Which Kentucky Derby Closer Will Be Closing Fastest?

Which Kentucky Derby Closer Will Be Closing Fastest?

Category : News - Fri 06/05/2016 - 10:33 EDT

Outside of a couple Kentucky Derby favorites, the 2016 Run for the Roses lacks for speed, but not closers. Which come-from-behind horse will get there first?

Typically, the Kentucky Derby doesn't set up well for horses that like to come from off-the-pace. In most years past, the winner has been a horse with early tactical speed, who sits just off the pace and then jumps on the leaders in the stretch to try and pull away. This year's edition of the Derby is a bit different, with only a few horses who naturally want to go to the front early, and lots of closers who will hope for a good late run.

Top three in Arkansas Derby all came running late

A recent case-in-point to illustrate this would be the Arkansas Derby, one of the final prep races before Kentucky. The first three finishers in that race are all in the Kentucky Derby field, and all three are known to come from the back of the pack. The Arkansas winner, Creator, was in 11th place after 3/4 mile in the 1 1/8 mile race, 10 lengths off the leader. Suddenbreakingnews was 10th at the same point, and got up for second, and Whitmore was 9th, getting the first jump on the leaders before being passed by the other two in the stretch. Lani, who made the Derby field off a win in the UAE Derby, was last early in that race, and Exaggerator, who does posses some tactical speed, spotted the field more than 10 lengths before roaring home to win the Santa Anita Derby.

Large Derby field is a big problem for closers

Of course, one big factor in this is that those races all had smaller fields than the 20 horses who will race Saturday under the Churchill Downs Twin Spires. With that much traffic in front, it's difficult for a horse to get a clean run late, another factor in why closers rarely win the Derby. The horse that manages to stay out of trouble early could be the one making an impact at the end. 

 

 

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