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2012 Road To The Roses: Another Year Of Futility?

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This jock needs to win a lot of Derby preps this spring.
This jock needs to win a lot of Derby preps this spring.

This weekend marks the beginning of the 2012 Road To The Roses fantasy game, the official fantasy game of the Kentucky Derby. In order for all of our readers to witness my ongoing failure to put together a winning Road to the Roses stable, I will provide periodic updates on my performance in this year's game. This weekend's Risen Star and Fountain of Youth are the first scoring races. Points are earned by horses, jockeys and trainers finishing first, second or third, with points increasing based on whether the race is a Grade 1, 2, 3, or Listed

And with that introduction, let's take a look at my soon-to-be middling stable for 2012.

The Horses

Players chose an initial stable of 15 horses, two jockeys and two trainers. Three horses are selected as "Power Horses" which earn double points the week that they are active. Five additional horses will be added during two supplemental stages.

Below is my beginning stable, along with my reasons for selecting each horse/jock/trainer.

  • Afford
  • Algorithms (Week 1 Power Horse)
  • Alpha
  • Bodemeister
  • Creative Cause
  • Declaration of War
  • El Padrino (Week 1 Power Horse)
  • Ever So Lucky
  • Fed Biz
  • Gemologist
  • Hansen
  • Out of Bounds
  • Union Rags (Week 1 Power Horse)
  • Z Dager

Afford will get opportunities to score points in the Risen Star and, likely, the Louisiana Derby; this is more of a regional play than anything else. The Fair Grounds contingent isn't overly strong this year, in my view, so I've tried to think a little outside-the-box with my selections from that circuit.

Algorithms is an easy choice as one of the current top contenders.

Alpha provides a New York presence since he should be running in both the Gotham and the Wood.

Bodemeister hasn't done anything against stakes company buy it's tough to ignore his almost 10 length maiden win at Santa Anita on Feb. 11th. You know Baffert will be aggressive with this colt.

Creative Cause already has a ton of graded earnings making him a good bet to be eligible for the Derby in May. He provides a good California presence to the stable.

Declaration of War is one of my way, way, way outside-of-the-box selections (I like to have at least one every year). He's a French-raced colt (on the synthetic tracks of Deauville and Pornichet-La Baulc) that is training down in Florida for a yet-to-be-determined 2012 debut. It's doubtful he'll produce any points for me but I thought, ‘what the hell.'

El Padrino is on the Fair Grounds circuit and, at a minimum, provides a good wet track runner.

Ever So Lucky is one of my typical "horse for course" plays; he's run only two races of his career, both at Churchill Downs, and both were good efforts. He's been training in Florida this last month.

Fed Biz is a "Bodemeister-type pick; a big time winner against maidens and allowance company and should get every chance to prove himself in prep races at Santa Anita.

Gemologist is the second of my "horse for course" picks. He's 3-for-3 and won the G2-Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill last November.

Hansen already has enough earnings to make the Derby field and while he might not be a 10 furlong horse, he's good enough to pick up points during prep season.

Truth be told, I don't love my selection of Out of Bounds, but I wanted another California horse and I decided to take him.

Union Rags, like Hansen and Algorithms, is pretty much a "must include" for Road to the Roses.

Z Dager is a horse that I'm really starting to like, at least until he finishes up the track in today's Risen Star. (Hopefully that won't happen!) He should get a couple of races down at the Fair Grounds where the Derby contenders look to be a little weaker (at this point) than the rest of the country.

The Jockeys

  • Julien Leparoux
  • Rafael Bejarano

I usually don't put a whole lot of thought into my jockey selections. I always take Leparoux because he's one of my favorite jocks and I want to be sure and get points if he's on any winners. Throw in the fact that he's ridding Union Rags this spring and he seems like a good choice.

In year's past I've always taken Gomez or Velazquez or somebody of that ilk, but this year I decided to go with Bejarano for really no other reason than I'm a big fan of his. As you can see, this is quite the scientific endeavor.

The Trainers

  • Bob Baffert
  • Todd Pletcher

The trainers are "no-brainers", in my opinion; Pletcher and Baffert each have a huge contingent of talented three-year-olds and prep season is all about firing lots of bullets. I think I've chosen the same two trainers every year for the past five or six years.