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.
ALWAYS DREAMING (Post position 5; 5-1 odds)
Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing, Teresa Viola Racing, St. Elias Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Record: 5—3-1-1 $648,900
Fastest Bris speed figure: 102, Florida Derby
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 97, Florida Derby
Last face: First in Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Florida
Why he'll win:
His Florida Derby was sensational, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.47, the fastest Florida Derby since Alydar in 1978. His final three-eighths of a mile came in a dazzling 36.5 seconds and final eighth-mile in 12.5 when he was being geared down en route to a five-length romp. Those easily fit within the Final Fractions Theory parameters of looking for horses finishing in under 13.0 and 38.0 seconds. He's romped in three races this year after part-interest was sold and he moved to record-setting trainer Todd Pletcher. He's a son of the classy WinStar Farm stallion Bodemeister, the 2012 Derby and Preakness runner-up. His work on April 28 at Churchill Downs was one of the best of this field, five-eighths of a mile in 59 3/5 seconds with a strong gallop-out. The barn absolutely believes they have the goods. It's always a good sign when Todd brings his Derby contingent in to get their final work at Churchill.
Why he won't:
He has had things too easy and he won't get away with some of the fractions he did in Florida. He bordered on being overly-aggressive and threatening to run off in his gallops after the work — not a good sign for having to go 1 1/4 miles — necessitating a change in rider and tack (draw reins, which force a horse's head down to give the rider more control). Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez have each won the Florida Derby four times — never resulting in a Derby victory.
Todd Pletcher is expected to start three horses, which will give him 48 in his career to tie for the all-time lead with his former boss D. Wayne Lukas. Of course, Pletcher, who won the 2010 Derby with Super Saver, would prefer to tie Lukas' four Derby victories. Always Dreaming was a $350,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase on which Pletcher was the underbidder for another client. After he ran well but did not start in two races at 2, part interest was sold to various Pletcher clients.