2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders
Updated: April 16, 2012. This week's top 10 contenders list compares my top 10 Kentucky Derby® contenders with two expert's picks: John Asher and Loren Hebel-Osborne.
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Top 10 Contender Picks for the Kentucky Derby®
*Unique Pick for Each Analyst
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Breaking Down the Picks
Union Rags continues to hold strong as the top contender for the 2012 Kentucky Derby®. Ranked number one in both Asher and my rankings, Union Rags is still the odds favorite (9-2). He had a severe slip in March's Florida Derby, which was the only blemish in his Derby preps. He has three wins in his last five races, and should have the best odds heading into the 2012 Kentucky Derby®.
Loren Hebel-Osborne has Hansen as her top contender in this week's rankings. She stated, "I have been on the Hansen bandwagon, and I don't think that now is the time to step off. I believe the colt will move up again when he moves back onto the Churchill dirt surface." The Kentucky-bred Hansen could have a home-field advantage at Churchill Downs® and should remain a top pick for this year's Derby.
Dullahan and Bodemeister were the biggest movers in this week's rankings. Dullahan had a huge win in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes, establishing himself as a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby®. Hansen had the lead for most of the race, but Dullahan gobbled up ground to blow past Hansen in the final jumps. Hebel-Osborne took notice of Dullahan at this weekend's race, but is cautious about listing him as a high favorite. "While I love Dullahan, the colt has yet to win a race on the dirt surface and he is so dependent on a clean trip for that massive close, that I believe he will have too much to do within the Derby race."
Bodemeister solidified his trip to the 2012 Kentucky Derby® with a win at Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. Garnering only $60,000 in graded stakes earnings entering the race, Bodemeister needed a big race to earn a spot in the Derby. Bodemeister dominated in wire-to-wire fashion by 9 1/2 lengths, and ran himself into the Run for the Roses.
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About the Experts
John Asher joined Churchill Downs® in 1997 as a publicist and racing analyst, and moved to his current role as vice president of Racing Communications two years later. Before his arrival at Churchill Downs, Asher earned five media Eclipse Awards for Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing at Louisville radio stations WHAS and WAVG.
Loren Hebel-Osborne maintains an active racing and breeding farm just outside of Louisville. She often serves as a guest speaker and racing analyst for schools, clubs, corporate events and local news stations WHAS-TV and WBKI’s “Louisville Live” for Kentucky Derby® and Breeders’ Cup coverage. Loren also spent 15 years with VISA where she was involved in all aspects of managing its sponsorship of the Triple Crown and the Kentucky Derby®.
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