Marty McGee's Derby pick

May 04, 1991

Let's cut the hemming and hawing and go right to the chase.

I don't just like Hansel. I love Hansel.

OK, so now I'll say how I really feel about today's Kentucky Derby. If you want to make a score on this Derby, you have to go out on a limb at some point. If you like a long shot, that's going out on a limb. But if you believe it's strictly a four-horse race, which it certainly seems to be, then you have to commit strongly to one of the four.

Hansel has so many things going for him. He showed precociousness at 2. He has win-the-Derby type breeding. He has a good post and figures to get a good trip. He has a proven trainer (Frank Brothers) and a proven jockey (Jerry Bailey). And, most importantly, he is training beautifully and peaking at a perfect time.

Brothers says Hansel simply was not Hansel when he ran his two losing races in Florida this winter. There are reasons to believe he is not thinking wishfully. The colt bled in the Fountain of Youth, then was still "short" when third in the Florida Derby. In both races, he appeared to be "climbing," or unable to handle the Gulfstream Park surface, and Brothers says he wasn't "mentally racy" at the time anyway.

Hansel didn't beat top foes in the Jim Beam and Lexington stakes, but there's no reason to believe he wouldn't have turned the tables on Fly So Free or Strike the Gold with those efforts. And, with the best still yet to come, the colt should become the 117th Kentucky Derby winner.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.