It’s been a long — and bumpy — road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby and with horses being scratched right up to the end, Derby predictions have been fluid. Currently the field stands at 16, with late scratches of King Guillermo (who I liked) and Finnick the Fierce (a long shot but a favorite because he had only one eye). That leaves a field dominated by long shots and a few key contenders. Keep in mind that these horses are four months older than “normal” Derby contenders and have more races under their hooves. That leaves them more experienced and gives the public more information.
According to the folks who live by speed ratings, the winner of the Kentucky Derby typically has run at least one race that earned a Beyer over 100. In addition to Tiz the Law (109), that includes Thousand Words (104), Honor AP (102), Authentic (101), and Ny Traffic (100).
The favorite is Tiz the Law, even with the less-than-ideal #15 post position. Although he will need to break well and cover a bit of extra ground, he’s won four straight graded stakes races including the Belmont and the Travers. We’ve seen him win at 1¼ miles. In terms of the different “speed ratings”, Tiz the Law is ranked the highest (Beyer/109 and Brisnet/115).
Max Player is one of the horses that could upset Tiz the Law. Although he finished second to Tiz the Law in his last two stakes races, he has improved his Brisnet speed figures in every race he’s run, so even though his current Beyer rating is 99, his Brisnet Speed Rating is 107.
Another horse to look out for is Honor AP, who has put in impressive workouts at Churchill Downs. Blessed with a long, ground-covering stride, Honor AP rallied to win the RunHappy Santa Anita Derby, beating Authentic handily. Honor AP is ridden by Mike Smith, who is very experienced riding at Churchill Downs.
Ny Traffic is a horse that also has improved his speed ratings every time out. Purchased for just $22,000, the colt started with a Beyer rating of just 82, but in logged a 101 in the Haskell, challenging Authentic in the home stretch and losing in a photo finish.
Who are you hoping wins the Derby tomorrow?