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.
19. NOBLE INDY (30-1)
Owner: Win Star Farm and Repole Stables
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Last race: 1st, Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds
Fastest Bris speed figure: 100, Louisiana Derby
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 95, Louisiana Derby
Final fractions of last race: 12.79, 38.81
Why Noble Indy can win
This is a good horse, whose only defeat was a third when he had trouble at the start in the Risen Star before bouncing back to take the Louisiana Derby, even after hitting the gate and being bumped around. The blinkers added in his last start helped him take it to the next level, and though he only has raced four times, he did race at age 2 and thus doesn't have that old Apollo business hanging over him. The sure way to get the winner of a race such as the Kentucky Derby is to sell the sire to overseas interests, as Take Charge Indy was to Korea (See Turkish purchase Sea Hero, etc. for more information.) If you go the angle of betting the horse getting the least attention when a trainer has multiple entries, Noble Indy not only isn't No. 2, he isn't No. 3 in Todd Pletcher's deep contingent.
Why he won't
He's greatly compromised by post 19 with his near-the-lead style in a field populated with similar horses. He's not better than stablemates Vino Rosso, Magnum Moon or Audible. Though John Velazquez rode Noble Indy the last three times, the colt wasn't even in the mix when the Hall of Fame jockey was deciding between Vino Rosso and Audible for his Kentucky Derby mount. The Louisiana Derby has produced only three Kentucky Derby winners dating to 1924 — and those came when the stakes' positioning on the calendar allowed for another prep race.
I'll Have Another in 2012 is the only Derby winner out of post 19 out of 26 starters. This will be Florent Geroux's third Derby, including a third place on Gun Runner in 2016. Breeder and co-owner Win Star Farm also a partners in Justify and Audible. Co-owner Mike Repole's 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo wound up scratching the day before the 2011 Derby. His three prior starters have been no better than 11th.