This was the question I was asking myself after all the races on Saturday. Lookin at Lucky gets bounced around, pushed wide, clipped heals, then somehow found a way to close, like a bat out of hell, to once again beat his talented rival Nobel's Promise. Odysseus, in his fourth, his FOURTH career start, manged to re-rally, after being dismissed by the announcer, to win the Tampa Bay Derby. Sidney's Candy, no more that a sprinter before the San Felipe, was allowed to get away with a easy lead, which lead to a his second grade stakes win in a row.
All that craziness was just the Triple Crown mania, what stunned people even more was the upset of, Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. Her connections said she was not at her best, and the connections of Zaranda said they were hoping to catch the champion off of her game and they did. Zaranda put in a monster move around the turn, snatching the lead away from Rachel Alexandra, and held the great filly at bay. Then, half an hour later, I watch as my Zeyatta dream unfolded before my very eyes. The only difference being Pretty Unusual drifting out, and opening a hole just wide enough for, two time champion older female, Zenyatta to burst through and take the lead. So, what do I make of all of these crazy events? Well, you might want to hold on tight, because this going to be one wild ride.
The San Felipe was probably the least exciting race when all was said and done. Sidney's Candy, was allowed to call the shots on the lead, and anybody knows that when you let even a halfway decent speed horse an easy lead they get brave and are extremely hard to pass. Sidney's Candy is much better than just halfway decent and showed just how dangerous he could be if left alone. The best horse in the race was probably Caracortado, who made multiple moves, and still closed very gamely. Interactif, yet again, prove how well a turf horse can take to the synthetic Pro-Ride. American Lion was a disappointing fourth. I will say this again, put this colt on dirt. His last two races, his worst race, were run over Pro-Ride, a track that resembles turf racing the most. Please Mr. Hearty, give this colt some good old fashioned dirt.
The Tampa Bay Derby was about as eventful and as thrilling as you could get, that is until you watched the Rebel. Super Saver performed like a champ in his 3yr old debut, but Schoolyard Dreams is an improving colt and he and Odysseus both had a conditioning edge. Odysseus, along with having already started this year, was already ahead from a conditioning standpoint, plus, as he proved yesterday, he is ultra talented. His ability to come back on after looking hopelessly beaten, while splitting horses are blatant signs of greater things to come.
The Rebel was billed as the most exciting race, of the three Derby preps, and it certainly lived up to its billing. Noble's Promise had a perfect stalking trip, and looked like a winner at the top of the lane, but was nipped by Lookin at Lucky on the wire. Dublin ran as good as can be expected after being parked very wide on both turns and making an early move on the backstretch. Personally, if I were D. Wayne I would chew Corey Nakatani up then spit him back out after that ride. However, without a doubt, Lookin at Lucky was, by far, the very best horse in that race. Thanks to the domino affect Cardiff Giant caused, Lookin at Lucky had a less than stellar start. He then clips heals with Dublin on the backstretch, gets parked very wide around the final turn, then still finds a way to make his nose cross the wire first. He is only a head a way from being undefeated, with a record of 6 for 7. He has the foundation, he has the guts and experience, he is your Derby favorite.
Since this has gotten to be a marathon post, I will go ahead and take a breath. I will share what I make of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra's debuts later today. Until then, I leave you to wrestle with your own thoughts on Saturday's madness.