An Awesome prediction
Kevin Van Valkenburg
Want to know who's going to win the Kentucky Derby? First thing you have to do is throw out the favorite, Lookin At Lucky.
Lookin At Lucky has made a living fighting through traffic, but in a 20-horse field, drawing the rail post is too much to overcome. Sidney's Candy is no Big Brown, so drawing the outside post means he's not going to do it either.
Put your money instead on Awesome Act, who likes a muddy track and should get a great trip. He has the pedigree for 1 1/4 miles, and a rider who can correctly judge pace in Julien Leparoux. He finished third behind Eskendereya at the Wood Memorial – with only three shoes. He'll cruise by the leaders in the backstretch for the win.
Ice Box in late rush
Los Angeles Times
Lookin At Lucky, after a terrible trip in the Santa Anita Derby, was probably the best pick even before projected favorite Eskendereya scratched. But now that Lucky is the favorite, he's not a good pick. Favorites in the Derby are underlays, meaning the price you get is less than their past performance would indicate.
You can expect a fast early pace, so look for a horse with late speed. Sidney's Candy won the Santa Anita Derby from the front in impressive but untested fashion. Super Saver has early speed but can also come off the pace.
But my choice is Ice Box, who won the Florida Derby by a nose with an incredible rally from last. His late foot should make the difference. So, it's Ice Box on top with some combination of Lookin At Lucky, Super Saver and Sidney's Candy rounding out the trifecta.
Branching out with choice
The Kentucky Derby is usually a crapshoot and that's especially true this year with the anticipated heavy favorite, Eskendereya, on the disabled list and the two entrants with the best credentials, Lookin at Lucky and Sidney's Candy, drawing lousy post positions.
I decided to go out on the limb but had a hard time deciding which limb. I wound up going with Awesome Act, whose daddy won the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, rather than Super Saver, decisive winner of a major race at Churchill in the fall.
Why Awesome Act? The well-bred stretch-runnner has run three impressive races in this country after making his first five starts in England and his past performance sheet shows two splendid workouts at Churchill.
Luck will finally change
Bob Baffert quipped after Lookin at Lucky drew the troublesome rail for the Derby that maybe the horse should be named Lookin at Unlucky. But for horrendous racing luck, Lookin at Lucky would be undefeated and an overwhelming favorite. He got pushed into the parking lot on both turns in the Breeders' Cup and still just missed.
In the Santa Anita Derby, he almost had his legs cut out from under him, yet regrouped and came on for third. He also found trouble In the Rebel but was able to rally and win.
He's the best horse and you know what they say, "The race is not always to the swift, but that's the way to bet."