BigTrends 2012 Kentucky Derby Analysis

Feel free to run the Derby picks and analysis on your site:

Once again on the first weekend in May, the best 3-year-old horses will race in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. With being headquartered in the heart of horse breeding country of Lexington, Kentucky, we have a strong history and interest in the ‘sport of kings’.

Here is our annual analysis of the race:

Price Headley:

Last year, Animal Kingdom shocked the experts with only four prior races before his Derby win (I was lucky last year in having the Exacta box ALL with the 2nd place finisher Nehro, so I was pleased with the longshot on top). This year, the favorite Bodemeister would have to overcome 125 years of Derby history, as it’s been that long since a Derby winner did not have a race in their 2-year-old season.

The forecast for tomorrow�s Kentucky Derby is for hot weather, mid-80s and rain not likely. With Churchill being a traditional dirt track and with many horses are typically running on synthetic surfaces, I tend to favor those who have proven their ability on dirt. With that in mind, plus the fact that this is a pretty strong group of 3-year-olds this year, this is a relatively wide open race.

Historically, I like to see two strong 100+ speed ratings coming into the big race. Look at the past speed ratings of recent Derby winners coming into the race:

Derby Winner
BRIS Speed Rating
Last race (weeks before Derby)
100, 89
Turfway Spiral (5 weeks, poly)
92, 94
Arkansas Derby (3 weeks)
96, 98
Sunland Derby (5 weeks)
106, 104
Florida Derby (5 weeks)
98, 101
Bluegrass Stakes (3 weeks, poly)
104, 104, 97, 97
Florida Derby (5 weeks)
100, 96, 98, 96
Santa Anita Derby (4 weeks)
105, 109, 101, 103
Arkansas Derby (3 weeks)
111, 103, 97
Wood Memorial (3 weeks)
109, 105, 88, 94
Illinois Derby (4 weeks)
108, 108, 106, 98
Wood Memorial (3 weeks)
110, 103, 100, 98
Wood Memorial (3 weeks)
104, 94, 94, 94
Lexington (2 weeks)
107, 103, 73
Santa Anita Derby (4 weeks)
102, 98, 105
Santa Anita Derby (4 weeks)
101, 102, 93
Arkansas Derby (3 weeks)
98, 103, 106
Blue Grass (3 weeks)
104, 105, 99, 100
Wood Memorial (3 weeks)
96, 85, 77
Blue Grass (3 weeks)
102, 96, 107, 100
Arkansas Derby (2 weeks)
109, 100, 99, 87
Blue Grass (3 weeks)
108, 101, 104, 98
Blue Grass (3 weeks)

You can see that in the last 22 years, 17 Derby winners had a race speed of 100 or more in their prior race, while 12 of 22 have two straight 100+ ratings. So in seeking out the winner, I lean heavily on these criteria. Without any horses fitting the two straight 100+ speed numbers coming into the Derby, I�m left to take the average of the two to look for consistent performers that can be there in the mix, while having a couple of wildcards too.

Here’s my expected order of finish, along with betting ideas (for those so inclined!):

Creative Cause (12/1 morning line odds, Post Position No. 8): The California horses really look good to me this year, as Creative Cause was closing on I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby and an extra 1/8 of a mile would have won it for him. With the Derby such a test as it’s the first time these horses have ever run 1-1/4 miles, I like the stalkers and closers in this field.

Bodemeister (4/1, PP No. 6): Clearly the best speed ratings in the race (I’m throwing out second-choice Union Rags, whose numbers aren’t close), the main concern is so much speed in the race, and Bode likes to be near the lead, so he could tire late. I still back him to be in the top three for exotic bets.

I’ll Have Another (12/1, PP No. 19): Very game colt that held off Creative Cause by a nose last time out, if this horse can overcome traffic issues he could be closer. Outside post is a mild disadvantage.

Gemologist (6/1, PP No. 15): The horse is undefeated, I just sense a tougher trip from mid-pack will make it hard to weave through tiring horses.


Daddy Nose best 15/1, PP No. 10): The same path via the Sunland Derby as Mine That Bird, gets top jock Garrett Gomez and should be flying late. Only horse to win twice at 1-1.8 miles.

Dullahan (8/1, PP No. 5): Hey, the horse was awesome in the Blue Grass win, nice late closer, concerned about the polytrack win and how he does on dirt though he ran a closing fourth at Churchill in Breeders Cup Juvenile last fall. Watch him closely, though 0 for 3 at Churchill so far.

Betting Strategy: Remember that these are speculative bets, so any emails after the fact should only be sent as congratulations should we be so fortunate!

Here’s what I plan to bet, based on each $100 in a betting “portfolio”:

$10 Win on No. 8

$1 Exacta Box No. 8 with ALL

$5 Exacta No. 6 with No. 8

$5 Exacta No. 6 with No. 19

$1 Trifecta No. 6 with No. 8, No. 19 with ALL

Moby Waller:

This is a very nice field of horses in this year’s Derby. Many are closers (more than in previous years), which I tend to prefer in the large field, longer races like this. I have eight horses that I think can take it all, with morning line odds ranging from 9/2 to 20/1. I threw out the early odds favorite, No. 6 Bodemeister (4/1 odds), because I don’t think he is seasoned enough to contend and garner such low odds.

Narrowing it down to my top-four finishers, incorporating the value of the potential payouts in the calculation:

No. 3 – Take Charge Indy (15/1)

No. 5 – Dullahan (8/1)

No. 11 – Alpha (15/1)

No. 19 – I’ll Have Another (12/1)

Calvin Borel has become a legendary Triple Crown closing jockey in recent years. Three Kentucky Derby wins since 2007 says it all. He is aboard No. 3 Take Charge Indy at nice 15/1 odds. This horse has been more of a speed one in its two races this year, but the horse’s pedigree and performance shows some distance. This horse beat the second-favorite No. 4 Union Rags in its last race. I can visualize Borel staying a bit off the pace (or even more) and making one of his patented runs to pull away with the upset.

The No. 5 horse Dullahan showed a great closing burst in his last race to win the Bluegrass Stakes over the ballyhooed No. 14 Hansen. Dullahan looks poised to come on strong at the end and may even win this race. The only caveat is that the horse hasn’t shown much success at all on the dirt surface, which is what Churchill Downs uses. But you have to trust the experienced, top-notch jockey Kent Desormeaux to overcome that.

Other likely possible ITM (in-the-money) top 4 horses:
No. 19 – I’ll Have Another (12/1)
No. 4 – Union Rags (9/2)
No. 14 – Hansen (10/1)
No. 15 – Gemologist (6/1)
No. 13 – Went The Day Well (20/1)

Here’s to trading and other profits,
Price Headley

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12