Champion necessary Quality, left, edged very Motivated, right, to victory the Toyota Blue Grass crest April 3 at Keeneland in what to be the fastest race in the last stages ~ above the 2021 Kentucky Derby trail. (Coady Photography)

It’s the time that year again! Spring has arrived, the 147th to run of the Kentucky Derby gift by Woodford make reservation is simply 2 1/2 weeks away, and also we’re prepared to dig into some deep data to find the next winner of the operation for the roses.

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The Kentucky Derby is a handicapping an obstacle unlike any type of other. It’s the only race in phibìc America wherein bettors have to choose in between 20 lightly-raced 3-year-old Thoroughbreds travel 1 1/4 miles, a distance couple of (if any) have tackled in the past.


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Thanks come the large field size and unpredictable nature that the steeds involved, the Kentucky Derby annually ranks amongst the best betting gyeongju of the year, so handicappers understandably spend an not suitable amount of time assessing the contenders.

Race replays, speed figures, and also workouts all receive their re-superstructure of attention, but less noticeable data clues come into play as well. One factor plenty of handicappers select to emphasize is how rapid each Derby competitor ran the critical three-eighths that a mile that their last prep race, which usually takes place at a street of 1 1/8 miles.

Analyzing these fractional times has become a popular tool because that handicapping the Kentucky Derby, and for a good reason. Steeds who finished strongly in ~ the end of their final prep gyeongju are much more likely to handle the Kentucky Derby distance than steeds who worn down at the finish of their last prep.

Longtime turf writer Jennie Rees — an inductee in the national Museum of Racing and also Hall the Fame’s Joe Hirsch Media roll of honor — was the first to popularize this approach to handicapping the Derby, outlining the standard whereby fast finishes are judged.

Rees noted a strong finish requires sprinting the final three-eighths that a mile in :38 seconds or less and the final eighth that a mile in :13 secs or less. However, the final three-eighths fraction alone has been a wonderful indicator the a win-worthy Derby contender. Year after year, the :38-or-less preeminence has proved reliable for identifying horses with a chance to prevail at Churchill Downs; indeed, eight that the critical nine Kentucky Derby winners (and 18 the the last 23) finished the last three-eighths that a mile in their last prep gyeongju in much less than :38 seconds.

Derby Winner

Final Prep race (Finish Position)

Final Time

Final 3/8th Time

Final 1/8th Time

Authentic

Haskell stakes (1st)

1:50.45

38.95

13.23

Country House

Arkansas Derby (3rd)

1:51.04

37.57

12.67

Justify

Santa Anita Derby (1st)

1:49.72

37.11

12.70

Always Dreaming

Florida Derby (1st)

1:47.47

36.56

12.53

Nyquist

Florida Derby (1st)

1:49.11

37.72

12.73

American Pharoah

Spiral crest (1st)

1:48.52

37.81

12.58

California Chrome

Santa Anita Derby (1st)

1:47.52

36.69

12.49

Orb

Florida Derby (1st)

1:50.87

37.73

12.91

I’ll have actually Another

Santa Anita Derby (1st)

1:47.88

36.41

12.44

Animal Kingdom

Spiral crest (1st)

1:52.32

39.38

13.36

Super Saver

Arkansas Derby (2nd)

1:49.41

38.16

12.87

Mine that Bird

Sunland Derby (4th)

1:50.56

40.27

13.71

Big Brown

Florida Derby (1st)

1:48.16

38.08

12.98

Street Sense

Blue Grass stakes (2nd)

1:51.33

34.35

11.39

Barbaro

Florida Derby (1st)

1:49.01

37.56

12.91

Giacomo

Santa Anita Derby (4th)

1:49.51

37.55

12.73

Smarty Jones

Arkansas Derby (1st)

1:49.41

37.70

12.54

Funny Cide

Wood Memorial stakes (2nd)

1:48.78

37.43

12.87

War Emblem

Illinois Derby (1st)

1:49.92

36.89

12.15

Monarchos

Wood Memorial crest (2nd)

1:48.42

37.43

12.53

Fusaichi Pegasus

Wood Memorial comb (1st)

1:47.92

37.10

12.48

Charismatic

Lexington stakes (1st)

1:41.06 (1 1/16 miles)

36.14 (projected time based on finish at much shorter distance)

12.14 (projected time based on finish at much shorter distance)

Real Quiet

Santa Anita Derby (2nd)

1:47.37

36.56

12.35

Of course, finishing fractions have the right to be influenced by a variety of factors, consisting of the speed of the racetrack and the early on pace that the race — it’s simpler to finish rapid if you’ve gone an extremely slow at an early stage on. Yet when you have actually a statistic that uses to 18 of the critical 23 Derby winners (with 2 others absent the :38-or-less cutoff by 0.16 or less), you don’t ask too numerous questions.

