04/28/2011 2:35PM

Kentucky Derby questions: Surprise prep winners who can contend


Among the surprising prep race winners, which one is for real?

Dan IllmanPants On Fire turned back the promising Nehro in the Louisiana Derby, and Archarcharch also outlasted Nehro in the Arkansas Derby. Nehro, who didn’t win a prep race, may be the most “for real” surprise of all.



Dave LitfinGiven the parity in the division, it’s hard to throw too much cold water on any of the winners. The only hiccup in Archarcharch’s development was a pace duel in the fog first time going long on a wet track. Brilliant Speed was far back in his only two dirt starts, but those were the first two starts of his career (sprinting), and he was quite green at the time. Midnight Interlude’s lack of 2-year-old racing means he’s got the whole Apollo thing working against him. On the other hand, an experience deficiency didn’t stop him from nailing multiple stakes winner Comma to the Top in the Santa Anita Derby. Pants On Fire, will be making his second start in 11 weeks and first in six weeks since the Louisiana Derby. He is either fresh and fit or too lightly raced. Focusing on Twice the Appeal’s dirt races reveals steadily improved Beyer Figures.

Mike Welsch Nehro seems to be peaking when it counts.



Next: Who is the horse to beat? »

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• Which horse hasn't won a prep race but can win the Derby?
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• Among the surprising prep race winners, which one is for real?
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