Tag Archives: Exaggerator

2016 Preakness and Black Eyed Susan Fields

Nyquist is looking to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico (Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)
Nyquist is looking to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico (Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

2016 Preakness and Black Eyed Susan Fields

The 2016 Preakness Stakes and Black Eyed Susan fields are now known. Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, is looking to make it 9 for 9 in his career with a win in the Preakness. Meanwhile, the three year old fillies will be in action on Friday with the Black Eyed Susan.

2016 Preakness Stakes

The 2016 Preakness Stakes will have a field of 11 males going 1 3/16 miles on the main track for the Grade 1 event. The forecast in Baltimore, Maryland is calling for rain on Saturday which will make for a sloppy going. The field of 11 is running for purse of $1.5 million with the top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby returning in Nyquist and Exaggerator with that duo heavily favored over the other nine entrants.

Also entered is the highly regarded new shooter Stradivari, who won his latest race at Keeneland by nearly 15 lengths though he did only beat five horses and there are questions about the quality of that field.

Post time for the Preakness Stakes is scheduled for 6:45 PM Eastern time and is listed as the 13th race on a 14 race card. Free past performances can be found here. The full field can be found in the table below along with the jockey, trainer, and morning line odds listed.

Program NumberHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Cherry WineCorey LanerieDale Romans20-1
2Uncle LinoFernando Hernandez PerezGary Sherlock20-1
3NyquistMario GutierrezDoug O'Neill3-5
4Awesome SpeedJevian ToledoAlan Goldberg30-1
5ExaggeratorKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux3-1
6LaniYutaka TakeMikio Matsunaga30-1
7CollectedJavier CastellanoBob Baffert10-1
8LaobanFlorent GerouxEric Guillot30-1
9Abiding StarJ.D. AcostaEdward Allard30-1
10FellowshipJose LezcanoMark Casse30-1
11StradivariJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher8-1

2016 Black Eyed Susan Stakes

The Black Eyed Susan Stakes is a full field of 14 fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the main track for a purse of $250,000 in the Grade 2 race. Unlike the Preakness, the forecast for Friday does not include rain. The Kentucky Oaks runner up, Land Over Sea, returns as does the fourth place finisher in that race Go Maggie Go. No other fillies that ran in the Kentucky Oaks are entered in this race.

The 2016 Black Eyed Susan stakes is scheduled for 4:50 PM Eastern time as the 11th race on a 14 race card. Free past performances can be found here. The full field is listed in the table below.

Program NumberHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1A P MajesticVictor CarrascoMichael Tombetta30-1
2Dothraki QueenJulien LeparouxKen McPeek15-1
3Land Over SeaMario GutierrezDoug O'Neill2-1
4Ma Can Do ItBrian Hernandez Jr.Dale Romans30-1
5Go Maggie GoLuis SaezDale Romans5-2
6She's A WarriorGary StevensPeter Eurton6-1
7DowndraftAngel CruzJames Lawrence II30-1
8Double EntendreScott SpiethPeter R. Walder30-1
9Midnight On OconeeGabriel SaezLarry Jones15-1
10Kinsley KissesJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher6-1
11In The Navy NowTrevor McCarthyMichael Trombetta30-1
12Flora DoraJunior AlvaradoMarialice Coffey30-1
13CcedFlorent GerouxSteven Asmussen15-1
14Mom's On StrikeJoseph Rocco Jr.Joe Sharp15-1

Four Year Trends Under The Kentucky Derby Points System

Mario Gutierrez rode Nyquist to the victory in the 142nd Kentucky Derby (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Four Year Trends Under The Kentucky Derby Points System

The dust has hardly settled on Nyquist’s win in the 142nd Kentucky Derby, but that does not stop us from looking back on his race as well several other Kentucky Derbies. 2016 marked the fourth year of the Kentucky Derby Points System that helps determine the entrants into the race. Below we will take a look at the last four years (2013 through 2016) under the Points System as well as the four years prior to the Points System (2009 through 2012).

