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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2022 Derby Head to Head with Brian, Gerard & Lisa - updated

"They're all in line, ready for the start...and they're off... in the Kentucky Derby...

and Epicenter had a bea-u-tiful break..."



Brian: Can’t do it. I know he’s got a nice pedigree, and one that fits the Derby profile, but the reality is… He’s not fast enough. Brad Cox sent him to Turfway because he didn’t think highly enough of him to be a Derby horse, and because Turfway is a nice place to steal points. He won the Lexington, but who did he beat. I’ve got to draw some lines, and I’ll pass here

Gerard: Nice horse, but seems a cut below the top ones here.

Lisa: His ability to follow his breeding and perform on a dirt surface was one hurdle, but the displayed speed on that dirt surface in the Lexington does not match his high chef index. Excellent configurations are one thing, but there must be evidence in the final figures that back his 4.00 index. I love his configuration though and will hold on to him for the time being.

Update: It's that gate. Toss.



Brian: This guy is a riddle for me. He’s Speed over Speed, and yet he held on for 2nd in the 9.5F LA Derby, and only lost by two lengths to the soon to be Derby favorite. He shouldn’t have been able to do that, and yet he did. His numbers are right there with most others, and he’s still lightly raced. One step forward puts him in the mix, and his running style says he’ll be forward and out of trouble. Here’s where I stand today… Due to his speed, if the Derby turns up sloppy, I’ll have him on my tickets, but if it’s dry/fast I think he probably becomes a pace casualty. I will continue to think on this guy.

Update: Maybe 4th, but will have to use too much early due to post 19

Gerard: Finished second to Epicenter, but the margin of victory could have been greater. I just think the pace will be too fast for him.

Lisa: Did not run as a two year old. Combined optimum falls just shy of the 10f. Has only a maiden and OC win under his belt. His mares inheritance trickles backwards as well. He looked smart behind Epicenter at 9.5f with a nice kick in the end. His negatives put him 2nd tier with a minor nod underneath. He should gain lengths on a sloppy surface so one extra nod could be in order. His post will be very important to his performance. I will reserve final judgement until the gate draw.

Update: That post is harsh but I will use him because I cannot justify discarding that set-up of his, especially if it rains. The more I look, the more I like. I will give him a minor nod.



Brian: This guy is a player! He’s 4 for 5 and never off the board, though his one loss did come at CD. His pedigree leans to speed, but he’s a 2nd gen Tapit, which suggests ample stamina. He is consistently just off the pace which is ideal for the Derby. He’s also essentially paired beyers, with a 96/97, in his last two races, which is often a signal that a horse can move forward next out. Overall, his speed figs have not been as good as some others, but if he can get a good position, and if that Tapit stamina comes through, he’ll be there in final furlong. Win contender, but more likely board hitter.

Update: Still a player…. Like for 3rd and 4th

Gerard: Served notice with a strong performance in the KJC last year. Strong performances in Florida and seems to be healthy.

Lisa: This horse may not have the flashiest wins but he gets the job done. Sitting in the most advantaged 3.10+ category. His only defeat on his resume in the KY Jockey Club was arguably his best performance and showed his determination and ability to stop and start again in traffic. One of the best balanced colts on the field with undeniable excess stamina. Important Player.

Update: With that post, he is not as important as he has been. He will have a hard time getting to his preferred spot without getting impeded. Still think he is major talent and will keep.



Brian: Tries hard every time, and always hits the board, but just too slow. Oaklawn crop has been very poor this year. His only real chance would be for a complete meltdown up front, and even at that, he could only dream of finishing 4th. Less than 1% chance of that occurring. Toss.

Gerard: Looked strong at the end of the Arkansas Derby, but it took him forever to get by Kavod. Will run his usual race, but will need the field to come back to him.

Lisa: A Tapit colt who is sitting with an index over 3.00 who has only posted wins as a 2 year old is not utilizing his full inheritance. He is not as overloaded in speed like Abarrio and Charge It within his chart and Tapit could be a bit over-bearing here. He is getting tossed on a clean track, but I'll give a 4th place nod on a wet track. He has opportunity on a sloppy surface.



Brian: Bettors should love that he lost his last race, and that his trainer is no longer a criminal. If he had won the SA Derby, and he had steroid boy next to his name in the program, he’d undoubtedly be the Derby favorite. As it is, you may get close to 10-1 on him which is an absolute gift. There is nothing not to like about this horse. He’s fast. His pedigree is impeccable. His pace figs are all outstanding, and he has a forward style that has been very formidable. I think he’s very live Win contender, and he’ll be top to bottom on my tickets.

Update: Pace presence, top 2 selection

Gerard: Did the donkey work in the Santa Anita Derby. Johny V went to the front and put them to sleep in the last two derbies. Expect the same tactics.

Lisa: Major win contender in the rain and still within the top 4 on a clean track.

Update: At least he's running on his own merit and has history on his side. I hate to say it, but he's probably going to smoke this race.



