Even more Road to the Kentucky Derby...Spotlight -- Old Fashioned
It’s 45 days before the Kentucky Derby... and following a hectic weekend (San Felipe, Louisiana Derby and the Rebel Stakes) nobody’s any closer to figuring this thing out.
The Kentucky Derby really is the ultimate jig-saw puzzle, just when you think you've got it all figured out a heavy favourite loses in a soft situation or an unranked competitor arrives on the scene in a monestrous way (see this weeks Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn Park).
Over the next six week I will attempt to bring my readers a little bit closer to the Kentucky Derby without having to travel to Louisville, buy a funny hat or learn to read the Racing Form.
Every year the Kentucky Derby produces a cast of characters straight out of central casting. The blow hard Trainers, greed ridden Owners and baby faced Jockeys that the Networks depend on to carry their infinite pre-race coverage.
Initially I was going to write a little bit about five of the real stars of the Kentucky Derby, the stars of the equine persuasion. More specifically a little blurb about my top five Derby contenders six weeks before the big dance but I’ve wasted my time and obliterated my space so I will have to reel these sucker off one at a time, which may actually leave me enough time to write about more then just five of the races potential winners.
The Kentucky Derby Top5 - (March 20th 2009)
#1 Old Fashioned - Must bounce back
#2 Pioneerofnile - Won’t see real "dirt" before Derby Day
#3 Friesan Fire - The last Derby contender I doubted this much was world class runner Curlin
#4 I Want Revenge - Could not get past Pioneer on poly, but toppled foes on dirt in the Gotham
#5 Quality Road - (Not Nominated) Florida Derby pole vault?
#1. Old Fashioned... trained by Kentucky native Larry Jones may have taken a giant step backward this Saturday finishing second in the 2009 running of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park to the virtually unknown Win Willy. Old Fashioned left the gate a strong 2-5 favourite only to watch 56-1 Win Willy blow past him in the final 16th of the mile and a sixteenth race. The buzz track-side on Sunday morning was that Old Fashioned, who failed in his initial attempt over the mile and a sixteenth distance would not be able to handle the Kentucky Derby’s gruelling mile and a quarter on the second of May.
Not so fast.
Old Fashioned may have finished 2 1/4 lengths behind the shocking performance of worst to first longshot winner Win Willy but Old Fashioned still managed to pull the wool over the eyes of seven other thoroughbreds, besting third place finisher Poltergeist by at least 8 eight lengths on a day where he (Old Fashioned) was admittedly not at his best (an intriguing angle for those of us who were glad to see Old Fashioned throw in a clunker before the first Saturday in May)
In terms of pedigree Old Fashioned seems to lack the required connections to reach the Derby’s 1 mile and a quarter distance and will need to be amongst the best of his line if he is to prevail at Churchill Downs.