Some trends have become apparent in the last few years, but keep in mind that 4 years of data is hardly enough to start planning a strategy around betting the 2017 Kentucky Derby. And anyone who has followed horse racing knows this sport can turn in a hurry. Let’s look at the first trend of the winners in the last eight years.

Favorites Dominate Kentucky Derby Under Points System

The favorites have won each of the first four runnings of the Kentucky Derby under the points system. In the four years prior to the Points System, the favorite never won and only one to hit the board was Bodemeister in 2012 with his wonderful front running effort. The tables below show each of the last 8 years.

4 Years Since Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner $2 Win $2 Exacta Field Size Favorite Finish
2016 Nyquist $6.60 (Fav) $30.60 20 Winner
2015 American Pharoah $7.80 (Fav) $72.60 18 Winner
2014 California Chrome $7.00 (Fav) $340.00 19 Winner
2013 Orb $12.80 (Fav) $981.60 19 Winner


4 Years Prior to Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner $2 Win $2 Exacta Field Size Favorite Finish
2012 I’ll Have Another $30.60 $306.60 20 2nd
2011 Animal Kingdom $43.80 $329.80 19 8th
2010 Super Saver $18.00 $152.40 20 6th
2009 Mine That Bird $103.20 $2,074.80 19 18th

One thing to keep is mind is that the favorites are so for a reason: they are considered to be one of the best going into the race. This is quite true for each of the last four horses. Nyquist was considered the best three year old, though there were concerns whether he could handle a mile and a quarter. American Pharoah and California Chrome were considered stand outs against their peers while Orb was a tepid favorite, but still highly regarded to get the distance and had a beloved trainer in his corner.

Even the exactas have gotten chalkier since the start of the Points System. Orb’s exacta paid just short of a grand, but is has been shorter since then including a paltry $30.60 with Nyquist and Exaggerator going 1-2 this year. It is hard to see the payout getting much smaller than that unless there are two towering choices in 2017.

California Based Horses Rise To The Top Under Points System

California horse racing is known for its speed. The horses are bred to go as fast as possible as soon as possible. That does not exactly seem like a recipe for getting a mile and a quarter, but we have seen a shift of 3 year old dominance to the West Coast.

Consider this: 4 of the last 5 horses to win the Kentucky Derby have spent significant time based in California during their two and/or three year old season.

Nyquist (2016): Ran five of his eight races in California. His three races outside of the state have been in Kentucky (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and now Derby) and Florida (Florida Derby), which happens to be the site of his three biggest career wins.

American Pharoah (2015): Ran all three of his two year old races in California before being shipped between California and Arkansas for his Derby Preps. It worked well as he went on to become the first Triple Crown Winner since Affirmed in 1978.

California Chrome (2014): He ran 10 races in California prior to the Kentucky Derby.

Orb (2013): He wintered in Florida where he won three races before winning the Kentucky Derby.

I’ll Have Another (2012): He raced twice in California as a two year old before a poor race at Saratoga to end his season. At three, he stayed in California before heading to the Kentucky Derby.

Animal Kingdom (2011) and Super Saver (2010) were nomadic in their careers prior to the Derby. Mine That Bird (2009) did have a race in California as a two year old, but it was a stopover in the Breeders’ Cup after his career started in Canada. He eventually landed at Sunland Park before his unlikely Derby win.

For whatever reasons, California has churned out the Kentucky Derby prospects and they are not just winning. They are also doing well enough to hit the board the last two years. Nyquist and Exaggerator went 1-2 this year while American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund went 1-2-3 in 2015. Again, two years of data in dominating the exacta is far from a serious trend, but is still worth noting.

Position of Winners Under Points System

Another trend that has begun to emerge from the last four years is not just favorites or Californian horses winning the Kentucky Derby. It is also how they are winning the race. Each of the last three years the winning horses have been very close to the lead with none of the them being worse than third during their race. The tables below provide some insight as to where the winners were during their race.

