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 out.
It can look so easy after the fact, so here we helpfully tell you in advance why the winner will prevail.
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 -- including the perilous exercise of handicapping the Racing Gods.
Notes: Final Fractions reflects how fast the horse ran the last eighth-mile and last three-eighths of a mile in its 1 1/8-mile prep race. The Final Fraction Theory rules out horses who ran the last eighth slower than 13.0 and the last three-eighths in slower than 38.0. Bris and Beyer speed figures are ratings designed to compute how fast a horse ran taking into account track conditions as a means of comparing horses from different tracks and races.
1 FIRENZE FIRE (50-1)
Owner: Mr Amore Stable
Trainer: Jason Servis
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Last race: 4th, Wood Memorial, Aqueduct
Fastest Bris speed figure: 96, Champagne Stakes
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 90, Champagne Stakes
Final fractions in last race: 13.56, 39.40
Why Firenze Fire can win
He beat eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and 2-year-old champion Good Magic in New York's Grade 1 Champagne. Jason Servis paid attention when brother John won in 2004 with Smarty Jones, his first Derby starter and also using a jockey in his Derby debut.
Why he won't
The Pat Day Mile is on the Derby undercard because of exactly this type of horse. He hasn't made the leap forward from 2 to 3 that you need, maybe because he's cut out to be a one-turn horse, as his slow closing fractions in the Wood suggest. Drawing the rail just added another severe challenge for him, with the last horse to win out of the No. 1 post being future Horse of the Year Ferdinand in 1986. Smarty Jones came into the Kentucky Derby as the unbeaten Arkansas Derby winner.
Six horses born in Florida have won the Kentucky Derby, the last being Silver Charm in 1997. He'd be the first Derby winner to earn his first victory at Monmouth Park. Neither Jason Servis nor jockey Paco Lopez have been in the Derby before.