Knowing this year's Kentucky Derby was likely going to be popular, set a track record attendance in sweltering temperatures--not to mention me being on call for work, and working late after the race was over. I decided this was going to be the first year I would miss attending the Derby since working at Blood-Horse Publications…that is until Thursday, May 3.
I had not taken the time to look deeply at the Kentucky Derby day undercard. Behold the gem that changed the tides and easily swayed my decision. The preview with complete entry came out for the Churchill Downs Stakes and there it was plain as day.
Two of my favorite athletes will be facing each other in a true test of grit. Amazombie…let me introduce you to the Shack Attack, more commonly known as Shackleford.
Amazombie cheesing at the crowd on his walk to the paddock.
Photo: Erica Larson
If you have read my blog regularly, before my hiatus from blogging for several months, you would know that I have followed Amazombie for a couple of years. I brag often that I followed him before most people knew who he was.
The Churchill Downs Stakes is why I went to Derby day 138. The fact that one of the best fields in 20 years was running in the Kentucky Derby didn't hurt either. If I was going to be there for the seventh race, I might as well stay to watch that race. =)
Could Shackleford cut back to 7 furlongs? Could Amazombie stretch out to
7 furlongs? Yes. This distance is fickle for both athletes with their
specialties being at typically 6 furlongs for Amazombie and 8 furlongs
for Shackleford. This also means this match up may never be seen again.
The two sprint giants faced one-another with a potential "X" factor in Smiling Tiger. Smiling Tiger is another west coast horse I have always wanted to see race and honestly thought might be faster than both Shackleford and Amazombie. That was quickly proven wrong.
Smiling Tiger walking to the paddock.
Photo: Erica Larson
The Churchill Downs Stakes was easily the best race of the undercard. The stretch duel cinged the hairs that stood on my goosebumps.
Shackleford held onto his stamina to out last Amazombie. Here is the race recap for the Churchill Downs Stakes
(Watch the Replay).
Shackleford after winning the Churchill Downs Stakes.
Photo: Erica Larson
As far as the day's "real" main event goes, Kentucky Derby 138 is now in the history books, but what a great event! I am very glad Shackledford and Amazombie could talk some sense to into me about attending.
To witness the impressive, or should I say mind blowing, speed and effort of Bodemeister and the solidification of I'll Have Another as the real deal was amazing. The move I'll Have Another made to pass Bodemeister is a memory that will have a long life. (Evan Hammonds noted I'll Have Another had the best Derby prep race and predicted the win in After the Wire)
Could I'll Have Another's secret possibly a good corner man? What I mean is, every fighter has a good corner man to show them the ropes and help teach them/coach them along. Thus enter the role of Lava Man. Lava Man would be one of the best corner men you could ask for. Maybe we should ask Kenny Rice? Whom by the way did just release a new eBook on his Mixed Martial Arts experiences over the last ten years, "Not Hit Yet."
How did you do on your bets?
My blog from last week let you know my analysis on how the Kentucky Derby was going to unfold.
I definitely nailed the Kentucky Oaks this year and was super proud of that. Believe You Can and Broadway's Alibi looked sharp on the track Wednesday, while I was working at Churchill Downs. Both of these fillies have also put together a fine package of works and races which combined with the right connections.
I did not hit the Derby as far as betting. I made a few WPS type bets, but I decided to leave off I'll Have Another last minute on my tickets and that cost me most of my bets. I second guessed myself with all the rumblings of him being sound or not. Other than leaving I'll Have Another off my tickets, my prediction for how the race pretty much held true.
The speed horses got clear and took control early, with Bodemeister having the stamina to lead until the stretch. The speed tired with the wicked pace and allowed I'll Have Another and a few other stalkers to gnab the win. Dullahan got up for third.