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Analyzing the Top 2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders

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horse racing

Daddy Long Legs is tied with six other horses

© Vanessa Ng

Continued from page 2

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

Daddy Long Legs represents the powerful Coolmore operation from Ireland. He has only 1 start this year, a win in the UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup undercard. Although this is a sharp prep, it was run 5 weeks out. He is usually close to the pace, the only time he was far back was in his lone U.S. start when 12th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. On the positive side, his 117 Racing Post rating translates to approximately 104 Beyer, which satisfies the requirement. He has enough starts at 2 and lifetime, and has not run at either Saratoga or Tampa Bay.

Daddy Nose Best won the Sunland Derby on March 25, a layoff of almost 6 weeks. He only has 2 starts this year, has 2 starts at Saratoga, and is not a dual qualifier. He does rally from off the pace, ran a 100 Beyer at Sunland, has enough juvenile and lifetime starts, has competed in juvenile stakes races, and was in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, giving him Churchill Downs experience.

Liaison was a distant 6th in the Santa Anita Derby, clearly not a sharp prep. He is winless this year, has a best Beyer of just 92, and has never raced at Churchill. He is coming off a 4 week layoff, rallies from off the pace, has enough starts both at 2 and 3 and has two stakes wins at 2, has not run at either "jinx" tracks and is a dual qualifier.

Optimizer brings D. Wayne Lukas back to the Derby, but should go off at long odds after finishing 9th in the Arkansas Derby. He is still winless as a 3-year-old, his first 2 starts were at Saratoga, he is not a dual qualifier, and his best Beyer is a 91. On the upside he is a closer, he has enough starts at 2 and 3 including stakes competition as a juvenile, and his dosage index is 3.24.

Prospective won the Tampa Bay Derby but was a disappointing sixth in the Blue Grass, clearly not a sharp prep despite being 3 weeks out. He usually stalks the pace rather than rally from more than 6 lengths out, has a best Beyer of just 90, and is not a dual qualifier. He does have the proper foundation (starts at 2 and 3 and lifetime), has competed in and won stakes at 2 and 3, and has run at Churchill Downs, last in the BC Juvenile.

Take Charge Indy won the Florida Derby, a sharp prep but 5 weeks out, in only his second start this season. He usually runs on or close to the pace, has a top Beyer of 96 earned in an allowance at Gulfstream, and he is not a dual qualifier. He does have a dosage index of 3.00, has not run at either Tampa or Saratoga, is coming off a sharp prep, has 4 starts as a juvenile including the BC Juvenile over the Churchill track.

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