Secretariat

2022 Kentucky Derby Handicapping Analysis

Here is one final look at the Derby, in what looks to be a very competitive and confusing race. There are so many factors involved you just have pick out a couple of horses and stick with them otherwise it’s going to get way too complicated. Here is my analysis of the race, and good luck to everyone. ~ Steve Haskin

2022 Kentucky Derby Handicapping Analysis

By Steve Haskin

 

STICKING WITH Z FAVORITE

I believe this year’s Kentucky Derby is top heavy, with a great deal of depth down to the top seven or eight. I can’t look past one or two longshots as win candidates, so this looks more like an exotics race. There may be too many horses to box in the trifectas unless you can narrow it down to five horses you’re high on, so it is best to find one or two you really like to win and key them in the trifectas with as many as you wish.

If you read my Derby Sleeper column from October 18 you will understand why I am too committed to Zandon to go off him now. In addition, he fits the Kentucky profile in all categories and no one has worked better than him. And you sure can’t knock post 10, which gives him a number of options to be placed wherever Flavien Prat wants him.

I don’t bet favorites in the Derby, so my wagers would only include him in all exotics. But Zandon, after the long journey from that maiden race back in October, is my pick, with another of my early favorites right there. I want to see Zandon no farther back than midpack, so he needs to break sharper than he did in his last two races. We know he has early speed from his first two races. He was able to sit right off the pace in the Remsen. Of course now that he’s had three two-turn races you just have to hope he hasn’t gotten into the habit of taking way back and can use that tactical speed we know he has. But it is reassuring to know that if he is farther back he has the ability to weave his way through traffic, as he demonstrated in the Blue Grass.

The other horse I alluded to whose reputation has suffered recently, going from the Derby favorite most of the year and my No. 1-ranked horse for 10 weeks to 20-1 on the morning line is Smile Happy. Although I admit on the surface he does not look as strong as he did going into the year or even after the Risen Star, I still think he is on an upward spiral and could be ready to peak on Derby Day. Some feel because he could not handle Zandon in the final furlong of the Blue Grass and being a son of Runhappy he is suspect at 1 ¼ miles. But he has one of the strongest and most classic female families I have ever seen. And Runhappy is not exactly bred to be a sprinter, being by a Kentucky Derby winner, out of a mare by a Belmont and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner.

There are several factors regarding his performance in the Blue Grass Stakes that must be addressed. First, you have to remember he was given a pretty easy race in the Risen Star, with Corey Lanerie never asking him to run until it was way too late. That is because of an issue he had last year and they didn’t want to do too much with him going 1 1/8 miles off a layoff. Then in the Blue Grass he drew post 10 and got hung five-wide on the first turn. Lanerie then moved him up early down the backstretch to stay close to the loose on the lead Emmanuel. He was able to put Emmanuel, a very talented horse, away and open a clear lead at the eighth pole. After all that, I can’t be down on him for getting passed by Zandon. Despite getting beat 2 ½ lengths he got the same Thoro-Graph number as Zandon. He came out of the race a bit tired, drinking a lot of water, which means he really needed this this race and should be much fitter now.

I have had Smile Happy and Zandon ranked 1,2 almost every week and I am still high on both horses, with Zandon obviously having made greater strides in the last month. The three who also look like strong win candidates are Epicenter, Mo Donegal, and Messier. White Abarrio could be a big overlay, with Simplification a forgotten horse. The two longshots who could win this race are Tiz the Bomb and Crown Pride, although the latter is getting big buzz with his stunning works and overall appearance. As for Taiba, I have no clue what to do with him. He is the fastest horse in the field, but I just cannot bet a horse with two lifetime starts and only one work in the past four weeks. If he is a freak, which is very possible, then he surely can win, which would turn the whole process of handicapping the Derby upside down, leaving no boundaries. I love the way he moves over the track and you can see the great extension he has to his stride. He is one horse you have to go by your gut feeling.

 

TRAINING:

Most everyone is looking good in the morning, but the ones who have stood out to me are Zandon, Crown Pride, and Charge It. I also love the way White Abarrio looks out there every morning but he hasn’t done any serious training at Churchill so it’s difficult to get a good line on him other than his works at Gulfstream have been terrific. At Churchill he’s done everything right and is really into the bit in his gallops and just makes a great overall appearance.

