Picks, Ponies, and Statistics for a Rooting Interest in Kentucky Derby Day 2024

Here is some Kentucky Derby Day information for those who want to help narrow down the contenders and pretenders. It may help you have a little fun and a possible rooting interest in the Churchill Downs racing marathon on this first Saturday in May. Whether you are in an armchair at home, at a Derby Party, or in a betting cave, it is the one race day each year that gets national and international attention.

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Stakes races are as difficult to assess as any other sporting event in which somewhat equally qualified contenders match up. So the information entered here is for entertainment value, and past performance (bad?) is no guarantee of future results (worse?). My own rough list of possible contenders will be at the end. A work in progress. The Derby listing is Race 12.

For serious handicapping information, I recommend my friend Derek Simon, a man who puts his money where his many statistical studies point him. So number-crunchers out there may find his takes interesting. And, each year, he publishes a guide full of database statistics and other interesting items. 

Here’s Derek Simon’s case against the popular Fierceness.

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Here is his statistical look at the mystifying world of pedigree. Can anyone really answer the age-old question, if Grandpa and Dad could run, can I?

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And here is an amazing list of long shots Mr. AI produced, with a little help from the questioner. 

On some very cold Winter days in another lifetime, I used to sit in the outside boxes at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens, parallel to the finish line. The goal was to try and keep warm from the wind howling off the JFK runways, Jamaica Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes, in the next box was a guy dressed in jeans along with his friend a snappily dressed gent, Bruno. The sharply dressed gentleman was a maitre d’ at a restaurant and was dressed to head off to work later. The guy in jeans was Mike Repole, the owner of today’s contender Fierceness. Repole even named one of his horses Dontbetwithbruno after his friend. So a word to the wise is sufficient. Don’t bet with me, either. 

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Here are some fun contenders that might help you narrow the fields a little. These are free, and yes, you get what you pay for. This is being posted before scratches, so take note. 

Pass means skip or no opinion, probably because of too little data that made sense to me. * Means an unraced or foreign horse starting here for the first time. I’ve listed a question mark over them. Chaos means good luck; anything can happen! It is a joker in the pack, usually because there are so many similar contenders. They may beat each other up enough to allow a crazy long shot to win, or the heavy favorite is weak. 

Alphabetic grades and numbers are how they came with my latest attempt at garbage in, garbage out. Those listed as “Others” didn’t make top contenders and “Maybe” are lower down the list. All are listed in descending order of assessment, although you may want to order them by grade, number, or a mix of both. 

The idea is to suggest horses that may break through, offer value, or fit into exactas. Talk about hedging my bets. The numbers are not real odds, and definitely not the morning line. Something I’m playing around with for this day. Check the actual program in case some data transfer errors creep in. Good luck and have fun.

1) Skip Race 6.5 Fur Age 3  (MS) Maiden Special Weight  Purse=$120,000

1 Evan On Earth  2.42 A+

3 Top Gun Rocket 8.86 A+

Others

 5 Lou’s Legacy 4.08

 8 Title Contender 32.47 

Maybe

7 Culprit 1.36

6 House United 7.82 

2) 8 Fur Females Age 4U  (NW) Non-Winner Allowance: nw of 2 other than mdn/clm  Purse=$134,000 

6 Scylla 3.09  A+ 

8 Coppa Girl  4.08  C  

10 Secret Statement 3.30 

Others 

7 Friendlypersuasion 32.47  

11 Victorious 11.89

Maybe  

3 Joke Sisi (CHI) 4.78  

2 Zawish 4.41 

 3) 8.5 Fur Age 3  (NW) Non-Winner Allowance: nw of 1 other than mdn/clm  Purse=$127,000 

11 Mindframe  1.87   A+ 

 9 Invigorated  5.77   A+ 

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 2 Cornishman  2.94  

Maybe

 3 Elephants Ear  6.36  

Others

1 Cartucho  17.78   A+

10 Mena  32.74  A+

6 Nullify  4.83

4) Skip   Fur Age 4U  (HC) Handicap or Stakes (non-graded)  Purse=$200,000

6 Best Actor 1.16  A+

10 Five Star General 4.72   F  

 1 Strong Quality  6.22    F  

 9 U. S. Army 10.07

Others 

 7 Kupuna 11.77  

 2 Denington  8.76

5) Skip Chaos Or Pick Longshots 5.5 Fur (Turf) Age 3U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$600,000

