• Kentucky Derby Turnoffs

    POSTED Apr 24, 2014
    I have often discussed how important it is that a horse show the ability to gain ground on the turn in Kentucky Derby preps, à la Animal Kingdom in the 2011 Spiral.

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    In that Grade III event, the son of Leroidesanimaux passed three horses and gained two lengths en route to a 2 ¾-length score.

    Six weeks later, he was having his picture taken in the Churchill Downs’ winner’s circle.

    Just as important as positive moves, however, are negative ones.

    What’s the difference, you ask? Well, a positive move is any gain of running position and lengths (the latter stipulation helps to ensure that the move was due to the horse accelerating rather than just picking up stragglers) on the far turn, while a negative move is just the opposite — a loss of both position and lengths on the far turn.

    For the sake of simplicity, I consider the far turn to be the span between the first and second call in routes and the span between the second call and the stretch call in sprints. (Obviously, prepping for the Kentucky Derby in a sprint race raises other issues… but it has happened.)

    Take a peek at horses that showed a negative move on the turn in their last race prior to the Derby:

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Simply put, these horses just don’t perform in Louisville. Not only are they 0-for-29 since 1992, only two — Menifee (in 1999) and Pioneerof the Nile (2009) — have so much as hit the board.

    So, without further ado, here are the potential “turnoffs” in Kentucky Derby 140:

    Horses that lost position and lengths from the first call to the second call in their final prep

    * Dance with Fate
    * Vinceremos
    * Coastline
    * In Trouble
    * Casiguapo

    Unknown said...

    Hi, thanks for posting this... Although I just read a contradicting article from Equibase about Dance with Fate that in the BlueGrass Dance with Fate was in front at the eight pole and held his own to the wire... I guess maybe he lost lengths... I'll have to watch the race. Here's a link to the article I'm referring to with quote:

    "One of the keys to choosing who may run well in the Derby is to try to determine who might peak on Derby Day, not in their next start or the one previous. Dance With Fate may be that type of horse. He started his 3 year old campaign in January winning a non-stakes race then led late and settled for second in the El Camino Real Derby in Northern California. Coming to Kentucky for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes last month, Dance with Fate rallied from 10th of 14 in the early stages and was in front at the eight pole, holding his lead nicely to the wire, that move being significant to a potentially winning effort in the Derby as well"



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