Zandon’s work was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, the way he glides over the track with long fluid strides and does everything smoothly and on his own. He is all class in everything he does.

Crown Pride’s training has caught everyone’s eye and his routine isn’t anything we’ve seen before. The bottom line with him is that he is loving the track and his works and gallops have been flawless. He final work on Wednesday – a half in :46 3/5 – was sensational the way he was striding out with a final quarter in a brilliant :22 and change. In his last two works you had to love the way he finished and how strong he was on the gallop-out. In short, this horse is for real, and the way the Japanese horses have dominated all over the world you have to take him very seriously.

Charge It has been a bit under the radar, but he is another who is loving this track. He is very light on his feet, has a big beautiful stride and does things effortlessly. I was taken with his mechanics in his maiden victory and was surprised to see him race so greenly in the Florida Derby. But it was only his third career start and he should only improve in the Derby. My only negative with him is having three career starts, so, like Taiba and Zozos, inexperience is a big factor as well having history against him.

The other horse who has impressed me is Tiz the Bomb, who has been extremely sharp, and for a grass/synthetic horse is really handling this track beautifully.

A brief mention must be made of Smile Happy getting a bit lathered around the neck on several mornings. That can be tricky, as it’s something you don’t like seeing, especially on cool mornings, but often it means little or nothing. It all depends on the horse. It’s been negligible and Kenny McPeek says it’s normal for him so I’m going to ignore it and assume it will not be an issue on Derby Day.

 

THORO-GRAPH NUMBERS:

As you well know I have been referring to Thoro-Graph all year, looking for the horses who are fast and more important on a good pattern.

The only horse to get a negative number (the lower the number the better) has been Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby, and to accomplish that in his second career start is mind-boggling. If he is the freak many believe him to be and he doesn’t bounce (regress) off that number then who knows what he is capable of on Saturday. We really haven’t seen anything like him before. We’re in uncharted territory trying to handicap him.

Taiba’s stablemate Messier is on a terrific pattern. After getting a career best “1 ½” in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes he was given two months off and then paired up that number in the Santa Anita Derby when he might not have been 100 percent coming off the layoff and having to chase a fast horse in Forbidden Kingdom for most of the race. Having established that strong number he is now likely to improve off it, and it won’t take much improvement to win the Derby.

I also love the pattern my two top horses – Zandon and Smile Happy – are on, as both have shown steady improvement with each race. Zandon’s numbers have been 6 ½..4 ½..2 ¼..and 1 ½, while Smile Happy’s have been been 7 ¼..2..2 ½..1 ½. So as mentioned earlier, Smile Happy ran as fast as Zandon in the Blue Grass Stakes.

The tricky horse is White Abarrio, who has never been considered a really fast horse. But despite the absurdly slow fractions of the Florida Derby (if they are correct) he still improved from a “3” in the Holy Bull Stake to a “1,” which is the second fastest number behind Taiba. I have to admit I don’t know how good this horse is.

I’ve been mentioning Crown Pride’s exceptional training, but it must be noted in his last two starts he has jumped from a “7” in the Hyacinth Stakes on a wet track in Japan to a “2 ½” in the UAE Derby. Who knows how far he can move forward off that?

Other horses who should move forward, but would need to improve at least two points are Epicenter, Mo Donegal, Charge It, and Cyberknife.

 

WET TRACK:

I am not going to predict which horses will thrive on a wet track, as there a too many variables. I will only say that one horse I believe will move up in the mud is Smile Happy, as his pedigree is loaded with wet track influences.

 

STRATEGY:

There are number of horses who want to be on or near the lead, which should assure an honest pace. Zozos will have to break sharply and come running from post 19 to get a good position near the lead and not get hung wide, as does Classic Causeway from post 17, but the horse to watch at the break is Epicenter from post 3. He has to two closers inside him, which means he basically is breaking from the rail. With fast horses Summer is Tomorrow in post 4 and Messier in post 6, he will also have to break sharply and either outrun the other two or tuck in right behind them. He just doesn’t want to get shut off having them cut right in front of him while he is full of run. So the key is for him to be able to settle behind them without getting too rank. There is going to be a herd of stalkers all looking to get good position, so we could have quite a cavalry charge going into the first turn.