 3 Coppola 1.97  B 

 14 Cogburn  5.77  A+ 

 1 Candy Man Rocket   7.06   A+

 7 Our Shot 12.01   B

Others

11 Mister Mmmmm 14.37 B

10 Big Invasion 23.13 B 

 4 Motorious (GB) 32.74 A+

12 Arrest Me Red 12.01

 9 Bad Beat Brian 7.91

16 Panther Island 32.74  C+ 

 2 Front Run the Fed 12.01

*17 Sketch (IRE)  17.78    

6) 7 Fur Females Age 4U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$1,000,000

7 Alva Starr 1.84  A+ 

10 Vahva 2.42 B-

Others

1 Three Witches 4.78  D

 8 Sterling Silver 7.82 C-

Maybe

9 Red Carpet Ready 2.64  F 

Others

5 Spirit Wind 11.89 C  

 9 Red Carpet Ready 11.89  D+

 3 Flying Connection 14.23  C  

7) Skip 8 Fur (Turf) Females Age 4U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$750,000 7) Skip 8 Fur (Turf) Females Age 4U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$750,000 

7 Evvie Jets 1.48   A-

8 Heavenly Sunday  6.90   B+

12 Mission of Joy  5.15   C 

2 Walkathon 6.90  C

Other

6 Delahaye 14.09  A+

 1 Ag Bullet 11.77  C 

 5 Cairo Consort 11.77  C

 4 Ascendancy 32.20  C 

10 Infinite Diamond 8.76

?

*11 Coppice (GB) 32.20

8) 8 Fur Age 3  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$600,000 

11 Vlahos 8.11 A+ 

 2 Beeline 10.14  A+

12 Nash 3.05 C-

 9 Frosty Indulgence 30.32 A+

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Other 

 8 Top Cono 2.54 

 6 Guanare 30.32  A 

 Maybe 

7 Who Dey 10.14

  5 Seize the Grey  8.11

 1 Carbon 10.14

9) 8.5 Fur (Turf) Age 3  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$600,000

 10 Set  12.15 A+ 

 7 Stay Hot 12.15  A+

 12 Abrumar 12.15   A+

 14 Agate Road 6.17  C+ 

 11 Cugino  12.15  A+ 

Other

 16 Rock’n a Halo 24.08 A+

 15 Blue Eyed George 18.12  A-

 2 Trikari 18.12  B- 

 9 Noted 18.12 D+

 4 Formidable Man 18.12 

 6 Neat  7.37  

?

* 5 Legend of Time (GB) 4.38  

10) Pass 7 Fur Age 4U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$1,000,000

 4 Mr. Wireless  6.49  A+ 

 11 Hoist the Gold 3.82  B+ 

 8 Minnesota Ready 16.15  A+ 

 9 Three Technique 10.77  A+  

 3 Bo Cruz  10.77 A+ 

 2 Tejano Twist  4.35

Maybe

 10 Gun Pilot 10.77

 6 Zozos 3.28

11) 9 Fur (Turf) Age 4U  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$1,000,000  

 1 Integration  5.37 A+ 

 3 Cellist 12.81  A+ 

 5 Program Trading (GB)  4.85   C- 

 6 I’m Very Busy 4.31

Others

 9 Never Explain  16.01  A+

 4 Far Bridge 8.56  D+

 10 Siege of Boston 16.01  D+

Maybe

 11 Naval Power (GB)  3.78 

 7 Webslinger 10.69 

12) Kentucky Derby 10 Fur Age 3  (GR) Graded Handicap or Stakes  Purse=$5,000,000

 8 Just a Touch  5.58 A-

 12 Track Phantom  6.83  B+

 17 Fierceness  9.96  A-

 14 Endlessly 13.95  A+ |

Others 

21 Epic Ride  11.65 B+

 1 Dornoch  13.95  A-  

 18 Stronghold  17.28  A+ 

 19 Resilience 9.96 F 

 16 Grand Mo the First  17.28  B 

 5 Catalytic 17.28  4.9  B  

 2 Sierra Leone 31.94  4.1  A+

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 20 Society Man 13.95

 4 Catching Freedom 53.97   B+

?

*10 T O Password (JPN)         17.28 

*11 Forever Young (JPN)        17.28 

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