2020 Kentucky Derby Final Analysis


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Churchill Downs

Kentucky Derby 146th Running
Saturday, September 5th
Churchill Downs – 1 ¼ Miles – Main Track

1. Finnick The Fierce 50-1
2. Max Player 30-1
3. Enforceable 30-1
4. Storm The Court 50-1
5. Major Fed 50-1
6. King Guillermo 20-1
7. Money Moves 30-1
8. South Bend 50-1
9. Mr. Big News 50-1
10. Thousand Words 15-1
11. Necker Island 50-1
12. Sole Volante 30-1
13. Attachment Rate 50-1
14. Winning Impression 50-1
15. NY Traffic 20-1
16. Honor A.P. 5-1
17. Tiz tThe Law 3-5
18. Authentic 8-1

Welcome to our final installment of the Kentucky Derby breakdown. So far, over the last few days we’ve taken a look at 10 of the 18 participants. Today we’ll take a look at the final 8 runners in the field and try to identify anyone who can upset the apple-cart and sneak into one of the top three spots. Let’s get started.

Finnick The Fierce may only have one eye, but he’s always had his sights set on winning the roses. A winner first out, Finnick almost took the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes back last November at Churchill Downs at odds of 87-1. He’s only actually crossed the wire in first place one time. He was promoted to first place via DQ in another race. He finished third in the Arkansas Derby and was a non-threatening seventh in the Blue Grass Stakes behind Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver. His odds will be sky-high on Derby Day but he has run fairly well on this surface.

Money Moves was a one of two last second entrants in the Kentucky Derby. He’s won two of three starts for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. He won his debut with a low speed figure for this group but won his second start more emphatically. His third and most recent start took place at Saratoga where he finished a bang-up second to older horses at 1 1/8 miles off a March layoff putting up a strong speed figure of 98. He runs here second time off a layoff and cost a pretty penny ($975,000) but his Tomlinson rating says the Kentucky Derby Distance won’t be ideal for him.

South Bend races for the second time for trainer Bill Mott. Prior to that, South Bend had raced his other 11 starts for trainer Stanley Hough. South Bend has won 3 of 12 and has spent the majority of his time facing non-graded stakes types. He’s run 5 races on turf and although he doesn’t have a win on that surface, he has run well. His most recent start was a non-threatening 4th place finish to Tiz the Law in the Travers losing by 9 ½ lengths but that race produced his top speed figure thus far. He’s also on a four race streak of improving his speed figures. He will be long odds but could sneak in for a share.

Mr. Big News is the “other” last minute entrant to the Kentucky Derby field. His connections are probably doing a rain dance as his lone stakes win was at 46-1 in the Oaklawn Stakes over a sloppy track. Most recently, Mr. Big News finished well back behind Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver in the Blue Grass Stakes. His speed figures say he’s a few steps behind the best of these even on his best day.

Necker Island was a former stablemate to South Bend. This one was actually claimed for $100,000 by a new owner who had dreams of winning the Kentucky Derby. A winner of 2 of 10 starts, Necker Island has been beaten by Attachment Rate three times, Major Fed, Finnick the Fierce and NY Traffic and each of those will be long odds here. Like Mr. Big News, this one looks to be one who will finish in the second half of the field.

Sole Volante had quite a winter racing in Florida for trainer Patrick Biancone winning his first two races on turf before switching to turf. After a third place finish, he won the Sam F. Davis stakes at Tampa Bay in what was his best race to date (speed figure-wise). He then finished a closing but nonthreatening second to King Guillermo in the Tampa Bay Derby before taking some time off and winning a prep race at Gulfstream Park. His most recent start was the Belmont Stakes where he finished well back behind Tiz the Law, losing by 15 lengths. Another likely longshot in the wagering, Sole Volante offers his supporters a few reasons for hope. First, his trainer, Patrick Biancone finished in second place in the Kentucky in 2004 with Lion Heart. Second, his trainer has taken a different approach, prepping Sole Volante on turf in advance of the Kentucky Derby. Many people feel like Churchill Downs’ main track plays like a turf horse so maybe this approach will give them a leg up on some of their competiton.

Attachment Rate is a winner of one race in eight starts but many handicappers have been high on him for two reasons: first he has apparently looked great in workouts, and second, he finished in second place in the Ellis Park Derby and apparently galloped out past Art Collector who would’ve been the likely second choice in the Kentucky Derby. Attachment Rate has improved in his last few starts and would need to run the race of his life to contend here.

Winning Impression is a winner of 1 of 9 starts and his speed figures look well, well below these. Supporters will look to the fact that his trainer, Dallas Stewart has finished in second place in the Kentucky Derby twice with rank outsiders making flying finishes so look for this one to have a similar run, but this one will need to run the race of his life and will need many other horses to run poorly in order to contend here. He appears to be a deserving longest shot on the board.

This concludes our three-part look at the Kentucky Derby.

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