We’ve been waiting for this day for months. It’s finally here. The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs will field 20 horses (barring any late scratches). Everyone has their own way to handicap the big race. Over the last few days/weeks, we’ve tried to give you as much historical data to give you an idea of what has transpired over the last 10-20 years at the Derby.
One thing that sticks out more than anything is that it’s tough to win this race from the front end. In our post on April 23, The Derby Has Not Been Kind to Speed it showed that in the last 20 “Run for the Roses“, only two horses were able to go gate to wire. In 1994, Go for Gin and 2002 with War Emblem. The reason this is an important stat is the 2012 Kentucky Derby looks to have a few horses who will want the lead. Trinniberg, Bodemeister, Hansen and possibly Take Charge Indy. Trinniberg is the key in this race. Trainer Bisnath Parboo is already on record saying he will send his horse and see how it goes. If that’s the case will anyone else go with him? If they do, history shows the results are not in their favor.
Since 2000, here are the results of horses who have gone to the front or sat close in 2nd and 3rd:
1st, Animal Kingdom was 12th for 3/4 mile
4th, Shackleford after sitting in front by almost 2 lengths
14th, Decisive Moment was 3rd early
19th Comma to the Top was 2nd early
1st, Super Saver was 6th fir 1/2 mile then moved to 4th at 3/4 mile
15th, Conveyance led for 3/4 of a mile
17th, Sidney’s Candy was 2nd for 3/4 mile
18th, Line of David was 3rd for 1/2 mile
1st, Mine That Bird was 19th for 3/4 mile
2nd, Pioneerof the Nile was 3rd/4th for the first 3/4 mile
7th, Join the Dance led the first mile
8th, Regal Ransom led for the first 3/4 mile
1st, Big Brown 6th for 3/4 mile
5th, Recapturetheglory was 3rd until the top of the stretch
9th, Cowboy Cal was 2nd for 3/4 mile
16th, Bob Black Jack led for 3/4 mile
1st, Street Sense 19th & 17th for 3/4 mile
2nd, Hard Spun led comfortably until top of the stretch
17th, Teuflesberg was 2nd for 3/4 mile
20th, Cowtown Cat was 3rd for 3/4 mile
1st, Barbaro was 5th, then 4th for the first mile
6th, Showing Up was 3rd for one mile
16th, Sinister Minister was 2nd for 3/4 mile
20th, Keyed Entry led for one mile
1st, Giacomo was 18th for 3/4 mile
9th, Flower Alley 2nd and 3rd for one mile (Sire of I’ll Have Another)
16th, Spanish Chestnut led for 3/4 mile
18th, Going Wild led for 1/2 mile
1st, Smarty Jones was 4th for 3/4 mile
2nd, Lion Heart led for one mile
17th, Pollard’s Vision was 3rd for 1/2 mile
18th, Quintons Gold Rush was 2nd for 1/2 mile
1st, Funny Cide was 3rd for 3/4 mile
3rd, Peace Rules was 2nd for 3/4 mile. Led at far turn
16th, Brancusi led for one mile
1st, War Emblem led by 1 1/2 lengths until stretch, then won by 4
2nd, Proud Citizen was 2nd the entire race
3rd, Perfect Drift
Was this race an anomaly that all three horses on the front end stayed there the entire way? Is it possible for the speed horses this year to duplicate?
1st, Monarchos was 13th for 1/2 mile, 10th at 3/4 mile
13th, Songandaprayer led for one mile
14th, Balto Star was 2nd for one mile
16th, Keats was 3rd for 3/4 mile
1st, Fusaichi Pegasus was 15th, 13th and 11th for the first one mile
4th, More Than Ready was 3rd for one mile
11th, Trippi was 2nd until the stretch
16th, Hal’s Hope led for one mile
So in 12 Derby’s since 2000, just one horse was able to go gate to wire, and it just happens to be the only race where all three horses remained in the top three at the finish. War Emblem was not challenged during the entire race. Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift sat behind and couldn’t make a move, but did enough to fend off any late challenges.
Out of the 36 horses in the last 12 Derby’s that were in the top 3 early in the race, just 10 finished in the top four. Only 2 won the race, 4 finished 2nd, two finished 3rd and 2 finished 4th. Just 6 finished between 5th-10th place and 26 horses finished between 11th-20th.
This year’s field has 3 or 4 horses as we mentioned that will want the lead. It’s quite clear that Trinniberg will be on the lead or compete for the lead if one of the other’s wants it bad enough. I don’t anticipate anyone getting out in front by 1-2 lengths. Expect a first 1/4 mile oin 22 and change. With a 1/2 mile in the 46 range. It will be very quick. This race will be won by a horse off the pace or from far behind.
You get the feeling with a race that sets up for so much speed, the horses who rate might be inclined to run quicker or be closer than normal. Horses such as Union Rags, Creative Cause, I’ll Have Another, Alpha And Gemologist. They will be dangerous at the end, but I expect this race to be won from a late challenger. The horse that sticks out is Blue Grass Stakes winner Dullahan who portrayed the come from behind win that I believe will get the job done Saturday afternoon.
2nd-4th (no order): Union Rags, El Padrino and Creative Cause
Good luck and Have FUN!!