Kentucky Derby: Trends suggest Mandarin Hero is a good each-way selection

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23.57 Churchill Downs - 1m2f Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) (3yo) (Main Track) (Dirt)

The Kentucky Derby will be run just before midnight on Saturday 6th May in the beautiful state of Kentucky. There was a bit of a spoiler in the race title!

United States racing is not my main area of expertise, but anyone can use trends analysis to narrow down the field and luckily there are plenty of sites offering a range of trends on the big race.

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I used the trends below to narrow the field before applying a few minor trends to finalise the selection-making process:

  • 28/31 winners had already produced a Beyer* speed rating of 95 or better (*Andy Beyer US speed rating guru and author)

  • 11/13 of the last winners had a Beyer rating of over 100.

  • 7/9 of the last winners stalked the pacesetter in no further back than third place.

  • 7/11 of the last winners had travelled from California - this is an example of class as prizemoney in California is usually ahead of the rest of the US.

  • 10/12 had won their last race.

  • All winners bar one since 1882 had a run in their two-year-old season and that horse was Triple Crown winner Justify.

  • 10 / 10 (74%) - Ran over 4½f - 1mf (Debut)

  • 10 / 10 (74%) - Furthest Placed 1m1f - 1m1f

  • 10 / 10 (76%) - In a field of 5 - 10 (Debut)

  • 10 / 10 (79%) - Had 3 - 7 placings (Career)

  • 10 / 10 (81%) - In a field of 7 - 12 (LTO)

  • 10 / 10 (82%) - Had 2 - 4 placings (Season)

  • 10 / 10 (85%) - Carried 118 - 122lbs (Debut)

  • 10 / 10 (85%) - Not in a G1/G2/LST/Cl3/Cl4/Cl5 (Debut)

  • 10 / 10 (87%) - Not on SFT/GD/GF/SLW/STD (Debut)

  • 9 / 10 (59%) - In a field of 7 - 11 (Last Win)

  • 9 / 10 (68%) - Carried 119 - 124lbs (Last Win)

  • 9 / 10 (71%) - Highest Won is not G3/LST/Cl3

  • 9 / 10 (73%) - No bigger than 103/10 (Career Win)

  • 9 / 10 (77%) - Furthest Won 1mf - 1m1f

  • 9 / 10 (83%) - Not in JPN/UAE (Last Win)

Using the trends above and focusing on the Beyer statistic of +100 speed rating and those horses shipping from California, I ended up with a shortlist of the following runners: Forte, Practical Move and Two Phil's are all +100 on Beyer, while Reincarnate and Skinner are also of interest.

Forte has won his last five starts with four of those coming in Grade 1 contests. This makes him a worthy favourite and it would not be a surprise to see him win the Derby.

At longer odds, our original each-way pick would have been Practical Move, but he has been withdrawn after recording a high temperature.

That leaves us with Japanese horse Mandarin Hero, who was second behind Practical Move in the Santa Anita Derby, and is one that caught my eye when not sticking to the trends above. I expect a big performance from him if he can overcome his wide draw. The rise of Japanese horses running overseas in recent years has been incredible, although not surprising based on their big investment in breeding. Suggested Bet: Mandarin Hero to win the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs 23:57)

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