 

BETTING:

There are so many horses who can win this race you can go crazy trying to cover your bases without leaving anyone out. So I’m just going to stick with my two horses, and my first inclination not seeing the odds is to key Zandon and Smile Happy in the trifectas with Epicenter, Mo Donegal, Messier, Taiba, Tiz the Bomb, Crown Pride, Charge It, White Abarrio, Simplification, and Cyberknife. You could even add a few more like Zozos, Pioneer of Medina, and Barber Road if you really want to stretch it out, as all three can pick up a piece of it with their top effort. But 10 is sufficient for me.

My key horses in exacta and trifecta boxes are Zandon, Smile Happy, Epicenter, Messier, and Mo Donegal. The last named is one horse I have to key on because of what is so obvious, which are his sensational closing fractions of :35 2/5 and final eighth in :11 4/5 in the Wood Memorial. Yes, the track was fast but he had to overcome a strong speed-biased track to run down a fast and classy horse in the final strides. Unfortunately boxing these horses will not pay much. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with Taiba. Is he a super horse or not? The price horses underneath are Tiz the Bomb, Crown Pride, Simplification, and White Abarrio.

It’s still early, but my sure bets as of Thursday morning, just trying for big exacta payoffs, are Zandon and Smile Happy on top of longshots Crown Pride, Tiz the Bomb, Simplification and potential overlay White Abarrio.

I will also place win bets on Tiz the Bomb, Simplification, and Crown Pride, as I believe all have the talent to pull it off on their best day. I am still high on Simplification, who was really on the muscle Thursday morning and wanting to do more, and he would be my main longshot right now. And finally, if Smile Happy is anywhere near his 20-1 morning line odds I will certainly be getting down on him. I’ll even take 8-1 or 9-1. Most are not giving him much of a chance anymore, but I cannot abandon him at this late date. He may not be the horse I became enamored with last year, but I have to give him one more chance.


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351 Responses to “2022 Kentucky Derby Handicapping Analysis”

  1. Matthew W says:

    2022 Derby one of cleanest run ever..

  2. EddieF says:

    It is said that every vote counts. In the Kentucky Derby, every point counts. Rich Strike earned a single (1) Derby point for finishing fourth in the Battaglia Stakes on March 5. That one point led to his 21 total points and allowed him entry over Rattle N Roll (20 points).

    The absurdly inflated UAE Derby brought its first two finishers to Kentucky, and they proceeded to set the fastest quarter mile and second fastest half mile in Ky Derby history. They finished 13th and 20th.

  3. Mike Relva says:

    When Asmussen ran RA, said he would never prevail in Derb. How am I doing?

  4. Bill Dawson says:

    Richard E. Dawson, (no relation) is the owner of Rich Stike. He owns an oil and natural gas company in Oklahoma.
    Had I known my namesake was the owner, prior to the race, surely I would have placed a small win wager on Rich Strike.
    In one of my Super P/W wagers, I keyed 3,10,13// 3,10,13// 3,10,13// ALL. Coming down the stretch I thought I had the Super. If Rich Strike had finished 4th instead of winning it, I would have nailed it. Rats! 🙁

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      I hear you, Bill. I had Epicenter, Zandon, and Simplification in the correct order, but my 4th boxed superfecta choice was the OTHER longshot from the Jeff Ruby, Tawny Port. I seldom bet, so I’m happy with coming close. In 50+ years of following the Derby, I think I’ve picked about four winners.

    • Lee McJunkin says:

      Hey Bill…I was right there with ya on your picks..I had a $1.00 superfecta box on : 1-3-10-13. I never even looked at # 21 Rich Strike on my program. haha Take care Bill, and GL on your futures bets!!

