Derby Prep Races

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 […]

Derby Preps: Wicked Strong All Around

Last year, only one winner of a major Kentucky Derby dirt prep (Govenor Charlie in the Sunland Derby) ran faster than average. The story unfolds differently this year, with the winners of the Sunland, Florida and Santa Anita Derbies and Wood Memorial all running faster than the average since 2000:

Sunland Derby avg.: 1:49.0…….Chitu 1:47.4 (2013 Govenor Charlie 1:47.2) […]

Prep Race Wrap: Race Riding with Rosie and Johnny V.

Chatter abounds this week about Johnny V’s ride on Wildcat Red. By allowing his horse to drift slightly off the rail exiting the stretch turn, Johnny let Javier Castellano aboard Constitution sneak through on the inside. “Bad ride by Johnny V” seems to be the dominant opinion. I see it more as an exceptional […]

Louisiana Derby: Ending My Holiday Fling

First let me commend the effort by Intense Holiday in the Risen Star Stakes on February 22. Runner-up Albano set a soft early pace in that race and then waltzed through a Dead Easy turn time of :25 flat. He hit the top of the stretch with fresh legs, full lungs and a two-length head start […]

Derby Preps: The Curse of Wildcat Red

Let’s start with the Florida Derby and poor, lil’ Wildcat Red (3-1). He hit the wire first in 5 of 6 lifetime starts and finished 2nd by a head in the other, yet nobody wants to ride him! Johnny V. slides into the saddle as the 5th rider in the past 5 starts. You […]

We Did Not Miss Artie!

The ever-so-slim victory by late-charging We Miss Artie in the Spiral affirmed two key points I posted just days before the race. First, a demonstration of superior early speed warrants a prime bet. (See “Overcoming Vertigo in the Spiral.”) Second, don’t let a secondary factor like an outside post dissuade you from making such […]

This Weekend’s Notes: Missing Tourist

On Friday evening (March 21) I’ll post my analysis of the Spiral Stakes and the Sunland Park Derby. For now, I’ll just say Bill Mott’s Tourist (withdrawn from the Spiral) earned a small futures wager from me. You can still find him at 400-1 or so at some race books. Stay tuned for more. […]

Derby Preps: Overcoming Vertigo in the Spiral

A field of 12 lines up for Turfway’s Spiral Stakes this weekend. Contestants ship in from multiple tracks and surfaces. They prepped for this race at 7.5 furlongs, 1-1/16th miles, a mile and an 1/8th. Fast horses. Slow horses. A couple of guys in a donkey suit. What’s a dizzy handicapper to do?
If this were the […]