Dissecting The Derby: Girvin

Dissecting The Derby: Girvin

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - No race is tougher to ferret out than the Kentucky Derby, which at times can seem as perplexing 30 minutes before post time as it is 30 days before the run for the roses.

It can look so easy after the fact, so here we helpfully tell you in advance why the winner prevails.

Of course we do it for every horse in the field -- as well as explaining why you can't possibly cash a ticket betting that horse.

So let us do the detective work as we case out the Kentucky Derby.

GIRVIN (Post position 7; 15-1 odds)
Owner: Brad Grady
Trainer: Joe Sharp
Jockey: Mike Smith
Record: 4—3-1-0
Earnings: $874,400
Sire-dam: Tale of Ekati-Catch the Moon
Fastest Bris speed figure: 99, Louisiana Derby
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 93, Risen Star
Last race: First in Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds

Why he'll can win:
This is a serious racehorse, who is unbeaten in three dirt starts and whose only defeat was a close second in a grass stakes. His last two timed workouts have been superb, and he picks up Mike Smith, the biggest money-rider in the game today and who won the 2015 Derby on 50-1 Giacomo. He also has a nice running style where he can close or be in a stalking position.

Why he won't:
If the Derby involved swimming 1 1/4 miles, he'd be a lock. But between those two sparkling workouts, Girvin has battled a hoof issue — right front quarter crack — that compromised  his training considerably. The last horse to win the Derby after using a swimming pool as a significant part of his preparation was Sunny's Halo in 1983. And that regimen came well before he won his two prep races at Oaklawn Park — not during the two weeks before the Derby. We don't know if Girvin will actually run in protective "bar" shoes, but beaten 1996 Derby favorite Unbridled Song (coincidentally ridden by Smith) showed how difficult that is.

Only two Derby winners have come in with fewer than five lifetime starts dating back to 1937: Animal Kingdom (four starts, 2011) and Big Brown (three starts, 2008). The Louisiana Derby has produced three Kentucky Derby winners, the last being Funny Cide in 2003. Girvin was a $130,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling purchase.

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