2015 Derby Dozen 4

They’ve prepped and they’ve shipped.  They’ve raced and they’ve worked.  They’ve gone off and on the list, up and down as well.  One last time the duo of Picks and Ponderings, for Wireplayers, makes a Derby Dozen list.  It should be noted that the list below is made before the draw, and a final round of Kentucky Derby Picks and Ponderings will be made after the draw.

Both halves of the team haven’t made many changes at the top of the list.  Nicolle has had KEEN ICE at number one nearly all season long.  Paul has had INTERNATIONAL STAR at number two and even said it was a 1/1A scenario in the third Derby Dozen until Far From Over went on the disabled list.   So it’s no surprise either is their final top horse.  Time will tell whose conviction has been more correct.

Finally, a shout-out and a thank you to WirePlayers for holding their panel and inviting Nicolle and I on the panel.  It’s been fun.

Both authors, Paul Mazur and Nicolle Neulist are pleased to be members of the “Derby Dozen” panel for WirePlayers. Each member of the panel chooses and then ranks twelve of the best Kentucky Derby Contenders. In addition, there are comments from members of the panel. The list is taken fairly seriously; the comments however are more snarky than serious.  In keeping with the format of the second Derby Dozen, both lists are presented below – Nicolle’s list followed by Paul’s list.

This year, in addition, horses 1-10 will represent Paul’s ballot in the NTRA Media poll, when said poll is conducted. NTRA poll results will be available from that site and tweeted by Paul on Mondays/Tuesdays. As this list is published before the final list is published including all the panelists, a link to the final ballot will be provided once it is available, usually the Wednesday or Thursday after this poll is submitted.

Okay, enough disclaimers and jibber jabber.   Without further ado, here’s the Derby Dozen. (Week ending April 26.)

Updated on April 30 to include the full ballot.

Nicolle’s Derby Dozen

1. KEEN ICE    Keen Ice returns to the the track where he has won, going the distance he is bred to run.  Thank you, Madefromlucky, for so courteously stepping aside.

2. DORTMUND  Big, game, consistent…and certain to be an overlay given how well-bet his stablemate will be.

3. MATERIALITY    He can handle adversity and will relish a mile and a quarter.  Zip it, Apollo.

4. INTERNATIONAL STAR    No less an authority than Ken Ramsey proclaimed that we had to use International Star in our superfectas.

5. FIRING LINE    A horse who can make Dortmund work, at a square price?  Yes, please.

6. AMERICAN PHAROAH    Still untested, but the Arkansas Derby was breathtaking.  The ultimate defensive use.

7. MUBTAAHIJ    How many others in this field beat four, five, and six year olds at age two?

8. CARPE DIEM     Too untested to love, too consistent to toss.

9. FAR RIGHT     It was nice of Far Right to keep American Pharoah’s throne warm before he arrived in Arkansas.

10. EL KABEIR   Please, Calvin Borel, don’t send him twenty lengths back on the rail like you did with Ride On Curlin last year.

11. UPSTART    Upstart at his best contends, but we have not seen his best since the Holy Bull.

12. FROSTED    After the Fountain of Youth I don’t trust him one iota, but someone had to be twelfth.

Paul’s Derby Dozen

1. INTERNATIONAL STAR    Checks off all the boxes and has shown a new dimension in each leg of his prep sweep in New Orleans.

2. CARPE DIEM    He’s done fine work in his preps, but I get the nagging feeling he could run a clunker in the Derby and come back later at a price.

3. DORTMUND    Never been high on him, but the fact he’s come this far makes him that’s hard to be against.

4. AMERICAN PHAROAH    He looked the best in Arkansas but he did it against the worst.

5. KEEN ICE    You have to be in it to win it…or be the one who scrambles everyone’s trifecta and superfecta tickets.

6. UPSTART    He was one, but not sure he still is one.

7. FROSTED    I won’t sugar-coat how I feel about this one: Do Not Want.

8. MATERIALITY    Apollo will be calling Mercury Morris (of the 1972 Miami Dolphins) and having a toast on Sunday May 3.

9. EL KABEIR    You know, I hear West Virginia in August can be scenic.

10. FIRING LINE    Never held this one high in my polls and don’t see much reason to upgrade at this point.

11. MUBTAAHIJ    You know, the Chicago-to-Louisville connection isn’t entirely a dead-end round.

12. OCHO OCHO OCHO    One-third of his name is a good over/under on where he finishes.


Got any good contenders? Don’t see your favorite?  State your case, drop a comment, and let me know.


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  • Best article ever read on kentucky derby

    Kentucky Derby 2015

  • In reply to Shafiuddin:


    We're glad you hold us in high praise! --PM

  • Paul, totally simpatico on Int'l Star. Couple prognosticators raising red flags about Mena's use of whip in La Derby. Not sure what they're getting at - horse ran 12.7/36.5 final 1/8 and 3/8 to run down Stanford. Are they saying he had to "beat a dead horse" which is wrong based on those strong final fractions, or are they being critical of Mena's handling of the animal? Your thoughts?

  • In reply to neocaine:


    I think they're being critical on overuse of the whip. It should be noted your comment arrived after the Picks & Ponderings team began composing the Derby preview, so we've also distilled horse-by-horse thoughts on all the runners. --PM

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