I'm not one that likes to get down on horses. I think one of the worst things about racing fans is their inability to appreciate the wonderful things that are transpiring right in front of them.
No great horses since Spectacular Bid? Rubbish, we're simply not appreciating some of the greatness we're seeing.
That being said I do think it beneficial from a handicapping perspective to take stock and honestly evaluate quality. Why? Because it will come in handy when you're looking for horses who "can" or "can't" win the Derby. It will also come in handy once the divisions start competing against each other.
Thus far it has to be said that the 3yo crop is quite slow. It is the first time since I've been tracking the Derby Trail that not a single triple digit Beyer Speed Figure was recorded in a two turn recognized prep race. In fact there have been no triple digit Beyers recorded by a three year old male in any two turn races at all. These are the five fastest two turn prep races according to Beyer so far this year.
El Gato Malo - 99 (San Rafael)
Cool Coal Man - 98 (Fountain Of Youth)
Visionaire - 98 (Gotham)
Denis Of Cork - 96 (Southwest)
Nikki'sgoldensteed - 96 (Turf Paradise Derby)
Now lets compare that top 5 lists with the top 5 fastest preps run up to this point in previous years.
Summer Doldrums - 106 (Whirlaway)
Circular Quay - 102 (Louisiana Derby)
Ravel - 102 (Sham)
Great Hunter - 101 (Bob Lewis)
Teuflesberg - 100 (Southwest)
Brother Derek - 107 (San Rafael)
Lawyer Ron - 106 (Risen Star)
Achilles Of Troy - 104 (Count Fleet)
Achilles Of Troy - 103 (Whirlaway)
Brother Derek - 102 (Santa Catalina)
Bob And John - 102 (Sham)
Sweetnorthernsaint - 102 (Miracle Wood)
High Limit - 105 (Lousiana Derby)
Going Wild - 100 (Sham)
High Fly - 100 (Aventura)
High Fly - 99 (Fountain Of Youth)
Closing Argument - 98 (Holy Bull)
Read The Footnotes - 113 (Fountain Of Youth)
Second Of June - 108 (Holy Bull)
Imperialism - 104 (San Rafael)
Wimbledon - 101 (Louisiana Derby)
St Averil - 100 (Santa Catalina)
In only one case (2005) did we not have more than five triple digit Beyers earned in two turn prep races at this point. This year we have none, zero, zilch, nada. This Kentucky Derby Trail is in desperate need of some brilliance.
However something I had not noticed until I wrote this post was the fact that absent from these top 5 lists are all the previous years Derby winners. In fact among the 19 horses listed who were supposedly the fastest 3yo's from January to mid march only 2 of them (Closing Argument, Imperialism) even hit the frame on Derby day.
Not sure if I'm willing to draw any conclusions on that but it is quite interesting.