Make your Mint Julep, sit back and enjoy
’s most famous horse race
this Saturday. America
It’s Derby Day and while all eyes are on the feature 139th running of the Run for the Roses, horse racing aficionados and handicappers will be watching with great interest, the co-feature, the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve on the turf, at a mile and 1/8 for 3 year olds and up.
Now sponsored by the famous distillery in
, some of us remember
when it was called the Early Times. Versailles,
No matter what brand of bourbon you want to call it, let’s just call this race EPIC!
Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, and Point of Entry, winner of 4 Grade 1’s last year, will be running against each other for the first time, and may the best horse win. It is certainly, as some have called it, “The Clash of the Titans”.
Both horses are huge fan favorites and it will be hard to see one lose.
Let’s take a look at the field, from the rail out.
- Middie ~ A Grade 3 winner
on poly, he is coming off nice prep at Keeneland. But he is 30/1 for a
reason. Does have two wins on this turf course, but still can’t recommend.
- Slim Shadey ~ West
coast shipper, and Grade 2 winner seems better, going further. Has never
won at the distance, is turning back, would be a surprise.
- Optimizer ~
Lucas-trained, with the hot, Joel Rosario up on Grade 3 winner , don’t see
it happening, but maybe jock factor can get him into the super?
- Silver Max ~ Nice colt
who strung 6 wins together last year as a three year old, including a
grade 2 on the Churchill course. Probably needed the race at Gulfstream
and is coming in with a bullet. Possible that this colt has some upside as
a newly turned 4 year old, but his game is speed, and doubt that top two
will let him get too far out of their sight. Tough spot for him, but
- Swift Warrior ~
Consistent sort, who runs well off a freshening. Another Grade 3 winner
who is in tough.
- Jeranimo ~ Another
west coaster, the only other Grade 1 winner other than the top 2. Has an explosive
kick, but came up empty when in with this kind.
- Bim Bam ~ Hasn’t won a
race since who-knows-when. Over matched in here.
- Wise Dan ~ Reigning
Horse of the Year, multiple graded wins on dirt, synthetic and grass. I
think this horse can run over broken beer bottles. He is a winner of 14
races and nearly 4 million dollars. He is training like a monster, and his
Keeneland win last month set him up perfect for this. Has never been this
distance on turf (only on dirt and poly), but that is not a concern. Will
be tough to beat.
- Point of Entry ~ Both
he and Wise Dan are equal weights for a reason. Can’t fault him at all,
and don’t think that the fact that he has never run over the course will
make a difference to this colt. He always shows up and he is a tough and
classy competitor. As I am writing
this, I am watching him school in the paddock (Thursday, HRTV) and he is
on the muscle. He looks ready to
explode. He will need to deal with the added excitement of the “derby day
The Woodford Reserve is a two horse race. If
gets any rain, the course could be less than firm, but with that being said, I
don’t think anyone in here would be at a disadvantage. Louisville
My choice for the win is Wise Dan. But it won’t be easy. Point of Entry will be coming after him and we could see a very thrilling finish to the Woodford Reserve.