I haven't done any handicapping but it seems John Velasquez is due.
I haven't done any handicapping but it seems John Velasquez is due.
I'm going with Bandini, but my daughter likes High Flyer.
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit. - E. Fudd
Who do I like in A Derby?
Tough Call, I'd have to say I really couldn't pick one person :
Bellamy Road is the odds on fav, so that means he won't win. The Favorites never seem to win the Kentucky Derby.
I'm so on Greeley's Galaxy's jock its not even funny.
I've had a good record picking Illinois Derby winners to win the Kentucky Derby, I may put my money where my mouth is and go with GG.
Noble Causeway. I'm probably going to put some money on him, he's a closer and I think the early pace is going to be ridiculous. I like Gary Stevens alot too, so that doesn't hurt.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
That's a good call JD. Speed horses always flame out at that distance. Closers always rule the day.
That's why I'll avoid High Limit and Bellamy Road, both front runners. Dangerous for long distances like the Triple Crown races.
Man, I've been working too much. Can't believe the Derby is already here. I feel like I almost missed it. Usually in the weeks running up I'm reading up quite a bit on it. Going to have to catch up.
i like afleet alex(i believe that's right) As much as i love keeneland, i learned to never bet on a horse that had a prep race there, so there goes bandini.
i would never get involved with anything steinbrenner, so there goes bellemy road.
afleet alex crushed the field in arkansas, a rather weak one, however.
but hey i feel lucky
*btw, i haven't correctly picked a derby winner in 18 years............. i'm 18 years old
I agree that Bellamy Road's running style will be a big problem for him. But boy was his Wood special. When you think of all the great horses who have run that distance at Aqueduct tying the track record is something (and with the jockey standing up before the finish). Beyer said his figure was one of the highest ever.
Colt nearly didn't survive 1st year
By Alicia Wincze
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
Should Afleet Alex become the 131st horse to win the Kentucky Derby, it might be hard pressed to even rank as his greatest accomplishment.
Such is the story for the son of Northern Afleet, who spent his first days on Earth facing down death and whose success has produced much more than a million-dollar bankroll.
While Afleet Alex's on-track credentials likely will make him among the Derby favorites, the storybook circumstances surrounding the bay colt already are tops in this year's sentimental category.
A victory by Afleet Alex on Saturday would represent the first Derby win for veteran trainer Tim Ritchey after nearly three decades in the business and make 25-year-old jockey Jeremy Rose the second consecutive rider to capture the roses in his first Derby start.
As important as a Derby win might be to Afleet Alex's legacy in the sport, several of his connections feel that 11/4-mile test is nothing compared to the hardships he already has overcome -- and inspiration he provided along the way.
"He's kind of been an underdog," Ritchey said. "He had to overcome a lot of things right from birth. And so far he's lived up to the task."
Before May 2002, Maggy Hawk had had an uneventful, not to mention undistinguished, career as a broodmare.
After the mare gave birth to Afleet Alex, however, breeder John Silvertand discovered Maggy Hawk could not produce milk for the colt and, thus, was unable to provide him with the crucial antibody colostrum needed to help ward off disease outside the womb.
"The mare was at a boarding farm in Ocala, and we just happened to be in Florida the weekend he was born," Silvertand said. "The decision was made immediately to bottle feed him until we could get in a nurse mare in from another farm."
For the next several days while awaiting the nurse mare's arrival, the farm's staff became Afleet Alex's new parents.
The colt was looked after 24 hours a day, receiving nothing but human contact. Even Silvertand's nine-year-old daughter, Lauren, lent her support, feeding Alex out of a sterilized Coors Light bottle.
"They had a photo of my daughter feeding him, but that was just happenstance," Silvertand said. "It was really the farm that did the majority of the work. Normally they say bottle-fed horses don't do very well, but he's obviously proven that wrong."
Six months after helping save Afleet Alex, Silvertand had to say goodbye to the skinny colt. The native of England had purchased Maggy Hawk and four other mares as part of a foal-sharing situation with John Devers and literally lost a coin flip to Devers when it came time to decide ownership of Afleet Alex.
"If I had won that toss, I would have kept him myself," Silvertand said. "Now I'm on the outside looking in."
Instead, Afleet Alex was offered at public auction during May 2004 at the Fasig-Tipton two-year-olds in training sale.
Sitting in the sales pavilion that day was Philadelphia businessman Chuck Zacney, who had put together an ownership group named Cash is King Stable after previously being part of a small partnership in the 1990s.
Through mutual friends, Zacney had gotten in touch with Ritchey, a former steeplechase jockey who broke into the training business in 1974.
Although Ritchey was impressed with Afleet Alex, few others in the pavilion were as Zacney needed to bid only $75,000 to secure the colt.
"He was the first horse we bought for the group," Zacney laughed. "One thing that really caught Tim's eye about Alex is how he didn't get frazzled by people like some of the other horses did. I think that's probably a direct result of him having so much human contact when he was a baby. To this day, he's such a friendly horse."
Nothing seemed to rattled Afleet Alex on the track either as he won four of six starts as a juvenile and gave Ritchey his first career Grade I win when he took the Hopeful Stakes last August.
Around that time, the Cash is King group got a phone call from Silvertand. Not only did the longtime breeder want to express his support for Afleet Alex, but he also wanted it known that the colt he once helped survive was now saving his own life.
"I have cancer, and this is one of the things that has kept me alive," Silvertand said. "So much about beating this disease is your mental well-being, and I really do believe that if you set your mind toward something and have things to look forward to, it helps you combat it mentally and physically.
"Alex has helped. He's given me that. Prior to the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile), I said, 'I will be here when Alex wins the Derby next year.' "
Even before his connections learned of Silvertand's situation, Afleet Alex was doing his part to help ease Silvertand's suffering.
While thumbing through the newspaper one day last summer, Zacney saw an article about a young girl named Alex afflicted with cancer who was trying to raise funds for research on the disease through a lemonade stand she had opened.
Zacney began pledging money to the fund after each of Afleet Alex's races and, although the young girl lost her battle with cancer, proceeds from the colt's earnings still support of the cause.
"We didn't even know about John (having cancer) until right before the Breeders' Cup," Zacney said. "But when we read about this courageous girl named Alex, I thought it was a great connection. And it's been great to be a part of it."
The emotional ride for the Afleet Alex crew hasn't slowed in 2005. After running last in the Rebel Stakes, Afleet Alex reasserted his class during an Arkansas Derby romp, which pushed his career earnings to $1,315,800.
Just as he predicted, Silvertand and his family are planning to make the journey to Louisville for the Derby. And less than a year after their partnership was formed, Zacney and the rest of the Cash is King crew are preparing themselves for a possible trip to the winners' circle on Saturday.
Last season, Ritchey watched friend and fellow trainer John Servis orchestrate a fairy-tale run to the Derby with Smarty Jones. Each time Ritchey looks over at Afleet Alex, he can't help but think he's got a heck of sequel residing in his barn.
"He'll have to prove himself in the Triple Crown races ... but it's a great story," Ritchey said. "It's a great human-interest story the way the horse was raised, his breeder with terminal cancer, and Alex's Lemonade Stand. And myself and the owners feel very fortunate to have a horse like this. These horses come along once in a lifetime."