Weekend Overview: So the Derby finally came and in the end the result seemed pretty obvious. All three horses who hit the frame we're under 10/1. The main and classy speed stayed on and was the one to catch and the favorite ran him down. Perhaps Street Sense will go on and become what the fans really crave, a Triple Crown winner. Even if you didn't know the Derby was going on you would have to be impressed with the other racing that went on. Even away from Churchill Downs there was the impressive Dream Rush blasting the Nassau field and Fabulous Strike (who was touted here as a major contender in the Sprint division this year) earning a monster 118 Beyer at Mountaineer.
Performance of the Week: For me the most impressive races of the weekend were Rags to Riches Oaks demolition, Sky Conqueror's recovery in the Woodford Reserve, Finsceal Beo's romp in the 1000 Guineas and Molengao's tour de force in the Mervyn LeRoy. I think I have to shade slightly for Rags to Riches only because of the relative quality she was facing. The Oaks was a championship matchup for her division and at the end of the race it you were left either in awe of Rags to Riches or totally disenchanted with the quality of everyone she faced. Rags is the best 3yo filly I've seen since Silverbulletday and I only hope she stays healthy all year long. I think she is already the best filly of any age in North America.
Race of the Week: The Derby is the race we all watched but was it really the best race of the weekend to watch? I personally thought the Distaff Turf Mile and the Woodford Reserve were much more exciting. I'll give the honour to both of those races to share. Heart pounding stretch runs with oddly similar results. In both races the second place finisher stalked the pace near the front and kicked clear in the lane only to be passed in the last stride by a horse coming to their outside. You have to feel for Quite a Bride and Brilliant who both did enough to win on another day, but Take The Ribbon and especially Sky Conqueror would not be denied.
Flop of the Weekend: Take your pick, Any Given Saturday, Dominican, Scat Daddy and a whole host of others who simply did not run a step in the Derby. I think I've settled on Todd Pletcher. Yeah I know he won the Oaks and had the second place finisher but aside from his Oaks success the weekend was a bit of a bust for him. All his Derby horses ran poorly, Ready's Image lost the juvenile stakes race and Indian Vale looked terrible in the Louisville BC. Hard Spun even lost his first career race. Not a great weekend for the best trainer in the nation.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: The two classic winners Street Sense and Rags to Riches made big jumps to be ranked 2nd and 3rd overall behind Invasor. Both horses of course are division leaders right now and do not look likely to lose that title. Street Sense's point advantage could easily be eclipsed if he runs out of the money in the Preakness but what are the odds of that happening? Molengao was the other big mover. He makes it into the top 10 for the first time and surpasses Lava Man for third spot in the older horse division. Pussycat Doll also regained top spot in the Filly and Mare Sprint Division.
Tip O’the Cap: Carl Nafzger, Calvin Borel, Jim Tafel and of course Street Sense. They had a goal and a plan and it all worked out for them. You can't help but feel good for these nice guys even if you didn't cash a ticket. There is so much more to racing than having a winner on top. Street Sense overcame a lot of odds to stamp his authority on this crop. The juvenile jinx never existed but it is a tough feat for a top 2yo to come back and be the top 3yo.
KC Handicapping: Wouldn't you know it, I posted my picks for the complete card at Churchill for Oaks and Derby day on Dan Illman's blog and at the Thoroughbred Champions message board. And from the 33 races I had 8 winners and turned a healthy flat bet profit of 47%. However every race I analysed in depth aside from the Aegon Turf Sprint failed to work out so my performance in this space was a badly negative one. My overall return dips into negative territory for the first time. The toughest loss was Brilliants loss. I loved his chances and he was my real longshot of the day. He looked home free and got nailed at the line. The Derby did not work out well at all for me. It was the two horses I dropped but feared the most who made up the exacta.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 20(7)-2-2-4 (-$25.40 -63.50% ROI)
Overall record: 206(80)-39-31-33 (-$15.40 -3.73% ROI)