Top 10 Reasons the Kentucky Derby is the Hardest Race to Handicap

The Kentucky Derby has rapidly become one of the a lot of difficult contest in the apple to handicap. The “best known” handicappers accept rarely been able to aces the winner, and accept absolute ashamed themselves in some years.

Last year wasn’t too bad because the accepted admired Street Sense prevailed. But let’s go aback in the time abridged for a bigger example. Two years ago in the 2006 Derby, Andy Beyer best A. P. Warrior to win. A. P. Warrior accomplished 18th of 20. Dan Illman of the Daily Antagonism Form agents best Sweetnorthernsaint. Sweetnorthernsaint accomplished 7th of 20. Steven Crist of the Daily Antagonism Form aswell best Sweetnorthernsaint. Your columnist best Steppenwolfer to appear from the clouds. Steppenwolfer alone partially emerged from the clouds and accomplished 3rd of 20. For the record, Barbaro was the Derby champ in 2006.

Why is this one chase so difficult to predict? Lord knows we feel like we apperceive all the contenders carefully by the time the aboriginal Saturday in May rolls around. I’ve accustomed it affluence of anticipation and listed my own top 10 affidavit why the Kentucky Derby is the hardest chase in the apple to handicap. Take a attending and see if you agree.

The Top 10 Affidavit Kentucky Derby Is Now The Hardest Chase In The Apple To Affliction

1. Acreage admeasurement has commonly bloated to the best of twenty, and that’s too abounding horses to clasp into two turns and not apprehend aloft cartage congestion.

This year a abounding acreage of twenty is accepted yet again. That agency abetting gates, bottleneck on turns meant for a acreage bisected the size, bumping and cutting for position, aloft accouterment in approach dictated by cavalcade position draw, and around-the-clock starting and endlessly and restarting momentum. It’s abundant to accord you and your jockey a migraine.

2. These 3-year-olds are still youngsters, and although we feel we apperceive them by now, they don’t accept a lot of lifetime starts.

For several of this year’s contenders, let’s account the starts in 2007, the starts in 2008, and the absolute starts. For instance, Adriano 4-3-7 indicates 4 contest in 2007, 3 contest in 2008, and 7 contest overall.

Adriano 4-3-7

Behindatthebar 0-5-5

Big Brown 1-2-3

Bob Black Jack 4-3-7

Colonel John 4-2-6

Cool Coal Man 5-3-8

Cowboy Cal 3-3-6

Gayego 2-3-5

Monba 3-2-5

Pyro 4-3-7

Recapturetheglory 4-2-6

Tale Of Ekati 4-2-6

Z Fortune 2-4-6

AVERAGE 3.1-2.8-5.9

The archetypal Kentucky Derby 2008 adversary has three starts or beneath this year and about six starts overall. The assertive post-time admired Big Brown has alone three lifetime starts (two of them in 2008). There are actual few contest to attending at. That’s the adorableness and claiming of handicapping the Derby.

3. None of the Derby preps are contested at the Derby 1 1/4 mile distance.

A archetypal Kentucky Derby basic is either 1 1/16 afar or 1 1/8 miles. The 1 1/16 mile basic covers 15% beneath arena than the Derby. The 1 1/8 mile basic is 10% beneath than the Derby. That missing 10% or 15% is area abounding contest are won or lost. Think of it addition way. If you add up all the contest in the Absolute Contest cavalcade in the aloft table you get 77. Of those 77 races, not one was run at the Kentucky Derby ambit of 1 ¼ miles.

4. The Derby preps are captivated from coast-to-coast, so a lot of these colts accept never eyed anniversary added on the chase course.

The aboriginal Derby admired Big Brown faced (and defeated) Smooth Air and Tomcito in the Florida Derby on March 29. That’s it for Big Brown. Big Brown has never raced adjoin Pyro, Colonel John, Gayego, Z Fortune, Bob Black Jack or Monba. In an allowance win at Gulfstream, the additional of his three races, Big Brown manhandled a horse called Heaven’s Awesome. Heaven’s Awesome has alone one win in nine starts. What are we declared to apprentice from that? Not much!

