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GQ: Kentucky Derby horse-by-horse

by | May 5, 2017 | Breaking, Featured Races, Handicapping, Top Stories, Triple Crown Trail

Hence

Kentucky Derby hopeful Hence won the Sunland Derby. Photo by Coady Photography.

by Gary Quill

Christmas has finally arrived for thoroughbred horseplayers everywhere. Churchill Downs is to horse racing as Augusta National is to golf, as Daytona Speedway is to NASCAR, and as the Rose Bowl is to college football. Rain or shine, nothing will dampen our enthusiasm come 6:33 p.m. EDT on Saturday as we watch the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby.

The forecast for the Louisville area is for unseasonably cool temperatures in the low-60s with mostly cloudy skies on Friday through post time on Saturday, with a constant chance of precipitation. The uncertainty of if the track will be dry (aka fast) or muddy or sloppy (aka off) makes prognosticating this race more difficult days in advance. Luckily, it does not appear that any of the runners’ performances will be greatly hampered or enhanced if the track on Saturday is labeled “muddy” or ”sloppy.”

On Wednesday, Post Positions were drawn as a full field of 20 three-year-olds have been entered plus two Also-Eligibles, #21 – Royal Mo and #22 – Master Plan. For either to draw into the field, one or two horses would have to scratch prior to 9:00am on Friday.

Based on my analysis, here’s how the field (excluding the Also-Eligible) stacks up as far as their running style…

  • 4 – runners with early speed
  • 5 – runners with tactical speed (stalkers)
  • 4 – mid-pack runners (plodders)
  • 7 – deep closers

There are many schools of thought when it comes to handicapping the Kentucky Derby. The sheer size of the field itself can be overwhelming. Every runner has his positives and negatives. The key is to somehow pull it all together then and imagine how the race will be run.

With that being said, and my past performances marked up as if a pre-school class were turned loose on them, here’s HOW I SEE IT (the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands) playing out, listed in my predicted order of finish. Odds shown are the morning line odds.

Keep in mind I’m picking horses nearly 72 hours BEFORE they walk out on the track. If possible, you should not make your wager until you’ve seen the horses in the Post Parade (12 minutes before the start). When horses reach the track, their physical appearance and body language can tip you off on which one(s) to include in your exacta, trifecta, superfecta or simply WIN, PLACE and/or SHOW bet. Good luck!

ORDER OF FINISH

  1. #8 Hence
  2. #17 Irish War Cry
  3. #15 McCraken
  4. #1 Lookin at Lee
  5. #16 Tapwrit
  6. #14 Classic Empire
  7. #9 Irap
  8. #18 Gormley
  9. #6 State of Honor
  10. #2 Thunder Snow
  11. #5 Always Dreaming
  12. #10 Gunnevera
  13. #19 Practical Joke
  14. #12 Sonneteer
  15. #11 Battle of Midway
  16. #13 J Boys Echo
  17. #20 Patch
  18. #4 Untrapped
  19. #19 Girvin
  20. #3 Fast and Accurate

Based on my analysis of the Derby, I’ll put just $80 into the race and play…

  • $10 WIN, PLACE, SHOW on #8 (Hence) cost: $30
  • $2 EXACTA BOX on #1 (Lookin At Lee), #8 (Hence), #15 (McCraken), #17 (Irish War Cry) cost: $24
  • $1 TRIFECTA BOX on #8 (Hence), #15x (McCraken), #17 (Irish War Cry) cost: $6
  • $1 TRIFECTA PART-WHEEL #5, #8, #14, #15, #16 with #17 (Irish War Cry in the 2nd spot) with #1, #8, #9, #14, #15, #16 cost: $26

ANALYSIS

1st — #8 Hence (15-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Steve Asmussen / Florent Geroux (1:0-0-1)
  • Running Style: Closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Comes off the best race of his life, a victory in the Sunland Derby which has turned out to be a “key race” in that others he beat came back to run very well in their next race… runner-up Conquest Mo Money (second in Arkansas Derby) and fourth-place finisher Irap (won Blue Grass Stakes), both are in the KY Derby whereas the third-place finisher Hedge Fund just missed in the Illinois Derby.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Seems to be the “Wise Guy” horse of Derby Week. Every year a buzz is created about one horse, usually a sleeper that the talking heads (aka experts) gush over but to this ‘capper’s recollection none has ever lived up to the hype. Trainer currently holds the dubious distinction of having the most Derby starters (15) without a win.

