Thursday, May 4, 2017

Derby Predictions

The post positions were drawn yesterday.  The weather report is in and it looks bleak. Ladies, those lovely and expensive hats you bought to wear on Saturday, leave them home.  20 horses and no American Pharoah or Arrogate type this year that is a dead ringer to win.  So who are you going to bet on to win this thing this year, in the mud?

The Weather
The weather throws much up in the air. Many really good horses won't run well in the mud in a 20-horse race.  Only 10 of the 20 horses in the race have raced on a wet track.  Classic Empire and Lookin at Lee have both raced on a wet track at Churchill Downs.  Empire won his career debut on May 4th last year on a sloppy track.  Lookin at Lee was second but he holds the dreaded number one post position. And he finished almost nine lengths behind the winner. 

Gormley won a Grade III race on a sloppy track at Santa Anita.  Hence won in the rain at Oaklawn and Battle of Midway won on a sloppy track at Santa Anita.

Here are the others who have experience in the mud - Irap (fourth), Gunnevera (second), Untrapped (second), Sonneteer (second).  I believe the mud will be a factor.  It is much harder to run in the mud, and the traffic due to the size of the race will make it much worse and it's a long race so only the fittest will survive this one. The mud bothers some more than others and those who are used to wearing blinkers (to over their face) will have a tiny advantage IMHO.

Final Prep Race Winners and Post Position
Another factor to consider is that in recent history the Derby winners have also won their final prep race.  The last one not to do so was Super Saver in 2010.  So which horses fall into this category:

1) Classic Empire - won the Arkansas Derby (post position 14)
2) Gormley - won the Santa Anita Derby (post position 18)
3) Irish War Cry - won the Wood Memorial  (post position 17)
4) Girvin - won the Louisiana Derby (post position 7)
5) Always Dreaming - won the Floriday Derby (post position 5)
6) Irap - won the Blue Grass (post position 9)

So who are you going to bet on to win?  I am undecided as of today.  But in the mix for me:

1) Classic Empire - if he is on his A game and has a decent trip, he could certainly win.  He has the class, the pedigree, a decent post position and he came off a good win at Oaklawn. And he's raced well in the mud.
2) Gormley - he has not raced outside of California but can handle the slop and his post position will either be a great help in the mud or a terrible hindrance.  Not sure which.
3) Always Dreaming - he has a great record so far and a great post position.
4) Girvin - he also is coming off a good recent win and has a great post position. 
5) Irap - I just like this horse. He has the nine post position and recently won at Keeneland.

It's up for grabs this year. I would not bet a lot of money.  There are 10 who could easily win it.  Can't wait for post time on Saturday!  Hold your horses until then.

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