remains undefeated after his visually impressive, in-hand Wood Memorial victory.
In the process, he stamps himself as the undisputed Kentucky Derby
favorite. Clearly, this colt needs to be
considered a serious contender despite finding the pace and competition
conditions experienced in each of his four lifetime starts quite to his
liking. Verrazano is clearly a sustained
presser type that is most comfortable being part of the early action. Will the Kentucky Derby pace be as
accommodating to Verrazano as it was in his final preps? We’ll know more about the Derby pace scenario
once the final preps are completed this upcoming weekend. But, let’s take a look at the Wood Memorial
and how it was run for clues as to how much Verrazano was truly tested.
third line in the chart above shows the splits for the Wood Memorial. I then compared these splits to other route
races run on the card at Aqueduct. I
want to draw your attention to the G2 Gazelle Stakes for fillies and let’s
compare the splits produced in that contest and compare them to the splits cut
in the Wood Memorial. What I found
particularly striking was the difference in the 6-furlong fractions yielded in
these two stakes races. Note that the Wood Memorial 6-furlong split was run nearly 3 seconds slower
than what was posted by the fillies in the Gazelle stakes. Wow!...now that is remarkable. I also decided to pull up the fractions
produced in the Santa Anita Derby. This
race was run at a fair but moderate pace for the Santa Anita surface. While the SA and AQU surfaces are different
and difficult to compare…regardless, the difference in the splits yielded in
these two races was quite impressive. In
fact, if you look at other races run on the Aqueduct undercard, you’ll find
that a few of the 7 furlong heats were run much faster than 7 furlong races
contested on the Santa Anita undercard.
you be the judge…was Verrazano “tested” or did he and Vyjack both have plenty
of energy left in the tank after negotiating the dawdling pace to run on even
terms with one another throughout the stretch?
Who ran the best race? You would
have to give serious consideration to closer, Normandy Invasion, who overcame
the slow pace to run fastest of all in the final two furlongs in this race.
what will be one of the more contentious Kentucky Derby fields in recent memory,
eliminate the noise, hype and all the distractions and focus on “how” these horses
have run their preps and how that compares to 20 years of historical
performance thresholds. Go to www.superscreener.com to learn more
about how you can get an insiders view of what it take so win and finish on the
board in the Kentucky Derby.