2nd – #17 – Irish War Cry (6-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): H. Graham Motion / Rajiv Maragh (4:0-0-1)
  • Running Style: Early Speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Only runner in this field to have earned three (3) triple-digit Brisnet speed figures and has accomplished that from just five career races while none of his rivals have even topped the century mark twice! After his seventh-place finish in the G2 Fountain of Youth without any logical or medical excuse, his trainer turned to a jockey, rather than an exercise rider to relax him in the mornings… and it worked. That same jockey rode him to victory in the G2 Wood Memorial and has the mount here. Not only did he have a relaxed horse in the early going, he had a ton of horse who on cruise control until asking him for more in the final eighth. A repeat performance wins this 143rd edition. Fun Fact: 86-year-old owner Isabelle de Tomaso is the daughter of Amory Haskell, founder of Monmouth Park and, yes, the namesake of its annual $1-million race, the Haskell Invitational.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

If he fails to relax early on with equally speedy rivals eager to get position, he’ll expend all his energy and have nothing left for the stretch run. Only two of the past 142 Derby winners were bred in the Garden State (NJ)… Cavalcade (1934) and Regret (1915), but he will be first to run in the race since Dance Floor ran third in 1992. No Derby starter breaking from Post 17 has EVER won this race and no Wood starter has finished better than fourth in the Derby since Funny Cide won in 2003… that would be 28 who failed to even be part of the Derby trifecta.

3rd -#15 – McCraken (5-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Ian Wilkes / Brian Hernandez, Jr. (1:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Was poised to be the Derby favorite as he entered his final prep undefeated (4 for 4) and the 8-5 Post Time favorite in the G2 Blue Grass but came up short (third by 3¾ lengths). His first three wins came on the same track the Derby is run, so you’d think advantage McCraken. There will be plenty of early pace to give him an opportunity to redeem himself.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Has yet to crack a triple-digit Brisnet speed figure, typically a prerequisite for having a chance to win the Derby. He broke his maiden at CD (see Classic Empire).

4th – #1 – Lookin At Lee (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Steve Asmussen / Corey Lanerie  (2: 0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Deep Closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Ran on nicely in the fastest final 1/8th (12 flat) when his jock had him weaving in and out, then between runners in the stretch of the 1 1/8 mile AR Derby. At that point, plenty of horseplayers who witnessed that race made this colt their Derby horse. Many believe with the additional eighth of a mile, he can turn the tables on Classic Empire who has beaten him three times by 3, 12 and most recently just 1½ lengths.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Both career wins came at Ellis Park… surprisingly at 6 and 7 furlongs. Had a better record (5:2-2-0) before he was equipped with blinkers (4:0-0-2), yet he’ll wear them in here. Will need to take a giant leap forward as his best natural dirt speed figure ranks tied for 18th (with Sonneteer) out of the 20th scheduled starters. It’s been thirty-one years since the last Derby winner (<em>Ferdinand</em>) came from Post Position #1 and that was in a field of 16, not 20 starters.

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5th -#16 – Tapwrit (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Todd Pletcher / Jose Ortiz (2:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Won the G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 11th and needed a race prior to the Derby so this $1.2 million yearling got a paid workout in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes as he was 5-6 wide on both turns, his jock only gave him token urging and just two cracks of the whip, 11 lengths from the winner while taking a peek at runners near the final 100 yards to insure a $30,000 payday for fifth place.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

A disappointing 5th in the Blue Grass as the 2-1 second choice if you don’t buy into the reasoning above. The last KY Derby winner to have finished worse than 4th in his final Derby prep race was Iron Liege (1957) who ran 5th in the Derby Trial. A son of leading sire Tapit (9th in 2004 KY Derby) who commands a $300,000 stud fee has turned out 16 crops of runners but has yet to produce a Kentucky Derby winner. The last gray to win the Derby was Giacomo in 2005.

