05/13/2010 12:04PM

Is he finally lookin' at lucky?


    First off, the No. 1 post position in the Kentucky Derby is not a death sentence, no matter what you read. If you have the time, consult YouTube to watch the video of Derby runnings from 2003-2009, and you won't see meaningful early trouble for any of those rail-drawn horses. As a matter of fact, in each of those years, the horses breaking from the inside post outran their projected finishes based on final odds (average odds ranking 15th, average finish 9.5). There is much to be said for saving ground - ask Calvin Borel.

But having said that, Lookin at Lucky seems the kind of horse that would least benefit from the No. 1 post in the Derby. After his travails in the Rebel, Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby, he looks to me like a horse who is easily intimidated. 

  Apparently Garrett Gomez feels the same way.  In his post-Derby blog, Gomez wrote, "I got bounced the first couple of jumps.....and he got up on his feet and traveled well for about six or seven jumps and all of a sudden he just stuck his feet in the ground and hesitated. When he stuck them in the ground, I sat down on him because I didn't know what was going on. By then, I started to figure out what he was doing. I knew I was in trouble, because you can't do that in this race, going into the first turn. You can't give up that ground."   

    That hesitation by Lookin at Lucky put him a position to get swarmed a second time in the opening quarter-mile and shuffled back to 18th.  Of course, the two horses behind him - Ice Box and Make Music For Me - didn't run too badly from way back there, so don't let your excuse-o-meter run wild.

Lookin at Lucky's No. 7 post position in the Preakness is better for Baffert's plan to have Martin Garcia get him outside and away from claustrophobia. This strategy might incur ground loss, but preferably not as much as his Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and, anyhow, a three-wide trip is better than having him stick his feet in the ground again.

    If Super Saver's Derby improvement was strictly due to trip, slop or a fondness for Churchill Downs, then with the right trip Lookin at Lucky is clearly at the top of the list of alternatives. Paddy O' Prado's Derby trouble is being overrated in my opinion, but he's obviously in with a chance, as well.  And for a longshot, consider Yawanna Twist at 30-1.  He's never run a bad race, has Rick Dutrow in his corner, his Illinois Derby was better than many think, and he has the tactical speed to secure a beneficial spot.

Nursing apparel More than 1 year ago
Interesting story..love it..i enjoyed reading it!thanks for sharing.
John More than 1 year ago
Randy, With both Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky both skipping the Belmont it looks like an extremely subpar year for three year olds. And unless something emerges from this group that will blow our socks off, and unless both Quality Road, Rail Trip, and Rachel Alexandra improve mightily, it looks like a repeat performance by Zenyatta, and hopefully, she will gather her HOY that was denied her the last two years.
ANDRES GUADARRAMA More than 1 year ago
Madeline Pappas More than 1 year ago
I disagree with the statement the Number one PP is not a problem. I have been a horse fan for over 35 years and I personally would like to say, Borel is very noted for his performances at Churchill, and is a Master at that track as Pat Day was. I think Super Saver could have won from any gate, but studying his style, and what the Derby, or any race takes out of horse, I knew he would not win the the Preakness. Baffert being also a Master of any track, knew what changes he needed and he made them. If watched First Dude in the Blue Grass, taking 3rd, and being rested up, I knew he would be there with Looking at Lucky. And it was a race Garcia will always be proud he won, because he was not on the lead. His horse put a performance in the the crowds roared on and on aboutuntil Lucky hit the finish line. Never forget both Baffert and Pletcher have brought life to the Horse World and neither of them should ever be dis credited for their talents and their horses. Hands off to D Wayne Lukas. Glad to see him back with outstanding horses. Preakness PP's 7/ 12 wins 11/2 wins, 6/14 wins, 5/ ten wins.
J.R. Weber More than 1 year ago
Randy I agree with you about Lucky and intimidation. He seems quick to spook.
pattyDaleure More than 1 year ago
I thought Lucky really flattened out in his last two, so I'll look elsewhere, Randy. Aikenite and Pleasant Prince have shown some true grit in the past, and they're fresh. I'll key both of them over and under the two favorites, along with win bets on my two at 16-1, if not more! Love your pace insights, Randy. Keep up the science and enjoy this beautiful day in Baltimore!
Marc Mink More than 1 year ago
Randy.. the trouble with post one in a big field is one of physics..as they come out of the gate , the opening to the main track eliminates the rail as a buffer and allows all the outside horses to push inward (in their stampede to avert a super wide trip on turn one) way more than if there were a rail there.. i have seen too many clearly superior animals get waylaid in that post.. it's a play against in a big field and as a handicapper, i pray for the favorite to get it on a yearly basis. The reason history shows the one post with so many winners has more to do with smaller fields in those than anything else
johnny d More than 1 year ago
Sorry Randy totally disagree with you. Hope that's ok. Every race should be looked at seperately. The bc was post thirteen so he had to go wide,that trip was actully not that bad. The rebel he clipped heels on the back stetch and made up for that with a gutty win. Santa anita derby he had a spot inside on the turn and was "there" but i think the jock was the one that was faint of heart,Gomez is the one who slamed on the brakes as far as i saw it. And if you don't think the rail had a huge effect on his trip in the derby then you need to watch it again, after getting pinched back early he got "slamed" way before the first turn. Now i don't think he asked too get slamed or draged out of a spot he was in (SA derby) so i think your theroy that this horse looks for trouble is totally off.