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Analyzing the Top 2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders

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horse racing

Union Rags is tied with six other horses

© Amber Chalfin

Continued from page 1

The next six horses scored equal points and are thus presented in alphabetical order.

Done Talking is the first deep closer in this year's analysis, and he comes to the Derby off his win in the Illinois Derby where he rallied from 13 lengths back, has competed in stakes company as a juvenile, qualifies on dosage, and has not run at Saratoga or Tampa Bay. On the negative side he has only run twice this year, has a career best Beyer of just 85, is not a dual qualifier, and has never run at Churchill Downs.

Dullahan won the Blue Grass Stakes, historically the best Derby prep, run 3 weeks before the Roses. He usually rallies from off the pace, has enough starts (3 in stakes) as a juvenile, has run a 98 Beyer, and did not run at Tampa. However he earns knocks for his 4.20 dosage index (which also means he cannot be a dual qualifier), his two starts at Saratoga, and his 2-race campaign this year.

Rousing Sermon comes to the Derby off a third place effort in the Louisiana Derby, a sharp prep but almost 5 weeks out. He has the required 3 starts this year and has competed in stakes company as a juvenile. He also rallies from off the pace, is a dual qualifier, and has not run at either "jinx" track. Along with the 5 week layoff, he lacks a stakes win this year, has a top Beyer of 91, and has not run at Churchill Downs.

Sabercat was third in the Arkansas Derby for trainer Steve Asmussen, earning the dual qualifier a career best 92 Beyer, well below the par of 98. This was only his second start this year, one less than the required 3 as a three-year-old. He also earns knocks for his lack of a stakes win this year and his one start at Saratoga. He does rally from off the pace, has enough foundation as a 2-year-old including stakes competition, and has 8 lifetime starts.

Trinniberg won his last two starts, the Swale and the Bay Shore, earning him a sharp prep 4 weeks out. His 99 in the Swale qualifies him in the Beyer category, but it is worth noting this was a sprint. He has enough starts at 2 including 1 start at Churchill (the BC Juvenile Sprint), and has enough lifetime starts, but only 2 this year. In addition, he is not a dual qualifier and ran twice at Saratoga last year.

Union Rags may well go off as the favorite, but this analysis shows some key weaknesses. His best Beyer is a 95, earned when he won the Fountain of Youth but 3 points below our requirements. He has one start at Saratoga, which is a knock. He is going to the Derby off a 2 race campaign, made worse by the 6 week layoff, his final prep being a third place finish in the Florida Derby. On the positive side, that race was a sharp prep, he has shown an ability to rally, he is a dual qualifier, and he has no Tampa starts.

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