Dissecting The Derby: Bravazo

Dissecting The Derby: Bravazo
Bravazo is D. Wayne Lukas' entry for Derby win No. 5 this year. (Source: Churchill Downs)

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.

13. BRAVAZO (50-1)
Owner: Calumet Farm
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Record: 8—3-1-1
Earnings: $436,528
Last race: 8th, Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds
Fastest Bris speed figure: 98, Risen Star
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 93, Risen Star
Final fractions in last race: 16.14, 42.46

Why Bravazo can win
No farm has bred (nine) or owned (eight) more Kentucky Derby winners than Calumet Farm. No trainer has made more champions by running where others dare not tread than four-time Kentucky Derby-winner D. Wayne Lukas. His pedigree cries 1 1/4 miles, being a son of Awesome Again (winner of the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs) and out of a mare by the sire (Cee's Tizzy) of two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow. He showed his gameness with back-to-back wins this winter, prevailing through long stretch duels. Mine That Bird, the 2009 winner at 50-1, prevailed with a trainer in his first graded stakes. Bravazo can win with a guy who has won more Triple Crown races (14) than anyone in history.

Why he won't
You go back to 1957 with Iron Liege to find a Derby winner who was worse than fourth in his final pre-Derby prep. Those two wins were in an Oaklawn entry-level allowance race and the Fair Grounds' Grade 2 Risen Star. He's just not as good as some of the others.

Post 13 has won the Derby five times the last being Nyquist in 2016. Jockey Luis Contreras, aboard Bravazo for the first time, has been in one other Derby, finishing 18th on Prospective in 2012. At 82, D. Wayne Lukas would surpass Art Sherman (California Chrome in 2014 at age 77) as the oldest trainer to win the Derby. The Risen Star has produced one Derby winner: War Emblem in 2002, after finishing sixth at the Fair Grounds.

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