(BLOG) -- You can't bet them all! Well, you can. But in the Derby, you need a 20-1 winner to break even.
So, for the next two weeks, handicapping the Derby will be a process of elimination. There always seems to be a few horses that just can't win.
Actually, in the end, there are 19 that can't win.
So with much trepidation and Mine That Bird in our memory, we can begin to weed out the horses that seem to have no chance.
Let's start with Trinniberg. He's a nice sprinter, who won most of his graded stakes money at 7 furlongs. A week ago, owner Shivananda Parbhoo, said he was doubtful for the Derby. Now they're in. Expect Trinniberg to duel for the lead for about 7 furlongs and then fade and fade. I just hope the horse doesn't get hurt. Stretching a sprinter to Derby distance is just crazy.
Liaison looks like another horse who doesn't belong. He has shown nothing this year that indicates he's a Derby horse. Liaison was last in the Bob Lewis Stakes, fourth in the San Felipe and sixth in the Santa Anita Derby almost ten lengths behind the winner. He'll be running on reputation and the stakes money he won as a two year old.
Sabercat is another two-year-old flash in the pan, who made all of his money at the Delta Jackpot. He showed a little bit of life with a third place in the Arkansas Derby but was ten lengths behind Bodemeister. Sabercat is just not fast enough, always problem in horse racing.
Done Talking won the worst of the Derby prep races, the Illinois Derby. His Kentucky Derby fate will be passing tired horses and maybe finish in the teens. Done Talking faced some really good horses in the Gotham Stakes in New York and finished 20 lengths behind Hansen. A repeat of that is likely.
Rousing Sermon just makes the cut on graded stakes with his third place finish in the Louisiana Derby. But that third place was behind a 109 to 1 shot who later finished last in the Bluegrass Stakes. Rousing Sermon has not won a stakes race and it seems unlikely that the Derby will be his first.
Alpha is still in New York recovering from some cuts that he suffered in the Wood Memorial The cuts were infected and any hiccups in Derby preparations usually means a scratch or a dull performance. He couldn't catch Gemologist in New York anyway.
Mark Valeski put in two good runs in prep races at the Fairgrounds but both times he couldn't catch the winner, and the quality of those races is very suspect. He's a good horse but I don't think he can compete with the top five or six in this field. He is also not a stakes winner.
Prospective won the Tampa Bay Derby but his prospects in Kentucky have not been so good. It's hard to figure what to make of his sixth place in the Bluegrass Stakes. A horse can hate Polytrack and still get something out of the race. Owner John Oxley has been here before and wants to run on May 5 but this is not Monarchos.
And finally in my list of horses who cannot win the Derby: Hansen. The big white horse with the controversial tail, won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but the finish line got there just in time. At Keeneland, he ran a very nice Bluegrass Stakes but Dullahan passed him just before a mile and an eighth. Hansen is a great horse, just not a Derby distance horse.
And now…a few bubble horses for my list of Derby toss-outs.
Daddy Long Legs faces a long trip from Europe for the Derby. Someone once told me that a shipper from Europe or Dubai might win the Derby someday but he'd have to be ten lengths better than the field to overcome the trip.
Bodemeister might be the favorite on race day, but his lack of races as a two year old will test Derby history. Plus, did he leave his best race in Arkansas? And was the field at Oaklawn just that bad?
And finally, the real bubble horses. Isn't He Clever and Optimizer are the two contenders just outside the Derby field of 20. If they make the starting gate, it would take a miracle for either to hit the board.
So, that's your throw-outs and almost throw-outs. Next week, we'll see who's left and I'll give you my winner and the trifecta for Derby 138.
Who do you like?