JC / Railbird

The Rule Breaker

The latest example of why the rules don’t matter: Animal Kingdom. Although Team Valor’s Kentucky Derby winning colt did run as a 2-year-old, he was only the second to win with four or fewer career starts, and he was the first since Needles in 1956 to win off a six-week layoff. He’s the fifth straight Derby winner to prep with only two starts as a 3-year-old, neither a Grade 1, and his Beyer speed figure of 103 is the lowest since Giacomo was given 100 in 2005. Animal Kingdom was also making his first start on dirt in the Kentucky Derby, coming off a win in the Spiral Stakes over the Polytrack at Turfway. I’ve argued here before, sometimes with stats, that synthetic surface-prepped horses are viable Derby contenders. Next year, such horses shouldn’t be throw-outs for anyone on the basis of surface.

Some photos from Saturday at Churchill …

Mucho Macho Man leaving the barn for the Derby.

Cheering for the Derby starters as they exit the gap.

Midnight Interlude and Shackleford waiting to begin the walk over.

The clubhouse crowd.

Animal Kingdom in the post parade.

Dialed In, the 5-1 favorite, after finishing eighth in the Derby.

Steve Asmussen and Corey Nakatani discussing Nehro’s second-place finish.

Animal Kingdom heading to the winner’s circle.

1 Comment

An Outlier, indeed. Big Brown was the only horse with fewer starts, breaking from the 20 spot, who was more coked up than Charlie Sheen to win the Kentucky Derby.

/still bitter that I bet on Pyro.

Posted by Goberry on May 16, 2011 @ 10:57 am