As if the trauma of the inside post positions wasn't enough, and as if the game of musical riders, all the switching, wasn't enough, and as if the erratic Beyer numbers weren't enough, now this: Here comes the weather.
In some spots in the heartland this week, the temperature could go from 90 degree into the 30s, virtually overnight. As concerns Louisville, the most typical forecast as of now for Derby day is for temperatures in the 60s, with a 40 percent chance of rain. Who wouldn't take that in a second? As is the case with hurricanes, there are various models from other continents guessing how far south this week's cold blast will travel, and how far east the rain line might move, and when.
Horse players are steeped in one element that is more obvious than tradition: negativism.
"But" is our middle name: I like a horse, but he'll:
1. Get in trouble
2. Get a bad ride
3. Break lousy
This Derby is harder than most. Ten horses could legitimately win. Excuses are already flying. The trainer of a major contender spoke of how his horse's chances would be severely compromised by an inside post draw. The closer you look at the race, the more the possible winners look like losers.
Here's why all the likely starters figure to get beat.
Golden Soul: Was 35-1 and 30-1 in past two. Beat four in a maiden win.
Charming Kitten: First time on dirt. Could be one time too many on dirt.
Falling Sky: Former claimer could be lone speed, will be searching for rest stop late.
Oxbow: Unlucky, just look at these gates: 10, 10, 10, 10, 11. Best Beyer puts him about sixth.
Mylute: Six jockeys, nine races. $50k claim-type event three back.
Frac Daddy: Peaked last winter at Churchill, has been downhill ever since.
Normandy Invasion: Maiden winner, very late, too trendy.
Palace Malace: Hasn't collected much bread. Another maiden winner. Top Beyer put it in an allowance race.
Black Onyx: Who? The Derby will be his second time on dirt. First time on dirt: second 19 lengths back.
Itsmyluckyday: Trainer batting below .200. Nothing outside of Florida.
Will Take Charge: His trainer Mr. Lukas was 28-1 in Arkansas.
Vyjack: Top Beyer in New York sprint in the slop.
Lines of Battle: Inherited points in foreign sand. First time on dirt.
Revolutionary: Will be easy to follow from last spot. Jockey is most dangerous when overlooked.
Overanalyze: The one plus-90 Beyer is an ancient memory.
Java's War: Will keep Revolutionary company early, way back there.
Goldencents: Probably has to go, not the place to be.
Verrazano: No races last year, three decreasing Beyer numbers. Hit a wall just past last finish. Favorites are not usually the play in the Kentucky Derby.
Orb: Could go nuts before the race.
Analysis of this type suggests a dead heat.
Winning pick: Coming Wednesday.
Write to Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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