I don’t necessarily have a good sense of who is going to win the Kentucky Derby, but I feel pretty confident about ruling out some horses that aren’t going to win it. It’s not certain that these horses will end up in the race, but they are being pointed towards it as I write this. They are all fine horses, but for one reason or another I just don’t see them winning it all.
Mafaaz – The Kentucky Derby made the bizarre decision to give a guaranteed spot in the Derby to the winner of a race at Kempton Park in England. It was a bad decision because no other horse earns a guaranteed spot. Mafaaz is that horse, but he just doesn’t look like a Derby winner. He’s never run on dirt, and he’s taking a huge step up in class without a particular reason to believe that he is up to it.
Dunkirk – He was heavily touted going into the Florida Derby, though he ultimately wasn’t good enough to get past Quality Road. He’s a flashy, impressive horse, but I have my doubts. He’s far too inexperienced, and he is trained by Todd Pletcher. Pletcher in one of the best trainers in the country, but he has no touch for young three year olds. He’ll go off at a low price, and I’ll happily take a pass on him.
Chocolate Candy – He’s an impressive looking runner, but he has some limitations that dim my enthusiasm. He’s never run on dirt before, and he hasn’t been quite good enough on synthetics – Pioneerof The Nile beat him reasonably handily in the Santa Anita Derby despite not getting a particularly good trip.
Regal Ransom – At some point a horse from Dubai owned by the incredibly rich Sheiks is going to win the Derby. I just don’t think that this is the year. Regal Ransom won the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup day over the respected Desert Party, but I just don’t see anything in him that makes me think that he can make the massive jump up to this level.
West Side Bernie – He’s an impressive looking runner who has lots of upside, but I’m not convinced that he is ready now. Assuming he is entered he’ll get some attention because he’ll come in at a fat price and he was strong against I Want Revenge last time out. I’m just not buying it, though. He’s a nice horse, but he’s not bred for distance, and he has the look and feel of a horse that just isn’t good enough.