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.
J BOYS ECHO
Owner: Albaugh Family Stable
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Luis Saez
Fastest Bris speed figure: 104, Gotham Stakes
Fastest Bris speed figure: 102, Gotham Stakes
Last race: Fourth in Blue Grass at Keeneland
Why he'll win:
His dominating victory in the Gotham was one of the fastest and most impressive victories of the prep season. He had an excuse when fourth in the Derby with a bad trip literally from the start. Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Sea Hero in 1993 also finished fourth in the Blue Grass and then won the Kentucky Derby. Dale Romans has been nibbling around a Derby victory, and finally can get the race he covets most in his hometown. Mineshaft is a son of A.P. Indy, both stamina influences, and he's out of a mare sired by 1999 Derby runner-up Menifee. He'll only improve at 1 1/4 miles. Haven't we seen this before, where jockey Robby Albarado gets hurt and his Derby mount goes on and wins with somebody else? (See Animal Kingdom in 2011.)
Why he won't:
Secretariat is the only Gotham winner to win the Derby, and no one is confusing J Boys Echo with Secretariat. His final eighth-mile (13.3 seconds) and final three-eighths of a mile (38.5 seconds) in the Blue Grass suggest he's up against it in the Final Fractions Theory that says to eliminate horses who finish their last prep in more than 13.0 and 38.0. Thunder Gulch, Sea Hero and 50-1 Giacomo aside, the vast majority of horses who win the Derby finished third or better in their final prep.
He was a $485,000 Keeneland yearling purchase. Romans ranks No. 2 all-time in victories behind Hall of Famer Bill Mott. The last time the Blue Grass was downgraded from a Grade 1 to a 2, it produced the winners of the Kentucky Derby (Unbridled) and Preakness (Summer Squall). No Louisville-born trainer has won the Derby in at least modern times and perhaps never.