Thursday, February 6, 2014

HRN: Derby Hopeful: Top Billing

Each time I post a new article on my Horse Racing Nation blog, I post a notice on this blogThese notices include an excerpt from the beginning of that article and a link to the piece. My latest Horse Racing Nation article is. . .

Derby Hopeful: Top Billing

For the first time, my Derby Hopefuls will be reaching the pages of Horse Racing Nation rather than the original Past the Grandstand. Derby Hopefuls feature the horses I view as the best contenders leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Each horse spotlighted in a Derby Hopeful will join the 2014 PTG Derby Hopeful roster, found on the right side of this blog (the original Past the Grandstand). Horses will be listed in an order that corresponds to how highly I think of them, with the horse I think most highly of ranking at the top. A horse featured in a Derby Hopeful may be taken off the roster if its performances after its article are published are not up to par or if that horse is taken off the Triple Crown trail, though those articles will remain on my blog.

"The result of the 2013 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) was a heartwarming one. When Orb splashed through the mud to attain Derby glory, he granted Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first win in America’s most famous race. A Kentucky native, McGaughey has for decades been a household name, conditioning the likes of the champions Easy Goer, Lure, and Personal Ensign. But the garland of red roses had been incredibly elusive for McGaughey. One of the most respected horsemen in the history of Thoroughbred racing, McGaughey had six previous Derby starters, including Easy Goer – who finished second behind Sunday Silence, a horse he would later defeat in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) – before he ever reached the Derby winner’s circle with Orb.

Could a sequel to this fairytale play out this year on the first Saturday in May? McGaughey has two top Derby contenders in Honor Code and Top Billing, the latter of which has drawn attention without even having competed in stakes company yet. Although back-to-back Derby wins is a rare feat, McGaughey is more than deserving of this accomplishment. Could Top Billing allow him to fulfill that hope? . . ."

Click here to read the rest of my newest Horse Racing Nation article.

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