By Patrick Patten, NYTimes.com
There were 38,191 North American foals born in 2005 (hat tip to the Jockey Club), and only 20 will be allowed in the gate in a little over a week. That is, one-twentieth of one percent get into the gate, and yet I am about to tell you that Recapturetheglory, winner of the grade II Illinois Derby is a complete toss. That’s because I’m going to give you my Top 7 Who Won’t Win the Derby list.
Most writers that cover the Derby will give you their top 10, or top 15, or just be extremely lazy and give you every horse in the gate and maybe even a stable pony or two and after the two minutes is over they’ll say, “I told you.” Well, I want to be different, and seeing this is a short-term gig, I can afford to be wrong. I’m going to give you 7 horses that won’t win the Derby; maybe they’ll come close, but no Virginia, there is no Derby winner here.
Adriano Winner of the grade II Lane’s End at Keeneland and confirmed mount for Edgar Prado has only run well on synthetic tracks or the turf. I won’t even hold his lone try on the dirt in the Fountain of Youth against him, where he finished ninth. Graham Motion, his trainer, told me everything I needed to hear after the Lane’s End, “I think we all agree he’s probably more of a turf horse.” And, if you didn’t know, the Derby is held on conventional dirt.