Well, I didn’t do too badly with my Kentucky Derby
predictions; I just had the wrong horse finishing first.
Street Sense and Calvin Borel took their time, picked
their spots, and in general put in one of the finest
horse/jockey team efforts, in making hash out of a
twenty-horse field, that I have ever witnessed.
Riding with their 2006 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile victory
weighing them down, Borel and Street Sense to their time
settling in on the rail, where they like to be, and
keeping well away from the 46-second opening half-mile.
I confess I was concerned when the track announcer pointed
out that Street Sense was next-to-last at one point, and
had eighteen horses to navigate over, under, around, and
But Borel’s timing was absolutely inspired. Just as he
asked Street Sense to get started, the horses on the front
end of the pack, with the exception of Hard Spun, informed
their riders that it was time to stop.
One by one they began to drift out and away from the deep
going on the rail, and Street Sense wove in and out of
their vacated lanes until he finally swung to the outside
in the stretch and was home free. There would be no
repeat of the ducking in that he did at the very crowded
finish line of the Blue Grass Stakes, and the three horses
who were in the photo finish with him at Keeneland where
nowhere to be seen on Saturday.
Hard Spun hung on for second, in what was probably the
bravest performance of the day, and Curlin, the horse whom
I was hoping would duplicate the brilliant victories of
his three previous starts, finished eight lengths in back
of Street Sense in third. Curlin was also far back in the
early part of the race and making up ground at the end. I
still expect very big things from him in the future.
So we can now bid farewell to the myth that a Breeder’s
Cup Juvenile winner probably peaks as a two-year-old, and
if we are lucky, Street Sense will go on to win a Triple
Crown. He certainly looks the part, and with Mr.
Prospector on his sire Street Cry’s side, and Northern
Dancer on his dam Bedazzle’s side, he should run all day.
Of interest to those who are thinking of investing money
in a race horse, superstar trainer Todd Pletcher, to whom
the torch which once burned so brightly for D.Wayne Lukas
and Bob Baffert has supposedly been passed, started five
horses in the Kentucky Derby, and had five also-rans.
Prior to the Derby Pletcher’s five starters, Any Given
Saturday, Sam P., Circular Quay, Scat Daddy, and Cowtown
Cat had been very impressive in their prep races. Scat
Daddy’s rider said that his horse simply hated the
Churchill Downs track, and Cowtown cat was noticeably
upset in the post parade. But my personal opinion is that
the five horse together could have hemmed Street Sense in
all the way around the track and he would still have found
an opening and won his race.
So we head for Baltimore and do it all again!