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.