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The Road to the Kentucky Derby

churchill downs2Odds are high that most Foxhunting Life readers will tune in to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May to watch “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” It’s arguably the finest show of racing talent each year from the horses to the trainers to the jockeys who are all aiming for the glory of winning the Kentucky Derby cup and sharing in the two million dollar purse.

Websites like www.kentuckyderbybetting.com are excellent resources to get you up to date on the background and history of the ‘Run for the Roses.’ There is also a section on Kentucky Derby horse odds which is invaluable if you are planning on increasing the excitement by having a flutter on your favorite contender this year.

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to a horse that you believe can win the big prize. Some foxhunters take the connection even further by buying retired racehorses and giving them a whole new lease on life. Here’s a recent FHL article on Thoroughbreds in the hunting field.

Breeding and training a successful race horse is a huge undertaking and the Kentucky Derby is widely acknowledged as the most prestigious accolade in horse racing circles. To get some indispensable advice on which horse may take the big prize you can delve a bit deeper than the usual horse racing fan sites and go straight to industry sources such as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).

There’s nothing to equal being trackside to watch Thoroughbred racing. But if you can’t make it to the race in person there will be a number of ways to witness the derby at home. Thanks to advances in technology such as helmet cams and state of the art video graphics, the thrill of the Kentucky derby is just a mouse click away.

The big race is still weeks away but there are already some firm favourites that have been identified. Here’s a look at the top four to help you ponder their chances of taking home the cup.

Uncaptured is a Canadian-bred trained by John Oxley. He is battle proven and an agile, lean horse with a fluid running style. His résumé is impressive with proven success at Churchill Downs and an almost perfect win record apart from a disputed 5th place when encountering interference.

Many pundits are convinced that Uncaptured will be the next Canadian-born champion to take the Kentucky Derby prize.

This handsome horse from the Todd Pletcher lineup has versatility as his main selling point. He’s only raced three times but has won every time despite the races being at three different tracks and two variations in surface. This should not be underestimated because horses often need a few races at a particular track before they are comfortable.

In addition to his versatility Violence has an impressive pedigree, a smooth running style and has shown intelligence and good racing instincts to date. He’s a firm favorite with punters and many think it will be a two horse race between Violence and Uncaptured.

Shanghai Bobby
This precocious contender was undefeated in his five starts last year and came very close to breaking a track record in one of them. This is more impressive when you take into consideration that each race was progressively longer than the previous one. Another factor in Shanghai Bobby’s favor is that he has always had the same jockey Rosie Napravnik onboard.

This powerful, leggy colt has been touted as a potential triple crown winner for the Starlight Racing stable. His trainer is the well known Todd Pletcher who is also behind a competing horse named Violence (see above) and who won the derby in 2010 with Super Saver.

Under the new point based system that dictates who will compete in the Kentucky derby, Shanghai Bobby is currently ranked at the top. Many believe that he has the pedigree and tenacity to win the big prize.

He’s Had Enough
Despite some lackluster results on paper, He’s Had Enough was an early favorite to win the Kentucky derby in 2013 for a number of reasons.

To start with, the horse is owned and trained by the same combo who entered the 2012 derby winner. The combination of owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez may have the chance to win again with this promising horse.

Secondly, the juvenile race for He’s Had Enough was an impressive performance when he came a very close second to Shanghai Bobby. This was a surprising result reflected in the 20-1 odds on offer and put the horse on many ‘to watch’ lists.

Posted March 24, 2013