Analyzing run styles of 2020 Kentucky Derby contenders

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 26th, 2020

With less than a week remaining until the Kentucky Derby post position draw on Sept. 1, a full field of 20 horses remains under consideration for the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown. Traffic trouble can be an issue in the 1 1/4-mile event, and we can predict early positioning based upon past performances.

Let’s analyze run styles of the 20 possible starters, placing them into quadrants.

The first quadrant consists of early/need-the-lead runners. The second group likes to race within range of the early leaders. The third quadrant features midpack/stalker types. The fourth is made up of confirmed closers.

Quadrant 1

Authentic: Only loss came when he didn’t make early lead; Haskell winner will be sent hard from the starting gate by two-time Derby hero John Velazquez

Art Collector: Exits wire-to-wire win in final prep; Blue Grass victor projects to be on or very close to the lead passing the stands the first time

King Guillermo: Stalked the action finishing second in Arkansas Derby, but front-running Tampa Bay Derby winner will enter fresh off a series of fast drills and looms as a wildcard pace factor

Thousand Words: Showed improved speed leading wire-to-wire in recent Shared Belief S., picks up top gate jock Florent Geroux

Tiz the Law: Has never been on early lead, preferring to race up close, but possesses the speed to make his own trip on front end if he receives a tough post

Quadrant 2

Ny Traffic: Just outside first quadrant, hard-trying New York was prominent throughout finishing second in Haskell and Matt Winn

Storm the Court: Raced forward in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile upset, more of an early/presser this year

Caracaro: Never more than three lengths back at any point of call in his career

Shirl’s Speight: Talented colt probably too lightly raced, but could force the issue at some point

Honor A. P.: Registered 90+ Brisnet E1 Pace ratings in last four starts

Quadrant 3

Rushie: Rallied from midpack for third in Blue Grass

Attachment Rate: No confirmed closer but outside the top three at the first call in last five starts

Dr Post: One-paced type has some class but on the fence for Derby

Finnick the Fierce: Doesn’t always race at tail of pack but 11th early in Blue Grass

Necker Island: May wind up farther back than normal in a big field

Quadrant 4

Major Fed: Tends to get away from the gate slowly before making one run

Max Player: Avoids traffic rallying wide from off the pace

Enforceable: Slow starter lacks any tactical speed

Sole Volante: Grade 2 scorer will commence his bid from the rear of the field

Winning Impression: His last two stakes efforts from far off the pace inspire little confidence