Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Anatomy of a perfect Kentucky Derby trip: Trakus

2012 Kentucky Derby - Trakus
What does it take to win the Kentucky Derby? Speed, talent, staying power, and courage are all prized qualities for a racehorse, but are those assets that really pay off on the first Saturday in May? Sure, all of those things can help a horse prove victorious in the most magical two minutes in sports, but as much as anything, in this age of twenty horse fields in the Run for the Roses, it is racing luck that decides the big race. One thing you simply don’t hear anymore is, “he won the Derby despite of his trip.” And for good reason, with all that horseflesh jammed into the starting gate, and all that traffic throughout the key points of the race, it has become near impossible for a horse to recover from trouble. Did 2012 Kentucky Derby winner, I'll Have Another receive a perfect trip on the way to collecting the trophy? You better believe it … check out this revealing video from my friends at Trakus, as you ride along with Mario Gutierrez for the entire mile and a quarter.


Wasn’t that fun? Let’s run down the I’ll Have Another checklist of a winning, and a perfect, trip in America’s most prestigious race…
-Breaking smoothly from the gate? Check
-Easily coming over from an outside post position to grab an ideal position into the first turn? Check
-Not letting the super-sized field squeeze you or cause too much stress the first half of the race? Check
-Having an opening on the backstretch to run through to maintain momentum and to stay in touch with the leader? Check
-Moving into a perfect striking position on the far turn, outside the tiring horses, but inside the competition coming from behind? Check
-Clear sailing down the lane in order to run down the leader? Check
Did your selection have this kind of smooth sailing in the Derby? Unless his name was I’ll Have Another, the answer is no.
Other interesting information from the folks at Trakus includes the total distance run for each horse. Using the 6,680 feet covered by I’ll Have Another as point zero, let’s take a look at the other key contenders…
Bodemeister -41 (41 feet less than I’ll Have Another)
Dullahan -6 
Went the Day Well -4 
Creative Cause +29 
Liaison +15
Union Rags -27
Rousing Sermon -36
Hansen -15
As you can see, despite the smooth trip, I’ll have Another did have to run longer than most of the other main contenders from his #19 post position. Bodemeister, from his front-running position, actually ran approximately five lengths less than the winner, while Creative Cause ran nearly three-and-a-half lengths farther, or slightly more lengths than he was beaten. 
Trakus also tells us that the trouble plagued, Union Rags ran the fastest final sixteenth in the Derby. His closing time of 6.37 was just a shade better than fourth place finisher, Went the Day Well.
What does all this mean for the Preakness? Was luck the biggest factor in I’ll Have Another’s win in the Kentucky Derby? It may have been, but remember the old saying, that we make our own luck. This is true for racehorses as well. I’ll Have Another did all the right things to make his own luck. Sometimes bad racing luck is unavoidable, but more often than not, it comes down to a jockey making the right decisions aboard a horse able to do everything he needs.
Clearly this was the case for I’ll Have Another. If you are siding with horses like Bodemeister, Creative Cause, or Went the Day Well, there is no reason to get off them now, but just know they will all have I’ll Have Another to beat in the Triple Crown’s second leg.


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Older Comments about Anatomy of a perfect Kentucky Derby trip: Trakus...

Cozzetti should rally from off the pace to win the Preakness, followed by Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best, and Bodemeister!
Having watched the race several times since Derby Day, Guiterrez made two key moves with I'll Have Another. Both occurred at the top of the stretch. One, was at the start, and the other move at the turn for home. The first was getting him out of that 2nd gate to a wide-open space through the stretch so he could relax the horse through the clubhouse turn. The second, was pretty remarkable since this was Guiterrez' first time in a race of this magnitude. It was the key move as they spun off the turn at the 1/4 pole. Drifting out in the middle of the track with Went the Day Well & Dullahan to his outside, the key move was sliding him back inside to make his run at Bodemeister. The closers were still commited the the 7 & 8 paths and stayed out there to launch, but it was too late. Guiterrez was already gone and taking a bead on the game Bodemeister. Bodemeisters' ability to burn those fractions and still be running at the end was quite impressive. That's why I'm taking Bodemeister in the shorter Preakness.
I am still amazed at how well Bodemeister hung on at the end. How often do you see a horse on the lead just hit a wall and go straight to the back of the pack? Bode seems to keep improving. I think he is the real deal for 3YOs this year. A few more races will tell more..
I believe that you need a good trip in the derby to win if your horse is a good, but a GREAT horse can pull it off even if he has a little more trouble than his other competitors. Let's take a look. Positions 1- 10 tend to give horses the most trouble, and in the past 30 years, 20 horses have won from one of those positions.
how to get this software???
I saw that Trakus simulation earlier it is pretty cool.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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