My Fantasy, Derby Style

As I mentioned a little while back, the folks at Steeplechase Times/Saratoga Special have a little Derby fantasy game going; I’ve decided to take the plunge and enter it, knowing full well that things like this are not exactly my forte (though I did do pretty well in an NHL playoff fantasy hockey competition a couple of years ago).

I need to select my ten Derby horses, two trainers, and two jockeys by midnight on Thursday; I have a hard enough time handicapping a full-field race, and now I have to choose from, oh, about a hundred horses on the Derby trail? Yeah, right; wish me luck.

So before I click to register, I’m going to run my picks by you. I am not offering any rationale for them, beyond that I’ve seen them race and they’ve impressed me on the track. We could dispute their pedigrees, their ability to get the distance, their preferred surfaces (though most of these are dirt guys), but why bother? If I were more sophisticated, I could employ Railbird’s formidable figuring…but I’m not.

So here they are, and let me know what you think:

Horses, in alphabetical order:
Anak Nakal
Court Vision
Majestic Warrior
Ready’s Echo (or maybe Ready’s Image?)
Saratoga Russell
Tale of Ekati
War Pass

Trainers: Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin

Jocks: Alan Garcia…and I’m stuck on this one–Velasquez or Velazquez? Cornelio or John? Leaning towards the former…

Your thoughts? Who are your picks?

Note: none of the above should be taken to mean that I’m making a commitment to any of these horses; I have no Derby loves at this point, just a couple of major crushes…among them Atoned and Tale of Ekati. Oh, yeah, and maybe Saratoga Russell. Fickle, thy name is woman…

6 thoughts on “My Fantasy, Derby Style

  1. Ok, I just did this. Here are my picks:PyroAnak Nakal Court VisionAttonedMaimonidesSaratoga RussellTale of EkatiNational PrideCountry StarWar PassEdgar PradoRafael BejaranoBill MottNick ZitoI went back forth between Zito and Tagg, I also deliberated on Desormeaux and Garcia.I liked Pyro as 2yo but am really interested to see him in the Risen Star since he’s been working with with Curlin. If I had to single one of them right now, it would be him.

  2. I linked back to you on the post I did about this. My stable ended up like this:Horses:-War Pass-Majestic Warrior-Court Vision-Tale of Ekati-Pyro-Colonel John-El Gato Malo-Z Humor-Ready Set-Anak NakalTrainers:-Nick Zito-Bill MottJockeys: – G. Gomez- C. Velasquez (I can never spell that right)Personally I’m all about Court Vision and Majestic Warrior at the moment as far as horse I want to see win the Derby. I just hope someone can get after War Pass and make it an honest race or else he may dash off the screen. I thought Mott and Zito had a slew of contenders this year. Cornelio I took due to the current War Pass connections, and Gomez I took just because I’m sure he’ll wind up on some top mounts.

  3. If we’ve all taken Zito and Mott, it’s going to be tough to win! I was tempted to pick another trainer just to try to pick up points no one else would get…which is I went with Garcia. My East Coast bias will probably be my downfall, along with my insistence on having a cat horse in there…

  4. I’ve got to check out this Saratoga Russell horse you keep talking about. Even though I’m on the east coast, I seem to have a bit of a west coast bias. I guess it’s because it’s convenient for me to see those races daily considering the time difference. I usually switch to the NY circuit once they head to Saratoga. Apart from that I spend quite a bit of attention on the Maryland circuit, as those are my “home” tracks. Have you found a way to view your stable? I haven’t seen a link anywhere to view that since I submitted my entry.

  5. Dear theaspiringhorseplayer:Saratoga Russell is training at Gulfstream. He ran a bullet 5 furlong yesterday. People who witnessed the breeze said that on paper, he beat the second fastest by 1.5 seconds, but visually, he looked even more impressive. I know it’s just a breeze, but I am told by the jockey that Saratoga Russell is a “push button” horse who can rate and also set the pace. The only question in my mind is distance. We won’t know until he runs a two turn race.I am an part owner of Saratoga Russell, so I may be partial to my horse.

  6. Kevin–I posted a comment to Brian on the ST Journal blog today asking that question. Looks like I picked up some points with Garcia’s win in the Whirlaway yesterday, but so far, I haven’t found a way to check standings. When I hear something back, I’ll let you know.As for Saratoga Russell: check out his two races in the NYRA video archives or at (both are free). He raced on November 17th (4th race) and December 15th (2nd race).

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