he'll be able to take them all the way to the wire.
Write Up: Rash is the only the 3rd 2nd generation Thoroughbred for Midgard, a subsidary of Dekada Stables, one of the oldest sport horse farms on the forum. By Derby contender Cahokia Sky and out of Hard Tack blue hen Sassy Lassie, Rash was a precocious juvenile that blitzed his way through his 2 year old season, breaking his maiden at first asking and adding black-type stakes wins to his resume in just his next start. Finishing out of the money only once, he tackled open company as a 3 year old but hasn't has as much success - but not for lack of trying. This kind-eyed and imminently handsome horse does everything he's told, no questions asked, and has proven not only to be a star handicapper but a budding sport horse. Off track, he's accumulated three championship ribbons already and once his career is done, it looks like he's poised for even higher greatness, regardless of how he runs in the Derby.
Analysis: Rash is a headscratcher for me as a punter. Earlier in the year he showed incredible form, finishing no worse than 5 in his ENTIRE OL career but since then it seems like he's regressed. He still sports 3 allowance wins and graded stakes placings but his best finish in the preps was 5th and he sports a pair of 9ths in his most recent outings. However, that may be deceptive - he was thrown into the deep end of the pool as a G3 in a sea of G2 and G1 horses, and didn't get much of a weight break despite his relative stat level. Against Grade 3 company, he still had his spots of brilliance and could shine on Saturday if he can get away clean. However, he is still one of MANY pace horses and I'm not sure how likely that scenario could be.
Owned by Neco
Owner Background: Horus is the first 4th generation TB at Hard Tack, and is the culmination of so many of my favorite breeding lines. His pedigree is a star-sudded who's who of Hard Tack horses - he's inbred 4 x 4 (unintentionally...) to Secretariat, and has 2 Kentucky Derby winners, 1 Kentucky Oaks winner, 1 2000 Guineas winner, 1 Triple Tiara winner and numerous Breeders' Cup and Eclipse winners in his pedigree. He's proven just as talented as a racehorse, scoring 2 year old male champ honors for 2019 and is a leading contender for the Derby this year. He's an extremely kind horse that wants nothing more to please, and I could not be happier with how he's turned out.
Analysis: Horus is my favorite horse this year, but I'm not sure if I love him for the Derby. He has shown he doesn't need the lead to win but he also isn't really keen on passing horses in the stretch if he doesn't get his way. He also has developed this bad tendency to STOP before the wire, and that ended up costing him in a win in the NA Qualifier when he just quit running and Pagan blew past him. He's shown when he gets a clear lead he can run all day, but once he's challenged, I haven't seen the fight that I want in a Derby horse. Still, I think he may be at least a Top 3 contender, if nothing else.
Owner Background: Heathen's pedigree is a unique one - he's one of only two horses that's by a Triple Crown winner out of a Triple Tiara winner! Older sister Wildbird was a contender last year for the Kentucky Oaks, but was unable to place; hopefully Heathen will be able to score one for his parents this Saturday. He was a runner up to Horus for Eclipse juvenile honors in 2019, with only a single out of the money finish, and while he hasn't been as sharp this year, I'm hoping he's peaking at the right time to put in a really nice run. He's another veryyy easy to work with horse, and while not as stubborn as some of my other TBs, he can still be very opinionated but who doesn't love a sassy pony.
Analysis: Heathen started off the Derby trail with a bang, scoring three preps in a row before finishing second to Oaks favorite Coco. Since then, he's hit a few stumbling blocks in his quest for the Roses, failing to win another prep but still finishing in the money twice more. He's had more success outside of the Derby trials most recently, adding a Grade 2 to his already sparkling resume and qualifying for the Tokyo Dirt Mile with a solid second. He has the breeding to run all day, and has the determination and grit to fend off challengers and pass them in the lane. I think he has a legit shot on Saturday, if he can clear the field and not run himself into the ground.
Owner Background: Yokai is Japanese for "monster or ghost" (it's used interchangeably a lot) and with his unexpected perlino coloring, he resembles a ghost out on the track. A full on Rhapsody homebred, he's by Apparition, a Belmont Stakes winner, and out of Mesmerize, who nearly upset TWO Triple Crowns, by a neck and a nose, respectively. With such a history in the Classics, I'm hoping Yokai can live up to those expectations - but it looks like he's more interested in turf than dirt! He's no slouch on dirt, having run 3rd in the Wood and won a couple minor stakes on the main track, but he's doing the same thing that General Disarray did last year - run okay on dirt, then throw in a huge upset on turf for fun. I'm excited to see how his career turns out after all of this.
Analysis: I've noticed something with Yokai and that is that he is MUCH better on turf than dirt, which seems to be a thing with a lot of "Good/Good" horses (except Seattle Slew, who won both the Derby, Belmont Stakes and BC Classic as a good/good horse). That's not say he's bad on dirt - he has shown steady improvement throughout the prep season, ultimately culminating in a third in the Wood Memorial as his final race before the Derby. He has shown a consistent griding style that may not always get him there in time at a mile and an eighth, but that extra furlong may be enough to have him in the mix at the wire. He's good enough to get there in the end, but traffic may be an issue with a full field.
