Why I Want Animal Kingdom to Fail in the Preakness
Above is the young Derby winner as a new foal in Paris, KY at Denali Stud. I hate to root against an adorable foal who grew into a colt possessing less than fashionable breeding these days and enjoying a well-respected trainer, but I will do so on Saturday, and for good reason.
The sport is called horse racing, not horse breeding, or horse selling, or horse training. I want to see action on the track with all of the big names fighting it out against each other.
It’s well documented that Animal Kingdom overcame a few Derby ‘rules’ at CD last weekend: he had 6 weeks off from his last prep at Turfway and he was the first to win over dirt without a prior race over the surface.
Similarly, he is very lightly raced with just 4 starts and his connections are so proud of the fact that he is ‘the freshest horse to ever attempt a Triple Crown campaign’. I hate to break the news to them: but a ‘fresh’ horse by their definition has NEVER won a Triple Crown (see below).
I hate this trend, it sucks for all of us fans of competition. Sure it worked out well for Animal Kingdom, but how did these other lightly raced colts fare last Saturday?
Also with 4 lifetime starts: Dialed In and Midnight Interlude. Up the track both of them.
How about those who ran their first race on dirt?
Brilliant Speed, Derby Kitten, Twinspired, Master of Hounds. Hounds ran a respectable 5th, but I’m not sure the others even got a call.
On being fresh heading to the Preakness and Belmont?
“Recent” Triple Crown winners and lifetime starts prior to Derby:
Affirmed: 12 starts
Seattle Slew: 6 starts, but routinely breezed miles in training between the classics, meanwhile Animal Kingdom has only jogged in his first week at Fair Hill after the Derby.
Secretariat: 12 starts
Citation: 14 starts
Assault: 11 starts
Read more about Assault’s training here: https://thoroedge.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/i-blame-trainers-for-lack-of-triple-crown-winners/
With the average starts per year for an American thoroughbred dropping from 12 to 6, and the average starts per career of a Derby starter following the same rate of decline – Animal Kingdom winning another leg of the TC will further exacerbate that trend.
This is a textbook case of the exception being used to invalidate the rule, or the tail wagging the dog, er… horse. 50+ colts who previously raced only on synthetics attempted to win the Derby and none succeeded prior to Animal Kingdom – yet now it will be more commonplace as it’s newly classified as a ‘myth’ rather than a ‘rule’.
Here’s hoping Animal Kingdom bounces like a basketball at PIM after his effort at CD – surely Flashpoint will set a quicker pace than 1:14 for him to close into? I believe that Derby was the slowest paced in nearly 70 years, wow.
Never has a colt so lightly raced won the 3 TC races in 5 weeks, yet if A.K succeeds, it too will remain the new norm, to the detriment of racing fans everywhere.