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HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

No Derby Win for Nehro

It happens every single year, people see a hot new closer running on late to just barely miss, and then go hog wild over him. For this year’s Derby, that horse’s name would be Nehro. The son of Mineshaft ran some bang up races in the Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby, just barely missing each time to Pants on Fire and Archarcharch.

There is no doubt the colt is talented and if moved at the right time, could have a very potent closing kick. He has proven that he belongs with the big boys in each of his last two starts. In his stakes debut he took down the Risen Star hero, Mucho Macho Man, and was just held off by the gritty warrior, Pants On Fire. In the Arkansas Derby he made a late move to close like a freight train, only losing by a quickly diminishing head. In that race he finished in front of The Factor, Sway Away, and JP’s Gusto just to name a few. However despite these very encouraging efforts I do not see him taking the Run for the Roses.

Nehro, unlike many in the Derby field, just put things together three races ago. He ran huge to break his maiden and then ran huge in both of his Derby preps. At first glance I can see how fans would see an upside to this colt, but looking closer I see more negatives than positives if he goes to the Derby. His inexperience would be one of those negatives. Not many horses that are just beginning to put things together can string together as many strong efforts as Nehro. In the last six weeks he has run some extremely strong races, which is impressive to say the least, but I believe asking him to run a fourth in, arguably, America’s most dangerous and challenging race is too much to ask.

The Kentucky Derby is not a race to be taken lightly. It can take a promising horse and sling them to the sidelines for the rest of the year. In recent years the only two colts were able to go into the Derby with little experience and foundation and come out in one piece. Those colts would be Curlin and Big Brown. Both were freaks of nature. The latter got lucky enough to encounter almost no trouble in the race, while Curlin played bumper cars and still got up for third. Could Nehro be a freak like these two? It’s possible, but the chances of him being of their caliber are unlikely.

Another negative is that he is a dead closer. Only three dead closers won the Kentucky Derby in the last decade and they were Giacomo, Street Sense, and Mine That Bird. Two of those horses were lucky enough to have Calvin "Bo-rail" aboard, and it can be argued that without him, neither of them would have won. Instead we may have seen Hard Spun lead the race wire to wire and Pioneerofthe Nile, a stalker, win in a thriller. In order to have a good shot, Nehro would also need a hot pace, and with the recent defections of horses like The Factor, JP’s Gusto, and Flashpoint, the likelihood of the pace coming close to what it has been in recent years is very slim.

I am not saying Nehro is a bad horse, in fact he holds a great deal of promise. But, as a Derby candidate I do not see him being able to overcome all that is stacked against him.


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Older Comments about No Derby Win for Nehro...

psh nehor was a tough bastard, this was the extra room he needed, and the jockey really blew it, bad timing. you know he comes from out of the clouds not on turn, not sure what happend there. we saw it all the time down the strech near miss by nehro, then he makes the move on the turn, wait man, you fly on the strech. had they went on the strech, like animal kindom , could have been closer. but thats horse racing, guess a spoiler for the belmont? those closers all on timing, still congrats to him .
Nehro did really well in the Kentucky Derby...so congrats to his connections! Looking forward to seeing him in The Belmont
Im glad I didn't listen to you.
MINESHAFT=SHORT at 1 1/4 in time to win
I Really Think That The Doubters Out There Are Going To Be In For A Surprise Today!!!
I believe leaving those 'hog wild' horses off your ticket is foolish. yes it is hard to close from way back in the KY Derby (Mine That Bird). Those horse almost never win or place (Ice Box). I my friend will have Dialed In and Nehro on every exotic.
  • DeadHeat · Ice Box was passing a field of horses that were backing up and then did nothing after the Derby. He had been training like a monster, took to the slop, had a blazing pace which burnt anyone near it, and set the race up almost perfectly for him. This year you won't have a speed duel to give him the pace and Nehro is not nearly as fresh or as accomplished as IB was at this point. IB had also trained up to the Derby like a monster, Nehro has not been. · 2335 days ago
I agree that Nehro may be the wrong "wise" horse this year. A few months ago he got trounced by 22 lengths as the favorite in a maiden race and now he's likely 2nd or 3rd betting choice? I fear him but think he is more valuable as a toss horse.
  • DeadHeat · My favorite closer right now is Toby's Corner. Closed into a so so pace in the Wood, with a final furlong in 11 and change. No horse in Florida did that, except for maybe Mo in the TW. I don't believe Nehro or Arch3 closed that quick in AD. If the track comes up muddy he'll appricate it more than most. · 2335 days ago
Nehro posted indentical peformances on two separate tracks that transfer favorably to Churchill Downs. I think way too much is being made of the "not enough time between races" fact. More a concern for the Preakness. Just single Nehro and Dialed In in the first, second and third tier of your exotics and wheel others you like around them and you will cash on the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
  • DeadHeat · He may be versitile, but so have been other horses. Would this not be his third stakes in 6 weeks, second consecutive grade one, along with the fact he is again trying a new track, and a new distance, then I would feel more comfortable. · 2338 days ago
Nehro is more versatile than you have noticed. He was not that far off the pace set by POF in the LD who is likely to be on of the pacesetters in the Derby. I like his steady progression and I don't believe they have reached his bottom yet. He has not yet popped a triple beyer which is what the winner will have to do. He's capable as is Soldat, Arch, MMM or Dialed In. You may be right about him and I do not discount your logic as a bounce candidate Nehro can be considered to be. I really like Soldat though to get the jump on him at the top of the lane.
  • DeadHeat · I don't belive any horse other than Soldat has run a triple diget beyer this year. He may be versitle, but I do not see him in front of the stalkers/pacemakers, and the race is filled with many who can do either. POF and Arch3 made him stretch, he was not cantering to either of those victories, which is why i think he could bounce. However, as I said if he were to run a close second or third and come flying I would be almost willing to call him a freak. Then again, he could be this years verison of First Dude. · 2338 days ago
  • DeadHeat · I don't belive any horse other than Soldat has run a triple diget beyer this year. He may be versitle, but I do not see him in front of the stalkers/pacemakers, and the race is filled with many who can do either. POF and Arch3 made him stretch, he was not cantering to either of those victories, which is why i think he could bounce. However, as I said if he were to run a close second or third and come flying I would be almost willing to call him a freak. Then again, he could be this years verison of First Dude. · 2338 days ago
It all depends on the drawn and just how tough this horse really is. Personally I think it is too much to be asked. I would think that of even if he had won the Arkansas Derby.
I think Nehro will do really well in the Derby but he's not my win pick.
I think the combination of lack of early speed plus the 19 others in front of him will make it tremendously difficult for him to get the top prize.
IMHO, the biggest problem for Nehro (and Dialed In for that matter) is the pace scenario. It looks like most of the speed is gone, and when the closers kick they will be chasing relatively fresh horses.
I don't like Nehro either. Not enough time between races and too much too soon should lead to a Derby regression.
He's my top pick. ;-)
  • DeadHeat · :) Not saying I can't understand why. He does have upside, though, I just think he may have more negatives here. If he is a freak and a throwback, like some believe he is, I'll gladly admit I was wrong :) · 2339 days ago
Arazi, lol glad you enjoy it. If there is one thing you can count on from me, it is that I am not going to sugar coat any of my opinions, lol.
Way to go and throw it right out there! Strong opinions - love it!

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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