TWITTER: @tapwrit

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6th – #14 – Classic Empire (4-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Mark Casse / Julien Leparoux (9:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Tactical speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

There are plenty of reasons… won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile from off the pace earning a career high 108 Brisnet speed figure which is tops among all 2017 Derby starters.…won Eclipse Award for outstanding two-year-old… won the Arkansas Derby with a visually impressive move, powering his way past rivals with authority, running the fastest final 1/8th in a solid 12 1/5 seconds… when “not 100 percent” per his trainer. Since Churchill Downs, Inc. instituted the Road to the Kentucky Derby point system in 2013, the post-time Derby favorite has won the race. He will likely be the post-time favorite.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

He won his career debut at Churchill Downs which means he’ll have to break an 83-year drought of having his first win come over the same track as the KY Derby. The last Derby winner to have done that was Brokers Tip in 1933. His jock’s best finish in the Derby has been 5th from nine previous mounts while finishing 8th on 2011 Derby betting favorite Dialed In. Many modern-day handicappers dismiss “Dosage Index” (DI) as a barometer for horses who have the stamina to win this 1¼ mile race because recent winners did not meet the criteria of having a DI of 4.00 or less. This 3-year-olds DI is 5.00.

TWITTER: @Classic_Empire 

7th -#9 – Irap (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): ): Doug O’Neill / Mario Gutierrez (2:2-0-0)
  • Running Style: Early speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Hard to think that a horse whose jockey, trainer and owner have teamed up to win this race twice before, Nyquist last year and I’ll Have Another in ’12, would not have a shot at winning. Though it took him 8 tries to finally get to the Winners Circle, it was at Keeneland in the G2 Blue Grass, his most recent outing. Only three of those races were against maidens (i.e. non-winners), two of those were on the turf and the other over a sloppy track. His fast track races were in stakes competition, compiling a solid record (5:1-3-0). One of just two in here to have run two 1 1/8 mile races. Getting the extra furlong will not be an issue.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

It’s been 26 years since the Blue Grass stakes winner won the Derby. Still eligible for non-winners of two lifetime races condition. His win on the front end in the G2 Blue Grass was helped by slow early fractions… that won’t be the case with at least a half dozen runners wanting to be forwardly placed.

8th – #18 – Gormley (15-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): John Shirreffs/Victor Espinoza (8:3-0-1)
  • Running Style: Tactical speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Multiple graded stakes winner including the G1 Santa Anita Derby carries the hope for southern California, and runners based there have dominated the KY Derby over the past three years (Nyquist, American Pharoah, California Chrome). Chances should be enhanced if the track comes up “off’ as his career best Brisnet speed figure (102) was earned in the G3 Sham stakes over a sloppy, sealed track. His recently elected to the Hall of Fame jockey knows how to win this race having done so more than any other rider in this year’s race, winning in 2015, 2014 and 2002 from just eight mounts while the owners and trainer teamed up to win the 2005 KY Derby with Giacomo, so they won’t be star struck.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Lacks consistency… didn’t seem to measure up with the best 2-year-olds last November when losing by 16 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile then threw in a clunker (fourth-place when 2-1 second choice in the G2 San Felipe), which was sandwiched between two graded stakes victories. He’s the best coming out of southern CA by default as the top Derby candidate on the left coast was Mastery who suffered an injury immediately his fourth consecutive victory in mid-March.

