Closers. Big Prices. 4 digit Trifectas and 5 digit Superfectas. That is what the Kentucky Derby is usually known for… just not this year. For a mile and a quarter, it was a three horse race. Once the run for the lead finished about half way down the stretch before entering the first turn, no other horse was able to break into the top three. Even as Dortmund tired at the end, the late closing Frosted who moved on the pace of American Pharoah couldn’t crack the board. It was a very formful race, just not a formful Derby. This Kentucky Derby was full of many firsts, some that wouldn’t be expected from the Run for the Roses.
One of the first things that caught my eye was the slow fractions. Usually, the Kentucky Derby is fast early and slow late, helping closers get past a lot of tiring horses. However, Dortmund usually sets slow fractions early (as referenced in my stat sheet), and no one tried to force him to go faster. Firing Line, a horse that usually makes his move on the backstretch, ran just like Simon Callaghan wanted him to, although probably a little farther back might have helped. He didn’t speed up to the front midway through and try to runaway from the field. American Pharoah stayed right off the pace and it helped. However, no other horse could crack the top three. Carpe Diem ran a good race for the most part, staying with the leaders up until the stretch run. Frosted finished well, especially with a bad start. Same for Materiality. But what can be said about the rest of the field? I have been mentioning that this is a weak field of competitors at an all around sense, but a strong field if you just include the contenders. The Derby proved that. American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund all proved to be a step above everyone else.
A few things to note:
- First time in over ten years that a closer doesn’t finish in the top 3.
- First time in over ten years that a horse with odds 10-1 or greater finished in top 3.
- The $2 Trifecta paid $202.00, lowest since 1997 ($205.40), and lowest Trifecta payout since the payouts were recorded by Equibase (1993).
- The $2 Superfecta paid $1,268.20, lowest since 1997 ($700).
- Second straight year that the time was above 2:03. Last time that happened was 1991/1992 (Strike the Gold/Lil E. Tee).
- Winning time was faster than that of 7 Triple Crown winners. Only ones faster, Secretariat, Affirmed, Whirlaway, and Seattle Slew
- First Kentucky Derby win for Ahmed Zayet. 16th straight 1st time winning owner.
- First time since 2007 that the winner trainer already had a Kentucky Derby win.
It was a Kentucky Derby unlike those we have seen in the past. One more not, if you used my Kentucky Derby probables speed figures, the horses with the three highest figures in their last start were American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund. I will have Preakness speed figure for you as well.
Now, it is time to move on to the Preakness Stakes. The top three finishers from the Derby all are apparently going to Pimlico, as are Competitive Edge, International Star, and Stanford. Others of course will join. Should be an interesting second leg. Also, the Peter Pan stakes from Belmont Park is this weekend, a major prep for the Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown is heating up, and you can get all the information you need, right here on Horse Racing Station.