The most important news since my last post is that the talented, quirky, questionable Classic Empire, who was on the outside looking in prior to the Arkansas Derby is now second in the points standings (132) for the Kentucky Derby thanks to his victory in the race. Classic Empire was on his very best behavior at Hot Springs before, during, and post race. It wasn’t an easy victory; in the stretch he was hung wide coming off the pace, but he was relentless to the wire.
So now that he’s in, how will he do? Kind of hard to say. His start in the Derby will be his third start off the layoff he had from the conclusion of his two-year-old season. For many horses this is an ideal setup for rounding into form for the next race. So that’s a plus. Still, Classic Empire had to work for this victory; what, if anything, did this take out of him three weeks before the big race at the longest distance he (and all the other colts) has ever run? We really won’t know until May 6th around 6:30 in the evening. It is important to remember, that Classic Empire was the two-year-old champion for a reason. He was that much better than the other colts of his year crop. He’s had his excuses in 2017 so far, but in terms of raw talent, it’s for real. Barring any regression mentally or physically, he is a solid contender and might well be the favorite for Kentucky Derby 143.
Two other developments since the last post. The connections of Cloud Computing have opted not to run in the Kentucky Derby and are now aiming for the Preakness Stakes and/or the Belmont Stakes. As a result of his defection, Untrapped, sixth in the Arkansas Derby, will move into the Derby gate.
Jockey Robby Albarado, who had the mount on J Boys Echo, sustained a broken ankle yesterday at Keeneland when he was thrown from his mount out of the gate. The new rider has yet to be named.
The Kentucky Derby is now 12 days away!!