2007 Kentucky Derby Recap

May 10, 2007 by
Filed under: Triple Crown 

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Street Sense wins the 133rd Kentucky Derby

Running nearly a carbon copy of his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victory last fall at this same track, Street Sense took back early, started his move on the final turn and, remarkably, once again found an open rail path to shoot through and pass the bulk of the field. It was a visually impressive victory and earned the winner a 110 Beyer Speed Figure – easily the best this year by a three-year-old.

Equally impressive, and perhaps more so, was the race run by Hard Spun. Although early speed in the Derby has not been rewarded in recent years, Hard Spun ran 18 horses off their feet and, with the help of a little bit of traffic along the rail at the top of the stretch, could easily have been the winner of this race.

Coming off a big victory in the Arkansas Derby, the undefeated Curlin was a major contender heading into this race. However, having had only three lifetime races, none as a two-year-old, may have left him too inexperienced to handle such a large field. After never having faced more than eight other runners, Curlin found himself in 13th place after a slow start. He was able to stay patient until the far turn, worked his way through the field and made a good run in the stretch to get third just ahead of several other runners.

Top choices fare well

The top betting choices did quite well this year. The top three finishers, Street Sense (4.9-1), Hard Spun (10-1) and Curlin (5-1), were 1st, 4th and 2nd in the win pool. The third choice by the bettors, Scat Daddy (7.2-1), finished 18th.

Other runners of note

Imawildandcrazyguy was even farther back than Street Sense early. Content to cruise along in last for seven furlongs, he moved between horses on the final turn before swinging out ten wide in the stretch to just miss the show spot by half a length.

Early speed fails again

As I discussed in the Kentucky Derby Preview, horses with a BRIS running style of E, for Early, and runners whose Early Pace (EP) rating from their last prep exceeded the Early Pace par for the Kentucky Derby, did very poorly in the 2005 and 2006 Kentucky Derbies. The 2007 results were very similar:

In 2005, there were four E-Type runners; they finished 7th, 16th, 18th, 20th.
In 2006, there were four E-Type runners; they finished 4th-DH, 16th, 19th, 20th

In 2007, there were five E-Type runners: Storm in May (finished 16th), Hard Spun (2nd), Liquidity (14th), Teuflesberg (17th) and Nobiz Like Shobiz (10th).

In 2005, there were seven Non-E-Type runners with last race EP greater than the Kentucky Derby EP par; they finished 2nd, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th.

In 2006, there were four Non-E-Type runners with last race EP greater than the Kentucky Derby EP par; they finished 8th, 12th, 15th, 17th.

In 2007, there was only one Non-E-Type runner with a last race EP greater than the Kentucky Derby EP par: Any Given Saturday finished 8th.

While this angle did continue to hold in 2007, Hard Spun ran a great race and nearly won setting all of the pace. One difference from the previous two years was the absence of front-running Non-E-Type runners to create more pressure up front. There was only one this year (Any Given Saturday), while there were seven in 2005 and four in 2006.

Miscellaneous Notes:

From the DRF: Street Sense led a 1-2-3 Derby sweep for horses who had their final Derby workouts at Churchill Downs.

split times:

2005 – :22.28 :45.38 1:09.59 1:35.88 2:02.75
2006 – :22.63 :46.07 1:10.88 1:37.02 2:01.36
2007 – :22.96 :46.26 1:11.13 1:37.04 2:02.17

quarter times:

2005 – :22.28 :23.10 :24.21 :26.29 :26.87
2006 – :22.63 :23.44 :24.81 :26.14 :24.34
2007 – :22.96 :23.30 :24.87 :25.91 :25.13

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