Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:

Can we predict the Derby trips?

Kentucky Derby 2011 start
In many races, but especially in 20-horse Derby fields, the race is often won or lost right at the gate.  The run from the gate to the first turn is the most critical portion of the race.  Without a clean trip, you can forget smelling roses at the end of the race.  As we Super Screened the field, one of the final considerations is securing insight as to which horses are likely to get the best and worst starts out of the gate.

I always find it interesting to watch past head-on replays of the Kentucky Derby as the run from the gate to the first turn.  I just watched the last three Derby replays, and if you do the same, you will see that there is a remarkable consistency in the way the field flows from the post positions.  Every jockey is trying to secure position to save as much ground going into the turn.  The outside horse are angling sharply toward the center, and the very inside horses are trying to avoid getting shut off by the crush from the outside.  The key dynamic in assessing likely good starts versus bad starts is the positioning of the early speed types. They will be most aggressively ridden early to secure position and will often shut off horses to their inside.

We took a look at the 2011 field and their post positions assigned combined with their running styles.   Here's our assessment of which of the 2011 Derby horses are most likely to be compromised early and those that most likely to secure a clean trip to the wire.

2011 Kentucky Derby 
Projected Good Start/Bad Start Traffic Outcomes

2011 Kentucky Derby "View of the Start" 

- Historically, horses in the auxiliary gate (posts 15-20) will angle sharply to the left at the start to move quickly toward the center of the track.

- Horses lined up in posts 1 and 2 actually need to angle to the right to avoid hitting the rail. 

- Horses coming from posts 11 to 14 will angle to the left to secure center position.
Horses coming from posts 3 to 10 will generally move straight ahead when leaving the gate.

- This year, it appears #4 Stay Thirsty is most likely to get squeezed back by the crush of three early speed types angling in front of him from the left and #1 Archarcharch crossing in front of him from the right.

- Others that are likely to be impeded at the start are #13 Mucho Macho Man and #16 Animal Kingdom as speed horses desperate to secure good early position angle sharply in front of them.

- As a speed horse, #18 Uncle Mo coming out of the 18 hole will be severely compromised.  #20 Watch Me Go has it super tough coming from the 20 hole.

- Horses with the projected best starts include #8 Dialed In, #9 Derby Kitten, #10 Twinspired, #1 Archarcharch, #11 Master of Hounds, #7 Pants On Fire and #12 Santiva.


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Older Comments about Can we predict the Derby trips? ...

Uncle Mo is scratched, Boxing AAA and Dialed In works for me. Good Luck All!
Sat in on 3 derby chats and consensus was #1 was going to be a curse for ArchArchArch, reading this has reafirmed my confidence in AAA and Court
I think the idea is Shackleford breaks well and causes trouble for those inside of him. He's not in trouble himself.
How do they have Shackleford in trouble out of the gate but in the lead going into the clubhouse?
I beleive Uncle Mo willl be the winner of next Kentucky Derby 2011 as for the triple crown, I really dont' know,I'm not sure about it, lets wait and see after race comments.
Pletcher has worked Uncle Mo as to have a faster start from the starting gate and I beleive Uncle Mo willl be the winner of next Kentucky Derby 2011 as for the triple crown, I really dont' know,I'm not sure about it, lets wait and see after race comments.
If all goes the way it should That is a good idea of how the horses will break. Of corse loading 20 horses up into the post is no easy task and takes time. Usually a few are left flat footed at the start from waiting so long for the Bell.
I said something very similar in my blog even before this was posted. Check it out at austinbnike80.blogspot.com. I also have analyses of my top 10 horses. Good luck to all!!
I said something very similar in my blog even before this was posted. Check it out at austinbnike80.blogspot.com. I also have analyses of my top 10 horses. Good luck to all!!
Comma to the top will be the speed for a very long way. If Sidney's Candy was in this years edition he will be close to favourite odds, and quite rightly so. Comma to the top best move in all of his races is on the far turn and I see him 5 lengths clear at the top of the stretch. A lot of his competitors are late stretch closers, so that may help him win this whole thing.I think the best of the late closers with good post position is Brilliant Speed.
I think it is a little crazy, I mean predicting the start. 20 jockeys and 20 trainers say every year the 1 hole is the worst. Now the experts are saying that it is the place to be. I just dont see how that is possible.
We completely agree on Archie. He may even be on equal terms with Master of Hounds without really being used, but OUTSIDE of him. I think Court is confident he is on the best horse and just won't want him stopped. I disagree on Shackleford's spot. I see him taking back and letting the 5-6-7-17-18 fight thru the first turn. Romans is very confident he will rate and wants him to be in a nice open gallop without having to waste energy fighting early.
Pants on Fire would be smart to lay aheadof Dialed In and make a lete run.We'll see what Rose is made of.
Julien with clean break and laying back ready to close at 1/16 pole.
I do not tyhink you can predict the winner from this but you can pretty well predict who probably isn't going to have the Roses draped around him from this....Hartack once told me "A Jockey can't make a horse win but he can sure cause him to lose.....
I pretty much agree with this projection except what is going to happen to the #1....he will be forced into the rail or he will have to drop back and anytime either of those two things happen the horse has a poor trip from there on. and being a speed horse the #1 will be playing catch up the whole race....it would take a absolute perfect ride by an excellent Jockey and some good luck. for him to overcome
Interesting, but I have to see who actually breaks well, not just who gets squeezed. Also some horses can be manuerevible even with a bad start.
Archarcharch is getting better each race by a lot and does have tactical speed.Midnight Interlude firing bulletts,and Dialed In the horse to beat.
I hope your right about Archarcharch getting a golden spot out of the gate. I was hoping for anything but the 1 hole for him, but maybe it will be a blessing in disguise. An exetremly convincing disguise.

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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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