Kentucky Derby: Animal Kingdom Will Win the 137th Derby

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IMay 7, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 06:  The Twin Spires are seen during the 137th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

If Uncle Mo was still scheduled to race tomorrow, I'd be confident that he was healthy and going to win.  However, after the announcement that he was scratched this morning, I had to re-evaluate the race and I really think Animal Kingdom has a legitimate shot to win.

I believe the race contains numerous horses with good speed that will set early fractions.

Decisive Moment, Comma to the Top, Pants on Fire, Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford, Midnight Interlude and Soldat all have shown the desire and ability to set an honest pace.  Expect at least three of these horses to charge to the front and set strong early fractions.

If Comma to the Top breaks well, I believe he will have the lead for at least the first six furlongs of this race.  In his last performance, Comma to the Top ran a game second in the Santa Anita Derby and was beaten at the wire by Midnight Interlude in 1:48.3.

As the race finally begins to unfold, I wouldn't be shocked at all if Santiva started to make a move to the front.  Santiva won his only start at Churchill Downs last November with Shaun Bridgmohan by stalking the lead and then surging to the front. 

While Santiva will make a bold move, I think Soldat and Midnight Interlude will also make big moves as the race approaches the eight furlong range.

Soldat has had solid start after solid start except for the clunker last time out in the Florida Derby.  If the racetrack has any moisture in it, that will also help this horse.

Midnight Interlude ran a superb race last time out in winning the Grade One Santa Anita Derby.  Victor Espinoza stays on this colt and he should be a factor deep in the stretch.

The last three horses that intrigue me are Archarcharch, Dialed In and Animal Kingdom. 

Dialed In will be the somewhat heavy favorite, probably with odds around 7/2 and that's a pretty good value for a horse that should be the favorite.

In his four lifetime starts, Dialed In has always run well and tomorrow should be no exception.

Archarcharch should also be moving late and I like how he closed in the Arkansas Derby on April 16th.  He went four wide and won in 1:49.1.

With all the being said, I like Animal Kingdom to edge out Midnight Interlude, Dialed In and Archarcharch to win the Kentucky Derby.

Animal Kingdom has a huge question in that he's never won on conventional dirt.  Normally, that would scare me a lot but I really like the six furlong work on April 30th in 1:13.1 and I think with the good chances of showers tomorrow—a wet track will help this colt, who seems to love the turf.

I won't be surprised if Animal Kingdom is 40:1.

My official bet will look like this:

Animal Kingdom/Midnight Interlude, Dialed In, Archarcharch and Santiva/Midnight Interlude, Dialed In, Archarcharch, Santiva, Nehro and Soldat.