“My horse will win the Triple Crown.” -Jockey Calvin Borel
If you’re a fan of horse racing, it’s really not all that hard to hate some of the colts that have won the Kentucky Derby in the past. Big Brown (2008) had an idiot of a trainer that ultimately got suspended for pumping drugs both into himself and his horses. Funny Cide (2006) had a jockey in Jose Santos that reportedly cheated in the Kentucky Derby. Though that story turned out to be nothing more than a horrible display of journalism, watching Santos’ kid jump up and down while his daddy was crossing the finish line for a month was getting old.
But what’s there not to like about Super Saver? After all, jockey Calvin Borel has quickly become one of the most loved faces in the sport, and everyone has to feel great for trainer Todd Pletcher who, in spite of the fact that he was always known as one of the best trainers in the sport, had never won a Run for the Roses in his life. His pedigree directly or indirectly includes the loveable A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Mr. Prospector, and Monarchos, all of which were just icons of the horse racing world as well.
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However, this may be a great story for horse racing, but what the sport really needs is a Triple Crown winner.
Sorry, Calvin. You may think that your horse is winning the Triple Crown, but you’re wrong.
Super Saver has too many holes in his game. It’s becoming a known fact more and more that Borel is merely going to try to keep his horse on the rail and surge right at the end. That’s what he did with Mine That Bird last year at both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and it’s precisely what he did with Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness Stakes as well. All it’s going to take is some trainer sending out a rabbit just to sit with him right there on the rail and box him in, and Super Saver’s dreams of winning all three of the biggest races in the sport will be dashed unless Borel has another fantastic move in him.
There’s also the argument that the Kentucky Derby was more a matter of luck and jockey skill than it was the quality of the horse. While racing on an absolute mess of a track, Super Saver merely outlasted a crop of relatively weak three year olds that had never seen this type of surface before. We’ll see just how strong Super Saver really is if the conditions are significantly better at Pimlico.
It’s also not a good sign that several other top trainers are most likely going to send their best horses after Super Saver again at Pimlico. That means that names like Dublin, Ice Box, and Lookin At Lucky will most likely be entered into this field. It also means that a lot of horses that are probably a lot fresher than the Kentucky Derby champ will be in the field, several of which will probably look to do nothing more than keep Super Saver from winning the race.
Even if Super Saver does survive the Preakness Stakes and enter the Belmont as the champ of both races, he is going to be up against it in a big way. He has a very disappointing finish at the Tampa Bay Derby in which he fell off of the pace right at the very end in a 1 1/6 mile outing. If Super Saver can’t make it 1 1/16 miles, making it 1 1/2 miles in the Big Apple just isn’t going to happen.
Look, don’t get me wrong. We would love to see Super Saver cash in once again as a hefty favorite at the Preakness Stakes and draw a massive crowd to Elmont, NY in a few weeks to see if we could finally crown the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. However, we realize that you can win one leg of the Triple Crown by luck.
You can’t win all three that way. Someone will inevitably nip this horse at Pimlico, and if not there, then almost certainly at the Belmont.