Shocking. Inconceivable. Preposterous. These are some of the adjectives that were used to describe the results of the final two major preps of the Kentucky Derby trail. But the adjective i was thinking something a bit less histrionic: Expected. How so?
First, let's recap what happen. In Lexington, Kentucky, Stately Victor lit up the tote board with a late finishing kick as the longest shot on the board in the Blue Grass Stakes. Paying a stakes record $82.20 to win, he leapfrogged his way into the Derby field with the win. Left in his wake was a game Paddy O'Prado, who finished 2nd. Having their Derby bubbles popped by not earning enough graded earnings were Odysseus, Pleasant Prince, Make Music for Me, Aikenite and First Dude. Has Stately Victor, a son of Ghostzapper had the light turn on at just the right time to take advantage of his late-night call to the post?
About a half hour later in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Line of David set wicked fractions and just held on in a gate-to-wire victory in the Arkansas Derby. Since the addition of blinkers, this speedy son of Lion Heart has found a new gear. He now has three straight gate-to-wire wins in game fashion. Pulsion and Northern Giant had their "bubble" popped, while Super Saver got in with his 2nd place finish. Uh Oh Bango is for now 1st out, but probably will get in. Line of David has gotten lucky to face three straight fields filled with horses who are "suspect" passers. Can his luck hold out for another three weeks?
So how were these results expected, as i alluded to earlier? The whole trail has had very few "statement" victories so far. Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth and the Wood Memorial & Endorsement in the Sunland Derby. Other than that, this class has spent time spreading itself thin over the preps and beating each other. It says something when only 3 horses have won more than one prep. (Eskendereya, Conveyance and Sidney's Candy) This year's trail is littered with longshot after longshot. Dean's Kitten, Ron the Greek, Mission Impazible, Ice Box; All of these won preps at long odds in very unimpressive fashion. Last weekend's results was just a continuation of that trend. It would not surprise me to see someone like Kettle River win the Lexington, continuing the dueling trends of surprise derby prep winners & Southern California-based horses shipping in and winning. (But that topic is for another post)
So as we sort through the carnage of torn-up tickets over last weeks results, just remember that when it seems that chaos will reign, a light at the end of tunnel will show the way to cash!