Derby trends

April 30, 1999

Historical trends at play in tomorrow's Kentucky Derby:

1: No favorite has won the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. The likely favorites will be the coupled betting entry of General Challenge and Excellent Meeting. If Excellent Meeting is scratched, Prime Timber may be the favorite.

2: No 2-year-old champion (a horse becomes a "champion" by winning an Eclipse award) has won the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. Answer Lively, last year's 2-year-old champion, is 50-1 in the morning line.

3: The only horse to win the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old was Apollo in 1882. Derby horses who did not race at 2 are Desert Hero and Valhol.

4: The last horse to win the Derby with only three previous starts was Regret in 1915. Derby horses with three starts are Aljabr, Desert Hero and Valhol.

5: The last horse to win the Derby with only four previous starts was Exterminator in 1918. Derby horses with four starts are Stephen Got Even and Worldly Manner.

6: Grindstone in 1996 was the first horse since Brokers Tip in 1933 to win the Derby with only five previous starts. Derby horses with five starts are General Challenge and Menifee.

7: The last horse to win the Derby, always the first Saturday in May, who did not race in April was Needles in 1956. Derby horses who did not race in April are Aljabr, K One King, Stephen Got Even, Three Ring and Worldly Manner.

8: The last horse to win the Derby with only two prep races as a 3-year-old was Sunny's Halo in 1983. The Derby horse with two preps at 3 is Lemon Drop Kid.

9: The last horse to win the Derby in his first race as a 3-year-old was Morvich in 1922. Derby horses who have not raced at 3 are Aljabr and Worldly Manner.

10: The last Derby winner who won his final prep race was Strike the Gold in 1991. He won the Blue Grass Stakes. Derby horses who won their last prep are Adonis, Charismatic, Excellent Meeting, First American, General Challenge, Menifee, Stephen Got Even, Three Ring and Valhol.

11: The last horse to win the Derby without competing in a 1 1/8-mile prep race was Middleground in 1950. Derby horses who did not prep in a 1 1/8-mile race are Aljabr, Excellent Meeting, Three Ring and Worldly Manner.

12: The last horse to win the Derby who ran in a claiming race before the Derby was Dust Commander in 1970. The Derby horse who has run a claiming race is Charismatic.

13: No Derby winner had raced exclusively outside the U.S. The Derby horse who has not raced in the U.S. is Aljabr.

14: The last horse to win the Derby as a member of the mutuel field was Canonero II. The Derby field horses are Ecton Park, K One King, Kimberlite Pipe, Lemon Drop Kid and Valhol.

15: The last gelding to win the Derby was Clyde Van Dusen in 1929. Since then 74 geldings have tried and lost. The gelding in the Derby is General Challenge.

16: In 124 runnings of the Derby, only three fillies have won: Winning Colors in 1988, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Regret in 1915. Thirty-six fillies have competed in the Derby. The fillies in the Derby are Excellent Meeting and Three Ring.

17: No trainer has ever won three consecutive runnings of the Derby. The Derby trainer seeking three in a row is Bob Baffert with Excellent Meeting, General Challenge and Prime Timber.

18: Since 1929, only two horses -- Strike the Gold in 1991 and Real Quiet last year -- have won the Kentucky Derby with a dosage exceeding 4.00. Dosage is a numerical system of rating horses based on breeding; the lower the number, the more stamina in the pedigree. In this year's field, the high-dosage horses are: Menifee, 5.50; Charismatic, 5.22; First American, 5.18; and Worldly Manner, 4.25.

If you eliminate the horses bucking the above trends, you're left with Cat Thief and Vicar. Cat Thief is also a dual qualifier. That means he has both a low dosage and a good rating for his performances as a 2-year-old.

Note: Aljabr ran in two 1 1/8-mile "trial races" in Dubai, and Worldly Manner ran in one. They were not official races.

Pub Date: 4/30/99

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