Horse racing is about differences of opinion (heated ones sometimes) but for the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby fans will have to take sides in a feud that is not likely to be settled this year or anytime soon and may even get more heated next year when the Santa Anita Derby becomes a poly prep. How will the horses who won the poly preps fare in the Derby? Can they carry their form on to what will be a faster, harder surface at Churchill? There almost no history to go on, prior to this year only the ill-fated With A City had won a major poly prep and he died prior to the Derby. This year’s winner Lane’s End winner, Hard Spun likes the surface as much as he likes to dodge the competition; not encouraging in my opinion. Great Hunter and Dominican can compete on both surfaces and may hold the key to how much weight to give a poly winner just look at their non-poly form and the answer becomes obvious, have them on the bottom of your exotic tickets.
Curlin continues to do his Smarty Jones imitation down at Oaklawn and he may be special but a ten length win over Storm In May hasn’t done much to change my mind. The most recent unbeaten horse to win the Kentucky Derby was Barbaro last year, then Smarty Jones in 2004; Seattle Slew in 1977; Majestic Prince in 1969; Morvich in 1922; and the great filly Regret in 1915. As you can see Curlin has a ways to go to be included in that company. Yes times may be changing but without a two year old campaign I won’t bet Curlin. Apollo may have pulled it off in 1882 but that statistic speaks for itself.