If you are like the rest of us, you are probably wondering what on earth just happened? This past week has flipped the Kentucky Derby Upside Down, landing the field of Kentucky Derby Contenders right on its fragile head.
Earlier this week we received news that Premier Pegasus would be scratched from the Santa Anita Derby and miss the Kentucky Derby. Jaycito who replaced him as the morning line favorite was then scratched from the Santa Anita Derby and his status is still uncertain for the Kentucky Derby and could run next weekend or even later in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. Finally we found out that To Honor and Serve was also injured and would miss the Kentucky Derby.
So where does this leave the field that was a recently as a week ago thought to be one of the best crops of three year olds we have had in a very long time? The 2011 field just lost arguably three of the top five or ten horses in the span of a few days and we are weeks away from the big race. The hopes of a Triple Crown winner seem to be over with Uncle Mo and his lack luster performance in the Wood Memorial.
But all is not lost!
Dialed In, The Factor and yes even Uncle Mo will be fighting for morning line favorite come Derby day. Mucho Macho Man who has been all but forgotten has healed from ripping off a shoe with a chunk of flesh hanging off it coming out of the gate in the Louisiana Derby, giving a gutty effort despite the lack of traction and pain to still show. Toby’s Corner is not to be overlooked and deserves a very serious look as we move forward to the Kentucky Derby.
The cutoff for graded stakes earnings is going impact the Kentucky Derby field far more than any of us had ever anticipated if you asked us a week ago. Earlier I had thought the cutoff might be around $220,000. Now it could be as low as $180,000. This leaves the door open for a number of horses who are capable of running wire to wire and others geared towards a slower pace and coming from the back of the pack so we will just have to wait and see what shakes out.
Look at The Factor in the Arkansas Derby and whoever comes out of the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes this coming weekend. The Factor obviously for a bid at winning the Kentucky Derby and the Bluegrass could have a real big impact on the graded stakes earnings and where that bar is set to get into the Kentucky Derby.
Have no fear race fans, just like the NFL, we have been reminded this week that a team or a horse is never really as good as it looks when it wins and never as bad as it looks when it loses, even if it seems like the entire Kentucky Derby field has been flipped on its head!