Sizing up the Derby

Dullahan’s impressive victory in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland has put him amongst the elite horses heading into the 2012 Kentucky Derby. This April 14th race was lead almost wire to wire by the champion Hansen, only to see Dullahan rally from 10th place with 3 furlongs to go. Dullahan took the lead right before the finish in one of the most impressive finishes so far this season.

Dullahan paid out $8.40 for the win and was ridden by Kent Desormeaux. While Hansen is currently the leader in graded earnings, Dullahan has shown that he is very vulnerable in the final straightaway. Hansen’s race was perfect, except he exerted far too much energy leading the entire race. Desormeaux guided his mount to a very smart and tactical win here, coming from way off the pace in order to exploit Dullahan’s explosive late-race speed.

Hansen has earned well over $1.5 million over his career. There are only two other horses that have earned over $1 million throughout their careers: Daddy Long Legs and Union Rags. Dullahan checks in with $855,000, a figure that puts him at fourth overall in the graded stakes earnings category.

This year’s Kentucky Derby still looks like it is wide open. Bodemeister has been getting a lot of press lately, and for good reasons. This horse destroyed the field in the Arkansas Derby (G1) by about 9 lengths, a stunning amount for such a competitive race. Bodemeister remains as one of the only horses eligible for the Kentucky Derby that has posted back to back 100+ Beyer figures, as well. His 105 in the Arkansas Derby ties him with Holy Bull for best overall performance so far.