The news that Derby favorite I Want Revenge is out of the race totally changes the race. I thought it significant enough to come back here and reanalyze everything. The biggest change that his absence makes is that this Derby is no longer a terribly fast one. I Want Revenge, Quality Road, Win Willy, Old Fashioned and The Pamplemousse are some of the horses that made this crop look spectacular but none of them will be in the Derby.
My figures now show that this is marginally the slowest Derby on record. Last years average winning Beyer figure earned by derby starters was 95.56, this year it comes out to 95.43 with the removal of I Want Revenge. This crop has fast horses but very few of them are in the Derby in fact the Derby looks like a weak race.
This totally changes the way I look at and even horses like Pioneerof the Nile come back into consideration. I'm going to be spreading deeply across probably 8 selections in some way for multi race wagers. In my previous post I wrote about my Derby six and other than I Want Revenge the rest of those horses (Dunkirk, Papa Clem, Friesan Fire, Hold Me Back, Regal Ransom) still catch my fancy. But given the change in race complexion I'm forced to take some others into consideration. Musket Man is a horse I've been ignoring all week because I thought he was too slow and his breeding is suspect. Now it turns out the race is slow so he's more than fast enough. His breeding is still a concern but he has no other real flaws. West Side Bernie moves up a notch as well. I know he is not a winner and he flattens out at a distance but look at his last 3 Beyers in dirt routes: 101, 92, 94. That makes him more than good enough. He's a Giacomo sort of horse. Good enough to hang around and earn solid numbers but would be heartily scorned if he managed to win a big race like this. He's worth using underneath. I reluctantly have to give some mention to Pioneerof the Nile as well. The removal of fast horses improves the chances of slow horses and he's definitely the most consistent slow horse in the race. He's a winner and while I prefer Dunkirk and Friesan Fire's speed it's easy to conceive one or two horses running poorly in the Derby. If they both happen to run worse than expected Pioneerof the Nile is more than capable.
The official pick is now Papa Clem with Dunkirk a close second and for the purposes of my handicapping both of them will count as selections. I'd also use Musket Man and Friesan Fire as hedges but not as official win selections.
I've updated the 20-20 system to include the most current changes to the Derby field so people can check that out if they like.
I'll also be following the entire card via my Pick 6 spreadsheet. You can see how some of my analysis here translates into actual rankings and selection.