4 Years Since Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner 1/4 Split 1/2 Split 3/4 Split 1 Mile Split Final Time Field Size Track Condition Winning Style
2016 Nyquist 22.58 45.72 1:10.40 1:35.61 2:01.31 20 Fast Near Front / Presser
2015 American Pharoah 23.24 47.34 1:11.29 1:36.45 2:03.02 18 Fast Near Front / Presser
2014 California Chrome 23.04 47.37 1:11.80 1:37.45 2:03.66 19 Fast Near Front / Presser
2013 Orb 22.57 45.33 1:09.80 1:36.16 2:02.89 19 Sloppy (Sealed) Deep Closer


4 Years Prior to Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner 1/4 Split 1/2 Split 3/4 Split 1 Mile Split Final Time Field Size Track Condition Winning Style
2012 I’ll Have Another 22.32 45.39 1:09.80 1:35.19 2:01.83 20 Fast Off Leaders / Stalking
2011 Animal Kingdom 23.24 48.63 1:13.40 1:37.49 2:02.04 19 Fast Mid Pack / Closer
2010 Super Saver 22.63 46.16 1:10.58 1:37.65 2:04.45 20 Sloppy (Sealed) Off Leaders / Stalking
2009 Mine That Bird 22.98 47.23 1:12.09 1:37.49 2:02.66 19 Sloppy (Sealed) Deep Closer

In the five previous Kentucky Derbies (2009-2013), runners close to the pace were usually nowhere to be found. As previously mentioned, Bodemeister set the pace in the 2012 Kentucky Derby won by I’ll Have Another and finished second. Shackleford tried to wire the field in 2011, but finished fourth by 3 3/4 lengths. Super Saver was close to the lead in terms of position, but was more than 5 lengths off the pace until the mile marker. Pioneerof the Nile (Sire of American Pharoah) was close throughout his Kentucky Derby run (never more than 3 lengths off the lead) while finishing second to Mine That Bird.

One of the hardest conclusions to draw is from race position. Each Kentucky Derby is completely different in how it is run. How many horses were setting the pace? Was there any pressure on the leader(s)? How was the track condition? How did the track condition affect the shape of the race? Did one of the speed horses not break well? Those are just a few of the many questions that can have different answers each year in how the race was run.

Nevertheless, the trend is there that horses near the front are doing well. However, keep in mind that the last three years, the top 3 year old entering the Derby was considered above the rest of the crop. Perhaps this is nothing more than the best horse in the race having a similar style and just being better than their peers.

Speed Under the Kentucky Derby Points System

Last year I postulated that the Kentucky Derby was slowing down in terms of time. After three years of data it appeared to be correct, but then 2016 happened. This year the Kentucky Derby went in 22.58 for the quarter and 45.72 for the opening half-mile. 2015 saw the same fractions go in 23.24 and 47.34, respectively. As stated two paragraphs above, the shape of the race is contingent on many different factors. The draw, the track condition, if a bias is present on the track, the break at the start of the race, etc. all can completely change how a race is run and won, especially in a race with as many as 20 horses.


What you have read above was worth pointing out, but by no means should sculpt one’s handicapping for the 2017 Kentucky Derby. The favorites have dominated the last four years and the winner has run the same race in the last three years. Does that mean it will continue? Not at all, but the trend can also still continue in 2017.

What makes the Derby so different (and difficult) is there is no race to compare it. There are no other races for 3 year olds that are run at a mile and a quarter AND allow 20 horses. The uniqueness of it allows it to be one of, if not the, most popular races each year. That uniqueness also makes it hard to find parallels as noted above.

Horse racing is a fickle sport. The highest highs can be followed by the lowest lows. The trends laid out above could easily be blown apart when a horse completely changes tactics (see Palace Malice in the 2013 Kentucky Derby). A real, concrete pattern may not emerge for another decade or more (four years is hardly a great basis for drawing a solid conclusion). A lot of things can change in the next decade which may show this four year trend as an anomaly. 

