DAQMAN’S KENTUCKY DERBY ABC: Confused by the form for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday? Daqman finds that the winner usually falls within the following statistical record:

A Finished in first four in Blue Grass Stakes; first or second Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby or Arkansas Derby (14 out of last 16 winners)
B Drawn 10 to 18 (7 out of 11)
C Trained by D Wayne Lucas or Bob Baffert (seven wins) or ridden by Kent Desormeaux or Calvin Borel (four of last five, and two previous).

It’s a true battle of the heavyweights. Tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, the ‘Run For The Roses’ at Churchill Downs, Louisville, home of Muhammad Ali, has the equine pick of four great races from around America for this first leg of the Triple Crown.

The Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes in Kentucky, the Wood Memorial in New York and the Santa Anita Derby in California are usually the best preliminary bouts to this, and all four are strongly represented tomorrow.

But that leaves out buzz horse Daddy Nose Best, whose morning work-outs for his handler, Steve Asmussen, have created headlines. What chance the Florida Derby one-two? And what about Daddy Long Legs?

As veteran trainer D Wayne Lucas puts it: ‘This is the best bunch I’ve seen in a long time.. let me tell you, it’s a hell of a group!’

AB Alpha: Out of a Nijinsky mare, only 11th of 13 at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Dirt) behind Hansen.

Made steady but unspectacular progress to stay on and overhaul Gemologist late in the stretch for the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in early April but his rival retaliated close home and surged away from him again.

AB Gemologist: By the Breeders Cup Classic hero Tiznow, this Grade 2 winner at Churchill Downs as a juvenile, kept his unbeaten record (five from five, and two out of two on tomorrow’s track) in the Wood Memorial, New York’s hot heat for this.

Trying to make all, Gemologist was caught by Alpha as he idled in front but he came again with renewed vigour to take back control and win by a neck. Not a great race in depth but a great show of depth from the winner.

AB Hansen: Champion US two-year-old, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile (Dirt) over a mile and half a furlong on the Churchill Downs course last November, with Union Rags second, Creative Cause third, Dullahan fourth and Take Charge Indy fifth.

Hansen won from the front that day, so it was a surprise when – after opening his season by beating My Adonis over the same trip at Aqueduct – he was run out of the Blue Grass Stakes by Dullahan.

Hansen will switch tactics to become a stalker at Louisville, but meanwhile My Adonis was last of the seven finishers in the Wood Memorial, well behind Gemologist and Alpha.

The last Breeders Cup Juvenile winner to take the Kentucky Derby was Street Sense in 2007.

AC Bodemeister: Beaten (favourite) by Creative Cause at Santa Anita in March, but came good big time when he won the Arkansas Derby two weeks ago by an eyecatching nine-and-a-half lengths (from Secret Circle), having been brought over from a wide draw to take immediate control on the rails. He’ll need another good ride from gate 6.

Optimizer (D Wayne Lucas), who ran second to Secret Circle on the same course (Oaklawn Park) in March, did not run his race in the Arkansas Derby and was only ninth.

AC Dullahan: Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes over 9f from pacesetting Hansen. Seven lengths behind turning for home, Dullahan ran down Hansen in the last half-furlong to win going away and it is difficult to see Hansen overturning this defeat with an extra furlong to go tomorrow, unless different tactics are employed.

Dullahan, a half-brother to the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, was ridden at Keeneland by Kent Desormeaux, who is in the saddle again for the big one.
Kent, a master Kentucky Derby rider, is delighted to have the Blue Grass winner under him but he also knows that Dullahan has been beaten all three previous tries at Churchill Downs.

A Creative Cause The blinkered son of Giant’s Causeway has never been beaten more than a length in eight starts. He was threeparts of a length to the good – despite giving 5lb –over Bodemeister (9f) at Santa Anita in March before that one won the Arkansas Derby.

But he was then narrowly unable to contain I’ll Have Another, who nosed ahead of him in the Santa Anita Derby.

A I’ll Have Another: Got the head bob over Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby, with Bob Baffert’s Liaison only sixth.

But, while Creative Cause looks fairly comfortably posted in gate eight tomorrow, I’ll Have Another and Liaison have to come out of 19 and 20, neither draw having ever won the Derby.

C Take Charge Indy: Fourth to Dullahan in the Keeneland Futurity in October when blinkered for the first time, and only fifth to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt).
But he put up an improved performance to start his 2012 season when he won the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in the hands of Calvin Borel for the first time, beating Union Rags.

Union Rags The Champagne Stakes winner at Belmont Park last October, slamming Alpha a good five lengths, was runner-up to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup juvenile, and was favourite for tomorrow’s big decider before ‘Indy’ beat him at Gulfstream.

Big Brown won the Florida Derby on his way to winning the big one at Churchill Downs in 2008. And, of course, Calvin Borel, who is on board ’Indy’, rides Churchill Downs like Frankie Dettori rides Ascot.

Daddy Long Legs: Has the dreaded one post, which has won this Kentucky Derby just the once in 55 years.

Only 12th of 13 behind Hansen in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (Dirt), the Royal Lodge winner was given his chance tomorrow after taking the UAE Derby at Meydan on the last day of March.

Last word from Kendall Hansen, owner of Hansen: ‘We’re going to win this race. We’re not worried about anybody.’

BET 4.3pts win MUFFIN MCLEAY (3.30 Musselburgh)
BET 1.4pts win and place CAPAILL LIATH (4.00 Musselburgh)
BET 8pts win (nap) BARTON STACEY (6.15 Fontwell)
BET 5pts win THE WEATHERMAN (7.00 Bangor)

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