TWITTER: @gormley_horse

9th – #6 – State of Honor 30-1

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Mark Casse / Jose Lezcano (4:0-1-0)
  • Running Style: Early speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

The most experienced runner with ten (10) career starts. Has blossomed during his 3-year-old campaign after strictly racing in Canada on the WO synthetic surface. “Horses that are primarily based on the synthetic track need time to acclimate to the dirt surface,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “We really thought State of Honor was a true dirt horse after his first breeze at Palm Meadows (in Dec.). We have been treating every race in his 3-year-old campaign as a stepping stone to the first Saturday in May, and he has improved in each start.” That he has as his speed figures have been ascending while runner-up in past two races, the FL Derby and Tampa Derby.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

In Derby history, only 22 winners have gone gate-to-wire. That’s 22 for 142! The last one to do it was War Emblem in 2002. He’s still eligible for non-winners of 2 lifetime races and is 0 for 4 in races on natural dirt. Would be just the fifth Derby winner not foaled in the United States, the last was fellow Canadian-bred Sunny’s Halo (1983).

10th – #2 – Thunder Snow (IRE) (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): ): Saeed bin Suroor / Christophe Soumillion (1:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Tactical speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

He beat 15 rivals in winning the UAE Derby in Dubai by a nose over the previously undefeated Japanese start colt Epicharis, to earn his way into the KY Derby field, despite racing erratically in deep stretch. His jockey commented after the race, “I was very confident before the race, even with that draw (post 13). I came in the straight with a lot of power and I thought I would win very easy, but he was a bit looking around and unfortunately on the marks on the ground, he just got scared. He changed leg and just switched out for a few strides, and I was out of the saddle for a few strides. I got back on him and I thought I would have time to come back because he is a champion and has a big, big heart. He gave me everything. He is a champion. I knew he was going to be something special when he won in England last year.” That race was contested at 1 3/16 miles, the longest distance travelled in a race by any runner in here. Owned by Goldophin and trained in Dubai, the popular opinion was he’d remain in the Middle East and race in French, Irish or English Derby.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

No winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai has ever won the KY Derby, but to be fair that Meydan track was a synthetic surface in previous years and changed to natural dirt prior to 2016. Bred to run on turf and bloodlines tapped out beyond one mile distances. Only eight Irish-breds have started in the Derby, best finish was 7th while the last non-North American-bred winner of the Derby was Tomy Lee (1959). Didn’t arrive in the U.S. until one week prior to the Derby, then spent a few days in quarantine… not the best scenario for a 3-year-old colt leading up to the most challenging race of his career.

11th -#5 – Always Dreaming

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Todd Pletcher / John Velazquez (18:1-1-0)
  • Running Style: Early speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

All three of his victories have come in his last three starts going two turns, the most recent two at 1 1/8 miles, the only three races with Johnny Velazquez aboard. This colt’s average margin of victory has been just under 7 lengths. This handicapper believes he doesn’t need the lead to win as in his sprint races came from off the pace but simply ran out of real estate.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

This colt took a huge (18 point) leap in his Brisnet speed figure last outing and might be susceptible to a “bounce” (aka regression in form). Trainer Pletcher has only one Derby winner from 45 runners, and that one (Super Saver in 2010) came on an off track, then never even hit the board in his next 3 races before being retired to stud. Dosage = 5.00 (see Classic Empire for explanation).

TWITTER: @DreamingColt

12th – #10 – Gunnevera (15-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Antonio Sano / Javier Castellano (10:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Deep closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Seems like it was eons ago when he won the G2 Fountain of Youth in March as folks with a “what have you done for me lately” mindset may have written him off based on his third-place effort in the G1 FL Derby… but don’t! That race lacked a solid early pace and the GP dirt surface typically is not kind to deep closers. Even in the unlikelihood that the CD surface turns up speed favoring, about half of the field likes to be on or within a couple lengths of the lead which should insure a fast pace that sets up perfectly for his late run. Only runner in this field with triple-digit “Late Pace” Brisnet figures in last three races.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Though ridden by one of the nation’s top riders, Castellano hasn’t come close to winning a Derby in his 10 attempts (his best finish was 4th). Will need racing luck to negotiate past the entire field in that he’ll likely be dead last the first time the field crosses the wire.

