Kentucky Derby Analysis 2008 (Continued)
by Mr. X  

Contenders as of April 1, 2008

Here is a list of primary Kentucky Derby Future Wager contenders based on 3f final time and energy distribution.  There was no consideration of final time.  I will add and subtract horses as time passes.  What is interesting are the horses that are missing from the list because they have not shown that they want to run longer.  They may be added in the future, but this is the list in alphabetical order as of the above date:

Tier I

Name Last Race Dist 3f Final Time (sec) Energy Distribution
Colonel John (p) 3/1/08 9f 36.0 65.99%
Court Vision 2/24/08 9f 37.8 67.64%
El Gato Malo (p) 3/1/08 9f 35.9 65.88%
(p) Polytrack or artificial surface

Tier II

Name Last Race Dist 3f Final Time (sec) Energy Distribution
Blackberry Road 3/8/08 8.5f 37.4 66.87%
Bob Black Jack (p) 3/15/08 8.5f 36.7 65.84%
Gayego (p) 3/15/08 8.5f 36.6 65.81%
Pyro 3/8/08 8.5f 36.5 66.09%
Tale of Ekati 3/8/08 8.5f 37.4 66.82%
Visonaire 2/9/08 8.5f 36.1 65.68%
Yankee Bravo 3/8/08 8.5f 36.4 66.03%
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%.

Tier III

Name Last Race Dist 3f Final Time (sec) Energy Distribution
Fierce Wind 2/16/08 8.5f 37.3 67.24%
Smooth Air 2/16/08 8.5f 37.3 67.22%
Z Fortune 2/9/08 8.5f 36.2 65.95%
Majestic Warrior 3/8/08 8.5f 38.3 67.50%
The top  three Tier III horses met the criteria at 8.5f but both Fierce Wind and Smooth Air failed at 9f in the Florida Derby. Z Fortune made the numbers in February but failed on 3/15/08 at 8.5f at Oaklawn Park. Majestic Warrior meets the energy number but fails at the final 3f time.

Here are the horses that haven't made it thus far:
Big Brown, Cool Coal Man, Denis of Cork, Elysium Fields,
Giant Moon, Monba, Nikki'sgoldensteed,Tomcito and War Pass
There are a high number of contenders as of this date, but that is because most have only run 8.5f.  If the energy distribution is less than 68%, then that  means that the horse wants to go farther.  However, as the horses continue to stretch out to 9f, we will be able to better separate horses who can only go 9f and those that can go the 10f needed for the Derby.  There is a huge difference between 9f and 10f.

As usual, there are always more complications. Some of the horses are running on Polytrack or some other surface, but not dirt. Some won't run on dirt until the Derby. Perhaps just as important is the pace of some of these races. Because the Polytrack surface races at Santa Anita and Keeneland are run like turf races, the pace is very slow and then quickens for a fast finish. Some of these races had extremely slow six furlong times, then quickened at the end. Because of this type of pace, more horses would meet our energy distribution and three furlong criteria even though they may not be able to keep pace with a legitimate dirt pace. The Florida Derby win by Big Brown showed how vulnerable many of the horses will be chasing a fast pace. So while the criteria may yield horses that run the correct way, they still need to keep pace or they will be hopelessly over matched. Beyers and final time may be more important this year in separating horses running on artificial surfaces. This weekend's races should shed some light on the contenders.

Remember that this list does not consider final times, only the last three furlong time and the median energy distribution.

I will update these contenders as information becomes available to me. 

Mr. X