One trend that will not probably change is my picking of the Kentucky Derby Toss. I had #9 Destin this year and he finished 6th. In addition, there will probably be an article like this one looking back at five year trends instead of four year trends. Enjoy the Triple Crown!

2016 Kentucky Derby Field Set

Nyquist FL Derby

Nyquist Won the Florida Derby and is a perfect seven for seven in his career (Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald/Adam Coglianese)

2016 Kentucky Derby Field Set

The 142nd Kentucky Derby field is now set with 20 three year olds ready to face off to wear the garland of roses. There were 22 horses entered, but the #21 and #22 are also-eligibles and will only race if there are scratches prior to Friday.

The favorite is Nyquist, the undefeated horse who has won in California, Kentucky, and Florida. Nyquist is listed at 3-1 and is breaking from post 13, the same post he had when he won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

The 2016 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 and has a post time of 6:34 PM Eastern Time. It is carded as the 12th race at Churchill Downs and the field will be going 1 1/4 miles on the main track.

The full field is in the chart below with the program number, horse, jockey, trainer, and morning line provided.

Program Number Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Trojan Nation Aaron Gryder Patrick Gallagher 50-1
2 Suddenbreakingnews Luis Quinonez Donnie Von Hemel 20-1
3 Creator Ricardo Santana Jr Steve Asmussen 10-1
4 Mo Tom Corey Lanerie Tom Amoss 20-1
5 Gun Runner Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 10-1
6 My Man Sam Irad Ortiz Jr Chad Brown 20-1
7 Oscar Nominated Julien Leparoux Mike Maker 50-1
8 Lani Yutaka Take Mikio Matsunaga 30-1
9 Destin Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher 15-1
10 Whitmore Victor Espinoza Ron Moquett 20-1
11 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 8-1
12 Tom’s Ready Brian Hernandez Jr Dallas Stewart 30-1
13 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 3-1
14 Mohaymen Junior Alvarado Kiaran McLaughlin 10-1
15 Outwork John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 15-1
16 Shagaf Joel Rosario Chad Brown 20-1
17 Mor Spirit Gary Stevens Bob Baffert 12-1
18 Majesto Emisael Jaramillo Gustavo Delgado 30-1
19 Brody’s Cause Luis Saez Dale Romans 12-1
20 Danzing Candy Mike Smith Clifford Sise Jr 15-1
21 (AE) Laoban Cornelio Velazquez Eric Guillot 50-1
22 (AE) Cherry Wine Robby Albarado Dale Romans 30-1

The Kentucky Derby card looks fantastic with a plenty of full fields and a total of 14 races to be run on the day. First post on Saturday is at 10:30 AM Eastern Time. The overnight for the card can be found here.

The Kentucky Oaks will be run about 24 hours earlier and the entries for that race can be found here.

Brody’s Cause Flies Home To Win Breeders’ Futurity

Brody’s Cause Flies Home To Win Breeders’ Futurity

Brody’s Cause flew home in the stretch to win an exciting rendition of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity. He beat the favored Exaggerator by a length.

The race began with several horses wanting the lead, but it was Sheikh of Sheikhs that put his head in front with Rated R Superstar protecting his rail position in second. Gametown was in a good spot third, Sticksstatelydude was fourth, Threefiveindia sat fifth, and Exaggerator was sixth. Pinnacle Peak sat in seventh, Uncle Vinny was eighth, Wild Man was ninth, Brody’s Cause was tenth early by 9 lengths, and in last was Uncle Jerry by ten lengths.

There was not much action on the backstretch, but on the turn Sheikh of Sheiks started to pull clear, which caused the rest of the field to react. The duo of Rated R Superstar and Exaggerator both moved away from the rail and were asked for their runs.

Exaggerator made an explosive move between Sheikh of Sheikhs on his inside and Rated R Superstar on this outside. Further back was Brody’s Cause, who was starting to kick it into high gear about 5 lengths behind the leader.