Some of the added Derby contenders accept met anniversary added on the chase track. Gayego exhausted Z Fortune in the Arkansas Derby. Pyro exhausted Z Fortune in the Risen Star. Cool Coal Man defeated Recapturetheglory in an allowance at Churchill Downs. At atomic those contest were on accepted dirt.

There were aswell adversary battles on the contemporary constructed tracks. Colonel John defeated Bob Black Jack in the Santa Anita Derby. Monba defeated Cowboy Cal, Pyro and Cool Coal Man in the Blue Grass. And what are we declared to apprentice from the Santa Anita Derby and the Blue Grass which are both run on constructed tracks? Not much! Polytrack achievement artlessly does not backpack over to accepted dirt. Cushion Clue is a little friendlier to comparisons with clay (but I wouldn’t await on it).

5. Alone a scattering of the contenders commonly accept a chase over the Churchill Downs course, the abiding host clue for the Derby. And now that the Polytrack era is aloft us, some horses accept able alone on constructed surfaces.

Let’s revisit our table of Kentucky Derby contenders. This time we’ll be searching at contest on accepted clay and contest on the Churchill Downs capital track. So Adriano 7-1-0 indicates 7 absolute races, 1 chase on dirt, and 0 contest on the Churchil Downs capital track.

Adriano 7-1-0

Behindatthebar 5-1-0

Big Brown 3-2-0

Bob Black Jack 7-0-0

Colonel John 6-0-0

Cool Coal Man 8-7-2

Cowboy Cal 6-1-0

Gayego 5-1-0

Monba 5-2-1

Pyro 7-6-1

Recapturetheglory 6-3-1

Tale Of Ekati 6-6-0

Z Fortune 6-5-0

AVERAGE 5.9-2.7-0.4

The archetypal Kentucky Derby 2008 adversary has six lifetime starts, and beneath than three of those starts were on accepted dirt. The archetypal Derby adversary is advantageous to accept one chase over the Churchill Downs capital course. That’s absolutely not abundant to go on. I accusation it on the Poly-Preps.

6. Aback to the assertive acreage size, if a jockey makes a accessory mistake, he can lose the chase in a blink.

Calvin Borel was both acute and advantageous in endure year’s Kentucky Derby. Borel hugged the Churchill abuse on Street Sense like his activity depended on it. And just if he bare it, the seas seemed to allotment for Calvin Borel. The duo of Street Sense and Borel answerable through an aperture at the top of the lane and ran down Hard Spun in a account absolute finish.

It doesn’t consistently plan out like a Hollywood movie. In 1988 there should accept been a Triple Crown champ and his name was Risen Star. In the Kentucky Derby that year, beneath jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, Risen Star was affected to the alfresco on the backstretch area he backward until authoritative a allegation at the arch of the stretch. Unfortunately, he was too backward to accomplish up all the absent arena to the closing champ (the filly Acceptable Colors) and accomplished third. Two weeks afterwards in the Preakness Stakes Risen Star won in the fastest chase back his amoroso Secretariat’s 1973 almanac time. Three weeks later, he showed off his genes, affairs abroad from the acreage and acceptable by an amazing 15 lengths in the longest of the Triple Crown races, the arduous 1½ mile Belmont Stakes.

Was it Delahoussaye’s ride that was at accountability or was it the cartage created by the added 16 horses in the race? We actuality in New Orleans are apprehensive of the role of Risen Star’s trainer (and ancient Fair Grounds owner) Louis J. Roussel III. Roussel has consistently been a bit of a agitator and it was acerb accounted he gave Delahoussaye austere instructions to arrest Risen Star aboriginal at all costs (for abhorrence of afire out block the filly Acceptable Colors). To my adolescent eyes, it looked as if Risen Star was abundant the best horse in the Kentucky Derby and he artlessly ran out of ground. We’ll never apperceive what absolutely happened, but there’s one affair you can calculation on. A jockey can lose the Derby in the blink of an eye. Just ask Eddie Delahoussaye.

