It’s that time of year when we’re all analyzing the Kentucky Derby from every angle imaginable. While everyone else is trying to pick a winner, I’ll start with a different angle. I’m going to throw out five horses that have no chance to win on the first Saturday in May, which seems to be an easy task in a Kentucky Derby that looks extremely top-heavy. When I did this two years ago, I listed Shagaf (finished 20th), Trojan Nation (16th), Tom’s Ready (12th), My Man Sam (11th), and Majesto (18th). Last year was successful as well, but it did get scary down the stretch, as the list included Lookin At Lee (second), Battle of Midway (third), Gormley (ninth), Untrapped (12th), and Patch (14th). Here are the five horses that I believe have no shot to win the Kentucky Derby this year:
1. Promises Fulfilled
After winning the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, some thought that this horse could be on his way to big things, but his Grade 1 Florida Derby effort was a disaster. He finished dead-last in that race after getting into a suicidal pace duel with fellow speedster Strike Power. His unwillingness to sit behind horses, or at least to ration out his early speed, will not go well in a 2o-horse field filled with horses that will press him. Trainer Dale Romans has been quoted as saying that he is going to the front right out of the gate and wishes good luck to anyone that tries to go with him.
He draws into the field much like his stablemate Lookin At Lee did last year. He sat at #21 in the Kentucky Derby Points Standings, but the defection of Quip means he will be in the field of 20. This horse is basically a carbon copy of Lookin At Lee, and has only one win in seven lifetime starts. Could he hit the board? Yes, there is no doubt he could, but he no shot of actually winning the race.
3. Firenze Fire
There’s no doubt that this horse is respectable, but just not in a race like the Kentucky Derby. He’s a Grade 1 winner when racing around one turn, but against top-notch company going two turns, he’s struggled. Also, he spent all winter at Aqueduct, which didn’t have the greatest competition until the final race of the prep season, the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. He’ll likely drop to the back of the pack and pass only the horses that are very tired down the lane.
4. Lone Sailor
Even trainer Tom Amoss admitted that this horse is still learning, and also that he’s a horse that has to drop back and make one run to be effective. Neither of those things are good when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, and it’s also discouraging that he couldn’t beat Noble Indy in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, even though he passed him in the stretch. This might be a little too much for him at this time.
It’s always dangerous to count out trainer D. Wayne Lukas, even when it looks absolutely impossible. However, I will let “The Coach” beat me in this Kentucky Derby because Bravazo looks to be a bit of a mess. He was completely uninterested in the Louisiana Derby, basically forcing jockey Gary Stevens to pull him up. This was surprising, since he was coming off of two impressive races in a row. Now he must start in this spot off of a six-week layoff, and even if he returns to top form, he still looks to be a cut below against this type of company.