Brody’s Cause was able to continue his run through the stretch and pass Exaggerator near the finish line to win by a length. Exaggerator ran very well in defeat and was ahead of Rated R Superstar in third. Sticksstatelydude ran an even race to finish fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Uncle Vinny fifth, Sheikh of Sheikhs tired to finish sixth, Threefiveindia finished seventh, Uncle Jerry was eighth, Gametown was ninth, Pinnacle Peak finished tenth, and Wild Man was last of 11. Hawkbill was scratched earlier in the day to make it a field of 11 in the race. The entire chart can be found here via Equibase.

Brody’s Cause paid an excellent $25.60 to win, $10.60 to place, and $5.40 to show. He ran the 1 1/16 miles on the muddy main track in 1:43.27. He is by Giant’s Causeway out of the Sahm mare Sweet Breanna. He was ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Dale Romans.

In addition to the win, Brody’s Cause earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland later in October. He also received 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Exaggerator received four points, Rated R Superstar earned 2 points for a total of 6 to this point, and Sticksstatelydude earned 1 point.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Sunday with a the Grey Stakes from Woodbine.

2015 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Preview

2015 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Preview

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby will continue on Saturday, October 3 with the second of two races on the day. The Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes will take place at Keeneland with a full field of 12 horses.

The Grade 1 event will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track and will be around two turns. The race has a purse of $500,00 and also awards points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.

The winner will receive 10 points for the victory, second place will receive 4 points, third place will receive 2 points, and fourth place will receive one point.

The Breeders’ Futurity is scheduled for 5:10 PM Eastern time and is carded as the eighth of 10 races. Free Past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, October 3 and going to Keeneland – Race 8. Entries have also been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Rated R SuperstarCalvin BorelKen McPeek6-1
2Uncle JerryJames GrahamEoin Harty30-1
3HawkbillMike SmithCharles ApplebySCRATCHED
4GametownJulien LeparouxMark Casse12-1
5Brody's CauseCorey LanerieDale Romans6-1
6SticksstatelydudeBrian Hernandez Jr.Greg Burchell10-1
7ExaggeratorKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux7-2
8Sheikh of SheikhsEdgar PradoWesley Ward5-1
9Wild ManRicardo Santana Jr.Steve Asmussen15-1
10ThreefivendiaChris LanderosStephen Lyster30-1
11Pinnacle PeakVictor EspinozaMichael Stidham15-1
12Uncle VinnyLuis SaezTodd Pletcher9-2

1. Rated R Superstar – His debut came on July 25 at Ellis Park. He pressed the pace throughout, but could not fend off the eventual winner losing by only a half-length. He came back last out to press the pace again, but this time he drew off to win by 5 lengths again at Ellis Park. In the latest race, he had a slow break in the Grade 3 Iroquois. He sat about 10 lengths off the lead early on, but went up on the backstretch and far turn to move all the way from seventh to second. He continued to run evenly in the stretch and finished second by 2 lengths. He will probably be closer to the pace today and has a good look from the rail to make some noise underneath at a price.

2. Uncle Jerry – His debut came at Presque Isle going 6 furlongs in early August. He was close to the pace and tried to run them down in the stretch, but could not get there. He finished third by 2 in a pretty solid debut. He came back about 6 weeks later going a mile. He had an unfortunate start where he was left near the rear of the field and had to come from off the pace. He made up his ground on the far turn and in the stretch he pulled away to win by 3 lengths. The waters get much deeper here and he will need to improve drastically to have a chance.

3. Hawkbill – Scratched.

4. Gametown – He is a still a maiden, but he has two solid efforts on his resume. His debut came at Saratoga on the lawn going 5.5 furlongs. He had a slow start and was forced to close in the stretch, but he did stoutly despite some weaving in and out in the stretch. He finished second by three lengths and was then sent to Churchill to try the main track. He went a mile on September 11 where he had a much better start and close to the pace. He took the lead in the stretch, but was caught late and finished second again, this time by 3/4 of a length. He has some talent, despite not winning  yet and could hit the board.

