by Kim Thomas
Despite the snowflakes that have fallen on Kentucky's tender dogwood buds over the weekend, there's no doubt that Spring is on its way, as the Derby prep races are heating up. Who will be on the card for the Run for the Roses? Who will all the commentators coo about once they realize that horse has become the favorite? I have an idea, but as usual, I really have NO idea...my notions come with the simple caveat that my choices are nothing more than an uneducated guess, the result of a woman's intuition, a great Rob Brezny horoscope, and the realization that men are only human and therefore, they must be capable of error. With that specific insight, I must give credit where credit is due, to the colts who have face the legion of contenders who want to leave them in their dust, but also I must hold in reverence the so-called gentler gender as I boldly assert that someday, maybe very soon, a female will be respected and admired as the leader in a field where males scoff at their efforts. Hmm...I digressed again, didn't I? Sorry, but that's what almost-Spring Sundays in the Bluegrass are for: relaxing, pondering life's lessons, and dreaming of Derby Day.
You've waited all week to hear my three newest BTFF's, so I won't make you pace the floor any longer. After much ado, I'm ready to present the three horses who survived the weather, the competition and the odds to win big payoffs for their investors and wagerers this week and thus have cleared the hurdles to become clear favorites for the Kentucky Derby.
Friesan Fire. Those who braved the slosh to watch the muddy Grade II Louisiana Derby know that it was won by this impressive son of A.P. Indy. Oh, by the way, Friesan Fire won by more than seven lengths on Saturday -- this highly touted colt is progressing quite nicely on the road to Louisville.
Win Willy is my second choice today, since the underdog with odds of 56-1 surged ahead in the last furlong of the Grade II Rebel Stakes to beat heretofore undefeated 2-5 favorite, Old Fashioned. Win Willy's sire is Monarchos.
Don't Forget Gil. Not one to discriminate, when a filly wins a big race, my ears perk up. Picking up her second stakes win, this daughter of Kafwain soared to win by four lengths in the Grade III Florida Oaks. Her apparent ability to break away from the pack in the closing furlongs is etched in the memory cards of all those who will be vying to predict Derby contenders in the coming weeks. Don't Forget Gil just might be the girl of everyone's dreams!
(All photographs are courtesy of Thomas Eisenhauer Photography)