2011 Triple Crown Candidates/Hopefuls
Looking for 2011 Triple Crown Hopefuls? With the Kentucky Derby less than a month away, it is time to take a look at this year’s top contenders.
The 2011 Derby prep race season wrapped up this past weekend with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
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It has been one of the most exciting seasons in years with quite a few dramatic finishes and some shocking upsets. It is now time to move onto the most exciting part of the season; the Triple Crown races.
The Kentucky Derby; the first and most prestigious of the crowned jewels will be run on Saturday, May 7 followed by the Preakness on May 21, and the Belmont on June 11.
The last Triple Crown Champion was Affirmed, who won all three races in 1978. Since then, 11 horses have managed to win the first two legs, but have failed to win the longest of the three races; the 1 ½ mile Belmont. The last horse that won the first two legs was Big Brown back in 2008. BetED.com has set the current money line for a Triple Crown winner this year at +700 for yes and -1100 for no.
Here is a preview of five horses that have a legitimate shot at being the next Triple Crown Champion.
This horse was the top juvenile in 2010 with four victories including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November. He finished a disappointing third in April’s Wood Memorial, which was his only race this season as a three-year old, but ran the race with an intestinal infection. Trained by Todd Pletcher, this horse has the best chance of any of this year’s contenders to win all three races, starting as the likely odds-on-favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
Dialed In staked his claim as one of this year’s top three-year old Thoroughbreds with a victory in the Holy Bull Stakes earlier in the year and, more impressively, the Florida Derby on April 3. He is trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Julien Leparoux. A win in the Derby would most likely set him up as the favorite for the Preakness, but the added distance of the Belmont may be out of this horse’s comfort level.
A surprising third choice for a Triple Crown run, but Archarcharch proved it can run with the best with a victory in the Southwest Stakes on February 21 and most recently pulling off the upset in the Arkansas Derby as a 25-1 longshot on April 16. Trained by William “Jinks” Fires and ridden by Jon Court, this horse has shown fearlessness in his racing style, and appears be primed for a successful run over the next month and a half.
Mucho Macho Man
This horse has only one major stakes victory to his credit; the Risen Star on February 19, but was second in the Louisiana Derby on March 26. His biggest hurdle will be the Kentucky Derby itself, but sets up well for the Preakness and the Belmont. He is trained by Katherine Ritvo and ridden by Eibar Coa. His actual chances to win all three races are extremely thin, but you get the feeling he will be extremely competitive in any of the ones he does run in.
This is another horse that made a name for itself during the prep race season. Nehro finished a close second in the Louisiana Derby on March 26 and came back on short rest to finish second in the Arkansas Derby three weeks later. This is the kind of stamina needed for a Triple Crown run, and if he does manage to capture the Derby, could become an instant favorite in the other two. He is trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Michael Baze.