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HRN Original Blog:

NEHRO - Best Performance in the Best Derby Prep

With the major preps now in the history books, who are your Top 5 2011 Kentucky Derby contenders?  I would have to put the top two finishers of the Arkansas Derby at the head of my list.  Nehro and Archarcharch both looked the part of key Derby contenders.  This prep came up so strong and unfolded like a typical Kentucky Derby race with a full field, strong pace and deep quality.  These top two finishers must be respected.

After diving deep into all of the Derby preps before and after they were run, there is no question in my mind that the Top 5 Kentucky Derby Prep Races were as follows:  

 1. Arkansas Derby 

 2. Florida Derby

 3. Rebel Stakes 

 4. Holy Bull 

 5. Louisiana Derby 

The only Derby prep left on the trail is this Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington Stakes as Jaycito gets one more shot after recovering from a mild injury.


After looking at all the numbers coming out of the Derby preps, I can safely conclude that, to date, we have a mediocre crop of 3 year-olds this year that are hard to separate.  So many have been lightly raced that we won’t really know what this crop is all about until we hit the late summer months.


As for the preps run this past weekend, I was most impressed with Nehro and the energy he showed passing Archarcharch past the wire.  He looks dead fit and continues to cycle forward. 


The Blue Grass Stakes was a great race to watch, but the top two finishers, Brilliant Speed and Twin Spired just don’t have a good dirt race between them.  I can’t see either of these making an impact come May 7th (unless it’s a turf race on the Derby undercard!)


Let’s take a look at final major preps and determine how the outcomes affected our HRN Derby Prep Quality Ratings:


Oaklawn ParkG1 Arkansas Derby 1 1/8 miles

Winner: Archarcharch (RANKED #14 – HRN DERBY CONTENDERS)

Beyer Speed Rating: 98

BRIS Pace/Final Pars:  First Call = 96; Second Call = 107; Final = 107

Actual Pace/Final:         First Call = 94; Second Call = 98;   Final = 99

Track Bias: Favored closers

Tough Trips: None

Impressive Effort: Nehro

HRN Pre-Race Grade = A

HRN Post-Race Grade = A

Notes: This one set up like a Kentucky Derby preview…full field, strong pace and deep in quality.  Taking nothing away from Archarcharch’s victory but Nehro’s late run past the wire was quite impressive.  Both horses will be live win contenders with a slight nod going to Nehro going into the Derby.


KeenelandG1 Blue Grass Stakes 1 1/8 miles (Polytrack)

Winner: Brilliant Speed (RANKED #49 – HRN DERBY CONTENDERS)

Beyer Speed Rating: 89

BRIS Pace/Final Pars:  First Call = 96; Second Call = 107; Final = 107

Actual Pace/Final:         First Call = 86; Second Call = 97;  Final = 97

Track Bias: Closer bias all day

Tough Trips: Newsdad, Santiva, Wilcox Inn

Impressive Effort: King Congie

HRN Pre-Race Grade = A-

HRN Post-Race Grade = B

Notes: Turf specialist takes the Blue Grass and second place goes to a confirmed Polytrack runner.  Both Brilliant Speed and Twin Spired’s dirt tries were horrible.  Just don’t see either of these making an impact on the Kentucky Derby outcome.  Santiva and Wilcox Inn had tough trips but neither showed courage.



Check back on Friday when we preview the Coolmore Lexington Stakes to see if Jaycito has what it takes to be a live contender in the Kentucky Derby.


Coming this week, you’ll get your chance to order this year’s Kentucky Derby Super Screener only from your friends at Horse Racing Nation.  We need it this year now more than ever to sort through this mess!


Kentucky Derby Super Screener




Mike Shutty


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Older Comments about NEHRO - Best Performance in the Best Derby Prep ...

dialed in, Nehro and Arthur's Tale, just because
Nehro, Mucho Macho Man, and Dialed In
Nehro, Midnight Interlude and Archarcharch
Mine are Archarcharch,Nehro and Pants On Fire. All three of these have great pedigree for long distance if you go back and look up there 6 generations pedigree.
Alright everyone, the major preps are in. Time to share your Top 3 Derby win contenders with us. Mine are Nehro, Dialed In and Animal Kingdom. Who are yours?

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About Me

Mike has been a passionate horseracing fan for over 30 years. He received his “handicapping education” through countless hours of deciphering the mystery that is embedded in every race. It was the tough beats at the window, however, that propelled him to never make the same mistake twice (well, maybe three times).

As Managing Partner of Horse Racing Nation, Mike serves as investor, business advisor, staff handicapper and developer of handicapping content.

Handicapping the Derby has always been one of Mike's favorite endeavors.  He spends weeks compiling notes, speed figures and analysis in preparation for the big race.  In 2010, his HRN pals pushed him into packaging his time-tested methods into what became the 2010 Kentucky Derby Super Screener, an e-book that became extremely popular with HRN readers and was downloaded over 3,000 times.   

In preparation for the 2011 Derby, Mike will be "Rating the Preps" each weekend on the Derby trail.  The goal will be to build a good picture for which prep races are most likely to produce the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner.   

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