Owned by valeera
Write Up: Coco exploded onto the scene without warning, blitzing a maiden field with ease as a juvenile before adding black-type to her resume in her very next start. It would take her a few more tries to win a stakes, then she would enter a slump that saw her finish out of the money nearly a dozen times before being shelved for the year. At 3, she returned with a vengeance and has become the top leading three-year-old filly on the forum - and possibly top 3 year old period. Owned by Lavender Hill, a newcomer to the Thoroughbred racing scene, Coco is doing what no one thought possible - toppling the long-established racing stables with a legitimate chance at both the Derby and the Oaks IN THE SAME YEAR. She is a flashy filly with the speed to match - and the attitude to bring it home for Lavender Hill.
Analysis: Coco is a monster and no one can convince me otherwise! I see echoes of our last two Triple Tiara winners, Elysium and Heretic Queen, in her, as she's a straight forward speed horse that can get away clean and put on the speed to keep herself in front. She's had a bit more trouble in the Derby preps with so many other front runners in the mix, but she's won two Derby preps, including the final one, and has a second and a third that proves she's no fluke against males. My only concern is her aversion to passing horses in the lane - she's shown she can win on the lead but not so much when she has to come off the pace and can't get her way. Still, for me, she's the morning line favorite to take the Roses with a filly two years in a row.
Owned by Jewellz
Owner Background: Riot just may be one of the worst racehorses I've ever owned. I guess we'll find out really soon if that's the case. He's just... I don't even know. He's a very good-looking colt and he's got a super personality. He's easy to get along with and he'll probably make an awesome OTTB, but if I were betting on the Derby, I wouldn't put down much on him even showing, based on his past performance. However, maybe I'm wrong. Both his parents have been known to pull some upsets or near upsets and his sire's side performs well in the Derby. His sire, Chaos, nearly cost Skeptic the Derby in 2016 and his half-sister by Chaos, Illicit, won the Derby last year - the only filly to accomplish that feat so far. Anything can happen, so I'm giving Riot his shot and that's all I can do. He's as prepared as he'll ever be.
Analysis: Riot's family has a deep connection to the Derby. His aunt took the Roses last year while Derby-placed sire Chaos is by Secretariat, the 2011 Horse of the Year who has sired two Derby winners and is the broodmare sire of at least one more and several Kentucky Oaks winners. However, like Yokai, he's one of those horses who's shown the high-knee action of a colt that loves the grass, and his record shows it - all of his wins have come on turf and he astoundingly ran 2nd in the BC Mile on grass. With his high-action way of moving, the extra furlong may help him, but his uninspiring record on dirt and only one Derby prep appearance works against him. But, like his trainer said, his mother Voodoo pulled two huge upsets in a row in Dubai, so anything can happen on Derby day.
Owner Background: Thistle *sigh* she's a feisty one. There's just something in her eyes - a little bit wild. She can be such a sweetheart if she's getting her way, but things can go south quick if she isn't. She can run amazingly fast if she wants to. That's the key, she has to want to. And I haven't really been able to convince her that she should listen to the jockey and not run willy nilly all over the place during the race and tire herself out early. She was definitely a bit better-behaved last year. But, as she's gotten a bit older, and bigger, even though she's one of the smaller fillies in the racing stable right now, she's turned into just a bit of a bully and it's hard finding a jockey that will put up with it, especially given her not-so-great performance so far this year. However, her win in the Fred Darling Stakes was a nice pick-me-up and shows that maybe she just likes turf more. I guess we'll see, she's pointed towards several big races this year, both turf and dirt, so we'll see what she's made of.
Analysis: Thistle is another filly that has a deep family and is one of only two competing in this year's Derby. While her performance has been spotty on the main track, she took the Fred Darling Stakes earlier in the season on grass and has scored a number of stakes victories on dirt to help bolster her dirt form. She appeared late on the trail this year, checking in 7th three times and 6th in her most recent prep start, but has done well in allowance company outside of the prep brawl on both turf and dirt. With so much speed in the race, she may wind up in the perfect position to be a live longshot on Saturday with her sharp gate getaways and stalking tendencies.
Turn & Burn
Owned by Ryder ☆
Write Up: Flashy doesn't begin to describe this late-running colt - heads turn as he makes his way to the track, thanks to his overo mother from Hard Tack. Checkers is a jointly bred colt from Turn & Burn and Hard Tack; his sire, Keen Ice, scored in the 2017 Preakness Stakes, while his dam, Akiba's Idol, was a dud on the track but has since scored at the highest level of Dressage and in several other disciplines. Checkers has inherited his sire's penchant for closing, trailing the field then driving to the wire in the final quarter mile, but he hasn't quite put it all together yet. Despite his quirks, he is still an even-tempered and easy to work with colt, and has already proven himself as adept an OTTB as his dam, scoring easy ribbons in the show jumping ciruit.
