Kentucky Derby

The San Felipe: Three Eights Will Beat Baffert’s Pair of Aces

Bob Baffert’s Dortmund is joined by stablemate Lord Nelson in the San Felipe Stakes. Both colts are multiple stakes winners already and regarded as a tough pair to top this Saturday.
Prior to the RB Lewis Stakes, Dortmund looked like the 3-year-old to beat on the West Coast. His inability to relax early appeared to be […]

Baffert Boards the Lazy Train

Dortmund and the Curse of “Keen to Lead”

In The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby I coin the phrase keen to lead (KTL) to describe runners incapable of relaxing early. The concept expands the typical need to lead (NTL) designation to include horses positioned 2nd or 3rd early in the race but who, […]

2014 Preakness: The Match Race That Wasn’t!

The headline reads: “Untapable to Challenge California Chrome in Preakness!” Only in our dreams, racing fans! Only in our wildest dreams. Untapable heads for the Acorn Stakes at Belmont, while California Chrome invades Crimea…errr…marches into Maryland for the Preakness.

From the LazyBettor’s perspective, a duel between the two impressive 3-year-olds held the potential to create […]

Kentucky Derby: Of Rabbits and Roses

On Wednesday night, I started to write my Kentucky Derby analysis for this site. It centered on Bob Baffert’s likely use of Chitu as a rabbit for Hoppertunity. With Chitu blasting from the starting gate and other speedsters (including the likely favorite California Chrome) forced to overexert themselves to keep up, Hoppertunity’s task of […]

2014 Kentucky Derby Stat Blast #3: Derby Pace

Using a rating system in which 89 and higher is “Fast,” here’s how I rate the top early runners this year. Note that I consider only races at 8.5 furlongs or longer around 2 turns and I adjusted for surface as described in The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby. (An asterisk indicates a 9-furlong […]

2014 Kentucky Derby: High-Profile Pretenders

To accessorize my favorite topic, Kentucky Derby pretenders, I’ve created categories named after songs by The Pretenders. Unknowingly back in the early 1980s, lead singer Chrissie Hynde spun a credo gamblers would be wise to follow:
It’s hard to live by rules
I never could, and still never do
To find value, handicappers need to embrace the […]

2014 Prep Race Wrap-Up: Strong But Wrong

U nlike last year, most 2014 Derby prep races at 1-1/8th miles sported final times faster than this decade’s average for each contest. Only the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes (won by Vicar’s In Trouble and Dance With Fate, respectively) registered slower-than-average times. Many bettors might conclude from these brisk clockings that a standout 3-year-old champ awaits coronation.

To […]

Derby Preps: Bluegrass and Arkansas

It’s rare to see serious Derby prospects with the degree of early speed Bobby’s Kitten possesses. As a 2-year-old taking on the top turf juveniles in the world, he nearly wired the field in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. If he figures out how to redeploy that speed at a later point in a […]

Kentucky Derby Stat Blast Chart #2

Using past performances from 2000–2013, I compiled a list of the top 20 raw final times and the top 20 speed figures. You can see raw figures work pretty well, perhaps even better than the “improved” view of final times offered by speed figures.

That said, I still believe a well-devised set of pace figures […]

Kentucky Derby Stat Blast #1

Sometimes truths in a set of stats jump out at you. Other times you need to interpret stats at length before they can help you. Speed figures (adjusted final-time figures) allegedly improve raw times and are considered a necessity. But do these manipulated times really offer a sharper view of reality than unvarnished clockings?

I […]