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Part One Kentucky Derby Thoughts and Tips From the Thoroughbred Contenders

Updated on May 6, 2012
Lexington sired the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides.
Lexington sired the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides. | Source

A tough Thoroughbred race to win despite the best of breeding, winning streaks, and training, the United States' Kentucky Derby is 138 years old this season and has been on the three-year-old flat racing schedule each year since its beginning in 1875. In its modern editions, only three-year-olds on the top twenty career graded stakes earnings list make the starting gate.

The Kentucky Derby is the first of the three races in America's Triple Crown series.

Listen to the Thoroughbreds themselves as they discuss the degree of difficulty of the race and their hopes to win it.

No.21 on Graded Stakes Earnings List -- My Adonis ((Pleasantly Perfect(sire)--Silent Justice(dam), by Elusive Quality(dam's sire and My Adonis's maternal grandsire)): "They used an "also eligible" list this year so that those of us on the career graded stakes earnings bubble like me could get in the race if some horses among the top twenty earners didn't run. Even though no horse dropped out so I could get in, I have great pedigree. My daddy won the Dubai World Cup (2004) and my granddaddy sired Triple Crown threat Smarty Jones (2004)."

No.20 GSE List/Post Position 2 138th Kentucky Derby -- Optimizer (English Channel--Indy Pick, by A.P. Indy): "I'll be optimizing my opportunities as a 50-1 longshot behind big name big shots. Don't forget my grandpa is A.P. Indy, and my daddy was a Breeders' Cup champion."

No.19 GSE List/PP 16 -- El Padrino (Pulpit--Enchanted Rock, by Mr. Prospector): "I lost my impressive ranking after winning the Risen Star Stakes but going only fourth in the Florida Derby behind Take Charge Indy. You know what? I beat Indy by two lengths in an allowance race earlier in 2012. And I have a top trainer, Todd Pletcher. I'm heading for a comeback in the Derby."

No.18 GSE List/PP 7 -- Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit--Rousing Again, by Awesome Again): "If I've preached it once, I've preached it a thousand times. Running in the Kentucky Derby is every Thoroughbred's dream, and any dream can come true. That's why they call it a horse race."

No.17 GSE List/PP 13 -- Went the Day Well (Proud Citizen--Tiz Maie's Day, by Tiznow): "My owners think I'm 'sensational looking' and I can pick up my hoofs, too! They said I ran a 'breathtaking' race in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes where I blitzed through a final furlong to win by 3-1/2 lengths. I could have a good day in the Kentucky Derby."

No.16 GSE List/PP 17 -- Done Talking (Broken Vow--Dixie Talking, by Dixieland Band): "I can rally. I was going twelfth in the Illinois Derby before finding my hoofs in the homestretch to win that $500,000 race. Don't talk yourself out of me for the Kentucky Derby. I've got experience, seven starts."

No.15 GSE List/PP 9 -- Trinniberg (Teuflesberg--Bella Dorato, by Goldminers Gold): "Look for me on the front end Saturday because I'm the speediest colt in this lineup, and I can wire any field, like I did in the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct."

No.14 GSE List/PP 12 -- Prospective (Malibu Moon--Spirited Away, by Awesome Again): "I won the Pasco Stakes and the Tampa Bay Derby and went second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes this season. I'm a game on prospect for the Derby!"

Every Thoroughbred wants to race in the world famous Kentucky Derby!
Every Thoroughbred wants to race in the world famous Kentucky Derby! | Source

No.13 GSE List/PP 11 -- Alpha (Bernardini--Munnaya, by Nijinsky II): "Everyone and everyhorse knows my granddaddy, and my Pop, well, he won the Preakness Stakes in 2006. I run for the powerfully connected Godolphin Racing stable of Dubai. I am the stable's ninth Kentucky Derby participant. We've yet to win a Derby, but I am prepared to do so because I am the first Godolphin entrant who has trained for the Derby in America on American tracks."

No. 12 GSE List/PP 20 -- Liaison (Indian Charlie--Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop): "I've got good connections, Bob Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, and a rider, Martin Garcia, who won the Preakness Stakes in 2010 with Lookin At Lucky in his first year of racing. My grandpappy stopped the Triple Crown hopes of Real Quiet in the 1998 Belmont Stakes by a nose. I'll be looking to make a good connection in the Derby as Mr. Baffert's 'sleeper'".

No.11 GSE List/PP 10 -- Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy--Follow Your Bliss, by Thunder Gulch): "My daddy knows best because he's got two sons in the 138th Kentucky Derby, myself and my sibling Daddy Long Legs. I know the Derby's tough, but I won the Sunland Derby after trailing by 2-1/2 lengths at the eighth pole. My granddad won the 121st Derby in 1995 and the Belmont Stakes, as well."

A wet afternoon at Churchill Downs.
A wet afternoon at Churchill Downs. | Source

No.10 GSE List/PP 19 -- I'll Have Another (Flower Alley--Arch's Gal Edith, by Arch): "No, I don't nip at the Guinnes before races like some horses. My owner, J.Paul Reddam, likes cookies, and he's always saying to his wife, 'I'll have another'. So...here I am. I won the Santa Anita Derby and I want to win another!"