Analysis: Checkers is one head scratcher of a colt. He scored huge in the penultimate prep for the 1000 Guineas in England, closing with a rush to slam his nose on the wire in front of his highly-regarded stablemate over a very talented field of straight turf horses. However, on dirt, his form has been less than stellar. A dead closer, the amount of speed in the Derby preps should have been a benefit, but unable to find the running room, or the determination, to run between horses has proven this brightly-checkered colt's undoing. He seems to only be comfortable swinging wide around horses and balks at diving between them most of the time, which is a big minus in a field as large as the Derby. While he has shown improvement outside of the Derby trials, it may not be enough to land him a Top 5 spot on Saturday - but he still may prove to be a useful longshot.
Write Up: Gracie is one leggy filly, with those white legs going for days, just like her dam's. Another joint breeding between Hard Tack and Turn & Burn, Gracie is by Nizmo, a decorated OTTB who wasn't quite as good on the track, and Bold Lady, the 2017 Eclipse champion turf female that remains one of the best turf fillies in SS history. Gracie hasn't seem to have inherited her mother's talent, taking three tries to break her maiden and failing to win a stakes at either 2 or 3, but still racking up black-type placings here and there. Instead, this overo lady has turned to the West to make her Amark, using those long legs of her to bull her way to a barrel racing championship and scoring ribbons in Western Pleasure. Any OTTB is a great OTTB and even if she fails to find her way on the track, she'll always make a splash in the show ring.
Analysis: Gracie is one of the those hard-luck horses that is consistently outrun and outgunned. Her pedigree counts some of the top turf horses on her dam's side, while her sireline traces back to a Rio Silver Medalist and Rio Bronze Medalist - again, all on turf. Dirt does not seem to be her forte and she has finished in the bottom half of the prep field no matter where she's run, refusing to either pick her way between horses or go the long way around. She's shown flashes of promise in allowance company, but I sadly don't see her making an impact on the Derby field with so many other high-tier contenders in the mix.
Write Up: Mary Lou continues Turn & Burn's tradition of pinto ponies! The gorgeous tovero filly is a daughter of Baldur, 2017 champion older dirt horse, and Buchiko, another leading contender for this year's Kentucky Oaks. Mary Lou broke her maiden at first asking, then struggled a bit to find that wire, racking up seconds and thirds before finally scoring two stakes wins in a row before graduating to graded company. Since then, she's had some trouble finding her footing, but most recently snagged her first Grade 3 stakes to prep herself nicely for the classics. And if that's not enough, she's also continuing T&B's tradition of OTTBs. Mary Lou already has ribbons in Western Pleasure and Hunters, with more ribbons looming on the horizon for this striking bay filly.
Analysis: Mary Lou is a question mark of a horse - she's the daughter of an Eclipse champion and an Oaks contender but her form has not been the most consistent. She has, however, shown a steady upswing in her form throughout the Derby series, finishing in the Top 5 in her last two outings and that's always something you want to see before a big race. She's had more success outside of the Derby trail, scoring black type in a Grade 3 race with a runner up finish and finishing second again in an allowance. She looks to be peaking at the right time, but perhaps against the wrong company - I'd say she's a live longshot despite the risk.
Owned by gemz
Owner Background: Intuition and I are still getting to know each other as she was a purchase claim from a race a few months ago. She just had a stunning color and gorgeous blue eyes, I had to have her! I was brand new and had no idea what I was getting into, or how to handle a Thoroughbreds' racing career. I threw her into everything she qualified for and she quickly let me know she wasn't ready for it, telling me she's more of a 'go at my own pace' type horse. She's a middle of the pack runner and she's honestly content to stay there and even drift back, but off of the track that is her best quality! She is an extremely patient mare, content to just trot around and wait while I figure out this whole racing world. Odds are she won't do very great in her races, probably thanks to me, but she will walk away a happy little girl and ready to learn the next thing. She is currently doing wonders at In-Hand showing, never placing below 3rd, and working her way through the Dressage ring as well!
Analysis: Intuition is the daughter of two sprinters, one an Eclipse Champion, and has the pedigree that screams speed but not at 10 furlongs. She's only raced in the last three preps on the Derby trail and unfortunately finished in the bottom two in all three, not due to lack of talent but to the overwhelming force of the rest of the field. Outside of the Derby brawl, she's done quite well in shorter allowances, missing out only by a head a handful of times at the wire. She's shown she has determination to come from off the pace with a wide, middle of the track run or she's comfortable cutting between horses. However, due to the incredible depth of this year's field and the extra furlong that is beyond her comfort zone, I can't see her making much of an impact, but I know she'll at least try.