2011 Kentucky Derby

If the past is truly indicative of the future, this year’s Kentucky Derby will be an exciting one. Calvin Borel, hero of the Derby for the last several years, is scheduled to mount Twice the Appeal at the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Twice the Appeal now sits as a 30-1 long shot. This certainly is not out of Borel’s grasp, however. When he won the 2009 Kentucky Derby aboard Mine that Bird the final odds for his horse stood at over 40-1. Borel has ridden lesser reputed horses and won—you never know what will happen in a race like this.

But Borel is not gaining the bulk of the attention for this year’s Derby. All eyes currently seem to be on Dialed In, the Florida Derby champion who has won three of his four career starts. Dialed In’s one loss was only by a half of a length—he has not lost a single graded race.

There are some major problems with picking Dialed In to win the Derby. For one, the Kentucky Derby would be his longest race to date. Dialed In’s best Beyer speed figure (97) was earned at a distance of 1 mile. When he bumped up in distance to 1 1/8 miles, he only ran a 93. There is little evidence that Dialed In will be competitive at 1 ¼ miles, the Kentucky Derby’s distance. Although he ran a solid off-the-pace race in the Florida Derby, the same strategy may not hold up against higher quality horses. While he was definitely capable of running higher than a 93, the question remains: will he have enough left in his reserves when he will be facing a whole field of speed horses?

Odds are, with a 20 horse field that Dialed In will not be in a position to win this race. A 97 Beyer is a great number, but a Kentucky Derby champion will need to run about 100 to win the race. Uncle Mo is the only contender to have run over 100 in a graded race. While it is true that Soldat has a 103 under his belt, this race was as a 2 year old at a shorter distance. Soldat ran a solid race at the Fountain of Youth Stakes where he recorded a 96 over the course of 1 1/8 mile, but he hasn’t shown that he can produce at that distance consistently, especially after the disaster that was the Florida Derby where he finished 5th.

This leaves only Uncle Mo as the horse to beat. His 108 Beyer came over the course of 1 1/16th of a mile—this shows that he can run a solid distance race. He has the speed to make the Kentucky Derby his race early on, and he has the endurance to hold on and win. Uncle Mo is currently estimated to be around 6-1 odds come May 7th. This makes him a great value to bettors looking to bet undervalued horses.