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Prep School

Posted by on 3/19/2015 12:16:17 AM

With the Kentucky Derby merely about 6 weeks away, the stepping-stone races coming to the big event become much more important but one thing players must remember is that these are preps and not the real deal.

There are some preps that are productive year in and year out and some preps that are not productive traditionally.

Think of it like the National Basketball Association season. Everybody knows, players, coaches, even fans, that nothing matters until the playoff match-ups are solidified and the real season begins.

The preps have to be looked at not only in immediacy but also with an eye to the future and how much each horse got out of each prep.

In 2009 Mine That Bird had a coming out party in the Borderland when pushed hard on the lead every step of the way to get beat a neck with an 81 Beyer in 1:43 at Sunland Park.

He was a wide 4th in the Sunland Derby after having dead aim at the top of the lane but then things changed.

Calvin Borel changed his running style in the Kentucky Derby coming from dead last to blow away the field by almost 7 with a 105 figure at pay a juicy 50-1.

For fans that follow all sports, some can be marathons but as far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned, there are preps and there are real preps.

Granted, baseball is a beautiful game and it unfolds through 162 regular season games. The NBA will force 82 games a season on to their fans when it was obvious that with a shortened season, things can play out just fine and a true champ can be crowned.

The great thing about football is that in a short winterized schedule, the drama unfolds weekly coast-to-coast producing the most rabid fans.

Horseracing is different. Approaching the Kentucky Derby, contenders can come from a far away place like Sunland Park or the more glorious venues in New York, Florida, Kentucky and California.

The thing that players must realize is that there are preps that are meaningful in a historic sense, and other preps that are just on the schedule.

In 2012, I’ll Have Another prepped for the Triple Crown in California and his only poor race ever came at Saratoga on a sloppy surface.

He parlayed a win in the Robert B. Lewis to a Santa Anita Derby score and parlayed that win in the Kentucky Derby at a solid 15-1. ‘

Since 2000, several runners exited the Florida Derby to run the first Saturday in May and 3 horse, Barbaro, Big Brown and Orb won the Run for the Roses.

As far as overall Triple Crown impact, the Arkansas Derby has been very important.

Both Smarty Jones in 204 and Super Saver in 2010 exited that race to win in Kentucky. Curlin exited that race in 2007 to win the Preakness and Summer Bird exited the Arkansas Derby to take the Belmont Stakes in 2009.

Fusaichi Pegasus took the New York route in 2000 to parlay success in the Wood Memorial to a victory at Churchill in a rare deviant style

Last year was resurgence for the Santa Anita Derby as California Chrome penned his Cinderfella story so don’t discount this prep this season.

Stars like Affirmed, Majestic Prince, Winning Colors, Silver Charm and Sunday Silence came out of the SA Derby to win the Kentucky Derby.

The bottom line is that nothing means anything unless it happens right now, right in the flesh and right before your very eyes.

But they say history repeats itself and that is why players have to pay attention to the past.

Remember, this is a traditional sport; horsemen have been using some of the same ways to get horses to win races for decades so it only goes to logic to pay strict attention to what has gone on before.

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