  5. TommyMc says:

    I waited as long as I could to make my Derby bet and I almost got shut out. TVG almost went down with heavy traffic. It took me a half hour to make my last Win & Place bet. In hindsight, it’s too bad for me that I didn’t get shut out. Next year, I’ll be betting early. This morning, I read that there was record wagering on The Derby card. Like I’ve said, Racing is alive and well. At least on the biggest days. On to Baltimore in 2 weeks. Is there any reason for any Derby horses besides Rich Strike to head for Pimlico? Steve Asmussen likes to run his horses. Didn’t the ill-fated Midnight Bourbon run in all 3 Triple Crown Races last year? I enjoy Preakness Day, but I LOVE Belmont Day. You just know that there will be a couple of “Pletchers” and a couple of “Browns” waiting in the weeds for Rich Strike if he wins The Preakness.

    • TommyMc says:

      Can The Preakness be another rare occasion when The Derby winner doesn’t go off favored? Like Rachel Alexandra being favored over Derby winner Mine that Bird. The Media seems to be pushing D Wayne Lukas to run in The Preakness. No disrespect, but I don’t think Secret Oath is any Rachel Alexandra. Heck, Calvin Borel jumped off his Derby winner to ride “Rachel” in Maryland. Personally, without knowing which horses will be running, I’d give Early Voting a real hard look in the second jewel of The Triple Crown. If Epicenter comes back in 2 weeks, he would be very tough. But, Epicenter ran very hard yesterday. 2 weeks to figure it out. Hopefully, Steve Haskin will give us some help.

    • Lynda King says:

      Early forecast for Preakness field –
      Secret Oath

      Taiba

      Simplification

      Early Voting

      Smile Happy

      Ethereal Road

      Rich Strike

      Happy Jack

      No decision on Epicenter and Zandon
      Unlikely
      Mo Donegal
      Tawny Port
      Zozos
      Charge It
      Cyberknife
      Pioneer of Medina
      Not going
      Barber Road
      Tiz the Bomb
      Classic Causeway
      Crown Pride (shipping today to Chicago)
      Messier
      White Abarri
      Summer Is Tomorrow (shipping out to Dubai)

      • Ms Blacktype says:

        Good work, Lynda!
        Of the likely runners, Simplification jumps out for me. I believe Rich Strike is a good horses, but I don’t think he will get a dream set up in the Preakness.

      • TommyMc says:

        I didn’t see any excuses for Mo Donegal except for his usual slow break from the gate. His #1 post isn’t what got him beat IMO. I think that they should skip The Preakness and point for The Belmont where his closing/grinding style could play very well. He ran good yesterday. I think he finished 5th or there-abouts. He just doesn’t have the quick turn of foot like some of the others. But, he keeps on coming.

      • TommyMc says:

        Simplification is interesting. He ran real well yesterday and we know that he can show more speed if need be.

        • Discopartner says:

          Sometimes the good closers don’t make it up in time, he was a neck shy of 4th and went outside after being inside for half the race.

  6. Matthew W says:

    Travers will be the race, this year! Zozos will be there, seasoned and he won’t be shutter shy!

  7. TommyMc says:

    Mattress Mac’s big bet took Epicenter from 5-1 to 4-1. Taiba was really bet hard. He was 5-1 co-favorite for most of the betting period between races. Taiba went off at 5-1 even after Mac dropped the hammer on Epicenter. Taiba looks to have a very bright future. He just needs experience to handle a crowd like that. Which he’ll never see again unless they run him on a Derby undercard. I guess that a Breeders Cup card can get pretty big. Especially at a venue like Keenland. Experience is the key. Steve Haskin said that all along.

  8. TommyMc says:

    Jerry Bailey said that he wanted to change his “pick” after seeing Taiba walk by in the post parade. I completely disagree. While he looked like a beast physically, he was all “keyed up” and may have spent all his energy before the race. I said to myself that I didn’t have to worry about him. Maybe it was the huge crowd. A completely different experience than his 2 races at Santa Anita. Which reminds me, The Derby was Rich Strike’s 8th race. Only Tiz the Bomb had more. Maybe experience counts for something after all.

    • Lynda King says:

      TommyMc, yes I heard Bailey say that and the other NBC commentator said something about how Taiba was on his toes.
      Did not agree with either of their assessments about Taiba.
      The colt was clinging to his pony and foamy saliva was pouring from his mouth. He was working that bit big time. Nervous energy or insecurity? As you suggest, I think it was the crowd but also think it was the size of the field both of which go back to lack of experience.

