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2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Optimizer

Horse: Optimizer
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Pedigree: By English Channel out of an A.P. Indy mare (Indy Pick)
Career Record: 9-1-2-1
Career Earnings: $215,619
Notable Races: G1-Arkansas Derby (9th); G2-Rebel (2nd); G2-Risen Star (9th); G2-Kentucky Jockey Club (4th); G1-Breeders' Cup Juvenile (8th); G1-Breeders' Futurity (3rd); G2-With Anticipation (2nd)

Can He win The 2012 Kentucky Derby?

If the Kentucky Derby were run over grass, Optimizer might have a punchers chance at the win. Sired by Breeders' Cup Turf champion English Channel, and with noted stamina influence A.P. Indy on the bottom half of the pedigree, Optimizer is bred to run long and to run over non-dirt surfaces. He's won one race in his career, his debut at 8 ½ furlongs on the turf at Saratoga. He closed decently in the Rebel to finish 2nd, causing a bunch of players to put serious money on him in the Arkansas Derby. If you would have lit your money on fire instead of betting on Optimizer in the Arkansas Derby, you had about as much of a chance of earning a profit as the D. Wayne Lukas trainee. Optimizer never ran a lick that day, finishing 9th, over 20 lengths by Bodemeister.

Optimizer is a deep closer, so any kind of chaotic pace that causes a major meltdown in the stretch increases his chances of running a winning race. However, it's difficult to envision a horse that hasn't won a race since last August (and got beat by over 20 lengths in his last start) as a legitimate threat to win the Derby.