2013 Kentucky Derby contenders: Lines of Battle

Trainer Aidan O'Brien is seeking a historic Kentucky Derby victory with Lines of Battle - Leo Mason-US PRESSWIRE

Lines of Battle will try to break a long history of failures by European or Dubai-based horses to win the Kentucky Derby.

Lines of Battle

2013 UAE Derby

War Front
Dam: Black Speck
Damsire: Arch

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Owners: Joseph Allen, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier & Derrick Smith
Record: 6-3-1-0
Earnings: $1,276,214
Notable Races: 1st, G1-UAE Derby; 7th, G1-Breedders' Cup Juvenile Turf; 2nd, G3-Tyros Stakes

Positives: Owned in part by the powerful Coolmore Stable in Ireland, Lines of Battle might be the biggest wild card in a field full of wildcards in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. His victory in the Group 1 UAE Derby on March 30 was quite impressive, especially when you consider the race was run a a distance of a mile and three sixteenths, a sixteenth of a mile longer than any prep race in the U.S. Additionally, it's hard not to love the War Front/Arch mare pedigree sported by this colt, along with his powerful connections of Coolmore and trainer Aidan O'Brien. On the other hand...

Negatives: Where to begin?

Lines of Battle has never run on dirt, he's only raced a one time in 2013, and he's yet to actually ship to Churchill Downs for the Derby (he's scheduled to arrive on Wednesday where he'll remain in quarantine), so he's never so much as set foot on the track's surface. And while we can debate the significance of the late shipping and whether or not his career on turf and synthetic surfaces make him a bad fit for the Derby, it's difficult to imagine this colt has the foundation to win the Derby off just a single race in 2013. Plus, we don't even know who the rider is on this colt.

Horses coming from outside the United States and running in the Kentucky Derby, especially horses from Europe and Dubai, have fared poorly over the years. Flat season in Europe goes into hibernation near the end of October/early November, with most of the top class horses taking the winter off in anticipation of the beginning of the season in March and April. Derby contenders in the U.S. typically begin their preparation in late January or February and, for a race as demanding as the Kentucky Derby, horses need all of that time to build up the fitness necessary to win at Churchill Downs.

Lines of Battle sports the pedigree and the connections to be a top class runner but, given what we've witnessed with horses attempting similar preparation before the Kentucky Derby in the past, this colt will need to be something truly special to pull off a victory on the first Saturday in May.

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