  9. Ms Blacktype says:

    I’ll never take a late entry into the KD lightly again. That 17 LENGTH win in his maiden debut, claiming race or not, was a bright red flag.

    BTW, Rich Strike has a terrific pedigree. Sire Keen Ice famously defeated Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Travers, and his dam, Gold Strike, was Canadian 3YO filly champion. Rich Strike has two crosses of stout Smart Strike blood close up (2×4) and THREE crosses of Gold Digger/Raise a Native in the first 5 generations (two of them from Mr. Prospector). Keen Ice himself has three crosses of Mr. P. So you’ve got stoutness and an abundance of speed all in one package.

    • Lynda King says:

      TommyMc, yes I heard Bailey say that and the other NBC commentator said something about how Taiba was on his toes.
      Did not agree with either of their assessments about Taiba.
      The colt was clinging to his pony and foamy saliva was pouring from his mouth. He was working that bit big time. Nervous energy or insecurity? As you suggest, I think it was the crowd but also think it was the size of the field both of which go back to lack of experience.

    • Lynda King says:

      MsBlacktype, I too think that Rich Strike has an impressive pedigree both on sire and dam sides.
      I looked at it early this morning. Notable in addition to the horses you mention are Kris S, Bold Ruler and Sir Gaylord (out of SomethingRoyale).

  10. TommyMc says:

    Rich Strike was right next to Mo Donegal for most of the race. The difference is that Mo Donegal made his grinding move while Rich Strike “took off” while weaving through traffic. At the break, Sonny Leon immediately headed towards the rail to join Mo Donegal. Really good ride. The owner is right. We all know Sonny Leon now. I think he was the longest shot in the field. I have to admit, I don’t ever remember looking at the horse in the Racing Form until after the race. I was that confident that I would hit a score with the 5 horses I was alive to. Four of the five finished 2nd through 5th. The hardest race in America to hit.

    • TommyMc says:

      The 2 Kenny McPeek horses finished next to each other. Smile Happy in 8th and Tiz the Bomb 9th.

      • TommyMc says:

        Corey Lanerie on Smile Happy was following Epicenter until “push came to shove” around the far turn when Epicenter left Smile Happy in his wake. Kenny McPeek has to be hugely disappointed. Maybe he can pull off a surprise in The Belmont. I just don’t think he has any horses that can do it. No offense.

    • arlingtonfan says:

      Yes, Rich Strike was indeed the longest shot in the field. I agree; Sonny Leon gave him a terrific ride!

  11. biggy312 says:

    Who would have thought that the key Derby prep races were the Battaglia and Ruby stakes at Turfway! That is why horse racing is so enjoyable: any horse can win, as long as they are in the starting gate, even in the biggest races of the year. Very humbling! Makes those with definitive opinions look pretty foolish! Looking forward to the Preakness, as well as the later 3 year old races…

  12. Matthew W says:

    A month ago: Futures players are like “HEY! I got Taiba in the “all others”, slot, 18-1, YES!!!” He runs upthe track…..RATS! There goes my 18-1…….and they cash, anyway!

  13. Terri Zeitz says:

    What a Derby!! This outcome is worthy of a Steve Haskin take on the whole story.
    And how about the longshot, Rich Strike, who was bred and one time owned by no other than Calumet Farm.
    It was ultimately a story about good karma. Eric Reed, the trainer lost 26 horses in a barn fire in the middle of the night. All sorts of people came out to help him.
    The owner is a hugh Keen Ice fan and only breeds and owns horses with Keen Ice in their pedigree.
    And I am so happy for Brad Kelley and Calumet Farm. He deserves this win.
    Calumet finally has another Derby winner.

    • Terri Zeitz says:

      Kudos to the jockey, Sonny Leon, who gave a wonderful ride to Rich Strike.
      By the way, I read that Smart Strike, to whom Rich Strike is related to by his dam and sire, was one tough cookie. He required two cones be place in front of his stall.

