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.
2. FREE DROP BILLY (30-1)
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Last race: 4th but placed 3rd, Blue Grass, Keeneland
Fastest Bris speed figure: 99, Holy Bull
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 90, Holy Bull
Final fractions in last race: 13.21, 38.49
Why Free Drop Billy can win
A son of Belmont winner Union Rags, he will relish 1 1/4 miles. He lost all chance in his last race when bothered repeatedly by a tiring Bravazo in the Blue Grass. His races this year are a lot better than they look, and he had a tremendous workout (five-eighths in 59 seconds) on April 21. Dale Romans last fall became Churchill Downs' all-time winningest trainer; it's only fitting he wins his hometown track's signature race.
Why he won't
This is a very deep group, and he doesn't appear to be quite good or fast enough. The Final Fractions Theory preaches that you get burned when you try to make excuses for horses who didn't finish faster in their last prep.
Affirmed in 1978 is the last winner out of the 2 hole, though the position's 13 third-place finishes is the most in the starting-gate era that began in 1930. Dale Romans has had eight Derby starters, his best finish being a pair of thirds. No Louisville-born trainer has won the Derby in at least modern times and perhaps never. Robby Albarado has ridden in the Derby 14 times, with a second and two thirds.