Changes in Kentucky

whoodlerwhoodler Member
According to two reports on paulick, Kentucky Derby 2013 field to be determined by points system and Kentucky commissioners approve Lasix phase out plan, there are big changes for Kentucky horse racing and the Derby.

Question for the commissioners... why is the Oaks limited to 1`4 horses but the Derby has 20... and since 24 will be eligible each year, even if 1 of the first 20 bows out, another will be approved to fill the space?


  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    read article on bloodhorse..and drf..and TTimes...then the one about the trainers responses....war emblem would not have been eligible....mine that bird not eligible... charasmatic not eligible...and a bunch of others...points given to dubai and newmarket but the Illinois derby ignored....needs a little fixing..
  • Well, they probably wouldn't have been eligible money-wise either. My personal feeling is entry to the Derby should be made harder, not easier. Everyone... trainers, owners, jockeys, tv reporters, etc... ALL say winning the Derby is a crapshoot rather than a horse race. It's time to take some of the "luck" out of it by limiting the field to the top dozen colts.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    Well, they probably wouldn't have been eligible money-wise either. My personal feeling is entry to the Derby should be made harder, not easier. Everyone... trainers, owners, jockeys, tv reporters, etc... ALL say winning the Derby is a crapshoot rather than a horse race. It's time to take some of the "luck" out of it by limiting the field to the top dozen colts.</blockquote
    The 3 I mentioned all won the they had the money to get point being the new system would have excluded them

  • RachelRachel Member
    if the derby gets harder say goodbye to a triple crown winner or even much less runners in the kentucky derby
  • The last three triple crown winners went in under the old point system, I for one would like the point system to come back as well as shrinking the field back down to twelve. It's scary to me to see all twenty horses running. It's so much chaos and dangerous to have that many horses running, and it's a matter of time before someone/horse is seriously hurt.
  • The old system would not have excluded Mine That Bird or Charismatic, most of the graded stakes races back then were either win and you're in or given a point grade. It was not about how much money you earned, but about graded stakes earned!
  • edited June 2012
    The Derby field has never been limited to twelve. Many years it has failed to fill, but fields of 20+ are not new. The first time the field reached 20 horses was in 1923, when Zev won against a field of 21. The last time there were fewer than 10 was 1976 (Bold Forbes). It was limited to 20 after 1974's 23-horse field.

    Mine That Bird got in under the $$ system. And don't forget, the money had to be earned in graded stakes races, so it's not like a bunch of allowacne horses were getting in.

    I like having a point system, although not this particular point system. I'd have four or five win-and-you're-in races, probably the Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Florida Derby, Bluegrass Stakes. The two-year-old champion would be in also. Then, points would be assigned to every graded stakes race 8f or over--the most points for G1, fewer for G2, fewer for G3. I'd reserve a spot for the top point-earning filly if she wanted it. That way the Illinois Derby would still count.

  • It is a little backwards to think some previous Derby horses would not have gotten in under the new system. If the new system had been in play back then, trainers would have adjusted their schedules for it just as they are already adjusting their plans for next year. You also cannot compare winnings requirements in previous years to the more recent ones since purses have changed considerably. Why should the top 2 year old automatically be in? The Derby is for 3 year olds. Last year's "top" horse may not be anything THIS year.

    I'm with Valeria-Illinois... 20 colts breaking at one time is too many. The field SHOULD be limited, even if it is to 14 like the Oaks. Over and over, EVERY year, you hear how a Derby win (or loss) is because of LUCK more than anything.
  • This new points system is going to generate a lot of heated discussion. For me, there are a few things wrong with it. Leaving out the Illinois Derby is terrible. I would think that will be a major blow to Hawthorne. Also, I always want the Breeder's Cup Juvenile winner to be eligible for the Derby. The treatment of fillies in the new system I think leaves a lot to be desired. Also, I think the treatment of turf races is lacking.

    As for the discussion about further limiting the size of the field, how do you know where to draw the line? 14 horses? 12 horses? 8 horses? Racing always requires a bit of luck, no matter the size of the field. There's no way to take luck out of the equation.

