- Javier Castellano tells the Albany Times-Union of a certain horse he'll be riding next Saturday: "He's Tiger Woods .... he's Michael Jordan ... he's Barry Bonds. He's Bernardini!" Indeed, a horse with his immense talent could be all of those (without the steroids)(we hope)for our sport. Unfortunately, that won't be the case because the Classic is likely to be his last race.
There's a piece in the NY Times Magazine this weekend (paid content) on what exactly makes Bernardini, in the words of Darley's John Ferguson, one of the very few horses in the last 50 years that ticks every box.” One of those boxes is the colt's stride.
The average colt has a stride of 24.6 feet, according to Equix, a company in Lexington, Ky., that conducts biometrical analyses of thoroughbreds. Secretariat’s was 24.8. Bernardini, in the Preakness, checked in at 26.5 feet — “off the charts,” says Ginger Sanders, Equix’s president. Stride length may be the most crucial component of speed. And because a horse breathes in sync with its stride — inhaling as its front legs reach forward and exhaling as its lead leg strikes the ground — a longer gait means a deeper breath. That means more energy, which may explain why Bernardini, after finishing the Preakness, was barely winded.- Ray Kerrison writes in the Post that the only favorite to hit the board [in the last seven years] was First Samarai, who plugged home third at 6-5 last year.
If you took all the money lost on Juvenile favorites in the last seven years, you could build a tunnel from New York to London. Beware.Never to take anyone's word for anything, I looked that up myself, and it's true. Those other favorites were Roman Ruler (5th at 2-1 in 2004), Cuvee (dead last at 8-5 in 2003), Whywhywhy (10th at 5-2 in 2002), Officer (5th at 3-5 in 2001, ouch!), AP Valentine (dead last at 5-2 in 2000), and Forest Camp (6th at 5-2 in 1999).
I have no idea who the favorite will even be this year. It could come from the Norfolk, the prep, and a two-turn one on real dirt no less, which produced the best speed figures, as Stormello edged Principle Secret. Or it could come from the Pletcher trio of Scat Daddy, Circular Quay, and King of the Roxy. Or maybe even Great Hunter.