May 4, 2007


Crowning Achievement (MAX WATMAN, May 4, 2007, NY Sun)

New trainers bring new styles, and with each passing year, it seems a few more of our old theories on what makes a horse a Derby horse get shattered. Prejudice and traditionalism have long held sway in Kentucky, and bets have long been made accordingly. Remember when New-York-bred geldings weren't supposed to win the Derby? Funny Cide. Remember when you couldn't win the Derby with a long layoff? Barbaro. Remember when people didn't think so highly about the races in Arkansas? Smarty Jones. Remember when your horse had to have won a couple of races? Giacomo. The last few years have been tough on traditions and prejudice. [...]

Here is the wisdom that has been handed down about which horse should win the Derby: The horse must have started at age 2 and had three prep races at 3, at least two of which were around two turns. The horse must have raced within four weeks of the Derby and finished third or better. Lastly, the horse must have earned at least one triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure at age 3. If we take into account all the so-called rules accepted as prerequisites, only two horses among the 20 meet the criteria: Tiago and Any Given Saturday. Of those two, only Tiago has won a Grade 1 race, having been impressively piloted by Mike Smith to win the Santa Anita Derby.

If you're looking for a good reason not to eat chalk, there it is.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2007 8:01 AM
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