    And, yes, 20 horses racing at one time does seem dangerous. But racing is dangerous. You can't take the danger out of the equation, either.
  • Well, you CAN minimize it and limiting the field is a way of doing that. Why is the Oaks limited to 14? Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

    I think a filly SHOULD have to win some points racing against the colts. All 3 of the Derby gals raced the colts before the first weekend in May.

    The BC Juvy is a points race, isn't it? Just not a win/in?

    And the reason the IL Derby isn't on the list is it's run the same day as Santa Anita and Wood Memorial. Perhaps IL could get a different date? There are 35-6 races listed in the point system and they've said it could go up to 40.
  • No one cares about the lasix decision?
  • The Lasix decision will only cause controversy unless other states follow along. I've heard that the Lasix decision still has to be approved by Kentucky lawmakers and only applies to higher level racing.

    Some of racing's most famous breakdowns have occurred in fields of 14 or less.

  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    edited June 2012
    One of the most famous breakdowns ever....match race ..two horses ...Ruffian...
    Is it a field of 20 creates situations where horses/jockies are hurt....or so many entries cause bad trips ...fewer entries could make for "cleaner" trips
  • They can play around with any and all adjustments they want but I still say until they limit the field to ONE starting gate -- FOURTEEN horses -- and do it in a way that is fair they are flirting with disaster. That 20 horse stampede every year is a tragedy looking for a place to happen and I, for one, am mystified as to why it hasn't happened YET.

    Yes, some of racing's most infamous breakdowns HAVE occurred in fields of 14 or less but this is the DERBY and when those gates open it's not just an ordinary race and isn't ridden like one. And it doesn't seem to me that Churchill Downs is actually even wide enough to accommodate that second starting gate all that comfortably to start with.
  • What a fascinating discussion, just the sort envisioned by the founders of this Forum. I have a question though about the Lasix phase out. What is it? Oh, and it's "jockeys" not "jockies." Sorry; I'm an English teacher; can't help it.
  • Breakdowns and accidents are different things. Just imagine that explosive exit of 20 colts at the next Derby start and just one in the middle of the pack stumbling. On second thought, don't. It is too horrible. And utterly preventable. Wasn't there a race this year or last year... maybe it was with Quarters... where one horse went down and most of the rest fell over him. That was a field of 6 or 7 and only one horse finished the race. That was an accident and is going to happen from time to time. Sending 20 youngsters careening around the track is asking for a tragedy of unbelievable proportions for everyone concerned, including horse racing itself.
  • RachelRachel Member
    that was charlestown, all horses were fine except the one that broke down and fell, she had to be euthanized
  • RachelRachel Member
    i watched that replay over and over again to make sure even read up to see if all other horses were okay, even the jockeys were fine, they decided to not run anymore after that and the track was closed due to bad weather and track conditions
  • I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment. There's a perception that the 20-horse field leads to a lot of fluky wins, and that the "best" horse is often shut out due to traffic problems. I took a look at the Kentucky Derbies run since Affirmed won the Triple Crown. Since then, 29 of the Derbies have been run with more than 14 horses. I wanted to see how many of the winners of these 29 Derbies could be considered flukes. My conclusion is that field size has some effect, but less than is popularly believed.

    The Derby winner is usually a very good horse. In most of the cases I looked at, the winner came into the Derby with a strong resume and/or showed his quality in subsequent wins, even if he was a Derby longshot. Four betting favorites won (if I counted right). Eleven times, the horse went on to win another leg of the Triple Crown. Thirteen became 3-year-old champion. A number of the winners, including Smarty Jones, Barbaro, and Street Sense, had strong resumes coming in (Smarty and Barbaro were undefeated; Street Sense was 2-year-old champion). Some of the races won later in the careers of these 29 winners include the Haskell, Travers, Woodward, Hollywood Gold Cup, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Special, and Breeders Cup Classic, among others. Several winners of these big-field Derbies eventually became Horse of the Year at some time in their careers, and three have entered the Hall of Fame.

