Kentucky Derby Analysis

Horses coming around the first turn at the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Post positions are drawn and major training is done.  The Kentucky Derby is finally days away and its time to dive into the past performances for this great day of racing.  I will blog picks for the day Saturday mornings but for now I wanted to just focus on the big race.

The years Derby is very perplexing in many ways, everyone says this isn’t a fast group and that is true, but that also means there’s about 15 horses all running high 80 beyers-mid 90 beyers.  How do you separate them all? Nyquist is undefeated and won the Florida Derby yet doesn’t get the respect any other undefeated favorite would get.  Maybe its American Pharaoh hangover, or maybe its his distance challenged pedigree? Its the latter to me as I don’t think he will relish this 1 1/4 mile distance.  I also am a little pushed back by the one two-turn race this season.  So lets get in to my pick and my analysis…..

On paper my pick hasn’t hit a 90 beyer, finished out of the top 4 in his last race, and has run to many times this year according to the spreadsheet, but as they turn for home SHAGAF will be the one to come and catch! His breeding says the distance will be no problem.  I loved the conservative approach Chad Brown has taken with him, and don’t think he was 100% cranked up earlier in the season.  In the Wood Memorial he hated the slop, fell further back then he wanted to be and made a eye catching move on the turn only to have his momentum stopped behind slowing horses.  After all that he flattened out in the stretch, which is excusable to me. He has looked AMAZING over the Churchill Downs surface training and his last work was very fast for a Chad Brown horse and he did it easily.

    My analysis is this, I think the pace will be an even pace, not helping or hurting speed or closers. With Danzing Candy on the outside he will have to hustle to cross over to the rail, with other speed such as Outwork and Nyquist to his inside, this will be no easy task.  Also from watching the daily gallops online and some workouts, don’t be surprised to see Mohaymen upfront and on the muscle, he has been very aggressive all week and might be tough to control in this big field which would add to the pace.  I could see a 47 3/5 half or something close to that.  I picture SHAGAF and MOR SPIIRIT sitting right behind the front group, with Gun Runner not far off of that.  Turning for home I think Danzing Candy retreats and Nyquist’s Distance challenged pedigree slows him down.  Outwork takes control, but Shagaf collars him at the 1/8th pole and they run 1-2 to the finish line, with Gun Runner and Brodys Cause clunking up for the minor awards.
    I think you don’t want to be to far out of it turning for home, with a lot of the favorites and wise guy horses being deep closers, they might get in each others way.  There will only be a handful of holes to sneak through, and all 5-7 of them aren’t going to fit.
Check back later for Oaks day picks and Derby day picks!


Kentucky Derby Analysis

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