For horseplayers, the road to the Kentucky Derby begins the preceding year when next year’s three-year-olds begin racing as two-year-olds. The past nine eventual Kentucky Derby winners had made their career debut by September 18 of their two-year-old season.
For breeders, the road to the Kentucky Derby begins years ahead of time–on the racetrack, in the breeding shed, in the auction, and anywhere/anytime bloodstock decisions are being made/executed.
As a full-service breeding, selling, training, and racing operation, Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm in Central Kentucky knows this as well as any racing entity, which is why it is so involved not only in its clients horses but also fan engagement.
It’s a commitment to that latter endeavor that inspired WinStar to create StableMates and a Fantasy Derby contest, which is open for entries through noon E.T. on Saturday, February 4. The contest is based on the earnings of your stable and runs through the Arkansas Derby on April 15 at Oaklawn Park. Opening weekend features the Holy Bull at Gulfstream, Withers at Aqueduct, and Robert & Beverly Lewis at Santa Anita.
Me being the competitive person I am signed up right away not only to prove myself a keen observer of talent but also to stick it to my coworkers who are also playing. There are prizes beyond the TwinSpires.com office walls, of course, with paying members of the WinStar StableMates program able to win premium Kentucky Derby access among other things.
To play, you select three horses from four separate groups. To win, your horses earn more money in designated races than anyone else. I didn’t get too creative with my stable, basically riding the wave of we know who most of the good horses are by now.
Some picks were pretty much automatic: champion Classic Empire and Grade 1 winner Practical Joke for two. Of all my selections, the cutesiest one is probably Lookin At Lee, who chased a lot of good ones as a two-year-old, but never really broke through. I’ll take a flyer that trainer Steve Asmussen can get that breakthrough at three.
If you’re looking to study up before making your selections, Brisnet.com has FREE Ultimate Past Performances available for ALL Triple Crown nominees.