  14. EddieF says:

    Now that I’ve had a relatively good night’s sleep, I’ve been reflecting on events of yesterday’s 19th hour:

    1. WTF?!?!?

    2. I believe there were 7 runners that had just 2, 3, or 4 career starts. Zandon ran well to finish a close third. What kept him from winning? Three straight 9f races? Or the lack of experience? The next best finish of those 7 was by Smile Happy in 8th place, 10 lengths behind the winner.

    3. Has anyone EVER seen so many horses fan wide (I’m talking 7- to 12-path wide, folks!) as they rounded into the stretch? I think that Simplification and Mo Donegal finished the best of them.

    4. The race caller didn’t call Rich Strike’s name until about 50 yards before the finish, just when RS got his head in front of Epicenter.

    5. WTF?!?!?

    • Matthew W says:

      Tom Durkin didn’t call Mine That Bird until he was 5 in front! And he was the best, I thought the Collmus call was pretty good.

      • arlingtonfan says:

        In a way, Larry Collmus’ call was fitting because his shock at seeing Rich Strike up there reflected what we were all feeling.

        • Matthew W says:

          I thought it was Mo Donegal..

          • Jiffy says:

            Me, too. I was cheering for Mo Donegal, and I thought he was the one closing on the inside. When Rich Strike was called, I said, “That’s not possible. There’s no way this can be happening.” But I was happy for his people, and the horse ran a great race. He deserves a lot of credit.

      • EddieF says:

        I though his call was good…until the final seconds. Isn’t that the most important part? 😉

        • Jiffy says:

          I was reminded of Tom Durkin’s call when Mine That Bird won. He didn’t call that horse at all until he was well in front. I suspect both of them couldn’t believe their eyes and didn’t dare voice what they thought they were seeing.

          • Jiffy says:

            Sorry I didn’t see that Matthew had already made that observation. My apologies. Larry Colmus is one of my favorite race callers and I forgive him for a moment’s hesitation.

  15. Matthew W says:

    Rewatching that race and again….I think Zandon’s doing it again I thought he was going to go right by….just like he did before….and become a really good horse—and then he didn’t, but you won’t see that racebut every 35 years, thinking of Ferdinand 1986 pace collapse except…..some of the better closers didnt close the Turfway horse did! So …he probably won’t be as tired as the rest, he only ran 3/8! Mine That Bird ran a heckuva Teiple Crown, will #21 run well again in two weeks? He looked plenty heavy in the winners circle….What a historical race, and it shows to Goya, when you think you’ve seen everything, and in a year where practeveryone was saying it is a good crop…..and the $30k CLAIMED horsre wins going away…

    • Matthew W says:

      I know about Stymie and I know about Lava Man, #21 is already in that group of great claims!..ironic, that I refer to him ad #21….it’s because I can’t remember his name!

    • EddieF says:

      This was the stunner of them all. Ferdinand had been second or third in the G1 Hollywood Futurity, the G2 San Rafael, and the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Giacomo was also in the money in the G1 Hollywood Futurity, the then listed Sham Stakes, and the G2 San Felipe. Even the miraculous Mine That Bird won a graded stakes as a 2 year old.

  16. Matthew W says:

    10th place for Zozos not too shabby, right off of that pace and wide both turns, I thought he was falling back to last but he fought, that’s a good horse.

  17. Discopartner says:

    Epicenter and Zandon ran well, Rich Strike ran great, Mo Donegal, Simplification and Barber Road ran okay, and the rest fared poorly. Messier folded like a cheap suitcase on the lead and blocked the winner who had to go around him as he was falling back. Taiba never did any running. Considering the buildup they got, I want a refund on my entertainment costs. Zandon idled when trying to pass Epicenter and needs a different jockey, he showed more fight under Johnnie V. I was disappointed to see how White Abarrio fared, he wasn’t ready for this but no one should assume those outer posts are easy, it’s hard to move in from there and stay near the front, Classic Causeway came up behind him and passed him and that was it.

