The Haiku Handicapper: 2017 Kentucky Derby

Joe Nevills, sales editor of the Daily Racing Form and columnist for Arabian Finish Line, analyzes the Kentucky Derby field in post position order in the form of haiku - a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

#1 - Lookin at Lee
Closer from Oaklawn
Hasn't won since Ellis Park
Wait for softer fields

#2 - Thunder Snow
Global vagabond
Can run on any surface
But doomed by his post

#3 - Fast and Accurate
His best dirt Beyer
Would win a nice allowance
At a county fair

#4 - Untrapped
Minor check-getter
Vanished in last Oaklawn prep
This pool is too deep

#5 - Always Dreaming
High-upside prospect
Most dominant last effort
Feels like a bounce threat

#6 - State of Honor
Knows how to cash checks
By hanging on to placings
After ceding leads

#7 - Girvin
Leading point-getter
Grapples with ill-timed hoof woes
Don't expect Big Brown

#8 - Hence
Was his last that good
Or the rest that average?
Not buying the hype

#9 - Irap
Trainer Doug O'Neill
Didn't grow his Derby beard
All you need to know

#10 - Gunnevera
Will stage a late charge
Can scrap it out for a check
If the clouds don't part

#11 - Battle of Midway
Couldn't hang on in
Slowest Santa Anita
Derby in three score

#12 - Sonneteer
Fewer winning trips
Than stablemate Patch has eyes
That fact won't change here

#13 - J Boys Echo
Was his big Gotham
The true showcase of his class
Or an outlier?

#14 - Classic Empire
High-maintenance star's
Two toughest rivals could be
His head and the crowd

#15 - McCraken
A Blue Grass bummer
But Churchill Downs is his yard
Don't give up on him

#16 - Tapwrit
High-dollar yearling
Hype deflated at Keeneland
Excused or exposed?

#17 - Irish War Cry
Stellar Wood triumph
Makes his Fountain of Youth choke
Just so confounding

#18 - Gormley
Someone had to win
That chug-fest in his last prep
Is there one more gear?

#19 - Practical Joke
Standout 2-year-old
Couldn't pass flagging Irap
That's hard to ignore

#20 - Patch
Having just one eye
Not as big a handicap
As Apollo's curse

#21/AE - Royal Mo
Wrong side of bubble
But it's hard to get too jazzed
From pokey last start

#22/AE - Master Plan
Last horse in by points
Took an unorthodox route
To watch from the bench

Home-track advantage
Carries McCraken home first
Then "War Cry," Tapwrit