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Map for Success

Posted by on 3/31/2015 9:09:43 PM

The greatest thing about the extravaganza of the Kentucky Derby is the fact that rules are broken every year and there is no tried and true blueprint for success.

Before we get into how California Chrome and the other winners of the Kentucky Derby prepared for success, let’s take a look back to the future to see how other stars were prepared.

Street Sense became the first horse in history to parlay a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win to glory the first Saturday in May in Louisville.

The year Street Sense won, he took a light route to Derby glory with only a nose win in theTampa Bay Derby and a nose beat in the pedestrian Blue Grass as tune-ups before reaching back for the Derby score.

Big Brown was a shining meteor and he won the Kentucky Derby in only his 4th career start.

In 2009 Mine That Bird became the first horse ever to prep at Sunland Park and shock in Kentucky.

In 2010 Super Saver was a tough beat 2nd in the Arkansas Derby directly before his success the first Saturday in May at Churchill.

Animal Kingdom ate up his rivals in 2011 and he took an unusual route to get to the top of the feed chain. He came from dead last in the Spiral Stakes on the synthetic at Turfway Park about 6 weeks before the Derby and then came from 12 of 19 to win on May 7 going away with a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

In 2012 I’ll Have Another celebrated in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle after coming from 7th of 20 to win the Derby at 15-1.

He opened the sophomore season winning the Robert Lewis, got a nice three-home trip winning the Santa Anita Derby and then earned a 101 at Churchill.

A factor bettors can count on is the frenetic pace that will occur in the Derby and it was never more evident in 2013. Palace Malice set a :22.57, :45.33, 1:09.80 pace and he had to wilt. It was preordained.

And it just set it up for Orb. He broke from post 16, settled early, only had 2 horses beat after three quarters of a mile, and then went from 17th to 5th and just kept going to win by 2 and a half lengths.

Last year, California Chrome took the Cal Cup Derby with an 88 Beyer, had a coming out party taking the San Felipe with a 108 figure and then took the Santa Anita Derby with a 107 number.

From the Santa Anita Derby to the Kentucky Derby California Chrome worked an easy 4 furlongs at Los Alamitos in :47.4/5 and then 8 days before the Derby, he drilled 4 furlongs again in :48 1/5.

He then got a beautiful 3-hole trip in Louisville opening up 5 lengths at the top of the lane and he had enough left to win the Run for the Roses.

This year, runners like Materiality, Dortmund, American Pharoah, El Kabeir, International Star and even the UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij could come from near and far to test the Kentucky Derby waters and anything can happen in this good crop.

The human connections are usually entirely drained before the gates open and when they do riders of the up to 20 horses in the field will forget about game plans and just ride like hell.

Overall, since 1925, only nine Derby winners have led all the way.

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