Homeracing

Kentucky Derby BRIS Speed Rating Report April 18: Classic Empire back on track

Profile Picture: James Scully

April 18th, 2017

Classic Empire’s comeback victory in the Arkansas Derby (G1) elicited cheers and an enormous sense of relief from supporters. After nearly going off the rails this winter, the 2-year-old champ is back in a prominent position for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said he plans to install Classic Empire as the morning line favorite for Kentucky Derby 143 at the post position draw on May 3.

Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Classic Empire was making only his second start of his sophomore season in the Arkansas Derby. He finished a well-beaten third as the odds-on choice when opening the year in the February 4 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfsream Park and exited the setback with a foot abscess.

It took more than two months for the Pioneerof the Nile colt to make it back to the races and Classic Empire showed some rust getting up to win in the latter stages by a half-length, registering a 96 BRIS Speed rating in the Arkansas Derby. Off as the slight 9-5 favorite, he was all out to beat questionable competition and received a less-than-optimal Speed number.

But Classic Empire’s backers weren’t dismayed. They know the chestnut is capable of better, generating a 108 Speed number for his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victory last November, and are looking forward to seeing the real Classic Empire surface on the First Saturday in May.

The chestnut is eligible to improve significantly in the second start back from a layoff but there’s no guarantee he will be able to produce his best on the three-week turnaround.

It could go either way but one thing is for certain: Classic Empire’s presence makes the Kentucky Derby a lot more interesting.

Arkansas Derby runner-up Conquest Mo Money, who needed to be supplemented for a $200,000 fee after not being nominated to the Triple Crown, will skip the Kentucky Derby and point toward the Preakness on May 20.

Lookin at Lee and Sonneteer rallied dramatically from off the pace to be third and fourth, respectively. Both received a career-best 94 BRIS Speed rating and will need some help to make the Derby field, with Lookin at Lee currently 22nd and Sonneteer 23rd on the points list. They’re on the upswing but neither looks fast enough to win it all. However, Lookin at Lee and Sonneteer have established themselves as intriguing longshots for the bottom of the exotics.

Here are the top BRIS Speed ratings from Kentucky Derby contenders in qualifying races this year (90 or better, top four finish required):

Horse

 

Race (finish position)

 

BRIS Speed

J BOYS ECHO

 

Gotham (1st)

 

104

HENCE

 

Sunland Derby (1st)

 

103

ALWAYS DREAMING

 

Florida Derby (1st)

 

102

GORMLEY

 

Sham (1st)

 

102

GUNNEVERA

 

Fountain of Youth (1st)

 

102

IRISH WAR CRY

 

Wood Memorial (1st)

 

102

IRISH WAR CRY

 

Holy Bull (1st)

 

102

TAPWRIT

 

Tampa Bay Derby (1st)

 

101

IRAP

 

Blue Grass (2nd)

 

100

CLOUD COMPUTING

 

Gotham (2nd)

 

100

GIRVIN

 

Louisiana Derby (1st)

 

99

GORMLEY

 

Santa Anita Derby (1st)

 

99

MCCRAKEN

 

Sam Davis (1st)

 

99

PRACTICAL JOKE

 

Blue Grass (2nd)

 

99

GIRVIN

 

Risen Star (1st)

 

98

BATTALION RUNNER

 

Wood Memorial (2nd)

 

98

BATTLE OF MIDWAY

 

Santa Anita Derby (2nd)

 

98

PATCH

 

Louisiana Derby (2nd)

 

98

ROYAL MO

 

Santa Anita Derby (3rd)

 

98

GUNNEVERA

 

Holy Bull (2nd)

 

97

STATE OF HONOR

 

Florida Derby (2nd)

 

97

TAPWRIT

 

Sam Davis (2nd)

 

97

CLASSIC EMPIRE

 

Arkansas Derby (1st)

 

96

STATE OF HONOR

 

Tampa Bay Derby (2nd)

 

96

UNTRAPPED

 

Risen Star (2nd)

 

96

MCCRAKEN

 

Blue Grass (3rd)

 

96

STATE OF HONOR

 

Sam Davis (3rd)

 

96

MALAGACY

 

Rebel (1st)

 

95

ROYAL MO

 

Robert Lewis (1st)

 

95

PRACTICAL JOKE

 

Fountain of Youth (2nd)

 

95

GUNNEVERA

 

Florida Derby (3rd)

 

95

CLOUD COMPUTING

 

Wood Memorial (3rd)

 

94

LOOKIN AT LEE

 

Arkansas Derby (3rd)

 

94

SONNETEER

 

Arkansas Derby (4th)

 

94

SONNETEER

 

Rebel (2nd)

 

93

J BOYS ECHO

 

Withers (3rd)

 

93

UNTRAPPED

 

Rebel (3rd)

 

93

IRAP

 

Sunland Derby (4th)

 

93

J BOYS ECHO

 

Blue Grass (4th)

 

93

CLASSIC EMPIRE

 

Holy Bull (3rd)

 

92

IRAP

 

Robert Lewis (2nd)

 

91

UNTRAPPED

 

Lecomte (2nd)

 

91

GORMLEY

 

San Felipe (4th)

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loading...