In trying to piece together a picture of today's 105th running of the Kentucky Derby, one is struck immediately by the fact that there is no true speed horse in this year's classic.
General Assembly has shown speed at times, but his best effort this year came when he was rated from off the pace. And should trainer Leroy Jolley have jockey Laffitt Pincay try for the lead, he faces the unhappy possibility that Trainer Bud Delp will do the same thing with Spectacular Bid.
Ordinarily, the way this race is run would not be an important consideration. But since the belief here is that Spectacular Bid will run his second best race today, pace could be a significant factor.
The picture of today's renewal comes out this way:
General Assembly goes to the lead, with Spectacular Bid and Flying Paster right behind after three-eights of a mile. Bid tests the pace-setter after a half mile and gets by him shortly past that point.
Turning for home, Spectacular Bid will be in front, with Flying Paster challenging on the outside. Flying Paster, a colt that has been brought into this Derby with little work the last three weeks, keeps a straight course under Donald Pierce and beats Spectacular Bid narrowly.
Condition will make the difference.