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Distance is in the blood

Updated: February 17, 2011, 3:36 PM ET
By Claire Novak | Special to ESPN.com

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Derby Fever hits in earnest at the end of January, a new season underway. Last year's precocious runners train toward their 2011 debuts. Late developers arrive on the scene. Early preps loom.

As distances increase and trainers challenge their charges in buildup toward the 1 mile Kentucky Derby -- one of the longest remaining tests for the 3-year-old American racehorse -- fans and pundits form opinions and alliances. Some favor fleet-footed colts from the West. Others ...

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