Dissecting The Derby: Solomini

Dissecting The Derby: Solomini
Kentucky Derby 144

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.

17. SOLOMINI (30-1)
Owner: Zayat Stables
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Record: 6—1-3-2
Earnings: $752,000
Last race: 3rd, Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park
Fastest Bris speed figure: 101, Los Alamitos Futurity, Los Alamitos
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 93 Los Al Futurity, Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Final fractions in last race: 12.24, 36.87

Why Solomini can win
The son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin never runs a bad race, has a great stalking style and is trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert.  There is precedent for Baffert winning with the Derby with lesser regarded half of a Derby duo (see Real Quiet in 1998.) This is a very good horse, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, defeating Bolt d'Oro in the process. Six Juvenile runners-up have won at least one Triple Crown race.

Why he won't
Unless you're Calumet Farm, don't expect to win the Derby again after having a Triple Crown winner, as Zayat Stables did with American Pharoah in 2015. His races have not appeared to take those steps forward at 3 that you need to be a Derby winner. Post 17 has never won the Derby, and its last top-three finish was Forty Nine back in 1988. No Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up has won the Derby. Watch out for him in the Preakness or Belmont.

Notable
Flavien Prat finished third in his Derby debut last year aboard 40-1 Battle of Midway. The Arkansas Derby, the only major prep as close as three weeks to the Derby, has emerged the past 14 years as one of the most influential preps, with 10 top-three finishers since 2004.

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