    • Paula Higgins says:

      This race was a throw out for me where Mo Donegal is concerned. Feel somewhat the same way
      about White Abarrio. The class of the field was Epicenter and Zandon also right there with him. Simplification
      ran a great race too. But the story of an 80-1 longshot, in post position 20, winning the Derby, is something
      otherworldly and I was thrilled to see it. Very happy for Rich Strike’s connections. What a Kentucky Derby!

      • Discopartner says:

        Well, maybe a bunch of them will meet up in the Travers, to rectify matters. I had liked Mo D. but last few days thought he was just okay, not especially good. I thought much the same of Zandon, so he did better than I expected. The first six ran to form, except the winner ran way above it, and the others mostly fell below. I don’t know where they’ll race next, when you lose badly the road comes to an abrupt end, one of the shortcomings of this Derby prep setup. They should have a few more 3 yo races for also rans after the Derby. I guess the Ohio Dby and others serve that purpose. I feel disappointed, don’t think most of them were prepared well enough for the race by their trainers. I was glad to see a closer win and break this trend of only certain types winning, it had badly dumbed down the Derby to be that way. Also very glad to see mysterious SF Racing’s win streak come to an inglorious end, and hope it stays that way.

  18. Bill Dawson says:

    Hi Steve

    In your final Derby Rankings, you had Zandon ranked at #1, and Epicenter at #2. Box those 2 with every horse in the field, in a $1.00 Trifecta, (at a cost of $108.00) you would have collected $14,870.00. Yah, I know, shoulda, woulda, coulda.
    Something to consider in future Kentucky Derbies? 🙂

  19. Doug says:

    Javier Castellano with only 2 mounts on Derby weekend????? Anyone have a clue why??

    • Terri Zeitz says:

      I don’t know why Javier Castellano is in such a slump. I hope to he goes to a top doctor to get checked out.
      I was disappointed in his ride on Kathleen O in the Kentucky Oaks. She was boxed in and behind a wall of horses.

  20. Dutch says:

    Just yesterday, Rich Strike’s trainer Eric Reed was asked the ideal scenario for his horse breaking from post 20:

    “Get a good break and work over to the inside,” Reed said. “Start picking them up midway on the backstretch and then pass them all before the finish line!”

    You can’t make this stuff up!

  21. EddieF says:

    First time I’ve EVER bet on a Derby favorite…and THIS happens? As for White Abarrio, maybe that final fraction in the Florida Derby was correct after all. Ugh.

    Fractions and final time:
    21 3/5 (fastest in Derby history), 45 1/5 (tied for second fastest), 1:10 1/5, 1:36 4/5, 2:02 3/5

    • to Steve Haskin says:

      Thank God we had 7:30 reservations at our favorite Italian restaurant and were able to escape to the real world

    • Davids says:

      Just let it go, they’ll never run in a 20 horse field at 10f again and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is at Keeneland this year. My favorite three year old Classic is the Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby is just a prep. Ha ha But true!!

      • EddieF says:

        Yeah, we’ll get over this eventually. By the fall, we’ll be watching the 2-year-olds race and wondering which ones are Derby material. Maybe the maiden claiming races will get a bit more attention!

  22. Mike Relva says:

    Weeks ago, said Zedan pushing his horse off a cliff. Am I wrong?

  23. Matthew W says:

    1) Epicenter was up near the pace he ran by far the best race….2) Zandon was gifted the race, and didn’t close the deal….3) winner steadied, in the stretch, and won, anyway 4)…That was not anything like a regular race I’m not ready to say all of the pace types were weak, it was a record run down the first quarter…5) Epicenter and Zandon should win some important races, but if Zandon is going to win, Epicenter had better not be in the race.

  24. Spaldeen says:

    I have to wonder if Steve will still think it’s worth it after this one…

    • Davids says:

      The fun is in the prep races, the Kentucky Derby is always an ugly race with luck triumphant. Hope springs eternal.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I’m having serious doubts

      • Davids says:

        Steve, the result was a major letdown but come January, 2023 you’ll be itching to get right back into it. I sincerely hope so, anyway.

        The one wish, that will never be fore-filled, is they reduce the field to suit the size of the track.

  25. Lynda King says:

    Does anyone know the order of finish?
    I was focused on Epicenter and Zandon and lost sight of everyone else, except it looked like Crown Pride was backed off.