I have seen this movie before, Baffert has the two-year-old champion, he makes a late entrance to the Derby picture, by design.
For many, the Derby is like painting by numbers, what happened last year or the year before and let's plug that unto the canvas.
To me, every Triple Crown, every Kentucky Derby has its own twist. A few years ago I went with huge long shot in West Point Thoroughbreds Commanding Curve, and he ran a winning race just unlucky to run into a freak in California Chrome. A couple of years earlier, I loved Orb and Will Take Charge and Verrazano took me 'Charge out of the race at the 1/8 pole as Court never saw the Pletcher colt drift well past the middle of the track.
This past November, at Churchill Downs, in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, Game Winner, won in emphatic style, cementing his Championship 2yo season, everyone sighed 'here we go again'.
Like, American Pharaoh, this colt showed brilliance. Learned, his lessons, by leaps and bounds, and THE effort in the BC Juve was amazing. He traveled 4 wide throughout and running down a game Knicks Go in the process.
Game Winner, however, doesn't remind of American Pharaoh, he reminds me of Mastery.
American Pharaoh is remembered most for winning the Triple Crown, but he was injured prior to the Breeders Cup Juvenile and didn't race until March.
American Pharoah scorched them in the Rebel Stakes and then the Arkansas Derby, before his Kentucky Derby win, his third off the layoff.
Game Winner most likely will have this race off the layoff in the Kentucky Derby. Game Winner is possibly on the same pattern, because Improbable, the other Baffert star, who could be what Dortmund was to 'Pharaoh.
Improbable may be targeted for Santa Anita and the Santa Anita Derby. 'Winner following the the 'Pharaoh route.
Game Winner, in the last work, started to show his true form, his works prior to that had me a bit worried. Santa Anita, however, has had a deluge of rain over the past three weeks, that has disrupted training, and track maintenance.
The status of the main track is a major factor in injuries. You cannot train a horse over a number of different tracks in a week. We saw that at Saratoga during the 2018 summer.
We would get a good day, fas track, then rain, a sealed track, wet fast sealed for works, a drying out track in the afternoon, but dry on top, wet and sealed underneath, then a drying out deep track, then more rain, sealed, wet, muddy on top, As soon as the track dried, it was rinse and repeat.
Horses deal with 5 to 6 different tracks in a week. That's when you get bone bruising, soft tissue injuries, and more.
A great example would be Audible, who had feet issues and patches all over his brittle feet even before the Florida Derby, the rain and wet ground in the Kentucky Derby forced him to miss time to heal those feet as water seeps in the brittle hoof wall and creates more problems.
I have refined my horsemanship skills by, inspecting buying, selling, raising, breeding and racing my own horses. The experiences I have had alongside fine horsemen and veterinarians like Phillip Hammock, True Baker, Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi, Michelle Nevin, Bob Baffert, Brian Lynch, Eric Guillot, Keith Nations, Greg Foley, Jeff Mullins, Vladimir Cerin, and my mentors, the late Jack Haynes and my current mentor, Rudy Delguidice have made our opinions and features truly exclusive.
Therefore, heading forward, you can bet your daily double money, we will have the most comprehensive, exclusive info all the Derby hopefuls.
As we did Justify, above, he touted himself to us, and we will as thorough with our coverage painting you a picture by our eyes and horseman skill set and not time alone.