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2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Alpha

Horse: Alpha
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Pedigree: By Bernardini (winner of the 2006 Preakness) out of a Nijinsky II mare (Munnaya)
Career Record: 6-3-2-0
Career Earnings: $500,000
Notable Races: G1-Wood Memorial (2nd); G3-Withers (1st); G1-Breeders' Cup Juvenile (11th); G1-Champagne Stakes (2nd)

Can He Win The 2012 Kentucky Derby?:

There are a lot of reasons to like the chances of Alpha in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. He's sired by Bernardini, winner of the Preakness and second in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2005. Additionally, his dam sire, Nijinsky II, a British Triple Crown champion and one of the top sires in Europe and America, is a potent source of stamina. The distance shouldn't be a problem.

Alpha was a good second to Gemologist in the Wood Memorial back on April 7th after suffering through a pretty rough trip around the track. He broke a bit slow, had to be steadied by the rider in the early stages, went three wide coming off the far turn, and still was able to fight neck and neck with the winner all the way to the wire. Finally, Alpha has shown steady improvement in all three of his races in 2012 and looks like a colt that could be sitting on a big race in the Derby.

On the negative side, there have been some health issues with Alpha since his run in the Wood Memorial and his recent works have received less than glowing reviews. Additionally, Alpha is one of those colts that seemingly finds trouble in every single race he runs. In the Gotham, he went wide. In the Count Fleet, he bobbled at the break. At the Breeders' Cup, he threw a fit in the starting gate. In the Champagne, he broke in at the start.

In a race with twenty horses and a typically grueling and demanding pace, Alpha can't afford to get into too much trouble is he is to have any chance to win the Run for the Roses.