Kentucky Derby Winner
I’m rooting for Afleet Alex. This selection is admittedly sentimental (the Lemonade Stand cancer charity would benefit from the victory), but many experts have also been impressed with his rigorous regimen:
With his trainer an over-the-moon Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Afleet Alex was bound to have some NFL influences in his daily workouts. The 9-2 second choice in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is the only horse among the 20 Derby runners that went through a twice-a-day regimen similar to what players endure at training camp.
Afleet Alex started most mornings during Derby week with a two-mile jog, went back to his Churchill Downs stall and then returned to the track for a 1 1/2-mile gallop. Afterward, he got a bath and a break.
His rivals, including 5-2 favorite Bellamy Road and third-choice Bandini, were on the track only once a day.
Update: As the horses hit the track, I note that Afleet Alex has gone to 4-1.
Meanwhile, trainer Nick Zito has five entrants for five different owners. He has an excellent chance to capture the entire derby, with Bellamy Road, Sun King, Andromeda’s Hero, Noble Causeway, and High Fly. And, since George Steinbrenner owns Bellamy Road, this story is unsurprising: “Red Sox fans have company in Derby.”
Update II: Giacomo (50-1) won and was followed by Closing Argument (30-1) and Afleet Alex. My pick had a very good chance, as he surged past Bellamy Road in the last leg. But he just couldn’t hold off the eventual first- and second-place finishers.
Update IV: How improbable was Giacomo’s win? Revisit Ed McNamara’s description:
He’s 1-for-7, so he should be entered in a non-winners-of-1 allowance on May 7 at Santa Anita, not in the Kentucky Derby. Has lost five in a row and was up the track in the Santa Anita Derby. Why bother?
At least Haskin had written that, while Giacomo’s appearance was “impressive,” it was hard to “make any conclusive observations.”
Update V: By the way, the trifecta paid $133,184.60.