I’m not afraid to say it. Picking the Kentucky Derby winner three months in advance is too easy.
By the time the first pool opens, the potential winners on the first Saturday in May can be whittled down to about 40 or 50 horses. That’s practically a flip of the coin.
If you’re looking for a true challenge, the real game’s in picking the horse that will wear the roses before it even stands and nurses. Somewhere out there, the next great Thoroughbred champion is wandering beside its mother on still-wobbly legs or perhaps still inside its mother’s womb waiting to learn of its destiny.
By the time Derby season rolls around, the race and all the horses on the the Derby trail are old news. It is time to start looking deeper into the future. It’s never too soon to think about who is going to be the classic winner three years from now, and if people are going to be thinking,they might as well be betting. Just imagine the payoffs that will be generated when all 36,000 horses born in North America in this year’s crop will be put into play.
With that in mind, it is time to look at some of the early contenders in the 2012 Long Range Wager. Because none of the following horses likely have any on-track experience, I am going to leave the oddsmaking to the betting public.
Bay filly (Storm Cat – Western Princess, by Gone West)
As the first foal from Storm Cat’s final crop of Thoroughbreds (he’s moved on to side projects), this Kentucky-bred filly was shouldered with the burden of going out with a bang as soon as her hooves touched the ground. With Mr. Prospector and Secretariat on the top side and Deputy Minister and Alydar on the bottom, her ancestors sure aren’t hurting her cause.
Filly (Sun King – Allemande Right, by Affirmed)
Whenever a three-year-old race goes off in Dubai, it seems there is always at least one mention that the true sophomores are running against four-year-olds from the Southern Hemisphere. For those looking for a way to give their rivals a similar disadvantage, this horse is about as close as one can get. Born on January 1, this Louisiana-bred will have an age advantage over just about everyone else on the Derby trail. Obviously, every horse is different, but those extra weeks and months could mean more time to develop both physically and emotionally.
Bay Colt (Jazil – Art Affair, by Mineshaft)
The 2006 Belmont Stakes winner’s first foal is about as regally bred as they come, with bloodlines going through horses including champion broodmare Better than Honour. This cross has something of a precedence, as the sire’s dam and the foal’s damsire (try saying that five times fast) produced 2008 Peter Pan Stakes winner Casino Drive. If Jazil passes on his screaming closing style to his foals, this could be a fun one to watch.
Foal in Utero (Dynaformer – La Ville Rouge, by Carson City)
If at first you succeed, then you don’t succeed, do you still try, try again? Roy and Gretchen Jackson do. This foal, due February 21, will be the fourth in the series of Dynaformer/La Ville Rouge crosses, following brothers Barbaro, Nicanor and Lentenor. If the Jacksons decide to continue with the theme of naming these foals after the foxhounds in a cherished painting, then this one, expected to be a colt, will likely be named Margano. The other two remaining names, Sereno and Calypso, have already been taken. Regardless of the name, the cross has already produced desirable results and the name recognition forever linked to Barbaro’s brothers will give them Derby buzz before they even open their eyes.
Foal in Utero (Smart Strike – Sherriff’s Deputy, by Deputy Minister)
Another example of trying to get the goose to lay another golden egg. This foal will be a full sibling to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Clearly, those are some hefty shoes to fill, but if it can win the Kentucky Derby, it will have done one of the few things big brother couldn’t. How ironic would it be if this horse ended up becoming a turf champion?
Foal in Utero (Giant’s Causeway – Rags To Riches, by A.P. Indy)
The 2012 Kentucky Derby could also bring about a sort of rematch between the first two finishers of the 2007 Belmont Stakes, with a full sibling of runner-up Curlin squaring off against the first foal out of winner Rags To Riches. Based on name recognition alone, this foal ought to bring an absurdly high amount at the sales. The question will be whether it can live up to its hall-of-fame caliber pedigree. As of right now, I’m pegging this foal as my pick among those yet to be born.
The Mutuel Field (Everyone Else)
It’s hard to say no to a proposition that includes all but six of the roughly 36,000 North American horses in this year’s crop. Then again, 1-100 shouldn’t begin to describe how heavily this would be bet. Clearly, this is the safest bet on the board, but it’s unimaginative and could only pay pennies on the dollar. Where is the fun in that?
Disclaimer: The Kentucky Derby Long Range Wager is not responsible for tickets lost, forgotten about or biodegraded from the time of the wager to the time of the race. We suggest placing it in a small time capsule with some news clippings and other present-related materials to be opened at a later date. Because of the constant advances in gaming technology, the machines used to place your wager may be obsolete by the time of the race. If so, the ticket will likely be shredded by the new machine and no refund will be given.
Second Disclaimer: If the first disclaimer was not enough of a giveaway, this wager does not really exist. Obviously, I do not represent the Kentucky Derby Future Wager or any outlets that offer the wager. But if one of these horses ends up wearing the roses, just know I totally called it first.