By Lisa Santora, Manager of WriteSocially Social Media. Tweet to her @WrSocially
It was so easy two years ago. We had American Pharoah. The year before that, we had California Chrome. Heck even last year, while it was a bit more wide open, if a person just rooted for the Two Year Old Champion, you would have won with Nyquist. But 2017?
Oh my! Let's hope things clear up soon, because it sure looks pretty murky right now when picking a favorite for the First Saturday in May.
Still Time to Find Your Derby Horse!
Fans love picking their Derby horse and following him (or her) right up til Derby Day. These days horses don't run quite as often as they used to, so there's lots of scrutiny on the horses' workouts and what their trainers say about how they're doing, day to day. Social media is amazing for keeping track of Derby horses. Some of the tracks and clockers' accounts are great to keep a person informed, like @ClockersCorner at Santa Anita Park, and @Play_Da_Ponies, clocker at Saratoga Race Track, Palm Beach Downs Training Center and Keeneland RaceTrack. These days fans even like to keep a close eye on their charges by filling out a virtual stable on Equibase.com, so they can stay current on all the workouts.
What’s a Fan to Do?
Seems that every three year old race this year has a new winner. So what's a fan to do? Which horse offers a fun ride (pun intended) and hopefully a chance to take the Run for the Roses? While we don't have a crystal ball, we can tell you a few places to look. And remember, a good horse can come from anywhere, and 2017 is a great example of that!
Get your mint juleps ready as it's bound to be a wild next several weeks til Derby Day! One of these horses just might have a chance to be sneaky good enough to wear the roses come May 6!
A Few Horses that Might Surprise On the First Saturday in May
1) Conquest Mo Money: When Conquest Stables dispersed their holdings last year, some really nice horses changed hands. One of these was Conquest Mo Money, who sold for a very reasonable $8500.00. Now this son of Uncle Mo is fulfilling the Derby dreams of Tom and Sandra McKenna. 10 days ago they won the Mine That Bird Derby with him at Sunland Park. It's a far cry from there to Churchill Downs, but what a story this would make if he keeps improving!
2) Untrapped: Last year the stallion Trappe Shot had My Man Sam in the Kentucky Derby and lots of people liked that horse due to his good second place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes (G1 at the time). This year Trappe Shot (a son of Tapit) has another representative on the Derby trail, in Untrapped, who has run a couple of seconds in graded stakes at Fair Grounds; most recently finishing two lengths behind Risen Star Stakes (G2) upset winner, Girvin. A number of experts think Untrapped has potential to improve. He's not on everyone's radar but he is a well-bred horse and may be a good one to keep an eye on.
3) Girvin: If you're looking for a fairy tale, try this horse, by Tale of Ekati. As stated above he upset the Risen Star which was supposed to be a race that confirmed the class of Guest Suite and Mo Town. Girvin instead thrust himself forward into the Derby picture and now he may be the early favorite for the Louisiana Derby (G2).
4) J Boys Echo: The Gotham Stakes (G3) was supposed to be the affirmation race for El Areeb (winner of the G3 Jerome & Withers Stakes). Instead J Boys Echo turned the tables and placed himself into the Derby conversation. He got a perfect trip in the Gotham. Some people think the second horse, Cloud Computing, was impressive, too. Hard to say if J Boys Echo will keep advancing, but he earned 50 Kentucky Derby points from his Gotham win, so that puts him in the mix.
As of Now, 2017 Is Anyone’s Guess!
Wow! Things look pretty wide open for the 2017 Run for the Roses! Hope we were able to point out a few horses that you might like to root for! The favorites have had a few stumbles lately; Classic Empire and McCraken both have had a few injuries. But there's Mastery to watch for in the March 11 San Felipe (G2) - Bob Baffert really likes him. Plus what about Unique Bella - the super filly that dazzled us in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) March 4? Some think she's the best 3 year old of all!
Bonus horse: Keep an eye on Beasley, by Darby Dan Farm's hot young sire, Shackleford. This horse is coming along nicely for trainer Mark Hennig. He was going to go in this past Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream, but they've instead pointed him for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 11. Beasley fired a 46.90 4 furlong bullet workout at Gulfstream Park on March 4. His connections really like his chances in the Tampa Bay Derby!
Now What About 2018? Final Furlong’s Got You Covered
And speaking of Shackleford colts...it might be a little easier to find a nice 2018 3 year old! Final Furlong has a very nice two year old son of Shackleford, Banker's Island, that's got lots of talent and he's a New York-Bred! Meet him here and Derby dream with us!