Thursday, May 3, 2007

Graduation and Derby fast approaching!

So, I haven't posted since I finished at Badger! The last day was spent in the truck, going to various and sundry equine calls. The highlights included a mare with choke (fortunately, she resolved on her own before we got there), a castration (people look at me very strangely when I say that equine castrations are a lot of fun...but there it is!), and a new foal exam (she was born in the mud at around 3:00 pm that afternoon...very strange time to have a foal, which is why the mare was outside!). So it was a fantastic last day with more exposure to procedures I hope to be doing myself soon!

Speaking of which, graduation is on Saturday! It is very hard to believe that this 8+ year trek is almost over. Looking back, I can honestly say it has gone amazingly quickly. Don't get me wrong: there were days (hours, even) that crawled at a snail's pace. But time is a funny thing. How can months seem to slip by in the blink of an eye while hours plod along with excruciating slowness? At any rate, I'll post more about graduation after it has happened!

So now I really need to post something about the Derby! Besides graduation, that will be the other highlight of my Saturday! The field is now set, the horses have been assigned their post positions and even the Queen is in-country for the event! All of the contenders I mentioned previously will be racing, and it certainly looks like it will be quite some race! They have a very nice website that covers all of the contenders complete with pictures, stats, race history, and links to charts (written order of events as to how the various races went) and video, where available. You can get to all of this information through this link. Following are pictures of all of the horses running in their post-position order. The pictures are all from the above link. Also included is a brief comment from this horseracing novice about their chances.

Post #1: Sedgefield: This colt could do well. His morning line odds are fairly long, but I wouldn't be surprised if he finished in the money.
Post #2: Curlin: He is undefeated and the morning line favorite. That said, he has only had 3 starts and has never had to fight much for what he got. He is an impressive runner with a very good chance to win, if he can navigate the large field.
Post # 3: Zanjero: Like Sedgefield, this colt has a good chance of finishing in the top ranks. He has run some impressive races even if he didn't win them all, and his workouts are consistently decent.

Post #4: Storm in May: Unfortunately, this colt is something of a filler. It will be amazing if he can finish out of the bottom five.

Post #5: Imawildandcrazyguy: Another filler. Nice colt, but he hasn't run against much in the way of actual competition and, even so, he hasn't been very impressive.
Post #6: Cowtown Cat: Though many people are downplaying this colt, I think he has a real chance to be a top contender. Definitely keep an eye on him! Post #7: Street Sense: This colt is fantastic. He will likely be the favorite at post time, given his record. He is experienced against great horses and, barring a disaster, he should finish in the top three if not with the roses around his neck.
Post #8: Hard Spun: Another big contender, though he lacks Street Sense's experience against top horses. He has been working out very impressively, though, so watch for him. I figure he'll stalk Street Sense most of the race.
Post #9: Liquidity: This colt may be a factor apart from his apparent inability to run well outside of California. I don't really expect much from him.
Post #10: Teuflesberg: I really like this colt, if only because of his name. He is a gamey runner and while he probably won't finish in the top four, he'll be close to them.
Post #11: Bwana Bull: Another gamey colt, but he will likely finish in the middle of the pack unless he has an amazingly good (or bad) day.
Post #12: Nobiz Like Shobiz: I really like this colt. He has talent (his performance in the Wood Memorial was great) and, wow, is he a gorgeous horse! I'm putting him in my top picks.
Post #13: Sam P.: I do like the look of this colt. He is another gamey runner, and I think I'm going to put him in my top 5. There's nothing overly special about him, but I think he has the heart of a great racer and, if things work out on Saturday, he could have a great run.
Post #14: Scat Daddy: Another runner with a big heart. He seems to lack the extra umph to run well at distance greater than 1 mile, but he still does well. Not a bad choice for the lead pack.
Post #15: Tiago: Despite a very impressive run in the Santa Anita this year, I'm going to have to put Tiago as a middle-of-the-pack horse. He hasn't really been tested, and I can't tell if that amazing Santa Anita was a fluke or the start of the real deal for him.
Post #16: Circular Quay: Another very nice colt with a real shot at winning this race. if anyone can topple Street Sense and Curlin, this may be the colt to do it.
Post #17: Stormello: Though somewhat inconsistent, this colt wouldn't be a bad choice.
Post #18: Any Given Saturday: I really like this colt. Despite his showing the the Wood Memorial, I'm thinking he's a MAJOR contender. The outside post position may be an issue, though.
Post #19: Dominican: This long-strided gleding has a chance at surprising everyone, I think. His run in the Blue Grass was very good.
Post #20: Great Hunter: This colt is iffy. May be surprising, may not. As for my pick, I usually don't make my official pick until I see the horses on race day. I'll be honest...a lot of my horse-picking strategy comes down to who looks the most ready-to-win in the paddock area. Yeah, I look at record, but I also look at conformation and, yes, color. :) In the game of horseracing, of I've learned anything it is that it can surprise you and one method of picking the winner is probably just as good as any other.
The thing about this field is that it is a well-matched bunch. There will be a few favorite, but it is really any horse's race. Whoever does win this one will have a hard time taking the Preakness and the Belmont since you can expect to see many of these same excellent horses there.
All things considered, though (and since I don't know if I will have time to post other picks before the race) here is my current top 5:
1. Any Given Saturday
2. Street Sense
3. NoBiz Like ShowBiz
4. Circular Quay
5. Sam P.
--others I like and am still looking at: Curlin, Zanjero, Sedgefield, Cowtown Cat, Dominican, Teuflesberg
I'm sure these picks will change. One thing is for sure: it will be a great race!