Animal Kingdom has been my favorite since I wrote about him in my 2011 Kentucky Outlook last December. Midnight Interlude was my pick to win the Santa Anita Derby. I also picked Brilliant Speed to win the Blue Grass and I tagged Nehro as a possible upset candidate in the Arkansas Derby.
Of course each race is different but I like the chances of the previously mentioned horses and I’ll use them in my Derby wagers.
Between now and the Derby, I’ll also be looking at the rest of the field to see if there are any others that I like before making my final selections. Two colts I especially like are Archarcharch and Master of Hounds.
Archarcharch was my longshot pick in the Southwest Stakes but I did not use him in the Arkansas Derby after his performance in the Rebel Stakes. Master of Hounds is one of the best bred colts on the trail.
In addition, I’m going to take another look at Toby’s Corner, Uncle Mo, Comma To The Top, Mucho Macho Man, Pants On Fire and Dialed In before making a final pick.
I’ll also be taking a look at some statistics that may help to narrow down our Derby selections.
A recent discovery I made while researching the history of the final 9-furlong prep races – Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby, Illinois Derby and Sunland Derby – shows that since 2000, the top four finishers of the Kentucky Derby (with a few exceptions) finished in the top three of their final prep race. Only seven horses that finished worse than third in their final prep race have finished in the Derby top four.
No horses coming out of the Louisiana Derby and UAE Derby as a final prep race have finished in the Derby top four since 2000. There were no horses coming out of this year’s Illinois Derby with enough graded stakes earnings to get into the Derby starting gate.
The Wood Memorial Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes tied at nine each have produced the most finishers in the Derby top four since 2000. The Arkansas Derby has had seven; the Santa Anita Derby had five; the Florida Derby had 4; the Illinois Derby had three and the Sunland Derby had one finish in the Derby top four.
Hard Spun won the Lane’s End (Vinery) which was his final prep in 2007. Perfect Drift won the 2002 Lane’s End as a final prep.
Here’s a look at the statistics:
Wood Memorial - 9
2008: 1st - Tale of Ekati ; 3rd in Derby
2006: 2nd - Jazil; dh-4th in Derby
2003: 1st - Empire Maker; 2nd in Derby
2003: 2nd - Funny Cide; 1st in Derby
2002: 2nd - Medaglia D’Oro ; 4th in Derby
2001: 1st – Congaree; 3rd in Derby
2001: 2nd – Monarchos; 1st in Derby
2000: 1st – Fusaichi Pegasus; 1st in Derby
2000: 3rd – Aptitude; 2nd in Derby
Blue Grass - 9
2010: 2nd – Paddy O’Prado; 3rd in Derby
2007: 2nd – Street Sense; 1st in Derby
2006: 4th - Bluegrass Cat; 2nd in Derby
2005: 3rd – Closing Argument; 2nd in Derby
2004: 2nd – Lion Heart; 2nd in Derby
2004: 3rd – Limehouse; 4th in Derby
2003: 1st – Peace Rules; 3rd in Derby
2001: 4th - Invisible Ink; 2nd in Derby
2000: 2nd – More Than Ready; 4th in Derby
Arkansas Derby - 7
2010: 2nd – Super Saver; 1st in Derby
2009: 1st – Papa Clem; 4th in Derby
2007: 1st – Curlin; 3rd in Derby
2006: 2nd – Steppenwolfer; 3rd in Derby
2005: 1st – Afleet Alex; 3rd in Derby
2004: 1st – Smarty Jones; 1st in Derby
2000: 3rd – Impeachment; 3rd in Derby
Santa Anita Derby - 5
2009: 1st – Pioneerof The Nile; 2nd in Derby
2008: 1st – Brother Derek; 4th dh in derby
2005: 4th – Giacomo; 1st in Derby
2004: 3rd – Imperialism; 3rd in Dreby
2003: 4th – Atwhatimtalknbout; 4th in Derby
Florida Derby – 4
2010: 1st – Ice Box; 2nd in Derby
2008: 1st – Big Brown; 1st in Derby
2007: 6th – Imawildandcrazyguy; 4th in Derby
2006: 1st – Barbaro; 1st in Derby
Illinois Derby – 3
2009: 1st – Musket Man; 3rd in Derby
2008: 5th – Denis of Cork; 3rd in Derby
2002: 1st – War Emblem; 1st in Derby
Sunland Derby – 1
2009: 4th – Mine That Bird; 1st in Derby
Based on the history of final prep races since 2000, here’s a look at the top finishers in this year’s final prep races.
Wood Memorial Stakes: Toby’s Corner – 1st; Uncle Mo – 3rd
Blue Grass Stakes: Brilliant Speed – 1st; Twinspired – 2nd
Arkansas Derby: Archarcharch – 1st; Nehro – 2nd
Santa Anita Derby: Midnight Interlude – 1st; Comma To The Top – 2nd
Florida Derby: Dialed In – 1st; Shackleford – 2nd
Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes: Animal Kingdom – 1st; Decisive Moment – 2nd
Sunland Derby: Twice The Appeal – 1st
Pants On Fire finished first in the Louisiana Derby; Nehro finished second and Mucho Macho Man finished third but no horses coming out of this race since 2000 have finished in the Derby top four. Master of Hounds finished second in the UAE Derby but not horses coming out of this race have finished in the Derby top four.
Breaking news today that The Factor and J P’s Gusto will skip the Derby bumps Shackleford, ranked 21st on the graded stakes list, and Twinspired, 22nd in graded stakes earnings, into the Derby starting gate if the connections decide to run. Only the top twenty horses with the most graded stakes earnings are eligible to get into the Derby starting gate.