No.9 GSE List/PP 6 -- Bodemeister (Empire Maker--Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat): "My daddy stopped Funny Cide from winning the Triple Crown in 2003 when he beat him in the rain in the Belmont Stakes. I'm this year's Kentucky Derby favorite (4 to 1), but I'm not even sure what a 'meister' is -- it's a popular modern add-on in human grammar, I guess. But 'Bode' is the first name of my trainer's (Bob Baffert) son. Even though I didn't have any races as a two-year-old, I'm favored because I blew away from the field by 9-1/2 lengths in the Arkansas Derby. We'll see..."

No.8 GSE List/PP 3 -- Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy--Take Charge Lady, by Dehere): "With Calvin Borel on my back in the Kentucky Derby, I'm heading for the rail when he tells me and we're taking the shortest trip around the Churchill Downs track. Calvin's won the Derby three times that way (2007, 2009, 2010). My grandpa was 1993 Two-Year-Old Male Champion and my Poppa is one of the greatest racehorses ever. In 1992, Pop was the Belmont Stakes champ, the Breeders' Cup Classic champ, Three-Year-Old Male Champion and Horse of the Year. I'm gonna take charge of this Derby!"

Calvin Borel riding Rachel Alexandra. The filly won the Preakness Stakes with Borel in 2009.
Calvin Borel riding Rachel Alexandra. The filly won the Preakness Stakes with Borel in 2009. | Source

No.7 GSE List/PP 18 -- Sabercat (Bluegrass Cat--Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner): "My granddaddy was in the classics and my daddy was in the classics. I can run, all right. I was No.5 on The Blood-Horse magazine writer Steve Haskin's first 2012 Derby Dozen list. I'm sharp as a sword and ready to surprise in the Kentucky Derby!"

No.6 GSE List/PP 15 -- Gemologist (Tiznow--Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector): "What's not to like about my chances? My trainer, Todd Pletcher, is a five-time Eclipse Award winner, and my Dad is the only back-to-back (2000-2001) Breeders' Cup Classic winner in history. He was voted Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old Male in 2000 and Handicap Male Champion in 2001. I'm a gem."

No.5 GSE List/PP 8 -- Creative Cause (Giant's Causeway--Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer): "My cause is clear. Win the Kentucky Derby. I beat the Derby favorite Bodemeister in the San Felipe Stakes in March, and I was second to I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby. My Pop has sired lots of winners. I think I can create cause for joy for my connections in the Derby."

The object of Thoroughbred breeding is to produce perfect racing conformation, as displayed by this fellow.
The object of Thoroughbred breeding is to produce perfect racing conformation, as displayed by this fellow. | Source

No.4 GSE List/PP 5 -- Dullahan (Even the Score--Mining My Own, by Smart Strike): "I am named for the dullahan in Irish folklore. He is a taker of souls from those who await death, and I am going to be one scary dude in the 138th Kentucky Derby! My grandpa sired two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007, 2008), who took souls in the 2007 Preakness Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Classic, and some other monster winners who have taken souls before me."

No.3 GSE List/PP 4 -- Union Rags (Dixie Union--Tempo, by Gone West): "They say Bodemeister is the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but look out for me! I'm not ragging on you. I'm just not settling behind my opponents again, especially that Indy horse! My granddaddy is a grandsire of Smarty Jones, a great Derby winner."

Tracks like this one at Churchill Downs are well sealed in rainy conditions to give Thoroughbred competitors good hoofing.
Tracks like this one at Churchill Downs are well sealed in rainy conditions to give Thoroughbred competitors good hoofing. | Source

No.2 GSE List/PP 1 -- Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy--Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake): "The UAE Derby in Dubai was a rich victory. I won $1,200,000 in that race. These long limbs are aching for more in the states to stay ahead of my sibling, Daddy Nose Best, whom I'll compete against May 5 in the Kentucky Derby, America's richest flat race. Together, we're going to make our daddy proud."

No.1 GSE List/PP 14 -- Hansen (Tapit--Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat): "My Pop raced the same year as the famously popular Smarty Jones. But I'm a little nervous about trying to duplicate the feat of Street Sense, who won the Kentucky Derby (2007) in the spring after scoring in the previous fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2006). He's the only horse to do that. I won the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile for my owner, well known pain management doctor Kendall Hansen, and now I'm feeling the pressure to triumph in the Derby. Nine of us entered in the Derby also ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in the fall of 2011. It's all a bit nerve racking...help..."

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, the 138th Kentucky Derby will be televised on NBC, beginning at 4 p.m. Pre-race betting choices and background stories on the 20 entrants are on the broadcast agenda.

Churchill Downs finish line!
Churchill Downs finish line! | Source

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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      3 years ago from Chicago Region

      Kentucky has had a proud history of horse racing down through the years. Even Queen Elizabeth of England kept horses in the state at one time.

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