    Of the less-than-stellar winners, Super Saver was helped by the big field at the expense of Lookin at Lucky. Mine That Bird, as far as I can tell, benefited mostly from the slop and a great trip by Borel. He simply outran the favorites. Lil E Tee (1992) was helped by favorite Arazi's being stuck in the 17 slot, so one would say he benefited from the large field mucking things up for a better horse. Others, including Giacomo, Strike the Gold, and Gato Del Sol may or may not have been helped. I couldn't tell.

    This is not to say that the big Derby fields did not adversely affect horses that might have won otherwise; Risen Star comes to mind. However, big fields, by and large, do not mean that good, even great, horses are unable to win. Improving the quality of Derby winners is not a compelling reason to reduce field size.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    That's why no one wants position one to run at a fence
  • That's interesting because I just looked it up and in the last 20 Derbys, the favorite has won three times. Those handicappers really should improve their skills, eh?
  • Well, to be fair to the handicappers, the Derby is the one race every year where large numbers of people wager without having a clue as to what they're doing. I can't prove it, but I would speculate that factors such as the horse's gender, its looks, and its back story skew the odds. There is probably a lot of bandwagon hopping. The other factor, I think, is distance. The handicapper has to ask herself whether the horse can get the 10f. She can look at pedigrees and dosage and pace figures all she wants, but she won't know if the horse can get the distance until it actually DOES get the distance. Or not. Many a Derby horse has stopped at the eighth pole.

    I'm too lazy to look it up, but I wonder what the success rate is for the top two or three betting favorites?
  • whoodlerwhoodler Member
    edited June 2012
    I'm not into handicapping, at least not seriously or methodically. I start following the Derby prep races early in the year (noting and recording who finished 1-3,) looking up pedigrees on colts... and the occasional filly... that strike my fancy. I don't know about and so don't give any thought to (guessing about) who can go 1-1/4 miles. I also don't know about the human factor, generally... trainers, jocks, owners, etc. In total, I put maybe 5-6 hours into it before May. I am inclined, come race day, to NOT favor the favorite, except as one of my top 4-5 contenders. And yet, if I knew anything about how to bet and was inclined to do so, I'd be doing pretty well. In fact, I noticed a few years back that my predictions were coming true more often than not and started writing them down and in the last couple years, posting them on my blog and another (non horse) forum I'm on. SO, I'm one of the large numbers of people without a clue except for the actual money part. I don't think of people who bet as "handicappers," but, you're right, that is what they are. So saying, as I did, that only 3 favorites had won in the last 20 years loses a lot of its punch taking that into consideration. EXCEPT usually the favorite is also considered "the horse to beat" by the professionals as well. So we're right back to the Derby outcome being less predictable than other races. Which leads my convoluted thinking to why it's been so long since we've had a Triple Crown. It boils down to this... there is only one horse each year that CAN win the TC and that is the winner of the Kentuckt Derby and generally, the best horse is not winning that all important race. Granted some flukey things have happened, like this year, but you can't build a second and third story unless the first floor is solidly in place. I think the changes in Kentucky will improve our first floor.

    By the way, lauraj_cincinnati, I grew up at River Downs and learned my most important life lesson from my dad who took me racing while the rest of the family was at Coney Island... "don't bet more than you can afford to lose" was his advice and it has worked well for me.
  • The Derby also comes at a point in a horse's life when they are still maturing. Just like human beings, some hit puberty a little sooner and some a little later. I think that makes a difference to the Derby. Strike the Gold is a good example. The fact that he lost twelve straight races after the Derby may make it look like he was a fluke winner, but his Derby prep season was very respectable, having won a major prep race and a second in another. I think some of the horses just continued to improve following the Derby in ways that he did not. Curlin is another example. He was lightly raced going into the Derby, but ran respectably that day. I think he just needed a little more time and experience to become the horse that we all remember.

    All of that is to say that while it may seem like the best horse often doesn't win the Derby, the winner of any race is, in some sense, always the best horse on that day in that exact moment.
  • Lil E. Tee may also have been helped by the fact that AP Indy was scratched the morning of the Derby. (PS. If you knew me, you'd know that I worship AP Indy.)
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