7. Everybody (including the best of the chase exhausted handicappers) pays far too abundant absorption to the media circus, accident clue of able-bodied ashore handicapping methodology.

I don’t wish to aggravate the media, afterwards all they accept a job to do and they do it well. But sometimes the media gives too abundant ink to a horse just for the account of architecture up a aberration arch to the race. Such was the case in the 2008 Tampa Bay Derby. If you apprehend about a horse like War Pass you accept to accept that he is a acceleration horse, and acceleration horses sometimes don’t like to get hooked. Well, War Pass got absorbed in the Tampa Bay Derby and his supporters “got hooked” to the tune of 1-to-20 odds. The abrupt off-the-board accomplishment beatific abounding bridge-jumpers to an aboriginal demise. The affair about the Tampa Bay Derby is that chase exhausted writers absolutely abandoned two actual able colts (Big Truck and Atoned). While War Pass faltered, Big Truck and Atoned artlessly ran their archetypal chase and accomplished one-two. Personally, I did not beacon my readers to bet the Tampa Bay Derby. I was actual alert of the media advertising and I abandoned it.

Well, the Kentucky Derby doesn’t charge any hype. It is the hype. The best action is to stick to a approved and authentic handicapping philosophy. Stick to your accoutrements no amount what the T. V. pundits say (I wouldn’t pay too abundant absorption to Hank Goldberg and his back bank).

8. Way too abundant absorption is adherent to the Dosage Index of the contenders. The Belmont Stakes is the alone jewel of the Triple Crown area the Dosage Index absolutely comes into play.

The ancestry industry has been sacrificing backbone for acceleration for over twenty years now. As a result, horses don’t authority up as able-bodied during the Kentucky Derby basic season. It acclimated to be exceptional of for a Derby adversary to accept alone two preps. This year Big Brown has alone a individual basic and he has alone three lifetime races. And cipher raises an eyebrow. Endure year Street Sense had alone two preps above-mentioned to acceptable the Derby.

Back in 1977, the abundant Affirmed had nine contest as a 2-year-old, seven of which he won. Again in 1978 Affirmed had three preps (the San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby and Hollywood Derby) above-mentioned to the Derby on his way to the Triple Crown sweep. And just for the record, Affirmed won all three of his preps. Affirmed remained complete throughout his adolescent and green campaigns, antagonism carefully on dirt. Who needs Polytrack?

A acceptable Dosage Index (lower is bigger than higher) about indicates a full-blooded that provides an bent for best distances. Best distances crave backbone and exercise (and not necessarily speed). Dosage Index still comes into play for the mile and a bisected Belmont, but it’s not absolutely a agency in the Kentucky Derby.

9. Chase handicappers accept to accomplish their selections afore the acclimate letters are absolutely accurate, so a awkward clue can change everything.

Nobody best Go For Gin to win the Kentucky Derby in 1994. But again the skies opened up (and the rains came down). A son of Cormorant, Go for Gin was bred to adulation an off track, and just as advertised he proceeded to abash the blow of the acreage with a front-running victory. Go For Gin paid $20.20 for a beeline $2 win ticket. Naturally chase writers accept to accommodated deadlines. That’s why I accord selections for both fast and off clue altitude should the acclimate accreditation it.

10. There are twenty choices, for God’s sake!

In a 5 horse field, an boilerplate horse has a one in 5 adventitious of winning. That’s a 20% accidental adventitious you accept of acrimonious the winner. In a ten horse field, an boilerplate horse has a one in ten adventitious of winning. That’s a 10% chance. Twenty choices agency that an boilerplate horse has a one in twenty adventitious of winning. That’s a 5% chance. If none of the added nine affidavit (in the top 10) get you, the numbers bold will. It’s simple mathematics, my friend.