Molly Jo Rosen, 27, has been clocking thoroughbreds for 10 years, but she’s been riding horseback since her diaper days.
Girlfriend knows her equines.
Here’s a chance to float down her stream of consciousness as Rosen discusses the Kentucky Derby horses she has observed, in most cases, for more than a year – but more intensely than ever in recent weeks.
It’s a look through the eyes of someone who knows what she’s looking at when half-ton animals go thundering by.
Nobody has really changed. We have seen (in past years) horses peak in the two weeks leading up to the race, and I’ve not seen anybody do that this year. Except for Orb, but he looked great when he got here.
The colts tend to show where they are in the last week. Now it’s a matter of who is holding together – or just holding it together as opposed to excelling. Physically, they aren’t going to get any fitter. Now it’s who is mentally ready to jump to the next level?
These horses are all essentially equally talented. From a physical talent, yeah, who’s peaking is going to be important. But he fun part is watching them mentally.
Orb is kind of a throwback. One of the reasons (2011 Derby winner) Animal Kingdom stood out is he was a throwback. He was tall and long and had that beautiful bowed neck. He’s not a typical racehorse that we see in America, with that compact, muscular body that’s obviously been bred for speed. I think Orb has that same thing.
Verrazano has always been a standout physically, but Verrazano doesn’t give you The Vibe. Close Hatches (a Kentucky Oaks contender) does. The gallop she had yesterday looked like a Royal Delta gallop. She just owns it.
(Royal Delta is a two-time champion filly.)
Midnight Lucky, when you’re one-on-one with her, does (have The Vibe). But on the track, she doesn’t.
(Oaks filly) Rose to Gold has steadily increased how much I like her every day. I keep coming back to her. Close Hatches, same thing.
Overanalyze, down the stretch (Saturday), was leaning on Palace Malice. He did it in his last race too. He doesn’t necessarily run the straightest course and that could be his undoing down the line.
But 20 seconds after they were done galloping out, I look over at the backstretch and there is a horse sprinting back to the Pletcher barn. And it was Overanalyze. Even (trainer Todd) Pletcher said it in the press conference. He was surprised as all get out by, yeah, how the horse worked but mostly by how he came back.
That horse was so full of himself and proud. … Whether or not it means he’s got the ability or will get the trip or have the luck to win, I don’t know. But I thought – and Pletcher said it – is that this is a horse, the light just went on for him. And I think that makes him interesting.
Here’s the problem with Revolutionary, his last two run lines are (full of) trouble. I like a horse who can overcome trouble in a Derby prep because it shows that he can handle it. However, Revolutionary seems to create trouble for himself.
It’s like everyone used to say about Zenyatta. At some point, she’s going to leave herself too much to do. At some point, Revolutionary is going to leave himself too much to do.
He beat nothing in the Withers. He beat a good enough field in Louisiana.
He’s done nothing wrong (in his works), and I like Calvin (Borel, the Hall of Fame jockey) being on him from a handicapping standpoint. I think it’s a good fit and a smart fit. The reason I like Calvin on that horse is Calvin will keep him out of trouble.
A lot is being made about Mylute not galloping out (in the Louisiana Derby and) in his works. I had his work two weeks ago when he broke 10 (lengths) behind the workmate, inhaled him on the turn and the (rider) didn’t even hit him. He drew off easily by 8 and it was beautiful.
I had him in 47 (seconds) and change but with a (1 minute, 14 second) gallop out. I was like, What just happened here? And Bruno (DeJulio, another clocker) said, “That’s him. He shuts himself down at the wire.”
(Equine behaviorialist) Kerry Thomas would say he needs multiple stimuli down the stretch.
Itsmyluckyday, I haven’t seen him since the (Ocala Breeders Sale) last year, but he’s a very interesting horse. He has a lot of presence.
Will Take Charge has that Look At Me quality. I’m not gonna say he’s the most efficient horse I’ve seen, but he’s not the worst of the (running) action that’s out there by any stretch. I think he’s a beautiful horse and a nice-moving horse.