Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When your horse goes off the trail...

(This was first posted on the TVG Community site, but i thought it deserved a place on this blog.)

"William's Kitten off the Kentucky Derby trail due to an injury"

When I saw those words last week, I was crushed. I had fallen in love with William's Kitten from the moment he effortlessly won an off-the-turf stakes on Super Derby day at Louisiana Downs. I followed his every step from then on, from Woodbine to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, where I saw him in person and cemented the crush, to his 2nd in the KJC at CD. I checked my mailbox each day, hoping to see a notice that he worked. When he ran in the Fountain of Youth, I was thrilled that he was actually in within haling distance of the leaders, as his deep closing style would put him at a disadvantage come Derby day. I waited for the workout notifications to come, but after one work on 2/10, they just stopped. I hoped for the best but was expecting the worst. Then I found out last week that he had wrenched an ankle in the last work and was off the trail. So now I am "unattached" and flailing in the wind.

What to do?


A) Find a new horse
B) Just enjoy the trail without anyone to cheer for
C) Don't care about the derby and get back to my PP's of the $5kN2L at Philly

A) This is the easiest choice for any of us who find ourselves "unattached". But whom to attach to? A recent big stakes winner, like Eskendereya? A big allowance winner who has the internet ablaze, like Odysseus? Or do you try to find a another horse who was good last year, like Dublin? If you choose the stakes winner, you will be ridiculed as a bandwagon jumper. If you choose the allowance winner, there is no guarantee that he can step up and be as effective versus stakes-level competition. If you choose a horse was good at 2, you run the risk of him not being as good at 3. If you choose this path, pick your hoss and live with it. Maybe you'll get lucky.

B) Going this path means you have just given up on trying to follow the winner, just hoping that the big guns make to the big day. Nothing wrong about that, but don't you want to be the one who said. "I knew way back when that the horse would win the Derby!" This is for those who can just sit back and enjoy the sport for what it is: A majestic splendor. (I can do this normally, but not for the Derby)

C) What kind of sicko are you? Your crush horse should be thankful he's off the trail, with your bad mojo on him. Maybe he will come back a better animal, without your glare upon him. No one can ignore Derby fever, no matter how hard you try. Go back to your PP's you heartless fiend! :-)

So, whichever path is taken, whether it is to find a new one, sit back and let it play out, or just ignore it all together, understand that the road to the Derby is full of detours, and soon more and more people will be "off the trail"


  1. Your writing has me hooked. I'll be checking in often to read your "Ten Cents."

    My "Two Cents" says, jump onto another Derby mount. I've been off the trail for a few years, but I'm taking a closer look this year. I think that I'll feel more connected on the big day.

    Perhaps you fell in love to soon. The contenders have just started crossing paths. I'm still waiting for something special to cross my radar.

    As for the daily routine - when you see a "hot one" shipping to New York, let me know their form has been holding on Aqueduct's inner dirt.

  2. I try to avoid falling too far in love with a given horse until late Feb/early March, and even then I wind up faced with this dilemma quite frequently.

    Curlin and Odysseus just sort of happened at the right time for me. And while I knew Big Brown was clearly the best, I just couldn't bring myself to fully support him.

    I saw that Lookin at Lucky got a 97 Beyer for the Rebel. Sidney's Candy earned a 95. Odysseus got a 93 for the TB Derby.

    I like where I'm at with Odysseus. Still has room to improve. The leaders aren't that far ahead of him, and of course there's that powerful build and gorgeous chestnut coat.

    I love me some Odysseus. :-)

  3. Ooops - I didn' think that first comment took (I got an error msg) and so I tried to retype it from memory. :-)