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.
6. GOOD MAGIC (12-1)
Owner: E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Street Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Record: 5 2-2-1
Last race: 1st, Toyota Blue Grass, Keeneland
Fastest Bris speed figure: 105, Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 100, Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Final fractions of last race: 13.31, 38.19
Why Good Magic can win
He's a 2-year-old champion, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner who looked good winning his 1 1/8-mile prep in Keeneland's Blue Grass. We've put to rest that Juvenile winners and Eclipse Award champions can't win the Derby, with Street Sense doing so in 2007 and Nyquist in 2016. He'll get the fast pace that lets him run his best race. He never runs a bad race— and Churchill Downs will be his sixth track out of six starts — and is bred for stamina as a son of Curlin. With a $1 million purchase price as a Keeneland yearling, he was bred and bought to win. He's ridden by reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Jose Ortiz.
Why he won't
Since the advent of the points system, favorites have won five straight Derbys. He not only won't be the favorite, but he could be the only 2-year-old champion to win his final prep in a major race and be no better than fifth choice. He hasn't made the quantum step forward from 2 to 3 as some others in the field — he'll need to be David Blaine to make the competition disappear. He came home too slow in the Blue Grass while beating an ordinary field. The last horse to win the Blue Grass and the Kentucky Derby remains Strike the Gold in 1991. That's still only two 2-year-old champs to win the Derby the next year since Spectacular Bid wore the roses in 1979. Reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey don't have a stellar record in taking the Derby the next year, with Jerry Bailey the last of three when he won in 1996 on Grindstone.
No horse has won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Blue Grass and the Kentucky Derby (Street Sense lost the 2007 Blue Grass by a nose when that prep was on a synthetic surface.) This is Ortiz' fourth Derby, with his best prior finish a fifth in his 2014 Derby debut with Samraat. Co-owner Stonestreet Stable finished third in the 2007 with Curlin, a race in which Good Magic's broodmare sire, Hard Spun, was second. Trainer Chad Brown has been in the Derby four times, his best finish a fourth in 2013 with Normandy Invasion in his debut. A statistical anomaly, post 6 has been one of the underperforming posts, producing just two winners since 1930, the last being Sea Hero in 1993.