03/30/2010 2:12PM

Dry Spell


Lookin at Lucky and Eskendereya are the clear favorites for the Kentucky Derby May 1. They closed at 9-2 and 5-1 in the final round of Derby Futures betting last weekend, with no other individual horse going at lower than Awesome Act's 13-1. They will be heavily favored in their respetive final preps Saturday, the Wood and Santa Anita Derby. If they both win, this Derby may well be perceived and bet far more than usual as a two-horse showdown rather than a wide-open scramble.

I have no knock on either one of them, but it's still sobering to consider the following: Since 1989, when Santa Anita Derby winner Sunday Silence and Wood Memorial winner Easy Goer dominated the Triple Crown, only one winner of either race has gone on to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

(I added the Illinois Derbby to the chart above, since it's Saturday's third major Derby prep. All those blanks you see before 2001 are because the race was not positioned as a Derby prep until that year and was instead often the "consolation" Derby run the same day.)

The combined record of Wood and SA Derby winners in the Derby since 1989 is 32: 1-4-3, though obviously there are some major footnotes to that seemingly ugly tally. Some good ones, like A. P. Indy in 1992 and I Want Revenge last year, didn't make the main event, and others such as Silver Charm, Monarchos and Funny Cide were beaten in their final prep and went on to win the roses.

Even so, I found it surprising that only two (A. P. Indy, Point Given) of the 40 horses who have won the last 20 Woods and SAD's went on to be named the 3-year-old champion at season's end. The last Wood winner to earn that award? Slew o'Gold in 1983.

iworkwithjetfan24 More than 1 year ago
jetfan24 just had a stroke and died
B O'Brien More than 1 year ago
Esky's path to the derby, going from my sometimes sketchy memory, is a bit unique compared to recent top contenders. Winning the Foutain of Youth and then shipping north to the Wood? In your research have you seen that happen before? In a big converging race like the Derby (all other things being equal like peaking at the right time, speed figures close to being the same..etc) its comforting to see a horse who has beaten different groups of horses at different tracks. Esky and Lucky have both done that so far...
Ian Lawrence More than 1 year ago
Tony: If you think $95 on that all stakes Pick 4 was bad you are in the wrong game. That was free money. I turned a small profit while having a chance to take a shot at a big payday....
tony More than 1 year ago
ian if you think 3/5 on esky and 2/1 on awesome act in a 6 horse field is a good betting opp your playing the wrong game .The pick 4 also looks chalk . Something like fridays pk 4 $26!!!! NY racing is in a shambles and I for one being a home owner in Saratoga am not to happy about the way NYRA runs their company . I recently saw the guy who runs keeneland speak and he said whatever the fans want 50 cent tris ,pick 3's etc we'll do. NYRA could learn a lot from them on how to run a business .
mike More than 1 year ago
Those are my two favorites. But it always seems like an unknown horse comes along that day and always beats the favorites though. Odysseus looks like he can be a really good horse. He looks really good.
Ian Lawrence More than 1 year ago
Tony: Unbettable???? You think Eskendereya is a lock? Let's see what happens if he ever sees a 46 flat 1st half. The Wood is a very bettable race, especially in the P4
George Quinn More than 1 year ago
If the winner of the Kentucky Derby comes out of the Illinois Derby, I will consider keno or some other fun game where I have a great chance. Powerball maybe those odds are pretty good. Illinois Derby? American Lion? Doubtful, but we did have Mine That Bird and Giacomo in the past few years. George in Tampa
rick More than 1 year ago
watching TVG, and my jaw drops open....HORSE PAINTING? SAY IT AIN'T SO. PETA will LOVE this! last I checked, Hollywood Park isn't the Wizard of Oz's Castle.
Carm More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading statistics such as those, Steve. I have attended 41 Derbies and find that you must see the preps or watch a tape and look for horses making strong moves or good progress from their last race, whether they win or not. This should be followed up with a strong work between thursday to tuesday before the Derby. These are the horses that win or are close. Look back at Ferdinand, Sea Hero, War Emblem, Street Sense, Sunday Silence, Big Brown, Spend a Buck, Funny Cide, etc. A good example this year is Ice Box, who had a slow start in the Ftn of Youth, but made a strong move and then flattened out. He then had two good works, with one a bullet, and proceeded to run a big race in the Florida Derby. Funny Cide came again in the Wood against Empire Maker which told me he was ready. Ferdinand went wide in the SA Derby to finish third, and worked 57 and change the tuesday before the Derby to set him up. War Emblem ran an outstanding Illinois Derby and followed up with a great work on Derby week. Watch Dublin in the Arkansas Derby to run a good race and get more fit, and look for a great work before the Derby. If he does so, he will be the horse to beat, because Lukas knows how to get a very good horse ready, just like the Bald Eagle - Charlie Whittingham and Mack Miller.
Christine R More than 1 year ago
The racing seems flatter than last nights soda on the counter...maybe a few cans of spray paint on the horses will jazz it up. I wonder what New Yorkers would have of it if they got a taste of what we're getting out here come the start of Hollywood? I breathe racing but hard to be jazzed this year :-<