If you missed Part 1 be sure to check it out here: 20-20 Derby Vision 2008 - Part 1
#4 The entrants last two prep races must have been run around two turns. Two turn experience is vital for having a horse ready to go 10f in May. Horses with a single prep race around one turn (or less) are 17-0-0-0 in the Derby. Horses like Bellamy Road, Showing Up and Favorite Trick were all non-qualifiers.
This year Big Brown is the only horse that does not qualify
#5 The entrants finishing position must be no worse than their position at the 1/8th pole in both final preps. This is the second fitness factor. Derby winners rarely get passed in the stretch. They should be at least able to hold their position through the final 1/8th. The non-qualifiers for this factor were 60-1-3-3 in the Derby inclduing a full 10 horses in last years race. Only three of them finished in the top half of the field. Silver Charm managed to win the Derby after getting passed in the Santa Anita Derby but anyone who saw that race might give him a pass considering that he set blazing fractions and was only nosed out right at the wire.
Cowboy Cal, Recapturetheglory, Bob Black Jack, Gayego and Cool Coal Man all failed to hold their position in the stretch in one of their last two races.
#6 The entrant must have run the final 1/8, ¼ and 3/8th’s faster than or equal to the fields average closing fractions in their last prep. In order to win the Derby you have to finish well. If you’re gasping for breath in the final stages of a 9f race you won’t handle the Derby distance as well. Since virtually the whole field has their last prep at 9f it is easy to compare closing fractions. If a Derby entrant fails to close out any of the final three time frames in less than the average time they’re given a strike. A horse must have run a 9f race to be included and any competitor who was beaten by more than 20 lengths is given a strike against but his fractions are not included in the average calculation.
This year the averages for the last three furlongs look like this. 1/8 = 0:12.8, 1/4 = 0:25.1, 3/8 = 0:37.5.
Big Brown, Adriano, Gayego, Z Fortune, Court Vision, Smooth Air, Cool Coal Man, Denis Of Cork, Tale Of Ekati and Anak Nakal all failed to qualify and Eight Belles was given a pass because of the lack of a 9f prep race.
#7 The entrant must have finished in the money in their last prep. This one is an obvious way of judging form. A horse needs to show that they are in fine form and one of the most obvious ways they do that is to finish in the top 3 in their last race. The horses who failed to qualify for this factor were a cumulative 50-1-2-0 in the Derby. Giacomo, Invisible Ink and Bluegrass Cat all rebounded from 4th place finishes to run well in the Derby.
Pyro, Big Truck, Visionaire, Cool Coal Man, Anak Nakal and Denis of Cork finished out of ther frame and so they’re given a strike.
#8 The entrant must either win or finish within three lengths of the winner in their last prep. Seems nearly redundant after viewing factor #7 but there are a few reasons to add this factor. I like the fact that out of form horses are punished for it more than once and this is a far more precise measurement in my opinion. For instance a horse may have run a good race to be a close 4th, conversely some horses are beaten by 10 lengths in their last prep but they managed to be third simply because everyone else who they were facing ran worse. The horses who failed to qualify for this factor were a cumulative 83-0-4-1 in the Derby. The best non-qualified performers with this angle were Bluegrass Cat, Invisible Ink, Impeachment, Aptitude and Closing Arguement.
For this years Derby it means Pyro, Big Truck, Visionaire, Cool Coal Man, Smooth Air, Z Humor, Anak Nakal and Denis of Cork all get minused another point.
#9 The entrant must have finished in the money in at least two races as a three year old. This value of this factor is two fold. First of all it tries to identify consistency among the entrants, but secondly it also means that a horse with two preps has very little wiggle room. The profile does not have any factor concerning the actual number of prep races. It only makes minimum requirement of what a horse must get from their prep races. In this case it effectively means that any horse with one prep is eliminated and also any horse with two preps who did not run well in both. Of course horses who do poorly over 3 or 4 preps can also be eliminated. The horses who failed to qualify for this factor were a cumulative 32-0-1-0 in the Derby. Proud Citizen was the only horse to overcome this factor and run with credit.
That could spell bad news for Monba, Z Humor, Tale of Ekati and Anak Nakal.
#10 The entrants last Beyer Speed Figure cannot be worse than his previous two. This is the last measurement of form. I feel that a horses last three Derby prep races are really the only ones of importanceand you don't want the horses worst race to be his most current. I don’t mind slight regression but I want the trend of the speed figures to be up overall. If a horse only had two prep races they can be exempt from this factor. However not all horses with two preps will be exempt. For instance if a horse only has two preps but runs a career high in his last prep race then it’s obivous that his latest figure would not worse than his previous two. The horses who failed to qualify for this factor were a cumulative 39-0-1-1 in the Derby. Bluegrass Cat and Imperialism were the only ones to overcome this and run in the frame.
Pyro, Big Truck, Visionaire and Cool Coal Man all failed to qualify with this factor but be aware that all of these horses had been running well on dirt before having their last prep on Polytrack in the Bluegrass. That can have a significantly negative effect on Beyer figures.
#11 The entrant must be a stakes winner. This is the first measurement of class. Not only do we want them running in stakes races, we want them winning them as well. Now they do not have to be Graded Stakes races but I do want my Derby horses to have beaten more than maiden company. The cumulative record of horses who failed to qualify for this factor is 44-1-2-2. Giacomo of course was just a maiden winner, but the overwhelming majority of these horses ran poorly because most of them simply are not good enough.
All of the entrants this year qualified for this factor.
#12 The entrant must have either won or finished within three lengths of the winner in a Graded Main Track route race as a three year old. A further refinement of factor #11. We do want our Derby entrants to be stakes winner but we also prefer that their class be confirmed by good performances in route races on the Derby trail itself. A horse like Private Vow is case and point of what this factor eliminates. Horses who show some class as 2yo’s but as 3yo’s it is revealed that they no longer belong with the top tier. The cumulative record of horses who failed to qualifiy with this factor is 43-0-1-1.
Smooth Air, Z Humor and Anak Nakal seem to lack the class to compete in the Derby.