Remsen 2022: Path to Kentucky Derby has puzzling history

Remsen 2022: Path to Kentucky Derby has puzzling history
Photo: NYRA TV

Go figure the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes. Historically speaking, it is not easy compared with other Kentucky Derby points preps.

Last weekend, Instant Coffee was the fifth consecutive closer to win the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), typical of the style that succeeds in prep races at Churchill Downs. It has been just the opposite at Santa Anita, where 12 of the last 20 runnings of the track’s Derby preps for 3-year-olds were won by frontrunners.

Click here for Aqueduct entries and results.

At Aqueduct, the Remsen has not had a clear pattern. In the last 12 years, four winners showed early speed, five came from at least three lengths off the pace, and three were close to the pace. Those stalkers included Mo Donegal, who won last December.

These have been the Remsen winners’ past-performance lines since 1991, according to Equibase charts:

YearWinner1/41/23/4StrFin
2021Mo Donegal  4 -   1 1/24 -   2 1/25 - 1 3/41 1
2020Brooklyn Strong  4 -   3 4 -   3 2 - 2 2 -    1/21
2019Shotski  1 1 1 1 1
2018Maximus Mischief  2 -      1/21 1 1 1
2017Catholic Boy  6 -   35 -   2 4 - 1 1 1
2016Mo Town  4 -   6 2 -   1 2 - 1 1 1
2015Mohaymen  4 -   2 3 -   2 3 - 2 1 1
2014Leave the Light On  1 1 1 1 1
2013Honor Code  4 -   3 2 -      1/22 - hd 2 -    1/21
2012Overanalyze  2 -   1 2 -   1 2 - 1 2 -    1/21
2011O'Prado Again  7 -   5 3 -   1 1/23 - 1 1/23 - 2 1
2010To Honor and Serve  1 1 1 1 1
2009Buddy's Saint  3 -   1 1/23 -   2 3 - 1 1/21 1
2008Old Fashioned  1 1 1 1 1
2007Court Vision  3 -   4 3 -   2 1/24 - 1 1/22 - 3 1
2006Nobiz Like Shobiz  3 -   1 1/24 -   1 1/42 -    1/21 1
2005Bluegrass Cat  1 1 1 1 1
2004Rockport Harbor  1 1 1 1 1
2003Read the Footnotes  2 -   1 2 -      1/21 1 1
2002Toccet  2 - hd 2 -   1 2 -    1/21 1
2001Saarland  7 -   7 1/27 -   2 3/48 - 3 1/45 -    3/41
2000Windsor Castle  8 -   5 1/48 -   3 1/47 - 2 1/42 -    1/21
1999Greenwood Lake  8 - 11 8 - 10 7 - 7 3/46 - 3 1/21
1998Comeonmom  6 -   7 1/26 -   9 1/26 - 5 2 - hd 1
1997Coronado's Quest  1 1 1 1 1
1996The Silver Move  2 - hd 2 -   1 1/22 - 1 1/21 1
1995Tropicool  3 -   2 1/25 -   4 6 - 5 1/23 - 2 1/21
1994Thunder Gulch  7 -   5 7 -   3 3/44 - 1 1/42 - 1 1
1993Go for Gin  1 1 1 1 1
1992Silver of Silver10 -   6 1/49 -   5 5 - 2 1/21 1
1991Pine Bluff  2 - hd 2 -   1 1/22 -    1/21 1

Saturday’s renewal of the 1 1/8-mile race is expected to include potential pacesetters Arctic Arrogance, Midnight Trouble and Prove Right as well as stalker Quick to Accuse and closers Dubyuhnell and 2-for-2 Tuskegee Airmen.

It has been far easier to see what Remsen styles fit on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Of the last 14 horses to graduate from the New York prep, 10 have been closers. Mo Donegal and Zandon came from off the pace to finish 1-2 in the 2021 Remsen. Zandon went on to finish second and Mo Donegal fifth in a Derby that rewarded 80-1 winner Rich Strike, who closed on the suicidal early pace.

