Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Scoop on the 2012 Kentucky Derby Horses

I’m a fan of thoroughbreds, a fan of major equine events that draw public attention, and a fan of watching these magnificent animals do what they love. Each year, the Kentucky Derby is the trifecta of all three. I love the horses, the silks, the singing of My Old Kentucky Home, the dresses, the hats, the ponies, and the mint juleps (which I’ve never had, but perhaps should try making this year!). And it’s always more fun when I know a little bit about the horses entered in the big race.

As the average horse enthusiast, I like to look for trainers I like, the prettiest horses, the best movement, and the most creative names. Not that any of that necessarily makes for a winner (well, except perhaps the trainer) – but it’s what attracts the horse lover in me. So without further ado, here’s the quick listing of 2012′s Kentucky Derby contenders, a few important things to know, and my top picks.

2012 Kentucky Derby Horses

Here’s the quick listing of horses and people. Click the horses’ names for the full details on each horse and his people from the official Kentucky Derby site.


Owner: Godolphin
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Alan Garcia


Owner: Zayat Stables
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

Creative Cause

Owner: Heinz Steinmann
Trainer: Mike Harrington
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Daddy Long Legs

Owner: Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Colm O’Donoghue

Daddy Nose Best

Owner: Cathy and Bob Zollars
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Done Talking

Owner: Skeedattle Stables
Trainer: Hamilton Smith
Jockey: Sheldon Russell


Owner: Donegal Racing
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

El Padrino

Owner: Let’s Go Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano


Owner: WinStar Farm LLC.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano


Owner: Dr. Kendall Hansen & Sky Chai Racing
Trainer: Mike Maker
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez

I’ll Have Another

Owner: J. Paul Reddam
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez


Owner: Arnold Zetcher
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Martin Garcia

My Adonis

Owner: George and Lori Hall

Trainer: Kelly Breen


Owner: Bluegrass Hall LLC
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Jon Court


Owner: John C. Oxley
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Luis Contreras

Rousing Sermon

Owner: Larry and Marianne Williams, Tree Top Ranches
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Jose Lezcano


Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Corey Nakatani

Take Charge Indy

Owner: Chuck & Maribeth Sandford
Trainer: Patrick Byrne
Jockey: Calvin Borel


Owner: Shivananda Racing
Trainer: Bisnath Parboo
Jockey: Willie Martinez

Union Rags

Owner: Chadds Ford Stable
Trainer: Michael Matz
Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Went The Day Well

Owner: Team Valor International
Trainer: H. Graham Motion
Jockey: John Velazquez

What You Should Know About the Kentucky Derby Horses

The current favorite: Gemologist

Gemologist is currently the bettors’ favorite, at 7-1 odds. Union Rags and Bodemeister are close behind, both at 9-2.

The long-shot: Done Talking

Done Talking currently sits at 50-1, followed by Trinniberg at 45-1. Liason and My Adonis are also long-shots at 40-1

Expert Picks: Union Rags, Creative Cause, I’ll Have Another Power Rankings by their horse racing experts put these three horses at the top, followed by Dullahan and Bodemeister.

Top Jockeys: Calvin Borel and Julien Leparoux

Calvin Borel (Take Charge Indy) has won the Derby a bajillion times (or so), with wins in 2007, 2009, and 2010 including on long-shot Mine That Bird. I never rule out a horse with Calvin in the saddle. Julien Leparoux (Union Rags) is an up-and-coming star, with 5 Breeder’s Cup wins and 2 Eclipse Awards since coming to the States in 2003.

Top Trainers: Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen

Both have several Derby winners under their belts and always have horses to watch out for.

Regarding Horses’ Kentucky Derby Picks

Here are the less serious, but more fun horses and people to watch out for during the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

Favorite Trainer: Michael Matz

This hunter/jumper rider will always, always root for former Olympic medal-winning show-jumper-turned-race-trainer, Michael Matz. Besides the fact that he trained the beloved Derby winner Barbaro, I’m always a fan of this atraditional trainer.

Prettiest Face: Bodemeister

This pretty bay has a gorgeous face, with a kind eye and striking blaze extending down just over his left nostril. Always love the good coloring with the fancy markings. Check out his first photo on the Kentucky Derby site … can’t you just see him cantering happily to a jump with this look?

Cutest Face: I’ll Have Another

This chestnut is simply adorable. I love his wide forehead, interested eyes, and fluffy mane that was recently in braids.

Overall Prettiest Horse: Take Charge Indy

What horse woman isn’t a sucker for the big, striking black horse with a pedigree to die for?

The Pretty Grays: Creative Cause and Hansen

Anyone who has ever owned a gray horse tends to always look for the fellow grays. I’m having a hard time picking which one is my favorite. I’m leaning towards Creative Cause, but I’ll let you decide.

Best Name: Went the Day Well

I just like it. Creative, catchy, positive, and optimistic for a good run.

Worst Name: Hansen

Lame. Enough said.

Favorite Long-Shot: Rousing Sermon

Besides having a great name, this long-legged chestnut wins me over with his big feet and big bones. He looks a tad uncoordinated, but that doesn’t always mean much in horse racing.

Top Picks: Union Rags and Take Charge Indy

I like to root for horses with good people, decent records, and who are generally favored to do well. Union Rags has trainer Michael Matz, for whom I automatically root. Take Charge Indy has Calvin Borel in the saddle and amazing breeding on his side. I also like that he’s coming off a Grade 1 win in the Florida Derby, in which Union Rags ran third.

Watch the 2012 Kentucky Derby on NBC

Tune in to NBC on your television for all the 2012 Kentucky Derby Coverage

  • Red Carpet Special: 4-5pm EST
  • Race Coverage: 5-7pm EST
  • Post time: 6:24pm EST

The 2013 Derby is only a few days away, but it’s not too early to start planning next year’s trip to the Kentucky Derby! Check out 2013 Kentucky Derby travel packages or Kentucky Derby tickets online.

(PS – be impressed that I have already mastered the art of one-handed blogging – bouncing the 2-week-old baby with one hand and typing with the other!)

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