So, let’s obtain started! listed below is a chart listing the finishing times because that the 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders, ranked in bespeak of how quick they sprinted the last three-eighths of a mile the their final prep.

Before diving right into the data, right here are a few things to keep in mind:

Whenever possible, I have used data from Trakus to identify the noted times. Unlike classic timers, which only record the portion posted through the leader at each point in a race, Trakus offers individual times for every steed in a race.For tracks where Trakus is no installed, I have actually calculated all times using the estimate that 6 lengths is same to one second. This method a steed finishing six lengths behind the winner the a race is deemed to have run one 2nd slower.Since some tracks have a classic timer in addition to Trakus, the times provided by Trakus have the right to vary slightly from the times officially published in result charts. In this instances, I have actually used the data from Trakus.Fractional times for races held at 1 1/16 miles have been projected based on assumed finishing time for second sixteenth the a mile.Raw times for the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby are based upon metric distances, which space slightly shorter than “equivalent” ranges measured in yards. To make these times similar with other times top top the list, I have converted them come projected times based on yards.

Horse

Race (Finish Position)

Final Time

Final 3/8ths Time

Final 1/8th Time

Essential Quality

Blue Grass crest (1st)

1:48.75

36.34

12.10

Highly Motivated

Blue Grass crest (2nd)

1:48.76

36.45

12.21

Known Agenda

Florida Derby (1st)

1:49.45

36.59

12.84

Rombauer

Blue Grass comb (3rd)

1:49.65

36.84

12.22

O Besos

Louisiana Derby (3rd)

1:55.41 (1 3/16 miles)

37.29

12.23

Hidden Stash

Blue Grass comb (4th)

1:50.36

37.36

12.51

Soup and Sandwich

Florida Derby (2nd)

1:49.97

37.45

13.21

Hot rod Charlie

Louisiana Derby (1st)

1:55.06 (1 3/16 miles)

37.54

12.48

Midnight Bourbon

Louisiana Derby (2nd)

1:55.39 (1 3/16 miles)

37.82

12.73

Like the King

Jeff Ruby Steaks (1st)

1:50.22

37.95

12.74

King Fury

Lexington crest (1st)

1:43.86 (1 1/16 miles)

38.19 (projected time)

12.76 (projected time)

Sainthood

Jeff Ruby Steaks (2nd)

1:50.39

38.36

12.57

Helium

Tampa only Derby (1st)

1:43.55 (1 1/16 miles)

38.46 (projected time)

12.92 (projected time)

Rock her World

Santa Anita Derby (1st)

1:49.17

38.53

12.90

Bourbonic

Wood Memorial (1st)

1:54.53

38.55

12.87

Keepmeinmind

Blue Grass comb (5th)

1:51.40

38.62

13.14

Panadol

UAE Derby (2nd)

1:57.92 (1 3/16 miles)

38.72

13.40

Medina Spirit

Santa Anita Derby (2nd)

1:49.84

38.97

13.25

Crowded Trade

Wood Memorial (3rd)

1:54.72

39.28

13.36

Dream Shake

Santa Anita Derby (3rd)

1:50.25

39.34

13.51

Super Stock

Arkansas Derby (1st)

1:50.92

39.34

13.20

Mandaloun

Louisiana Derby (6th)

1:57.02 (1 3/16 miles)

39.36

13.40

Dynamic One

Wood Memorial (2nd)

1:54.53

39.39

13.39

Get her Number

Arkansas Derby (4th)

1:51.42

39.46

13.20

Caddo River

Arkansas Derby (2nd)

1:51.34

40.09

13.68

Concert Tour

Arkansas Derby (3rd)

1:51.36

40.09

13.70

The data because that the 2021 Kentucky Derby paints an exciting picture. Three prep gyeongju — the great 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, the grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale ranches at Xalapa, and also the great 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby — overcome the chart, accounting for the ripe fastest finishing times.

Leading the charge is the undefeated Kentucky Derby favourite Essential Quality, who finished in :36.34 to loss Highly Motivated (:36.45) by a established half-length in the Blue Grass. The well-known Godolphin homebred looms together a formidable candidate to offer Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox his an initial Kentucky Derby victory.

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However, it must be provided that the Blue Grass unfolded at a modest early on pace, making rapid finishing fractions much more likely. Rombauer (:36.84) and also Hidden Stash (:37.36) to be soundly beaten in third place and fourth place, however they location fourth and sixth on the chart because the Blue Grass produced fast finishing times across the board.