Picking a Derby winner starts with numbers. We're talking cold hard statistics.
It continues with sensory perceptions. We perceive horses to be big or small, their stride to be fluid or choppy, their coats to be dull or dappled.
And our search for a winner ends with feelings. Our feelings can be driven by the look in a horse's eye, the inflection in a trainer's voice, or some sense of predicting the future that nobody else would understand.
In the end, you size up the data, send the visuals through your mind and then make a bet based on your feelings.
And so for Derby 138, my feelings lead me to Take Charge Indy.
We can start with the stats, because I feel the Florida Derby was the best of the Derby prep races. We continue with the visual of Pat Byrne's calm and confident demeanor on the backside. He looks like a trainer who knows a secret. And we conclude with a feeling, just a feeling that Calvin Borel is ready to steal another one. If it rains, Calvin will be Gene Kelly on a horse.
He's undefeated and could stay that way. The Pletcher horses looked great when they arrived from Florida. And Castellano and Borel could stage a new Fighting Finish portrait.
Third: Union Rags
He's a Derby horse right out of central casting. Leparoux wants this race and a Derby very badly. Michael Matz has him ready but it's a great field.
He'll be closing at the end but how many horses can he pass? Romans is due to win it, but Dullahan is better on grass or Polytrack. Can he match the turn of foot he has shown at Keeneland?
El Padrino might look better than Gemologist.
Went The Day Well has that Team Valor-Graham Motion mojo going for him.
I'll Have Another is better than 12 to 1.
Prospective looks great. If he runs to his looks, look out.
Sabrecat and Optimizer
One of them might wake up.
Hansen and Bodemeister.
Speed kills in the last quarter mile.
Hope you have a winner. Happy Derby everyone.