As usual, odds makers are at odds about this year's Kentucky Derby contenders.
However, by reading the recent articles associated with the possible 2012 Kentucky Derby winners, it becomes clear that this is going to be a weird one for several reasons. Altogether, these unique observations by pick experts may have you second-guessing your original Kentucky Derby favorites.
A warning that Derby Fever may be real
At a recent reading at the University of Louisville, Kentucky author Mickey Hess said the idea for his new book, "The Nostalgia Echo," came about when he read that being nostalgic was considered a cause of death in the early 1900s. If thoughts can be so overwhelming that they cause fatalities, readers of horse-related blogs and publications about Kentucky Derby contenders should be careful.
All of the strange uncertainty over the winning horse gives the reader a strong feeling of anticipation that can only be called "Derby Fever." While no one knows for sure if you can die from Derby Fever, Sports Illustrated reported on April 14 that, "Derby fever is springing up all over. Owner Kendall Hansen has it now, saying he "can hardly work" as he counts down the week before his horse named Hansen runs in the Kentucky Derby on May 5."
Hansen goes on to say, "Something happened to my body. My nurses were telling me, 'Doc, your hands are shaking.' My hands never shake, but I've got a tremor now and I think it's from adrenaline. So I'm staying away from Mountain Dew."
2012 Kentucky Derby contenders oddly deep
It is difficult to pick the best horse at the 2012 Kentucky Derby when the list of contenders is full of winners. At least this is what James Scully from Brisnet.com reports in his April 19 views on which horse is most likely to win this year.
According to Scully, "These two colts were added to the "serious contender list" that is now bursting at the seams -- this will be one of the deepest Derby fields in years. Nearly half of the 20 starters will rate as serious win contenders."
Strange Trainers lurking
Part of the data that handicappers use to judge which horse will win the 2012 Kentucky Derby includes knowing the background of the horse trainers. For this reason, some of the contenders buzz has been focused on the odd fact that Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert are not training top horses for the Derby. Instead, GradedStakes.com points out that Michael Matz, Michael Maker, and Michael Harrington are all training, "this year's top three Kentucky Derby (Gr. I) prospects."
Union Rags in a weird place
Over at the AndDownTheStretchTheyCome blog, the list of top Kentucky Derby contenders has writer Matt Gardner feeling at odds with his odds. Gardner says, "Seems strange to have Union Rags this far down on the list but it's hard to put him in front of some of the others. He's still a big question mark at 10 furlongs." As of April 17, Union Rags is ranked at number 6 by Gardner.
New favorite springs to top
Like other handicappers online, Mike Watchman at the DRF.com blog is still stalling for a Kentucky Derby winner. On April 18, he pulled the "still too soon" card and stated, "There is still plenty of time for things to change in the train up to the Derby. Injuries - either horse or jockey - a change in the pace scenario, or an incredible workout could have a profound affect on Derby odds."
Instead, Watchman pointed out that a new favorite is on his charts. This surprising addition is Bodemeister. Regardless, Watchman backs up his strange claims by discussing fascinating details about this horse that swayed his opinions.
Lowest rung shows 2012 Derby's strength
The list of contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby have local Louisville horse racing writers baffled. Jennie Rees at the Courier-Journal was quick to point out that, "If the strength of a field can be determined by its lowest rung, consider El Padrino in the May 5 Kentucky Derby."
In the same article, Pat Byrne, trainer of Take Charge Indy, says, "I'm still scared of El Padrino. He's bred to go a mile and a quarter. For the average racing fan, it's going to be a fantastic race to watch and bet on."
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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.