Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kentucky Derby revisited again

Looking at the list of contenders for the Preakness (I know the actual runners have been announced but I'm waiting for post positions) and just marveling at how unusual the Derby was for so many horses. Witness:

Andrew Beyer, a noted horse racing handicapper and journalist came up with a number that somewhat normalizes how a horse runs a given race. If a horse runs an 80 and another runs a 75, the 80 is the better performance, even if the 80 was a slower time. This is due to track differences, distances, etc. It's a pretty good measure. I'll be talking about Beyer scores.

Advice - His Derby score was a 74, his second lowest score in seven races
Atomic Rain - His Derby was a 59, his second lowest score in eight races
Dunkirk - 77 is his lowest in four races
Flying Private - 41 is his second lowest in 11 races
Friesan Fire - lowest in eight races
Hold Me Back - second lowest in six races
Nowhere to Hide - lowest in nine races
West Side Bernie - second lowest in eight races

Again, this is the Kentucky Derby. Trainers are paid big bucks to have their horses prepared for and ready to peak in this race. And 8 of the 19 horses either ran their worst or second worst race of their careers.

As a matter of fact, only one of the horses in the Derby ran his best race ever. Care to venture a guess? Mine That Bird received a 105 score. His previous best was 81.

Early, pre-analysis pick. I think Rachel Alexandra is the best horse in the Preakness. Just slightly better than Dunkirk. Analysis tonight after I get home from work.

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