13th – #19 – Practical Joke (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): ): Chad Brown / Joel Rosario (7:1-0-0)
  • Running Style: Closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Dances every dance as he’s never been off-the-board (6:3-2-1). Started career with three consecutive victories, two of those in Grade 1 stakes. Only loss as a 2-year-old came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when finishing a clear cut third after a tough start and wide early. Has every right to improve in his third start of the year after a pair of runner-up finishes in Grade 2 Derby prep events.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Troubling that in his last two races lacked a killer-instinct to get past horses. Bloodlines indicate he lacks the stamina to get the 1 1/4 mile distance and will likely make a middle move but hang in the stretch. Appears to be not fast enough as he’s yet to record a triple-digit Brisnet Speed figure, a staple for winning the KY Derby.

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14th – #12 – Sonneteer (50-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Keith Desormeaux / Kent Desormeaux (20: 3-1-4)
  • Running Style: Deep closer

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Flew home late, 11 3/5 for final eighth, but that was only good enough for fourth-place in the AR Derby, though he was just two-lengths behind the winner and Derby Morning Line favorite, Classic Empire at the wire. This trainer-jockey brother duo were runner-up in last years’ Derby with Exaggerator, plus Kent has hit the board with eight of his twenty Derby mounts.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Required the defection of another contender (Battalion Runner) to draw into the field. He has yet to win a race in his ten career starts. Buchanan (1884), Sir Barton (1919) and Brokers Tip (1933) are the only maidens (i.e. a horse that has yet to win a race) to win the Kentucky Derby. Will need to take a giant leap forward as his best natural dirt speed figure ranks tied for 18th (with Lookin At Lee) out of the 20th scheduled starters.

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15th – #11 – Battle of Midway (30-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Jerry Hollendorfer / Flavien Prat  (1st Derby)
  • Running Style: Tactical speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Purchased by WinStar Farm just 15 days prior to the Derby which shows a high confidence level from one of the big players in the industry. Showed gameness in most recent outing, the G1 Santa Anita Derby when uncharacteristically got involved in a 3-way tussle for the lead throughout the opening mile, put away that duo but couldn’t hold off the winner (Gormley). Switch back to previous race’s jockey could yield more of a stalking trip, conserving energy for the stretch run.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Lacks experience and didn’t make his career debut less than 4 months ago (Jan. 21) at age 3. He must overcome 134 years of Derby history, as Apollo in 1882 was the last Derby winner to have not raced at age two. His jock who has no Derby experience.

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16th – #13 – J Boys Echo (20-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Dale Romans / Luis Saez (4:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Mid-pack

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Trainer is a KY-bred, Louisville native who stables his horses at Churchill Downs, including this colt, so one would give a home track advantage here as J Boys Echo has not had to ship and knows the CD oval quite well. This son of Mineshaft had steadily improved speed figure-wise through his 3½-length win in the G3 Gotham at Aqu earning a 104 Brisnet#; only favorite Classic Empire (108 in BC Juvenile) can boast one higher. Willing to give him a pass for his fourth-place finish in the G2 Blue Grass as his spot for the Derby was secure and can accept this was simply a ($50,000) paid workout as the plan is to peak on the first Saturday in May.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Two races back he won the G3 Gotham. Secretariat is the only Gotham winner to wear the roses… I knew Secretariat… and he’s no Secretariat. Due to injury to regular rider Robby Albarado just 14 days ago, it will be the first time Luis Saez rides. Though CD is trainer Romans home track, winning the Derby has eluded him (7: 0-0-2).

TWITTER: @jboysecho

17th – #20 – Patch (30-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): ): Todd Pletcher / Tyler Gaffalione (1st Derby)
  • Running Style: Mid-pack

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Might be a sentimental favorite and one of the most talked about runner due to losing his left eye at age two from to an ulcer (long story short) which delayed his training and development as a race horse. Went from maiden winner in his second start directly into the fire, aka G2 Louisiana Derby and ran second. Getting the Derby distance won’t be an issue as both his sire (Union Rags) and dam sire (A.P.Indy) won the 1½ mile Belmont Stakes.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Lacks experience and didn’t make his career debut less than 4 months ago (Jan. 15) at age 3 and must overcome 134 years of Derby history, as Apollo in 1882 was the last Derby winner to have not raced at age two. His jock lacks the experience in a twenty-horse field and with his running style it’s asking a lot of a first-time Derby rider to negotiate a perfect trip to be first to the wire. Look for him to make a late run and be the horse immediately after the Derby people will be saying, “That one will win the Belmont!”

