Nine Key Kentucky Derby Factors

NINE KEY KENTUCKY DERBY FACTORS

1. THE GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race as a 3-year-old before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition early in the year at 3 and not just at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny's Halo in 1983 and Mine That Bird in 2009 have won the Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 3 before March 31.)

2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)

3. THE EIGHTH POLE FACTOR. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 46 of the last 48 Derby winners have been first or second at the eighth pole. Giacomo was sixth at the eighth pole in 2005; Grindstone was fourth at the eighth pole in 1996; Decidedly was third at the eighth pole in 1962. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Derby winners who weren't either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)

4. THE GAMENESS FACTOR. (The horse's finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don't like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)

5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION FACTOR. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race before the Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)

6. THE SUFFICIENT RACING EXPERIENCE FACTOR. (The horse has had at least six lifetime starts before the Derby.) This points out horses who have the needed experience. (Exceptions: Since 1955, Grindstone in 1996, Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000, Barbaro in 2006 and Big Brown in 2008 have been the only exceptions. Grindsone, Fusaichi Pegasus and Barbaro each had made five starts before the Kentucky Derby. Big Brown had made three starts before the Kentucky Derby.)

7. THE NO ADDING BLINKERS AS A 3-YEAR-OLD FACTOR. (The horse has not added blinkers in his or her final start at 3 before the Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Derby.)

8. RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD FACTOR. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exception: Apollo in 1882 is the only Kentucky Derby winner who didn't race as a 2-year-old. Since 1955, horses unraced at 2 are 0 for 46 in the Kentucky Derby. During that time, the only horses to even place or show were Strodes Creek, who finished second in 1994, and Curlin, third in 2007).

9. NOT A GELDING FACTOR. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

by Jon White
from xpressbet.com

21
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