5. Brody’s Cause – His debut was horrendous on August 1 at Ellis Park. He went a mile on the turf, but did not lift a hoof finishing eighth by 25 lengths. His latest race was at Churchill Downs on the main track going a mile as well. He broke near the back of the field, but was within five lengths. He made a move on turn and continued his run in the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He has a decent chance in this spot.

6. Sticksstatelydude – He debuted here at Churchill where he tracked the pace in second. He was unable to pass the leader and had to settle for second by a length and a half. He then went up to Saratoga where he sat off the pace and had to go wide in the stretch. He closed well enough to win by 2 lengths. He should get another good trip, but is making his first start around two turns in this spot. Intriguing longshot in this race…

7. Exaggerator – His debut at Santa Anita in early June was not very good. He was fifth by 9 1/2 lengths and was always well behind, but lost a talented horse in Nyquist. His second race was far better with him coming off the pace and was just able to get up for the win by a nose. He was then shipped to Saratoga for the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He had a similar off the pace style and was able to close and win again by 3/4 of a length. He is a big threat in this race.

8. Sheikh of Sheikhs – He has only one start and it was a good one. He went straight to the lead and never looked back winning by 1 3/4 lengths at six furlongs at Saratoga. He will probably be on the lead again in this race and will be making his first start at a route. Interestingly, his latest workout was on the turf, which may be a signal if things do not go well here. Tough call on him.

9. Wild Man – Another horse who has yet to break his maiden, he made his debut on August 29 at Saratoga. Going six furlongs, he sat in a good spot behind the leaders, but could not make up much ground in the stretch, as he finished third by four lengths. His second start was at Belmont going a mile. Once again, he sat off the pace and he closed well in stretch. He was bumped and finished third by a neck in another solid effort. He does appear to be a touch below the top horses in here, but he has gone a route distance.

10. Threefiveindia – He debuted at Ellis Park in late August going 5.5 furlongs. He had an awkward start and was able to get a spot behind the leaders. He made his move on the turn and in stretch to win by 2 lengths. His workouts have been solid and he should like the extra ground. However, he will need to step way up to contend in this spot.

11. Pinnacle Peak – He debuted at Prairie Meadows in Iowa with a solid second place finish by 3 1/2 lengths. He broke inward and then came on in the stretch. His second start was a stretch out to a mile and he responded with a crushing victory. He went gate-to-wire and won by 10 lengths in an easy performance. He next start was in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth and he had to go wide for much of the race. That took its toll on him as he weakened to finish third by 8 3/4 lengths. He will probably have another wide trip in here again if he wants the lead and that makes it tough to endorse him.

12. Uncle Vinny – He ran his debut at Belmont going 5 furlongs and he took over after a bit of a tough start. He won by 4 1/2 lengths and then had a quick turnaround to run in the Tremont Stakes two weeks later. It may have been too quick as he was never close to threatening and finish sixth by 7 1/2 lengths. After a slight break, he returned in the Grade 3 Sanford where he tracked and pounced in the stretch, but could not get to the winner. He was second by 3/4 of a length, but was put up to first after a disqualification. His next race was the Grade 1 Hopeful and he had a bit of a wide trip. He ended up third by 8 3/4 lengths, but was never seriously threatening to win. He will have a wide trip out here, but could find the distance more to his liking.


This race was tough to figure out due to post positions and a lot horses trying this distance for the first time. #5 Brody’s Cause went this distance in his last race (around one turn), but he improved drastically from his turf try. #1 Rated R Superstar ran a solid second in the Grade 3 Iroquois and should have a good trip from the rail. #7 Exaggerator is talented and should appreciate the stretch out around two turns. #6 Sticksstatelydude is worth a shot underneath in the exotics.

Top selection – #5 Brody’s Cause

2nd selection – #1 Rated R Superstar

3rd selection – #7 Exaggerator

4th selection – #6 Sticksstatelydude

Check back for a recap of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes.