2010 Kentucky Derby - What Did We Learn?
(see all of our 2010 Kentucky Derby articles)
Another Kentucky Derby has come and gone and as I sit here with emptier pockets, it's time again to take stock of what happened. This year, I wrote a series of articles about the factors that I consider important when picking a Kentucky Derby winner. Now, let's go back and see how Super Saver ranked on those factors and if I need to change them up. For comparison's sake, I've already added Super Saver to my chart of Kentucky Derby winners.
Beyer Speed Figures: My feeling is that Beyers are not nearly as important or valuable anymore. I think the rise of synthetic racing requires a complete overhaul of their formula. Yesterday, Super Saver won despite never running a Beyer over 100. Plus, even if you still believe in Beyers, I don't know how they could have helped you since most of the field was within one or two points of each other.
Pedigree. By my measure, Super Saver and 2nd place finisher Ice Box had the two best pedigrees in the race. Super Saver qualified on dosage and he's an X-factor horse since his mom, Supercharger, is a double copy mare. Also, he, like other Derby winners Sea Hero, Go For Gin & Smarty Jones, descends in direct female line from the great broodmare La Troienne. At this point, I think it's wise to give extra consideration to female-line descendants of this mare. Super Saver comes from an absolutely amazing female line, but Smarty Jones really didn't. There's just something about that La Troienne blood that can produce a good one at anytime.
The other pedigree lesson I think I learned is to "dance with the one that brung ya". That is, if a horse was good to you in the past, you should always have a little money on their descendants. A.P. Indy is one of my all-time favorites and his grandsons finished 1-2. In the future, I'll have his sons, daughters and grandhorsies covered.
Recent Prep Races: Super Saver joins a long list of a horses that lost their final Derby prep. Never toss a horse just because they lost their last prep.
Multiple Stakes Winners: This year, I decided to toss all horses who weren't multiple stakes winners. While I think that's an important factor to consider, it was probably foolish to make it a funnel question. Next year, it'll be a factor rather than a funnel.
Pace: Again this year, everyone said the Derby would have a super fast pace. It didn't. It had a fast first half, but that's it. According to the official chart, the half went in 46.16, three quarters in 1:10.58 and a mile in 1:37.65. Those are moderate fractions, comparable to Funny Cide's 2003 Derby. Now, you could say they were tougher fractions because of the muddy track. At most, I'd say there were on the fast side of moderate, but at the end of the race, they, like most moderate paces, produced a stalker as the winner. I stand by my deconstruction of the probable pace scenario.
Surfaces: The top two horses were dirt horses, 3rd place was a turf horse and 4th place mostly ran on synthetics. I stand by my conviction that surface changes are overrated.
Two-Year Old Form: Super Saver was a stakes winner at two. I can't overemphasize what an important factor I think this is. Next year, instead of starting my analysis with pace scenario, etc., I'm cutting right to the chase and tossing every horse without good two-year old form.
Trainers, Jockeys & Trips: Todd Pletcher proved he could win the Derby and Calvin Borel won with a perfect trip again. At this point, the only thing you can do as a handicapper is take out "Borel Insurance" at every Derby this guy ever rides. Right now, he has the magic touch. And, as we'll see when we discuss the Derby Gods, you can't fight magic.
Works: Super Saver was always mentioned as one of the better working horses at the track (of course, so was American Lion and he was a complete non-factor). I think workouts can only reinforce your opinion of a horse. If you liked Super Saver, his works were good news. If you didn't like him, they weren't going to change your mind.
Plodders: This was the biggest lesson I learned through my analysis this year. No matter you believe about the winner of the Kentucky Derby, expect that the rest of the board will be filled with plodders. And indeed, Ice Box, Paddy O'Prado and Make Music For Me lumbered up after running 19th, 13th and 20th early. I had Ice Box & Paddy O'Prado in my exacta boxes, but just didn't consider Super Saver for the win.
The Derby Gods: Finally, it's the real reason Super Saver won. Now, the Gods clearly love Calvin Borel and they rewarded trainer Todd Pletcher's long years in the sport. But to be honest, this Kentucky Derby was won the second that Glen Fullerton laid down his $100,000 bet. The Gods clearly wanted to give the 40-year old software designer $900,000. I think the skies parted right before the race precisely so the Gods could better watch their handiwork. Fullerton was a completely unpredictable factor, yet, once again, Super Saver's victory resulted in a great human interest story. Never underestimate the Derby Gods.
Up next: the Preakness, which, unlike the Derby, only requires about half and hour of analysis :)
Posted by kris at May 2, 2010 08:51 AM
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|# May 2nd, 2010 9:23 AM paully67|
|In reference to the beyer figures, the one thing that stood out was that the first 2 finishers had there highest beyer figure last race. I think you had that as a key stat in previous articles. |
|# May 2nd, 2010 9:30 AM kris|
|Hmmm, I'd like to take credit for that, but it's certainly not something I considered.
Basically, for me, the problem was that I threw out all horses who weren't multiple stakes winners, so Super Saver was literally never in consideration for me, despite the jockey and despite the pedigree. Lesson learned.
|# May 2nd, 2010 11:48 AM kris|
|I'm waiting for the inevitable article about how Super Saver's Derby was so slow (the slowest since Sunday Silence, oh, uh, whoops I guess they can't use that comparison :) and how that's an indication that the American thoroughbred is so crappy because the Sheiks have bought all of our good horses and how that's why we'll never have another Triple Crown winner. I'm just going to go ahead and refute that argument right here.
1. How many Kentucky Derbies has Sheik Mohammed won? Zero.
2. When the Sheik buys or breeds a horse, it's not like they disappear into a hole. They're still here. The Sheik bought Street Cry back in the day and now that horse stands stud in Kentucky, available to any breeder. American breeders have taken advantage of that, producing champions like 2007 Derby winner Street Sense and the inimitable Zenyatta. So there.
3. If Super Saver doesn't win the Triple Crown, it's not his breeding that will hold him back. His bloodlines are blue enough to be the envy of any Arab Sheik, English nobleman or Russian mobster.
|# May 2nd, 2010 1:14 PM BVBigBro|
|Fortunately, when the odds first came out and I was asked for advice, the first thing I emailed was I expected money to go on Super Saver because of his pedigree and Borel (and that this was a good theory), and I would look long and hard at Ice Box. I need only go with my first instincts. |
|# May 2nd, 2010 1:32 PM kris|
|So how much money did you win?
|# May 2nd, 2010 2:36 PM BVBigBro|
|I got Ice Box and that was the only winner. I didn't want to bet on Super Saver and nothing else panned out. |
|# May 3rd, 2010 9:13 AM kris|
|So I just had a major brainstorm about Glen Fullerton! Since he's single and now much richer, I think NBC should get him on sister network Bravo's Million Matchmaker! Then, if all goes well, they can show have him and his new love on the Derby next year. Maybe, if things are far enough along, they can even get married at Churchill Downs - Top Chef could have a competition to create their wedding cake and Bravo's hair show could do the same with their wedding tresses! Synergy! |