Kentucky Derby Analysis 2008 (Continued)
by Mr. X  

Contenders as of April 24, 2008

Here is our third and final  list of primary Kentucky Derby win contenders based on 3f final time and energy distribution.  There was no consideration of final time.  

Tier I

Name Last Race Dist 3f Final Time (sec) Energy Distribution

Adriano (p)

3/22/08 9f 37.8 67.42%
Bob Black Jack (p)(x) 4/5/08 9f 36.6 66.96%

Colonel John (p)

Cowboy Cal (p)(x) 4/12/08 9f 36.7 66.83%
Monba (p) 4/12/08 9f 36.5 66.67%

Recapturetheglory (p)

4/5/08 9f 36.1 66.53%
Visionaire (p) (s) 4/12/08 9f 35.9 65.95%
Z Fortune 4/12/08 9f 37.8 67.64%

Z Humor (p)

4/5/08 9f 35.8 66.33%
(p) Polytrack or artificial surface
(s) Won on sealed dirt track at 8.5f
(x) Unlikely starter

Tier II

Name Last Race Dist 3f Final Time (sec) Energy Distribution
Eight Belles (filly) 4/6/08 8.5f 37.2 66.95%
Proud Spell (filly) 4/5/08 (p)
Pyro (d) 3/8/08 8.5f 36.5 66.09%
(d) Ran like a dog in 9f  Keenland Bluegrass Polytrack race

The Tier II horses at this point make the numbers at 8.5f but need to meet the criteria at 9f. The lower the energy distribution, the better the chances of making 10f. Note Street Sense last year who had an energy distribution at 8.5f of less than 66%. Pyro failed at the 9f  Bluegrass on Polytrack, and it is likely that both fillies will not run. In any event, I would never bet a horse to win the Derby who had not raced at 9f, so both fillies would be out anyway.

Here are the horses that haven't made it or are now confirmed out:
Big Brown, Cool Coal Man, Denis of Cork (x), Elysium Fields (out),
Giant Moon, Monba, Nikki'sgoldensteed,Tomcito and War Pass (injured); added (4/10/08) Tale of Ekati, Court Vision, Smooth Air, Majestic Warrior(out), Fierce Wind (out), Big Truck, Z Fortune; promoted (4/24/08) Monba, Z Fortune; added (4/24/08) Anak Akal, Gayego

Our Tier I horses are a very sad lot, and we will expose the group when we assess final time and pace of the race. It appears that the pace of the Polytrack races are so slow that many of the horses can meet the criteria. See our earlier analyses of contenders.

Only one horse in the Tier I group made the numbers on the dirt track , and that was Z Fortune who finished second to Gayego in the Arkansas Derby with a very respectable Beyer of 102. His three furlong number, however, is a little high. Gayego did not make the numbers, so we doubt that he wants to go further than 9f.

Of the Tier I group, the prime contenders at this time (way to early to be picking horses when we don't know the weather, post positions, etc.) appear to be Colonel John, Visionaire (trained by Michael Matz of Barbaro fame), and Z Fortune. All three appear to be able to make the 10 furlongs. 

Of the Tier II  group, both the fillies are throwouts if they get in. Pyro will either run his eyeballs out or burst into flames. We'll see how he works at Churchill. As you know, workouts at Churchill are critical so watch carefully and listen to what other trainers say about horses, not their own. No trainer will publicly say that his horse looks like crap with his owner over his shoulder.

War Pass is injured and out of the Derby. We wanted him in to chase Big Brown, and War Pass would have taken money with no chance to win. Big Brown is the real unknown. If he goes to the front unpressured, he could hold on even though his numbers and his feet say that he doesn't want 10 furlongs. We'll see.

Don't forget to check the Doghouse Confidential on Derby Day for the final selections and betting strategies. Remember, you need great luck to cash in a twenty horse field even with the best horses.

Check those workouts and keep alert to all the Derby news.

Mr. X