Sometimes you pick a Derby horse. Sometimes they pick you. Odysseus has picked me this year. I have been touting Malibu Moon and his progeny here for a long time. Not since Declan's Moon in 2005 has Malibu Moon put forth such a promising Kentucky Derby prospect. How can I not be on the bandwagon of this colt?
When the list of Triple Crown nominees comes out every year, I scour it for Malibu Moons and New York breds. This year, like most others, was pretty light in those categories. When it came time to assemble my Road to the Roses stable, I chose to include the best of the bunch, and that was Odysseus (as an aside, I have all 3 parts of this Trifecta in my R2tR stable).
It's also easy for me to root for the connections. Rajiv Maragh is a very good rider here on the New York circuit, trainer Tom Albertrani is one of the good guys and I like a lot of what Satish Sanan is saying about the sport and how to save it.
It wasn't just Saturday's win that got me hooked, it was the way he did it. Odysseus was rattled by Schoolyard Dreams blowing by him and he lost his stride. He showed that he wanted to win by pulling it together and giving it his all to the wire. I was so impressed that I had this blog post in mind even when I thought he lost. The fact that he got the nose in the photo just makes it better.
Was this a weak group competing in the Tampa Bay Derby? Perhaps. But Odysseus has improved in each of his races since his debut. I expect that his progression will continue. Also remember that last year's Tampa Bay winner, Musket Man, was very successful in the Triple Crown races.
Glad to hear this morning that the next race for Odysseus may be the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. My friends and I will be there to root him on. And check out new Odysseus fan page on FB put together by superfan Aspiring Horseplayer.