David “Buc” Geier helps run a tavern in the horse racing hinterland of Kansas City, Mo.
I had planned on sparring with my favorite sportswriter, Joe Drape, on our annual disagreement on the East Coast slant to the Derby. Every year, I contend, the media always holds the horses from the Eastern block in an inflated regard. There are always several horses a cut above the rest of the country’s colts. They seem to descend from Odin’s eight-legged steed, Sleipnir.
It seems the argument must skip a year. Except for the connections of Big Brown, everyone else appears apologetic that they are running in the Derby. I am sure the horses’ connections are confident they will run well. They are just not overly exuberant. Only one has declared a mismatch over this average field. With only one horse to direct my diatribe about, the fun of arguing has been deprived.
The winners from the prep races all have their knocks. The Wood Memorial and Illinois Derby were slow. The Bluegrass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby ran on synthetic courses. The Arkansas Derby, well, it was run in Arkansas. The Florida Derby was the only race with a stellar field that could be won by a superhorse — and amazingly it was. Read more …