Horsing to the finish line; commentary by Julian Oddo

Some stats courtesy of Horse Racing Nation   

Every spring is an exciting time for horse racing fans. As the top two year old ‘colts’ in the country become three years old, they are preparing for their quest to win the coveted Triple Crown.

The first leg of the Triple Crown is The Kentucky Derby. Until the Derby, numerous three year olds have to prove they deserve one of the 20 spots in Louisville.

Derby Prep Season is a chance for promising two year olds to show they are legit threats to cope the mile and a quarter Derby. At that point, the longest they’ve ever run by running longer distances against the best of their crop.

Maybe a great horse will emerge from this crop to become the first Horse Racing Triple Crown Champion since Affirmed in 1978.

Top Colts being prepared for the Triple Crown are usually sent to race.  Aqueduct Raceway in New York, Gulfstream Raceway in Florida, and Santa Anita Raceway in California are just some of the tracks. At Aqueduct it’s the Wood Memorial, and at Gulfstream it’s the Florida Derby and at Santa Anita it’s the Santa Anita Derby. Every year the top colts from the spring season at each of these tracks with the occasional exception meet at the Derby for the right to contend for a Triple Crown.

Each track has its own schedule of the prestigious Derby preparations. Each track continues to grow in distance, until the track’s main event which is the three year old class.

2012 Derby Prep season’s first main event was the one mile Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 29th. The victorious, undefeated two year old champion Hansen’s debut on the three year old stage came at Holy Bull.

Since Hansen had won two races over 8.5 furlongs, it seemed to many fans that Hansen would be able to wire the field. However, Hansen had to face a promising undefeated Colt  by the name of Algorithms.

During the past year, Alpha, a Colt, established himself as one of the most promising Colts in the country. His dominant maiden race win proved he had what it takes to rise to the top level of Horse Racing.

Creative Cause has had high expectations for his year. Since many people thought he would have a straight path to win the Breeders Cup Juvenile last season.

The 8.5 furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream on February 26th was one of the most hyped races of the spring. Algorithms, Union Rags and the previously undefeated Discreet Dancer were slated to run in the race. However, the day before the race, Algorithms was scratched due to a splint injury.

In the race Union Rags gave his fans something to celebrate with a dominating win. It is interesting to wonder if Algorithms would have been able to beat him if healthy.

At the 8.5 furlong Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 3rd, Hansen proved a horse can learn new tricks by not trying to wire the field. He was hanging close to the pace for once, before annihilating the field in the stretch.

The consensus amongst the Horseracing industry is five colts, Hansen, Union Rags, Algorithms, Alpha and Creative Cause are currently the top Triple crown contenders. However over the course of Derby Prep season a lot has and will continue to change.

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