Some Early Ultimatums
They're running the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May this year, which means that it's 10 weeks off. But it's not too early to throw out 10 of the contenders, and I'm also going to throw them in:
Why he will win: He loves Churchill Downs. Won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile there in a laugher.
Why he won't: OK, Street Sense shattered the bugaboo, but the fact remains that juvenile champions usually don't win the Derby.
Will: His grandparents are A.P. Indy and Storm Cat. Wrap him up, I'll take him.
Won't: Four career starts going into the Derby? Didn't bother Big Brown (three starts), but doesn't happen very often.
Will: He can go a mile and a quarter, without taking a cab.
Won't: The only thing that might stop him is peaking early.
Will: A reprise for the 18-year-old sire Distorted Humor (remember Funny Cide). And if that isn't enough, he's a half-brother to Super Saver.
Won't: If he doesn't lose between now and May 7, watch out. I know all about Big Brown and Barbaro and Smarty Jones, but I still don't like an all-winning horse in the Derby.
Will: Another War Emblem, sort of. Mike Mitchell off, Bob Baffert on.
Won't: They don't run the Derby on synthetics or grass.
Will: Does Steve Asmussen have a Derby out there with his name on it?
Won't: A May foal.
Will: When Eoin Harty gets super confident about a horse, you better believe.
Won't: Lil E. Tee and Smarty Jones were Pennsylvania-breds. One time when something won't come in a three.
Will: He's shed the label of being the wise-guy horse at an early date.
Won't: 15 horses whose names started with the have run in the Derby. None finished better than third.
To Honor and Serve
Will: Bill Mott's record in the Derby has been abysmal. His time has come.
Won't: His front-running style is all wrong for the race.
Will: Non-winning horses that hit the board in Derby preps are dangerous in Louisville.
Won't: Nine career starts before the Derby? Unheard of, these days.
by Bill Christie
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