Godolphin's Year to Take Home the Roses?

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D.S. Williamson

April 24th, 2017

When Thunder Snow enters the Kentucky Derby starting gate on May 6, he's going to try and accomplish something for Godolphin no other horse has done. Godolphin, arguably the greatest racing organization in the world, has never won a Kentucky Derby.

Since 1999 when Wordly Manner finished 7th in the Derby, Godolphin has tried to win the most prestigious race in the United States. China Visit, Express Tour, Curule, Essence of Dubai and the rest all blew it. Could this be Godolphin's year?

Before getting into Thunder Snow's chances, check out some Godolphin horses that bounced out of their failure in the Derby to become solid equines here in the U.S.


Frosted finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby behind American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund. Frosted had some believers on the First Saturday in May in 2015 since he went off at 10 to 1 odds.

I've attached his win in the 2015 Wood Memorial. Frosted's ability to relax said that he was a horse to be reckoned with. He remains the best horse that Godolphin has ever saddled to win the Kentucky Derby. Before being retired after the 2016 Breeders' Cup, Frosted had won the Grade 1 Whitney, the Grade 1 Metropolitan, and the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.


Alpha was dead to rights in the 2012 Travers Stakes. Although he went off as the 2 to 1 chalk, Golden Ticket got the jump on him. I didn't think Alpha would get there. But, he did for a share of first place with Golden Ticket.

Alpha, sired by Bernardini, didn't run all that well in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. He finished 12th in the Run for the Roses after going off at close to 20 to 1 odds. In a way, I guess he outran his odds although the 12th place finish didn't do much for Godolphin or his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. After the Travers, Alpha did win the Woodward Stakes in 2012.

Regal Ransom

Regal Ransom's 8th place finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby wasn't bad. Since he was sired by Distorted Humor, you'd think Godolphin would go for the Belmont Stakes with Regal Ransom. They didn't. Instead, they went for the Super Derby, which he won. He'd only win one more race after the Super Derby score, an allowance optional claimer at Saratoga.

Why does Regal Ransom make the list? Pay attention to whom he beats in the Super Derby. Yep. That's future Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame.

Thunder Snow

So, what are Thunder Snow's chances of winning the Kentucky Derby on May 6? There are definitely some positives. First, the appears to like the dirt. Second, he ran down favored Epicharis in the UAE Derby even though he was super green in the stretch. Third, this year the Derby could be wide-open. After Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, and Irish War Cry, it's difficult to find a horse that might challenge for the win.

There are a ton of negatives, no doubt. But, Thunder Snow might be the one to get Godolphin their first blanket of roses.