Thanks for mentioning that note about the LA Derby. The position on the calendar probably has a lot to do with the drought because since the move in 2009, the LA Derby has produced 3 2nds, a 3rd, and a 4th placed finisher in the Kentucky Derby and none of those 5 horses actually won the LA Derby.
How many sons of Tapit have run in the Derby? Your sample size is probably too small to be predictive. Secondly, you talked about 75 years of dosage data but only provide data on 45 data points or should be it interprested that 60% of the time the the Derby winner had a dosage less than 3 but 40% of the time the dosage has been 3 or higher? 60-40? Meh.
Dortmund has also had great, clean trips in short fields. It's difficult to say how game Dortmund is because the only data point you have is Firing Line, who has only demonstrated the ability to beat New Mexico breds that won't be running in the Kentucky Derby. Plus, the pace doesn't have to be fast to take a toll on any of the pace horses because the 10th furlong will test all of them and set up the late runnners.
He flashed talent as a 2 year old and had a 10 furlong pedigree. In the Kentucky Derby he got a significant jockey upgrade to the most successful jockey in recent (since 2000) Kentucky Derby history. He wasn't a fluke as he finished in the money in all 3 triple crown races; something California Chrome couldn't do, for example. 2009 is the year that speed figures officially jumped the shark....His highest was in the 80's among all figure makers I think. Speed figures can't account for pedigree or significant equipment changes.
What we know for sure is A.P. is quite impressive with no adversity, on or off the pace. What we don't know is how he would respond to being bumped, shuffled back, small spaces, running inside of horses, etc. Orb looked like a superstar until he had to race inside of horses in the Preakness, for example. A.P. should be the Derby favorite but there are still enough question marks to try to beat him.
You don't have to look too far back to see a good 3 year old crop. Look at the top 4 finishers from the 2011 Kentucky Derby and see how they fared post Derby through 2013.
I have links to the last 10 years of Andy Beyer's Derby predictions via the Washington Post or drf and if you knew how poorly he's done I don't think you'd ever consider another Beyer Speed figure in handicapping the KD. Timeform's top handicapper last year picked Samraat to win the Derby, a horse that lost the Wood memorial and on paper that had nothing near a 10 furlong pedigree and probably ended his career trying to run that far. I'd tread lightly when using speed figures period, let alone in trying to predict a Derby winner. And I'm not sure if Santa Anita was slow Saturday because another one of Bob B's horses ran a 1:08 for 6 furlongs and a 6.28 final furlong in he state bred stakes 5 races before the Santa Anita Derby.
There's another pace horse that is expected to enter the AR Derby, Bridget's Big Luvy. That horse just wired a field at 9 furlongs and although the fractions were tepid, he needs the Derby points and I don't believe he'll let American Pharoah walk alone on the lead. I'd like to see what A.P. can do with a little pace pressure or without the lead.
I'll Have Another never ran a 100 Beyer prior to the Derby either. Or Animal Kingdom.
Understood. My hypothesis is that we will never return to the years of the 90's, as just about every horse back then was very well bred and you only went to the Derby if you thought you had a shot to win. Now there will always be 20 horses in the field, just because some owners want the "Derby Experience". The 2 9 furlong angle you mention is still very powerful, except as you state there are very few horses that either develop early enough or are well bred enough to get both in. Recently, Orb and Animal Kingdom both ran 9 furlongs twice. This year, there are 2 such horses, Materiality and Frosted. We'll see how they fare, especially in a race full of good California speed.
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