Justify? American Pharoah? Secretariat? Not this year
SHEPHERDSTOWN – This year’s Kentucky Derby field is ripe with legitimate contenders.
But none of them has the noble look of being another Secretariat, Justify or American Pharoah – all Triple Crown champions.
Omaha Beach is photogenic with the white diamond adorning his forehead and his white nose. Tacitus is a soulful gray with a quiet demeanor and trainer Bill Mott chasing the glory that lurks around every corner at Churchill Downs. Code of Honor has four white stockings and sports a rakish white blaze the length of his face. His long, reddish tail gives him a sleek, sports car look as he glides along.
Roadster looks out at the world from behind a dappled gray face and soulful eyes. His body will be all-white before too many years pass. Maximum Security is a light brown colt with three wins in three starts this year.
Irad Ortiz will be aboard Improbable, a standout dresser with an all-white face and chocolate brown body. Bob Baffert, the snowy-haired standard at nearly all the Triple Crown races, is his trainer.
Other bay thoroughbreds gracing the field in this 145th running of the Kentucky Derby are Game Winner, War of Will, Plus Que Parfait and Country House.
No matter how many times any of the 20 entries are scrutinized, none will be mistaken for Secretariat or Justify.
Unfortunately, rain or the deep and muddy track it left in its wake have marred the Derby Day in recent years. Every female in wide-brimmed hat and frilly, summer-weight dress will be wishing for a day with mild temperatures, plenty of sunshine and a ready supply of mint juleps on hand.
Trainers with towering resumes, jockeys with thousands of on-track victories, owners with fingers in every corporate pie and those wanting to be seen and heard will all be happy with sun-splashed weather and the media hanging on their every word.
But its the thoroughbreds that command the day. Without saying a word. Without even seeking the attention of the public.
Chestnuts in auburn finery. Grays or roans in easy-to-spot-even-in-a-20-horse field coloring. And all those bays/browns with the various white markings from head to foot.
It’s the thoroughbreds.
Drink the libations. Bet the ranch on the favorites. Party to your heart’s content. It will make no difference.
It’s always the superlative thoroughbreds that command the attention and the emotion on Derby Day.