Picking the Kentucky Derby winner is like catching mercury in a spoon. there are twenty horses galloping a mile and a quarter at 40 miles per hour around Churchill Downs.
Every other race in America has a maximum of 12 starters, which makes them look like a picnic compared to the cavalry charge that the Derby has become. The race to the first bend is like roller derby with horses knocked this way and that.
However, some interesting trends appear to happen most years.
1. Post position is critical. You do not want to be position one two or three in the gate as the outside horses automatically come over seeking a better position on the bend.
Example, last year's 3-year Old Horse of the Year Looking at Lucky drew the rail and lost all chance.
2. You don't want to be drawn on the complete outside either. Big Brown disproved this theory breaking from gate 20 but he was the exception that proved the rule.It is very tough to win from 18, 19 or 20.
Now that we have eliminated six horses of so, here are some other key tips.
3. Front runners rarely win. You can pick out the front runners on Saturday, horses like Comma to the Top and Shackleford will probably be in the first two or three racing to the bend. Because of all the pent up excitement, the 100,000 screaming spectators, the front runners tend to go much too fast, running the quarter in 45 seconds and change, They are gasping for breath by the far turn.
4. Throw out the artificial dirt horses. Any horse who has won on artificial dirt but not the real thing does not run well in the Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom and Twinspired are among those on Saturday
5. Foreign horses do not do well. Horse shipping in from Ireland, England or Dubai rarely run well in the Derby the track conditions are all too new to them. Master of Hounds has shipped in from Ireland for the race -- ignore him.
6. Rely on experienced jockeys. First time jockeys very rarely win the race. Rosie Napravnik on 'Pants on Fire' is a great story but the occasion usually gets the better of them. The old hands are usually more reliable.
7. Go with experienced trainers. Trainers like Bib Baffert and Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher aim their year around the Kentucky Derby which is why they have won it or been placed multiple times.
Other trainers like Kieran Mclaughlin usually do well in the race too.
8. Throw out anything over 30-1. Sure you would have missed Giacomo and Mine that Bird in the past few years but I think the long shots have used up all their luck
9. Throw out a horse that has never run as a two year old-- that would be Santa Anita derby winner Midnight Interlude. No horse who did not run as a two year old has won since 1882
10. Read who Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form says has worked best in the week before the derby.He has a tremendous insight into how horses train coming up to the race
Soon as I see the draw tomorrow I will post my selections. Check back then!
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