Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How fast does a horse have to be to win a Derby?

Starting in 2007, I came up with a different approach to look for the winner of the Kentucky Derby, using pace figures supplied by Brisnet.com. I tried to see if I could get a more accurate read on the horses running in the big race by taking BRIS' pace figures and ADDING their E2 number (pace figure to the 6 furlong mark in routes) to their Late Pace (LP) number. I then, for lack of a better term, coined the phrase "Total Energy" (abbreviated TE) to represent this E2 + LP sum.

This year's Kentucky Derby 3/1 favorite, Lookin at Lucky, would have this kind of result, taken from his Rebel Stakes at OP:

E2 = 92
LP = 108
TE = 200

By ranking every horse in the field, it is usually pretty easy to determine who's tough, and who's fluff. This method hit the 2007 Street Sense/Hard Spun exacta cold ($100 for $2, thank you very much) and the 2008 Big Brown/Eight Belles exacta, also cold, (for $141, thank you very much). Those races were on fast tracks, which may have contributed to the method's success. In 2009 the Churchill Strip was a quagmire and Mine The Bird ran the race of his life. Right now I am still hoping for a fast track (or at least "good") on Derby Day.

2010 "Total Energy" Results

Keep in mind 4 points in Total Energy is roughly one length. I will add Devil May Care's numbers when Brisnet.com releases them on Wednesday.

Horse Total Energy Race
Awesome Act 201 Gotham Stakes
Lookin At Lucky 200 Rebel Stakes
Noble's Promise 200 Rebel Stakes
Conveyance 200 Southwest Stakes
Ice Box 198 Florida Derby
American Lion 197 Illinois Derby
Super Saver 196 2009 Ky Jockey Club (2yo)
Dublin 194 Rebel Stakes
Jackson Bend 194 2009 FL-bred "In Reality" Stakes (2yo)
Line of David 194 Arkansas Derby
Dean's Kitten 193 Lane's End (Polytrack)
Stately Victor 193 Blue Grass Stakes (Polytrack)
Sidney's Candy 192 Santa Anita Derby (Pro-Ride)
Discretely Mine 192 Risen Star
Mission Impazible 192 Southwest Stakes
Endorsement 188 Sunland Derby
Paddy O'Prado 185 Blue Grass Stakes (Polytrack)

The total energy numbers of Awesome Act, Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Dublin and Conveyance were all recorded at a a mile or a mile and a sixteenth, so they all have to prove they can get a mile and a quarter on Saturday. Ice Box has a good run at nine furlongs in the Florida Derby, so it could be argued he's in good position to have a top 3 finish on the board.

I would not downgrade Sidney's Candy, or maybe even the other "synthetic surface" horses, because horses going from synthetic to dirt can improve 10 to 12 points in Total Energy (roughly 3 lengths). If Sidney improves that much he's the horse to beat on Saturday.

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