For those who like Exaggerator, Brody’s Cause, Creator, Suddenbreakingnews, Whitmore, My Man Sam, Trojan Nation, or Mo Tom, consider this: since 1984 (as far back as my records go), (a) only one horse won the Derby after trailing the rest of the field after 1/2 mile in his final prep and (b) only one horse won the Derby after trailing by 8 lengths or more after 1/2 mile in his final prep. The former was Unbridled in 1990, and he was part of a 5-horse field and only 2 lengths back of the leader in the Blue Grass after 1/2 mile. The latter was Grindstone in 1996; he was 13 lengths behind after 1/2 mile in the Arkansas Derby. Add to this the probability of a relatively slow pace and these eight horses are at a distinct disadvantage.
Ross, the point was that horses that just missed winning the prep or won by a short margin after a stretch duel are as likely to win the derby as daylight winners in the last prep. Consequently, the payoff can be much greater if you bet the former.
Would you have guessed that, since 2000, by a 5 to 4 margin, more horses have won the KD after a tough stretch drive in the last prep than after having a daylight lead at the stretch call and finish of the last prep? The former kind have brought odds of 15-1, 8-1, 5-1, 6-1, and 12-1. The latter kind have given us odds of 5-2, 2-1, 4-1, and 20-1 (the longshot was War Emblem). Also, the last three who won the KD after the stretch-drive prep had BSFs under 100. All four of the daylight prep winners had BSFs of 106 and higher. So what's my point? :-) International Star and Stanford (both with BSF of 98 in the Ark Derby) fit the profile of the stretch duelers, and American Pharoah and Dortmund (BSFs of 105 & 106, respectively) fit the profile for the daylight winners. At odds of 15-1 or higher for Int'l Star and 25-1 or higher for Stanford, and between 5-2 and 4-1 for Pharoah and Dortmund, the betting strategy is clear for me!
I've settled on Revolutionary, but I'm shocked that as the fourth choice in the morning line he's likely be the post-time favorite. Just in case, I've got a saver on Vyjack. who's at 26-1. He romped in the slop at Aqueduct. If all else fails, I have Overanalyze from the first Futures pool at 33-1. May the best horse win.
Zipse is the only voter who lists Vyjack (for 3rd). If the track comes up sloppy, Vyjack cannot be overlooked. He's one of just two entries with a slop win; the other is Itsmyluckyday, who won an off-the-turf 5f stakes last August at Calder. Vyjack won a 7f stakes race by 6 lengths at Aqueduct in December. There have been only 5 derbies in the past 25 years run on a sloppy or muddy track. All but one of the winners had previously won in the slop.
Florida Filly--You need to look again at Black Onyx's PPs. He's raced on fast tracks in all of his dirt races.
Nice rundown on the contenders. I wouldn't be so critical of Pletcher's Dy Derby record, though. He's had 31 entries, true. But they were in 12 derbies. Barring the unlikely and unprecedented dead heat in the Derby, only one horse can win the race. So I'd say that Pletcher is 1 for 12, which isn't great, but it isn't bad compared to many other top trainers.
From the Department of Historical Handicapping: I've got to throw out Orb and Verrazano because no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby after leading the Derby points standings. :-)
buds--You said "I for one was shocked that he passed and held off Flashback, whom I considered a horse that could run 9+ furlongs." So he held off a horse that you considered to be a 9f+ horse and you STILL have questions about his ability? There was nothing in Goldencents' performance that indicated he can't go further. His breeding is a question, though.
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