The Arkansas Derby the last major prep race was run yesterday. Nothing changed my mind. American Pharaoh won the race easily in what looked like a good time but two things entered into this. First of all he had no competition in the race. It was a really poor field and the Oaklawn track was very first yesterday. The Arkansas Derby is a Grade I race and they had a Grade II race earlier in the day at the same distance and that race was won by almost a second faster than the Arkansas Derby winner American Pharaoh so the time was nothing to write home about. That means I won't be betting the Kentucky Derby this year. There are no standout horses and with 19 other horses to contend with its not worth risking your money on one of the favorites. I said before that this year is ripe for a nice paying long shot to win but I am not going to try that. I would like to hit a nice long shot but the problem is which one to pick in a 20 horse field. The long shot could come from almost any of them. I only bet the Derby if I think one horse is quite a bit better than the rest like California Chrome last year and Big Brown in 2008. This field is much too evenly matched to risk your money.
I just want to add that this year is now prime for a long shot winner but I'm now relegated to pulling for one of the horses that will be among the favorites and his name is DORTMUND. Will not bet on him but he'd be my sentimental choice because he is the son of the 2008 winner BIG BROWN who I won a lot of money on and really loved that horse.
Sad and disappointing news. They found a hairline fracture in FAR FROM OVER's left hind leg and he's in Lexington to get surgery to stabilize it. He won't be racing until the fall at the earliest. I hate that. He had so much talent and potential and the one horse that I thought could stand out above the rest this year and become a super horse. We have three very big prep races tomorrow, The Wood Memorial, The Santa Anita Derby and the Blue Grass stakes followed a week later by the Arkansas Derby. Far From Over was supposed to run in The Wood Memorial tomorrow but that can no longer happen. Frankly, I don't see any other horse this year that looks to be significantly better than some of the others so I probably won't be betting the derby this year. I could change my mind if one of these horses shows that they have really developed and have become a stand out horse this year but I don't have my hopes up from what I've seen out there. They're going to have to show tomorrow or the following Saturday that they've suddenly developed into a great horse but its not likely. Its like somebody let the air out of my balloon when I see a horse I just love go down like this and not be able to participate in the Kentucky Derby. That's the world of horse racing though.
A couple more things I want to add. This horse reminds me a lot of my 2009 pick for the derby I WANT REVENGE. Unfortunately he was scratched from the derby the morning of the race after he came up with an injury. FAR FROM OVER is also a fearless horse. He has no problem going between two horse in tight quarters and has the attitude of get out of my way I'm coming through. Some horses shy away when they get in tight quarters and you need a fearless horse in the crowded derby field.
The Derby isn't run until the first Saturday in May but its time to start looking at who may be the one this year. My early pick is FAR FROM OVER. He's still a very green horse but has so much talent. With his training, workouts and probably two more races before the Derby, I think he will have developed from that green horse into a formidable horse. He is listed by the experts as the 13th favorite for the Derby but he's number one on my list right now. I love this horse and see the possibility of him developing into a super horse with the talent he possesses. It is still early and I won't make a final pick until all the Grade I prep races have been run which will be just before mid April but right now to me he looks like the one standout in this years crop. I just hope he continues to progress and that he doesn't get injured. I'll come back in the future with updates and let you know if I see anyone else developing into winning material.