KENTUCKY DERBY CLOSERS
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I remember the 2007 running of the Kentucky Derby quit vividly. I loved a 10-1 shot named Hard Spun, and he nearly wired the field. I thought I was home free until I saw the favorite, Street Sense, slip through on the rail. As soon as he drew even I knew it was all over for my horse. Street Sense won the 2007 Kentucky Derby closing from dead last. Closers are horses who do their best running towards the end of the race, and they tend to do well on the First Saturday in May. Let�s take a look at some of the best closers in the race.
Hold Me Back– Bill Mott has yet to win the Kentucky Derby, but will have a hell of a shot with this son of Giant�s Causeway. He takes a while to get motivated as he proved when he won the Grade II LAnes End as he closed from next to last. That race was his first in over Four months. He followed that up with a runner up finish in the Grade I Bluegrass as the favorite. He was the victim of a slow pace, but still put in a very good race. Three time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Kent Desormeaux has the highest praise for his mount. He has a big shot and should be over 20-1.
Pioneerof The Nile– The connections think this colt is the real thing, but I�m not sold yet. Jockey Garrett Gomez took him over Dunkirk, so that is a plus. Trainer Bob Baffert is among the best of all time and will have him ready to run his best race. He hasn�t raced over traditional dirt, but has been working at Churchill. One writer who watched the work dubbed him a �demon on dirt� and all questions on that front should be squashed. His sire, Empire Maker, won the Belmont Stakes so distance won�t be a problem. He is an excellent colt, but I�m wary of his chances at such a low price of around 6-1 or 7-1.
Summer Bird– The son of Birdstone exploded from last in the Arkansas Derby to grab third place honors in just his third career start. He earned a hefty 99 BSF for that run and he has every right to improve. He was gaining on the leader towards the finish, and will benefit from that race more than anyone else. Inexperience is an issue, but he showed a TON in that Arkansas Derby run. He will be over 50-1 and could be any kind.
Dunkirk– The connections are getting their money�s worth with this $3.7 million auction purchase. He won his first two races in impressive fashion. His allowance win was great because he was very wide around the first turn, and was going 2 furlongs further than he did in his debut. The Florida Derby didn�t work out for him as he ran into Quality Road, who is a freak of nature. The track was lightning fast, so that didn�t help his chances either. He will be getting original jockey Edgar Prado back, and Todd Pletcher is craving a Kentucky Derby win. Look for him at odds of around 8-1.
West Side Bernie– Many had written off Kelly Breen�s colt after he bounced in the Grade II LAnes End Stakes, but the trainer knew better. He saddled him to a Game second place finish in the Wood Memorial and the colt earned a 101 BSF. The talent has always been there for the son of Bernstein, but he has had a rough time as a three-year-old. He has been consistently plagued by bad post positions. He may be finally putting it all together and will be a juicy price at 45-1 or more.
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