TWITTER: @PatchHorse

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18th – #4 – Untrapped (30-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Steve Asmussen / Ricardo Santana, Jr. (2:0-0-0)
  • Running Style: Mid-pack

Why he COULD win the Derby:

After four career races had never been off-the-board (4:1-2-1) until his last race when his trainer made an ill-advised decision to put blinkers on him. It made him too keen and the jockey (Mike Smith) allowed him to make a strong middle move which simply exhausted this energy to run on in the stretch. Hence, the blinkers will not be on for this contest. DRF Clocker extraordinaire, Mike Welsch liked how this one galloped out strong from his two workouts at CD leading up to this race.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

A disappointing 7th in the Arkansas Derby as the 5-2 second choice as the last KY Derby winner to have finished worse than 4th in his final Derby prep race was Iron Liege (1957) who ran 5th in the Derby Trial. He will carry 8 lbs. more than the 118 lbs. he did in the AR Derby, while all others in here carried at least 122 lbs. in their prior race. He broke his maiden at CD (see Classic Empire).

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19th – #7 – Girvin (15-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Joe Sharp / Mike Smith (22:1-4-1)
  • Running Style: Mid-pack

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Undefeated (3 for 3) on dirt… all at Fair Grounds (in NOLA), two of those in Grade 2 races, the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. Only defeat came on the turf, a runner-up finish by less than a length. The KY Derby runner-up in 2014, 2013 and 2011 used the LA Derby as their final prep for the Run for the Roses while in 2016, LA Derby winner Gun Runner held on to get SHOW money on the first Saturday in May.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Has only four career races. Since 1933, the only two Kentucky Derby winners that had less than five career races going into the Derby were… in 2011 Animal Kingdom (the Derby was his fifth start) and in 2008 Big Brown (fourth start). Only three horses have won the KY Derby after competing in the LA Derby. Two of them, Grindstone in 1996 and Black Gold in 1924, captured both Derbies. Funny Cide (2003) parlayed a third-place LA Derby finish into a blanket of roses in the Kentucky Derby. Though he’ll be piloted by a Hall of Fame jockey, Smith has just one Derby win in nearly two dozen starts and that one came on 50-1 longshot, Giacomo in 2005. Trainer called an audible by postponing scheduled work just 12 days prior to the Derby due to a quarter crack in the colt’s right front hoof… now colt to be equipped with a Z-bar shoe…not a good sign.

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20th – #3 – Fast and Accurate(50-1)

  • Trainer / Jockey (Derby Mounts W-P-S): Michael Maker / Channing Hill (1st Derby)
  • Running Style: Tactical speed

Why he COULD win the Derby:

Not nominated to the Triple Crown but owners paid the $200,000 supplemental fee so he could be entered in the Kentucky Derby with some thanks due to Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller who recently acquired part ownership in the colt. All three victories have come in his most recent races since receiving the race day medication Lasix, never the Post Time favorite while the most recent in the G3 Spiral Stakes, came as a 24-1 longshot. He’ll be at least double that on the first Saturday in May.

Why he SHOULD NOT be able to win the Derby:

Only two PA-breds, Smarty Jones (2004) and Lil E. Tee (1992) have managed to get to the Derby Winners’ Circle. With a career record of 6-3-1-0, Fast and Accurate has recorded all three of his victories on turf or a synthetic surface. He makes 2009 Derby 50-1 longshot winner Mine That Bird look like a logical play in hindsight. He owns the lowest high number Brisnet Speed Figure (86) among Derby starters. His trainer has had nine Derby starters without a win. In fact, his best finish was 8th with his first starter, Stately Victor in 2009.

TWITTER: @FastAccurate

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