These were the horses who raced in both the Remsen and Kentucky Derby since the fall of 1999, with Quirin Speed Points showing their running styles:

YearHorseQuirinRemsen*Derby
2021Zandon  S 3    2nd     3rd
 Mo Donegal  S 2    1st     5th
2020Known Agenda  P 3    3rd**  8th
 Brooklyn StrongE/P 4    1st**14th
2019    
2018TaxE/P 6    3rd**14th
2017    
2016    
2015MohaymenE/P 6    1st     4th
2014FrostedE/P 4    2nd     4th
 Keen Ice  S 1    3rd     7th
2013Wicked Strong  P 0    3rd     4th
 Intense Holiday  P 2    4th   12th
2012Normandy Invasion  S 2    2nd     4th
 Overanalyze  S 4    1st   11th
2011El Padrino  P 5    3rd   13th
 Done Talking  S 0    4th   14th
2010Mucho Macho ManE/P 6    2nd     3rd
2009HomeboykrisE/P 6    5th   16th
2008Atomic Rain  E 6    2nd   16th
 Hold Me Back  S 0    5th   12th
2007Court Vision  S 3    1st   13th
 Big Truck  P 3    4th   18th
2006Nobiz Like Shobiz  E 7    1st   10th
2005Bluegrass CatE/P 6    1st    2nd
 Flashy BullE/P 5    2nd   14th
2004    
2003Read the FootnotesE/P 6    1st     7th
 Master DavidE/P 5    2nd   12th
2002Empire Maker  P 5    3rd    2nd
2001Saarland  S 3    1st   10th
2000    
1999    
   *Following year   
 **Promoted   
 E - Early (pacesetter)   
 E/P - Early presser (stalker)   
 P - Presser (mid-pack)   
 S - Sustainer (closer)  

The 2019 foals who came through the New York preps last season had exceptional Triple Crown results in 2022. Early Voting, who scored last February in the Withers (G3) and placed second in the April running of the Wood Memorial (G2), finished first in the Preakness. Nest parlayed her victory in the 2021 Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct into a second-place finish to Mo Donegal in the Belmont.

However, the 108 previous runnings of the Remsen have produced only six Kentucky Derby winners and none since 1995.

Derby winner*RemsenTrainer
1939 Johnstown    1stJim Fitzsimmons
1961 Carry Back    1stJack Price
1964 Northern Dancer    1stHoratio Luro
1981 Pleasant Colony    1stJohn Campo
1994 Go for Gin    1stNick Zito
1995 Thunder Gulch    1stD. Wayne Lukas
*Previous year 

Of the current points races that were established as preps before 2000, only the Sam F. Davis (G3), Iroquois (G3) and Gotham (G3) have had longer droughts than the Remsen when it comes to producing a Derby winner.

Last Derby winnerPrep
Never (42 runnings)Sam F. Davis (G3)
Never (41 runnings)Iroquois (G3)
Never (22 runnings)UAE Derby (G2)
Never (21 runnings)Springboard Mile
Never (17 runnings*)Withers (G3)
Never (15 runnings)Smarty Jones (G3)
Never (12 runnings*)Jerome
Never (8 runnings)Los Alamitos Futurity (G2)
1973 SecretariatGotham (G3)
1995 Thunder GulchRemsen (G2)
1999 CharismaticEl Camino Real Derby
1999 CharismaticLexington (G3)
2003 Funny CideWood Memorial (G2)
2004 Smarty JonesSouthwest (G3)
2006 BarbaroHoly Bull (G3)
2007 Street SenseBlue Grass (G1)
2007 Street SenseBreeders' Futurity (G1)
2009 Mine That BirdSunland Park Derby (G3)
2010 Super SaverChampagne (G1)
2010 Super SaverKentucky Jockey Club (G2)
2010 Super SaverTampa Bay Derby (G2)
2012 I'll Have AnotherRobert B. Lewis (G3)
2013 OrbFountain of Youth (G2)
2015 American PharoahRebel (G2)
2016 NyquistAmerican Pharoah (G1)**
2016 NyquistBreeders' Cup Juvenile (G1)
2017 Always DreamingFlorida Derby (G1)
2019 Country HouseArkansas Derby (G1)
2020 AuthenticSan Felipe (G2)
2020 AuthenticSanta Anita Derby (G1)
2020 AuthenticSham (G3)
2021 MandalounLecomte (G3)
2021 MandalounLouisiana Derby (G2)
2021 MandalounRisen Star (G2)
2022 Rich StrikeGun Runner
2022 Rich StrikeJohn Battaglia Memorial
2022 Rich StrikeJeff Ruby Steaks (G3)
  *As Kentucky Derby prep 
**FrontRunner in 2015

Entries for the Remsen will be taken Wednesday. The race will be run on the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) undercard.

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