Kentucky Derby · Triple Crown

2015 Kentucky Derby Top Ten

HRS Kentucky Derby

Now that all the prep races have concluded and the Kentucky Derby field is starting to come to light, it is time to start the final analysis before the workouts come out and the field is drawn.  This is definitely a very difficult field and one of the best in years.  There is defintely a strong group of horses at the top, all of which are a class above the rest, but even those below have a strong chance.  We have seen many amazing prep races, one right after another, with performances that leave lasting impressions on us.  Now, it is time to look past the emotion that they gave us and see each for what it is worth.  With only a few weeks before the Run for the Roses, it is time to sort out the contenders.  So, after careful analysis of each Derby hopeful, here is my Top Ten.

  1. Dortmund
    1. I think Dortmund is by far the best in this field.  While I do think American Pharoah is a great horse, Dortmund has put on one amazing performance after another.  His San Felipe win is the second fastest prep using Furlong/Second analysis of the 100 and 50 point prep races.  He has contested every pace and comes out of California, which has had many strong winners in the Derby in recent years, like California Chrome and I’ll Have Another.  My biggest fear is that as a front runner he won’t be able to stay the trip, but I think he is a class above most of this field.
  2. Firing Line
    1. I said that Dortmund had the second fastest prep and who is he second to, this rival right here.  Firing Line ran a dominating Sunland Derby, and although the fast speed can be attributed to the constant wind that goes down the stretch helping runners at Sunland Park, how he has been able to run with Dortmund is very impressive.  Firing Line isn’t a front runner either, like Dortmund, and is in fact a nice stalker.  He makes his move right before the far turn and has great pulling away speed.  If he can start around the middle to front of the pack off the pacemakers, he should be able to use his speed to blow past the competition.
  3. American Pharoah
    1. While most have him on the top of their charts, American Pharoah has turned me off with not how he ran, but where.  I feel like he took on of the easier routes to the Derby.  His runs were very impressive nonetheless.  The probable Derby favorite has done nothing wrong in his last four races.  He is a front runner though, and when he matches up with Dortmund, I fear that he won’t be able to keep up.  I will most likely use him, but there are some doubts.
  4. Mubtaahij
    1. My eyes have been on this horse since the UAE 2000 Guineas.  Although losing to Maftool, Mubtaahij has been very impressive on the dirt in Dubai, getting 4 wins from 5 runs, and getting better.  His UAE Derby win was most impressive, even after being boxed in for the most part and having no room to run until 300m to the wire, he pulled away with ease.  Could it be that the field was not as strong as what he will face come the First Saturday in May?  Maybe; but his strong running and very impressive running late has made him a major contender.  And I can only see him relishing the extra distance.  If he wins the Derby, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the Triple Crown.  He is the only horse in this field who I think has that chance.
  5. Itsaknockout
    1. I hated the Florida preps.  They were all incredibly slow and basically no horse ran well late.  Itsaknockout caught my eye however.  In his runner up finish in the Fountain of Youth, he ran with such a slow pace that he couldn’t run by.  I think he will run so much better with a faster pace, which is expected in the Derby.  Longshot opportunity.
  6. Far Right
    1. Far Right had a nice win over the slop in the Southwest before a runner up finish to American Pharoah in the Arkansas Derby.  Far Right is the only deep closer in the project field (and one of very few closers overall).  Deep closers have done well in the Derby as of late, alla Commanding Curve and Golden Soul.  While not my pick to win, definitely a great chance to hit the board, and at a price.
  7. El Kabeir
    1. While the New York preps weren’t all that impressive, El Kabeir stood out.  He is an early closer who works up little by little as the race progresses.  He has shown the ability to win.  While the paces were slow in New York, he should only improve with the pace increase and seems to take a liking to fast paces.  My live longshot.
  8. Upstart
    1. Last year, Upstart beat my early Derby pick, Bustin It (who romped over International Star).  After a 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, this son of Flatter went to Florida.  In three slow races, he was able to win the Holy Bull, get to the wire first in the Fountain of Youth (where he was DQed to second), and a nice runner up finish in the Florida Derby.  Slow pace has killed him though, and should take the step up well.  He is a very strong runner who keeps pushing on.
  9. Danzig Moon
    1. This horse isn’t something to write home about, having never won past his maiden victory, in his third attempt.  However, he does most of his work late and loves a fast pace; in fact, he relishes it.  He has improved well with the increase in distance to a mile and an eighth and may very well love going the Derby distance.  Live longshot.
  10. Bolo
    1. Rounding out the field is Bolo, the third place finisher behind Dortmund in his last two starts.  He is young and a little unruly, but I don’t think we have seen his best.  While his form may lead him to be more of a turf horse, I can’t discount his flexibility on where to run, whether close to or off the pace.  He will need to put on a career best performance to win, but I don’t think it is out of the question.

There it is, my Top Ten.  In the next few weeks, I will release my stat sheets, as well as picks and more analysis, so stay tuned!


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