Kentucky Derby Analysis 2006
by Mr. X  

As we begin to assess the candidates for the first Saturday in May, it is important to point out that it is much too early to make decisions on who will be the final contenders.  However, my analysis has shown that all of the winners of the Derby since 2000 have had median energy distributions of less than 68% and final 3f times in their last race before the Derby of less than 38 seconds.  In effect, the energy distribution number indicates as to whether a horse wants to go beyond 9 furlongs to the classic distance of a mile and a quarter (10 furlongs) in the Derby.  I want to see an energy distirbution of less than 68% at 9f, a final 3f time of less than 38 seconds, and a competitive final time.   (See my analysis of Kentucky Derby 2002 for more information on how I reach my conclusions).

The following is a  table of past Derby winners' race before the Derby:
Yr Name Derby Winning Beyer Last Race
Final 3f time
Last Race
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus 108 37.0 67.60% SP
2001 Monarchos 116 37.3 67.79% SP
2002 War Emblem 114 36.7 66.75% S
2003 Funny Cide 109 37.5 67.82% SP
2004 Smarty Jones 107 37.8 67.69% SP
2005 Giacomo 100 37.6 67.55% S

Note that all have met the criteria for the energy distribution and the last 3f time.  All have either a S or SP running style meaning that they are either a sustained presser in the second half of the group or a dead closer based on time distribution.  War Emblem, for example, liked to run on the lead, but his times also showed that he ran fast at the end of the race.  

There is one anomaly that deserves mention.  Last year, the two best horses coming into the Derby were Bellamy Road and Afleet Alex, with both posting much higher Beyers in preceding races  than Giacomo's winning effort in the Derby.  Bellamy Road was hurt, and Afleet Alex didn't run his race for whatever reason.  Therefore, Giacomo came in with a slower final time and accompanying Beyer.  His final time before the Derby was not special at all.  In truth, he lugged up to win the Derby.

This year, I will follow the contenders as defined by the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools starting with the Number 2 pool as of March 2, 2006.  I will try to separate the contenders based on their final 3f times and energy distribution numbers with no consideration of final time.  Any horse can be added or subtracted, but no horses will be added unless they show that they can run the 3f time under 38 seconds and have an energy distribution under 68%.  Horses that have run less than 9f but show a good energy distribution number will be put in a second tier.  There will be question mark horses as well.