My Sensational Seven 2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders

American Pharoah #4 in the Rebel stakes. Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Below is an updated ranking on my top seven Kentucky Derby contenders. As you can see, American Pharoah moved up my list due to his Rebel Stakes performance that answered a lot of questions as to how he would fare coming a long layoff. Firing Line returns to my top seven with his landslide victory in the Sunland Derby where he set a track record. He was always a talented colt, just needed to race where didn’t have to beat Dortmund.

Texas Red has been removed from my list as he is officially off the Derby trail. The Desormeaux brothers don’t feel that they have enough lead time to prep for the Kentucky Derby. Materiality is new addition to my list. His jockey has been John Velazquez but Velazquez will likely be Carpe Diem’s rider in the Kentucky Derby. So Materiality could be Kent Desormeaux’s mount in place of Texas Red for the Kentucky Derby. That is, if he can secure the necessary Derby points in the Florida Derby. He is the half brother to Texas Red as they shared the same sire (Afleet Alex).

1) Dortmund (Kentucky Bred- Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 70
Sire: Big Brown – 2008 Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes Winner
Jockey: Martin Garcia

5 Starts, 5 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (91 Beyer), 1st (103 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts:  103.5
Fastest 1 1/16 Mile Time-: 1:40.86 at Los Alamitos 12/20/14
Next Race: Santa Anita Derby – April 4th
Dortmund’s Equibase Profile

2) American Pharoah (Kentucky Bred – Won in 2nd start) – Derby Points: 60
Sire: Pioneerof the Nile – Finished 2nd in 2009 Kentucky Derby
Jockey: Victor Espinoza

4 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 75%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (101 Beyer), 1st (101 Beyer), 1st (100 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.95 at Santa Anita Park 9/27/14
Next Race: Arkansas Derby – April 11th
American Pharoah’s Equibase Profile

3) Firing Line (Kentucky Bred – Won in 2nd start) – Derby Points: 58
Sire: Line of David – Won 2010 Arkansas Derby, finished 18th in 2010 Kentucky Derby
Jockey: Gary Stevens

5 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 40%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 33%
Last Three Starts: 2nd (91 Beyer), 2nd (104 Beyer), 1st (97 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:40.88 (calculated) at Los Alamitos 12/20/14
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:47.39 (track record) at Sunland Park 3/22/15
Next Race: Kentucky Derby – May 2nd
Firing Line’s Equibase Profile

4) Upstart (New York Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 36
Sire: Flatter whose sire was A.P. Indy – 1992 Belmont Stakes & Breeders’ Cup Classic
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

6 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 25%
Last Three Starts: 3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (105* Beyer), 2nd–DQ from 1st (95 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.96 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Florida Derby – March 28th
*Some references list this Beyer Speed figure at 106, I chose the lower
Upstart’s Equibase Profile

5) Carpe Diem (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 64
Sire: Giant’s Causeway – Finished 2nd in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Jockey: John Velazquez

4 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 75%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 67%
Last Three Starts: 1st (91 Beyer), 2nd (93 Beyer), 1st (98 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 95.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.95 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Blue Grass Stakes – April 11th
Carpe Diem’s Equibase Profile

6) Far From Over (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Blame – 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner
Jockey: Manuel Franco

2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (78 Beyer), 1st (96 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 82
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.93 at Aqueduct 2/7/15
Next Race: Wood Memorial – April 4th
Far From Over’s Equibase Profile

7) Materiality (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 0
Sire: Afleet Alex – 2005 Preakness Stakes & Belmont Stakes Winner
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux?

2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (87 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 95.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: n/a
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.32 at Gulfstream Park 3/6/15
Next Race: Florida Derby – March 28th
Materiality’s Equibase Profile


Below is a ranking of the average Beyer Speed Figures of my top seven horses last two starts. Ties are broken by the higher speed in the last start.

Ranking By Average Beyer Speed Figures of Last Two Starts(Last Start):
1) Dortmund 103.5 (104)
2) American Pharoah 100.5 (100)
3) Firing Line 100.5 (97)
4) Upstart 100 (95)
5) Materiality 95.5 (104)
6) Carpe Diem  95.5 (98)
7) Far From Over  82 (96)

–Michael

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