That Social Inclusion has talent is not in question. However, the reason he didn't run the Kentucky Derby is that he didn't qualify for it. He has yet to win a single stakes race, but that hasn't stopped Sanchez from being pretty confident.
"My horse is more experienced now, and he is multifaceted," he said. "He has speed and strength. Everyone is impressed with California Chrome. I think he'll run a good race, but this is a better field. Every owner here thinks they can beat California Chrome, but obviously the oddsmaker didn't think so."
It is one thing to be confident and another to be questionably overconfident. I am willing to bet at least one horse in the field was entered because his connections are hoping California Chrome has the first bad day of his 3-year-old season, but if not, well, second in a $1.5 million race isn't too shabby.
"I also quirked an eyebrow at the concept that this is a better field than the one assembled for a race Social Inclusion wasn't good enough to run in.
Everyone is impressed with California Chrome. I think he'll run a good race, but this is a better field. Every owner here thinks they can beat California Chrome, but obviously the oddsmaker didn't think so." -- Ron Sanchez, owner Social Inclusion
Interestingly enough, Social Inclusion was one of two incredibly hyped horses this spring that will run Saturday. The other is Bayern. Both colts did not run as juveniles and both tried to make the Derby field but were unable to do so.
The Preakness has served as a coming out party for future champions, but I haven't seen enough to think either colt is the next Bernardini or Curlin. I also haven't heard any reason good enough to go against California Chrome come Saturday.
I liked Ride On Curlin to close in the Derby and am willing to give him another chance here to hit the board. His trip was not fantastic in Louisville, but part of me also wonders if he is always going to be that horse who gets going when it is too late to really be a factor.
Of the new shooters, the one I am most intrigued by is Dynamic Impact, who won the Illinois Derby. Prior to last year, when Churchill Downs changed to a points system to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, Dynamic Impact might have run on the first Saturday in May. For political reasons, the Illinois Derby is not part of the new points system.
As it is, Dynamic Impact won the first time he tried graded stakes company, and he also has a pedigree that says he should only get better as he gets older. I am curious to see if he progresses or not, and I can't blame his owners for rolling the dice here.
Still, even with the understanding that there are no guarantees in horse racing and that picking the favorite is boring, sometimes that's just how it goes. I have looked at this from every angle, and if the California Chrome who showed up in Louisville shows up in Baltimore, it is his race to lose.