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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Hallandale Beach, April 16, 2024 — The Road to the Kentucky Derby is officially closed, and it’s a good thing, too.

Although this rendition is led by a few standouts, the viable-contender traffic is bumper-to-bumper. Whoever wins landmark Derby 150 will have earned it, the hard way to be sure.

The 20-horse gathering features good horses with speed, good horses with stalking ability, and good deep closers. This Derby has everything, truly a can’t-wait event for fans and horseplayers alike.

And the bonus is that the pools are so large that rebating one-percenters, privileged with special access to betting pools and exotics permutations, screw rank-and-file players on a daily basis.

The two co-favorites are obvious to all who follow the game after proving on the racetrack that they deserve that honor–including the sign on the silks of their jockey’s back.

Fierceness on his ‘A’ game belongs in the freak category, is the favorite. But Sierra Leone has been super good and appears to have more upside. He could catch the favorite if both give their best efforts.

These two could make this Derby unforgettable all by themselves.

As stated, this field is loaded with talent–and no one knows how talented Forever Young really is. No one ever has beaten him and his stride goes reaches from here to Hallandale Beach.

Forever Young is a monster, literally, and perhaps figuratively as well. He is Japan’s best chance of any that has represented the country in the past.

One thing he represents to the betting world for sure is that he is greatest dark horse ever in a spot like this. Maybe he is the deserving favorite. Who knows?

Then neither does anyone know which Fierceness we’re about to see; the one that bounces off big efforts, or the one who is now mature enough to pair up giant performances? A fascinating puzzle.

The Lexington, meanwhile, was eye-opening. Neither Godolphin nor Brad Cox had to be too concerned about how Encino would transfer to dirt as he owns a proper pedigree.

After taking the lead you knew his three races over Turfway synth would not leave him short of condition. And the horse Encino held safe is a good one.

The Wine Steward was accomplished enough for the crowd to make him an underlay 7-5 favorite in his first start at 3 after finishing second in the G1 Breeders Futurity here189 days ago. It was a gallant effort and a good one to build on.

Riddle me this, as it happens so often I have nothing left to say on the subject. How is a rider in a full field of G1 fillies allowed to go a half mile, virtually unpressured throughout after a half-mile gambit of :48.65, completing 8.5 furlongs in a solid 1:42.90.

And this for Chad Brown yet, who already had won four Jenny Wileys? B\And beneath Frankie Dettori yet? At 25-1 yet? Did the riders think this 5-yearold mare would come back to them? Guess they were surprised that she increased her wining margin leaving the sixteenth pole.

It was a very good effort by Beaute Cachee, holding held off a keen English Rose, who saved all the ground while being muzzled by William Buick throughout, as well as speedy win machine Didia, who was chasing while race dynamics demanded attack mode.

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4 Responses

  1. You’re making me dream about a 2024 version of the 1978 Derby between Affirmed and Alydar, but just for a few precious moments, until reality sets in. Still insist that the inside position helped Affirmed in all of their dueling races… ” Those were the days, my friends,,,”

    1. And in the 70s, “We thought they’d never end. The two favorites on form and the racetrack have distinguished themselves but I never suggest it was only a two-horse race. I didn’t pick Unbridled until after his final Derby work at CD. There’s no rush, but agree the interest is very high for Derby 150.

  2. Mary Hopkin aside, it would be great to have a two horse rivalry in the Triple Crown series and then lasting through the Breeders Cup. How much fun would it be if the rubber game was the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga. We could only hope!

    1. True legitimate rivalries [see Affirmed-Alydar] are great for the game. Les. That one was possibly the best ever, however that’s a generational thing. It’s about time …

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