How Good was Affirmed in 1978?

Maybe there is no secret to becoming a Triple Crown winner. Maybe all that’s required is simply being that good. Since 1978, a total of twelve horses have arrived at the Belmont Stakes with the hope of winning one more and earning the chance to stand next to Affirmed in the halls of the racing immortals. The failure or misfortune of those attempts is what brings us to the current state of the Triple Crown and the record breaking drought that began after one of the most memorable stretch duels in racing history.

Over these long and grueling 35 years there have been many theories as to why we haven’t seen another Triple Crown winner. Along with that there has been even more analysis of what it will take to be the next. Not to dismiss any of them for some are valid and intriguing but maybe sometimes we’re making it too complicated. Perhaps there answer is rather simple; Affirmed was one of the greatest and since he dazzled us in 1978 we have yet to see a horse match his brilliance.

Has there been a 3-yr-old as good as Affirmed since 1978?

Read more at The Kentucky Derby Post ~ Horse Racing Nation


The Juvenile Season is About to Heat Up

The horse racing industry is sizzling in July but the temperature always seems to rise once the gates open up at the Spa. Heating up as well is the Juvenile season.

Besides the G2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, Saratoga features the most exciting Juvenile stakes races for males that contribute to the list of early Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contenders. Among the most recognized Juvenile stakes raced at the spa this summer are the G2 Saratoga Special (Aug 11), G2 With Anticipation (Aug 29) and the G1 Three Chimneys Hopeful.

The only one not mentioned is the one that kicks things off this weekend, the G2 Sanford Stakes. The journey towards the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby has to begin somewhere and for 7 youthful dreamers, that battle begins on Sunday

Continue reading at The Kentucky Derby Post ~ Horse Racing Nation

Orb and Oxbow Meet for the Rubber Match

As the Triple Crown season comes to an end, America will not be treated to a Triple Crown champion. Orb looked to be a serious threat to break the drought after winning the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Joel Rosario raved about his performance and were confident he would repeat in the 2013 Preakness Stakes two weeks later. However, Oxbow proved to be the horse that was ready for the challenge. And so, the Triple Crown bid was spoiled. Despite the fact that we will have to wait for a Triple Crown possibility, the two champions are set to meet in a rubber match at the 2013 Belmont Stakes.

New York sets the stage for two of the biggest 3-yr-old stars to settle the debate about who is the better horse. But then again, the remainder of the field will also be racing to join that debate. So, what type of rubber match race should we expect in 2013?

Continue Reading at HRN – The Kentucky Derby Post

Deep Closers Face a Risky Test in the Preakness

In the days and weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby the discussion regarding the racing style of the top contenders always comes up. It’s a fun conversation so let’s carry it into Preakness 2013. In recent years the winner of the Preakness Stakes would be described as either a Stalker, Front Runner or sometimes Closer. As for the Deep Closer that’s a style that brings us to one important horse in particular, the 2013 Kentucky Derby Champion Orb.

Continue ready at The Kentucky Derby Post – HRN


Can You Win the Preakness After Skipping the Derby?

Following the 1982 Kentucky Derby, the connections for the winner, Gato Del Sol, made a very surprising decision. For the first time in 23 years the Kentucky Derby winner would by-pass the second jewel and rest instead for the Belmont Stakes. The absence of Gato Del Sol took away the chance of a Triple Crown but it also introduced us to Aloma’s Ruler, a horse that skipped the Kentucky Derby.

The following year Sunny’s Halo made it to Pimlico to race in the Preakness Stakes but the Kentucky Derby winner was not able to carry his win streak into the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. As a substitute story line we were once again introduced to another winner that did not run in the Kentucky Derby. This time it was Deputed Testamony, a Maryland Bred that proved he didn’t need the Kentucky Derby in order to win on his home turf.

Since 1983 however, the rare feat has remained somewhat unusual as only 3 of the last 29 Preakness Stakes winners skipped the Kentucky Derby. Although it has occurred twice in the last eight years I recommend we look at whom two of these horses were.

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2013 Kentucky Derby Picks

Happy Derby Week racing fans! The long and exciting trail to the Kentucky Derby is drawing to a close. But, this stage of the journey is always the most exciting because it is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Throughout the prep season I haven’t been overly vocal about my Kentucky Derby rankings, contenders or choices but as of right now that is no longer the case. It’s derby week and the 139th Kentucky Derby is here so let’s dive in…….

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Kentucky Derby Jockey Changes and Confirmations

While there is always speculation that a mount won’t come their way, this year is proof that it normally will. But, when a horse loses a rider to another contender this question always follows: Will the jockey regret that decision?

We begin with a confirmation that came this earlier this week. Calvin Borel will ride Revolutionary. This is a prime example of a veteran landing a mount on a very strong contender after the major preps. What this also proves is that tough decisions need to be made. Similar to John Velazquez having to decide between Orb and Verrazano, another top jockey also had to trust his gut and pick the horse that he thinks will give him the best chance.

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The Best of the Rest

I’m not implying that the top contender for the 2013 Kentucky Derby has already been found. Albeit a very healthy group of top level entries have already rested their case, the major preps will not conclude until this weekend. The closing arguments for OrbVerrazanoGoldencents and Revolutionary were compelling. From derby hopefuls to legitimate post time favorites they, along with their connections, closed their trail to the Kentucky Derby with a bang. But again, I won’t say that the best is among them; not yet at least.

On Saturday we revisit Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby before we realize how close we are to the first Saturday in May and we circle back to Kentucky for the always coveted Blue Grass Stakes. The thrill of the prep season comes when you think you’ve found the horse that will eventually wear the roses. That moment may have already arrived but as long as there are major prep races to be run, an aha moment may still be waiting.

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Derby Newsstand, April 2


Derby Trends: Florida Derby or Louisiana Derby?

Welcome to the major prep season on the trail to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. On Saturday the countdown to the first Saturday May reaches 5 more weeks until we crown the winner of the 139th edition. So, things will be heating up from here and to spice it up even more, the long awaited monster point season begins this weekend as well (100-40-20-10). Over the next couple of weeks the points that are up for grabs and eventually awarded will also bring an answer to the lingering question we’ve all been waiting for; how many points will it take to make the starting gate?

But, before we speculate any further on that pressing query let’s look at another subject that revolves around the two legendary preps that are set to kick things off this weekend; the Florida and Louisiana Derby. Both of these well known preps have a long history on the Kentucky Derby trail but the difference between them producing a Kentucky Derby winner is like comparing Secretariat to the rest of the field in the Belmont Stakes.

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