Let’s put a bow on a memorable 146th Kentucky Derby that saw Authentic hold off Tiz the Law in a dramatic stretch run.
The shocking upset disrupted the 3-year-old division leading to the Preakness Stakes (G1) three weeks from now at Pimlico. Before we move on, here are my thoughts on the trips and performances of all 15 Kentucky Derby runners, as well as what the future holds for each horse.
1st: Authentic – Breaking from the far outside, John Velazquez was able to make the lead before the first turn, gradually easing the horse over to the inside. That move allowed Authentic to settle into a nice stride with a solid lead, but he was moving quickly through fractions of :22.92, :46.41, and 1:10.23. Usually those fractions can’t help you win the Derby, but the Bob Baffert trainee found more in the stretch and held off Tiz the Law’s charge. This horse now has a shot to take over the 3-year-old division with a victory in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
2nd: Tiz the Law – It’s always tough to take when your pick gets beat and has no real excuse. That’s what happened here. Tiz the Law got the same type of trip that he’s been getting: stalking the pace while racing wide. Turning for home, he pulled even with the pace-setting Authentic, but he just couldn’t make his normal stretch rally. In fact, Authentic pulled away from Tiz the Law. We’ll see if his owners outvote the trainer and send him to Baltimore for the Preakness, or if his trainer gets his way and trains him up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
3rd: Mr. Big News – He was the surprise performance after taking back and making a huge, five-wide move around the turn, flying towards the front and looking like he might spring a massive upset. He was unable to sustain his momentum down the stretch, but it was impressive to see him hold on for third.
4th: Honor A. P. – He had the biggest excuse for not winning because he got cut off out of the gate and dropped back to second-last into the first turn. He remained fairly wide throughout the race and covered more ground than anyone in the field. When he finally got going, he was able to make a nice move, but he could do no better than a non-threatening fourth.
5th: Max Player – This is a perfect example of a horse who takes back and makes one run in the end. He hit the board in 2 straight major races but came up just a bit short and finished fifth here. This horse is very consistent; however, he is always going to be pace dependent.
6th: Storm the Court – This colt ran surprisingly well after what has been a rough 2020 season. He was up on the pace early on the inside before fading down the stretch, but he hung tough and only let a few pass him. This was a solid effort.
7th: Enforceable – He settled into mid-pack early and basically just ran in that position the whole race, finishing a flat seventh.
8th: Ny Traffic – He (or at least jockey Paco Lopez) has been labeled the villain of the Derby. Right out of the gate, Ny Traffic bumped into Honor A. P., hurting both of their chances. It also should be noted that Ny Traffic raced very wide throughout, forcing Tiz the Law to race even wider. As for Ny Traffic’s actual performance, it left a lot to be desired because he was empty when it mattered.
9th: Necker Island – It looked like the plan was to take back early and make one run down the lane, but nothing stood out from his trip. He passed a few tired horses down the lane to give a respectable showing, but maybe cutting back in distance will help.
10th: Major Fed – Traffic trouble caused this horse some issues, which is something that he couldn’t afford. He kept to his task despite the trouble, but he just couldn’t make up much ground when the real running began.
11th: Sole Volante – This just isn’t the same horse we saw earlier in the year. After a poor beginning, he got a decent position heading into the first turn, saving ground and racing on the inside. However, when asked to run down the stretch, he wasn’t able to get going.
12th: Winning Impression – He got a ground-saving trip on the inside while racing mid-pack before losing some position on the turn. He was able to re-rally a bit late, but he doesn’t have the talent level to run down these types.
13th: Money Moves – It’s an awfully difficult task to ask a horse to make his stakes debut in the Kentucky Derby. He ran hard early to get position around mid-pack before fading sharply coming into the stretch. He just wasn’t ready for this kind of competition.
14th: Attachment Rate – After racing wide and chasing the lead throughout, he was spent when the real running began. Racing wide certainly didn’t help matters for a horse that was up against it from the beginning. He needs class relief after this effort.
15th: South Bend – He didn’t belong in a race of this caliber. After breaking towards the back of the pack, South Bend stayed in that position throughout and never made much of a move. He’ll likely get a nice class drop for his next start.