• Derek Does Derby #1

    POSTED Jan 20, 2011
    As spring approaches and a young man's fancy turns to the Kentucky Derby (get it right, Tennyson), I thought now would be a good time to start looking at various potential Derby candidates and offer my opinion. And the first horse I decided to put under the microscope, thanks to a reader’s suggestion, is To Honor And Serve, the son of former Preakness winner Bernardini.

    (click on image to enlarge)

    PROS: The big maiden win in an off-the-turf affair on Oct. 2 was very impressive and stamped this William Mott trainee as a horse with promise. Note too that To Honor And Serve came off the pace in that race, which at the very least suggests that he is more than just a one-dimensional speedball.

    CONS: In his only try around two turns, To Honor And Serve recorded very average pace figures, making me very dubious that he’s going to relish 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday in May, barring substantial improvement. Sure, he received a +1 LSR in the Nashua, but that came after a +2 early speed ration. As it stands now, To Honor And Serve’s most impressive effort remains the maiden-breaker referenced above — and that race only hinted at his talent, it didn’t confirm it.

    THE NEXT STEP: For me to have any faith in this guy, he’s going to have to do one of two things — either win on the lead with an ESR of -10 or less or come off the pace with an LSR of -8 or greater. In the meantime, I’d be looking to bet against him.

    To Honor And Serve winning the Grade II Remsen

    Early Speed Ration (ESR): A measurement of a horse’s early energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The lower the figure, the greater the horse’s early exertion in that event.

    -15 = Demanding.
    -10 = Brisk.
    -5 = Moderate.
    0 = Soft.

    Late Speed Ration (LSR): A measurement of a horse’s late energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The higher the figure, the greater the horse’s late exertion in that event.

    0 = Excellent.
    -5 = Good.
    -10 = Fair.
    -15 = Poor.


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