2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders, Borderline Horses and Throwouts

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It’s 17 1/2 days to the 2012 Kentucky Derby and this year’s race shapes up to be one for the ages. Just a few weeks ago it looked like Union Rags would be the prohibitive betting favorite on May 5, but with his loss in the Florida Derby (G1) and some huge wins by other horses, that has all changed.

Every day here on AGameofSkill.com I am going to analyze one or two entrants for Kentucky Derby 138. Is the horse a contender, a borderline player, or a complete toss? I haven’t always been right about the Kentucky Derby. A few years ago the New York-bred gelding Funny Cide made me look a tad foolish. But when you’re right on Derby Day, as I was last year with Animal Kingdom, it makes the opinions of horses like Funny Cide a distant memory.

Today we will look at Alpha and Went The Day Well.  The current Wynn Future Books odds are listed next to the horse name.

PPs for Derby horse Alpha

2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

ALPHA (12/1)

This son of Bernardini certainly has the pedigree to run all days and that bodes well for his chances. After back-to-back wins over the inner track at Aqueduct, he then finished a troubled 2nd behind Gemologist in the Wood Memorial (G1). He has only run one poor race in his lifetime and that came in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), contested at Churchill Downs.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this colt is fast enough, and I don’t like that he campaigned over the Aqueduct winter track. Although he has run decent 100, 100, and 101 BRIS Speed figures in his three sophomore starts, he is tad slower than the best runners on May 5. Those are typically not the numbers of a horse sitting on a Derby victory. His Late Pace Ratings are decent as well, but again, he just doesn’t show the brilliance of a Kentucky Derby winner. He is certainly a horse that could hang on for a piece and get owner Goldolphin Stables their first in-the-money performance, but I don’t like him for the win.

Status: Throwout for the Win.  Contender for the Exotics.


KY Derby contender Went The Day Well

2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

WENT THE DAY WELL (20/1)

The Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) was held at Turfway Park on Saturday, March 31, and again the red hot Team Valor stable had a live contender in the field in Went The Day Well. In 2011 Team Valor won the race decisively with Animal Kingdom, and Went The Day Well was nearly as impressive as his older stablemate’s victory. The son of Proud Citizen sat a stalking trip, covered up during part of the running. He moved into contention turning for home but then quickened when asked to maintain his position inside of longshot Heavy Breathing, trained by Todd Pletcher. That duo continued to outrun their rivals into the straightway, with Went The Day Well still on his wrong lead and racing a tad greenly. John Velasquez pulled on the right rein to show him the other horse and prompt him to switch leads, and Went The Day Well responded. He switched leads, quickened again and pulled away from Heavy Breathing to win going away at the wire.

It seems like every week that Team Valor International is capturing graded or group stakes somewhere in the world, and they have another live longshot this year with this runner. Their colt earned a 103 BRIS Speed Rating, a career best, for his Spiral win. He is certainly an improving horse at the right time of the year and has already proven that he can handle dirt. He hails from a female family that passes on a lot of class and stamina, and therefore, should have little trouble with the added distance that the Derby presents.

Status: Contender

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

Comments

  1. I agree with both analysis .Rich very good.
    The thing about ALPHA is his athleticism
    Look at that how Dominguez manuevered in and
    around horses without any fear. He is smallish though.
    As for WTDW he is ridden by the master.

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