Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Nomination Is In: March 28, 2009- The Florida Derby Grade I

The stakes are high at today's Florida Derby. There is $750,000 of graded stakes money up for grab, and the last opportunity for some of these colts to earn a way into the Kentucky Derby. Five of the nine starters are Triple Crown nominated, but the one that gets my chalk is currently un-nominated, Quality Road. I guess I'm a bit surprised by the size of the field, and the lack of true Grade I competitors, but we can't handicap who should be here, only who walks into that paddock dreaming of hay, carrots and the cheers.

Race 10 Gulfsteam Park: The Florida Derby Grade I; 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3 YOs.

I am doing my best to ignore the hype machine that surrounds Dunkirk. Perhaps the 3.7 million dollar Unbridled's Song colt deserves the accolades, but being old fashioned I like to see a horse beat quality graded stakes competition before I'm willing to scrawl chalk all over its hip. Will that mean I won't be part of clamoring masses who have already coronated this horse "super"? Perhaps, but then again, I'm generally out of step with society anyhow, why start now to conform.

With that rant issued, I am left no where else to turn but Quality Road. It's not like I'm the pretty girl settling for the bald introverted guy (a remark which the Turk resembles), Quality Road earned a 113 BSF in his win in the Fountain of Youth. He's had a running duel with Theregoesjojo, and I think he's better, and he likes to be pushed, and all that means I think he'll be the best today. Is this a stone cold Turkish lock? Far from it, but this is horse racing, and the dirt (or that paraffin like stuff that maybe is safer maybe isn't) is the crucible that determines winners from pretenders. To the sharp eyed amongst you, that is Barbaro, resplendant Barbaro winning the Florida Derby in 2006. Now that was a horse!

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