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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Go the Distance, Ease His Pain


Key to great Derby success may be found in those who have run multiple route races


by  Ryan Roshau 


On the First Saturday in May most handicappers are looking for a way to cash that ticket – the horse player’s lottery, also known as the Kentucky Derby Trifecta and Superfecta. So it is a baseball euphemism, and not one from the Sport of Kings that best sums up the pursuit of a Derby score.  In the movie Field of Dreams, the character Ray Kinsella was told by voice from beyond the cornfield to “go the distance” and “easy his pain”.


So is the magic formula to easing your Derby pain in those who have gone the distance?


Indeed, there may be a key to unlocking the mystery behind this Pandora’s Box.  If recent history is any indicator, it could lie in horses that have run multiple races at 1 1/8 miles.  In fact, horses that have raced 1 1/8 miles in two of their last three preps, more specifically, have seen very good results.  The nine furlong distance is the closest thing these sophomores will face in the run up to the ten furlong Derby. Here’s a snapshot view of the phenomenon:


2012  Dullahan (3rd)


2011  Animal Kingdom (Won)

          Nehro (2nd)

          Mucho Macho Man (3rd) two of last four Derby preps were 1 1/8 miles


2010  Ice Box (2nd)

          Paddy o’ Prado (3rd)


2006  Barbaro (Won)

          Jazil (4th)


2005  Giacomo (Won at 50-1)

          Closing Argument (2nd at 71-1)



So what does this mean for 2013?  Is a Derby winner guaranteed?  Well, we all know better than that but this year there are six starters who have run 1 1/8 miles in two of their last three starts. 



Palace Malice


Charming Kitten

Frac Daddy

Normandy Invasion


One of the six listed above may not be your final Derby selection, but they could hold the key to unlocking that Trifecta or Superfecta.  You could, like Ray Kinsella, chose to ignore the voices from beyond the Twin Spires, but you may live to regret it!