Today I will examine the major Bluegrass Derby Preps and the role they play in the outcome of the Derby. Below is a list of all the major Three-Year Old Preps and the number of horses that exited those races and went on to win the Bluegrass.
Bluegrass Derby Prep Races
Florida Derby – 3 – No horse has ever won the Florida Derby and went on to win the Bluegrass Derby
Arkansas Derby – 1 – GIMLET NEAT was the only horse to exit the Arkansas and win the Bluegrass. He was also the winner of the Arkansas Derby
Fountain of Ute – 3
Santa Clara – 2
Risen Star – 2
Corkscrew – 4 – All four were winners of the Corkscrew
California Derby – 3 – All three were winners of the California Derby
Felipe Alou – 1 – no horse has won the Felipe Alou and went on to win the Derby
Chicago Derby – 1 – I SEEK U was the only horse to exit the Chicago Derby and win the Bluegrass. He was also the winner of the Chicago Derby.
Sleepy Fan – 1 – no horse has won the Sleepy Fan and gone on to win the Bluegrass Derby
All Saints Derby – 3 – of the three horses to have exited the All Saints and won the Bluegrass, two of them won the All Saints
Sand Castle – 3 – no horse has won the Sand Castle and went on to win the Derby
Giant Slayer – 1 – no horse has won the Giant Slayer and went on to win the Derby
Land’s End – 2 – one horse was the winner of the Land’s End
Legoland – 2 – one horse was the winner of the Legoland
Gary Asher – 1 – no horse has won the Gary Asher and went on to win the Derby
2000 Guineas – 1 – MOUNTNOIR was the only horse to exit the 2000 Guineas and win the Bluegrass. He was also the winner of the 2000 Guineas
Moises Alou Cap – 0 – no horse has exited the Moises Alou Cap and gone on to win the Bluegrass
Vermont is 4 Lovers – 1 – no horse has won the Vermont is 4 Lovers and went on to win the Derby
The Scam – 0 – no horse has exited the Scam and gone on to win the Bluegrass Derby
Now let’s look at the Top 20 Bluegrass Derby contenders and see how they shape up against the Prep Race statistics.
ION MY WAY, SHADY RIDE, CRACKERJACK RIDE, ZOMBIE SCENE, MUSICFOR THEFALLEN, and UNSUBTLE have all been nominated for the California Derby. History tells us that three horses have emerged from the California Derby and went on to win the Bluegrass Derby. SHADY RIDE was the winner of the Felipe Alou, a race that no horse has won and gone on to win the Derby. MUSICFOR THEFALLEN was off the board in the Scam, a race where no horse has exited and went on to win the Derby. ION MY WAY must overcome the BB / EOY jinx. UNSUBTLE was the winner of the Sleepy Fan, a very favorable prep for a Derby Hopeful, and should be considered a major player in the Derby following his final prep before the Derby. ZOMBIE SCENE would get high marks with a win in the California Derby. A loss, by any or all, of these horses, could spell doom based on the history of this Prep.
OTTO OVER EASY was the winner on the Equinics Lock Race and there is no telling how that will play into the equation. His next stop is the Bluegrass Derby and it is all systems go.
TURBULENCE T. and STORMY MO are entered in the Corkscrew, a prep that has produced 4 Bluegrass Derby winners, however, all four of those Derby winners also won the Corkscrew. STORMY MO gets s slight edge here, but both would get high marks with a victory in the Corkscrew. Historically, a loss does not bode well for either of them.
BY WAY OF KNOCKOUT is entered in the Land’s End on Sunday. The fact that only one horse has ever finished ITM in the Movieland is the biggest hurdle he will have to overcome.
MINIMAL SIN, GOLD WAR FRONT, and THE CHECKERED are all nominated for the Sand Castle at the end of the month. While three horses have exited the Sand Castle to win the Bluegrass, no horse has ever won the Sand Castle and went on to win the Bluegrass. MINIMAL SIN is making his first start of the 3yo season and is likely to need a race which should set him up the nicely for his Derby appearance. GOLD WAR FRONT and THE CHECKERED both exit the Moises Alou Cap, a race that has produced zero Derby winners.
THROUGH THE WOODS, SPECTRAL SPOOK, and SMOOTH STRIDE are nominated for the Florida Derby, a race that has produced three Derby winners, however. No Florida Derby winner has gone on to win the Bluegrass. THROUGH THE WOODS would be the first horse that has won the Vermont is 4 Lovers and gone on to win the Derby. SPECTRAL SPOOK has avoided all the pitfalls along the Derby Trail. SMOOTH STRIDE falls into that very narrow category of only one horse exiting the Vermont is 4 Lovers and going on to win the Derby.
INDEPENDENT UNION, SHOULDERSOFGIANTS, and TITAMON are nominated for the All Saints Derby, a race that has produced three Derby winners. INDEPENDENT UNION is another 3yo that bears the burden of the Movieland. SHOULDERSOFGIANTS makes only his second start as a 3yo, his first coming in the Equinics Lock, a race that has no history as a Derby Prep. A top three finish in the All Saints could make him a major player come Derby day. TITAMON is on the bubble and needs a good showing to make the Derby field.
DEN NOT DON is entered in the Arkansas Derby, a race that has produced only one Derby winner and that horse exited the race the winner.
In conclusion, based on the history of Derby Prep races, should STORMY MO or TURBULENCE T. emerge victorious in the Corkscrew they should be considered Bluegrass Derby favorites.
UNSUBTLE and ZOMBIE SCENE would benefit the most with victories in the California Derby.
A second or third place finish in the Sand Castle for MINIMAL SIN could be the perfect storm for the son of Sinister Minister.
MINIMAL SIN is another that would benefit by leaving something in the tank, and based on history, a second or third place finish in the Florida Derby might be a best-case scenario for the 13th ranked 3yo.
SHOULDERSOFGIANTS benefits the most in the All Saints Derby with a top three finish.
Look for the winner of the Corkscrew, or California Derby to be the HOT Derby horse, especially if it is STORMY MO, TURBULENCE T., UNSUBTLE, or ZOMBIE SCENE. MINIMAL SIN and SHOULDERSOFGIANTS could be sleepers with solid efforts in their final prep while peaking at just the right time.
Good Luck to all…remember statistics change all the time…start a new trend.