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.
IRISH WAR CRY
Owner: Isabelle De Tomaso
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
Sire-dam: Curlin-Irish Sovereign
Fastest Bris speed figure: 102, Wood Memorial and Holy Bull
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 101, Wood Memorial and Holy Bull
Last race: First in Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York
Why he'll win:
He is the most consistently fast horse in the field, the only one with more than one triple-digit speed figure, with three Bris figs of 100 or more and two Beyers. He's only run one poor race — Gulfstream Park's Fountain of Youth — and everyone deserves a mulligan. Trainer Graham Motion knows how to train a Derby winner, doing so with Animal Kingdom in 2011. The Racing Gods owe jockey Rajiv Maragh, who suffered debilitating injuries in a July, 2015 spill and was off 15 months before returning this past November.
Why he won't:
While it got a big speed figure, the Wood Memorial was a slowly-run race, and Irish War Cry's last three-eighths of a mile going in 39.1 seconds goes against the Final Fraction Theory that says to look for horses who finish their final prep in 38.0 or faster. The last of two New Jersey-breds to win the Kentucky Derby was 1934 (Cavalcade).
The Wood Memorial has not had a runner finish in the top three of the Kentucky Derby since 2003, when Funny Cide was second in New York before wearing the roses, and Wood winner Empire Maker settled for runner-up at Churchill Downs. In his first few crops, the Hill 'n' Dale Farm stallion Curlin has had Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and last year's Preakness winner Exaggerator, who was second in the Derby.