Brian: ***Honest take: I don’t trust the Wood speed figures. I think that track was souped up in a big way. The jump in figs that occurred just doesn’t make any sense. The top 5 finishers in that race ALL ran a lifetime best. No. I don’t believe it. ***Now about Mo Donegal…He does intrigue me. He looks like he wants to run all day. He has made sustained runs down the stretch consistently, and he’s always right there. He’s also being pegged as a closer, but the reality is he’s always been within 5 of the lead, at every call, in each of his last 4 races. Will this field stretch out? Will he have room to close? The trip he got in the Wood was by all accounts, one of the sweetest trips ever seen…he probably doesn’t get that on May 7th.He will be closing, and he is good enough to hit the Super. But he’s not a win candidate. I think whether or not he gets used depends on what you think the pace will be, and how deep you want to go. I’m undecided, but he is board hit eligible.

Update: Not compromised by 1 hole…. Could hit bottom of Super with clean run

Gerard: Won the Wood despite running against a strong speed bias. With a clean trip he could get a piece.

Lisa: I liked this guy a couple months back, but now after seeing all the evidence presented within his performances, specifically, the Holy Bull at Gulfstream, I have my doubts. I don't see the proper consistent balance for the Churchill race. He has shown one dimension with each performance, staying true to his lopsided numbers which is counter to success in KY. He is tight for the 10f. I like a closer though so I'll probably give him a nod for the second tier begrudgingly. More explanation in the Analysis.



Brian: One eyed horse in the Derby. No. Toss. Too slow, and far better closers in here. Also, the fact he won the Rebel is really an indictment of the Oaklawn crop this year.

Gerard: Got clobbered by Barber Road in his last. An inside draw would help. Solid work at Churchill.

Lisa: Un Ojo will pedal backwards before the final turn. He will stagger in with his Japanese buddy, Summer is Tomorrow, behind a sea of horses. Toss.



Brian: Ughhhhhhhhhh….Tapit stamina over beautiful mare speed (5 points leaning towards speed in triads).I love this profile in the Derby…Extreme stamina AND Extreme speed…..Why am I having so much trouble….And he’s paired up 93 Beyers in his last two and could be leaping forward off them… a nice running style. Yes.. He’s board hit material… I think some are better, but I do like him a lot.

Update: Use Underneath.

Gerard: Can’t see him winning, but could easily be in the superfecta. He got a good education in his last race.

Lisa: I love this horse. I shouldn't but I do. He's stacked and loaded even with his Tapit 3.00 index, showing class against two top notch Derby players with his little resume. He's the type of Tapit boy that is built with raw speed and endurance that will run anywhere and any time. Only 3 races but they were full fields, not simply 5 competitors. If this horse didnt bang that gate in Florida, he may have very well beat both of those top players. This horse has major configurations, a serious chart, a will to win and can run on any bias. A big yes for me. I like him more and more everyday.

Update: The inexperience and 3.00 is a slight issue after more time with him. Love his displayed class though. The race may be too much too soon but I love this horse so I am staying with him.



Brian: Toss. He’s clear second tier out West. Pedigree of Oxbow over Tapit is intriguing, but he’s a closer, and there are WAY better in here. No.

Gerard: Can’t see it happening.

Lisa: I will be betting on this horse very heavily... and that is no joke... but not in Kentucky. If you find the opportunity to get a glimpse of this guy's rear end, look closely, and you will see a huge tattoo right there that says, Belmont Stakes. I hope that his trainer sees it as well. This guy is not built for the Kentucky Derby, but he is stacked for the Belmont Stakes. There is a reason why he struggled at Santa Anita. I might have actually considered a small nod in the Derby based on his killer stamina ability but the track bias on Derby day will probably mimic Santa Anita's slickness and he doesn't belong on that type of track.



Brian: I’m in on Zandon. I know his Triads are horrendous. I’m using anyway. Never off the board and in all 4 races his Bris figures have improved every time. He shown versatility, and he’s shown a very quick turn of foot that can be used at any point in the race. He also has shown he can fit through tight spaces, and a willingness to do so. What I think is overlooked with him is that while his DI is a 2.11 and leans to Stamina, his Triads have a huge number (13) in the Brilliant category which is demonstrated when he needs to find a gear…. I think he could run mid pack nicely, and turn it on around the turn… Chad Brown doesn’t just put any horse in the Derby. He got close w/ Good Magic… I think he can get close again.

Update: Won’t be as forward as Chad wants him to be due to so many other pressers…. Still a win contender

Gerard: Solid foundation. Traffic trouble in last has been overstated. In four lifetime starts, has had gate trouble twice. Will need a Country House style trip, not sure he gets it.

Lisa: This horse has no running style. Pace figures all over the place. He sits in the average category with notorious cursed mare configurations, with no consistency and the early pace figures from his last and best performance will never see the light of day again. Is this the best that the average category has to offer?

Update: I'm still working on the "widespread appeal" and apparently will need every second leading up to the post parade to figure it out.



Brian: True pace presence. He’s only run beyond 7F once, and he did well to stay on for 2nd in the UAE Derby. His Triads are completely backwards, but he probably will lead for the first 70 seconds… Then the real racing will begin. Toss.

Gerard: His UAE Derby was solid considering it was his first start past 7F on a tiring track. Hate that they waited so long to ship him.

Lisa: The reason why this guy will be staggering in with Un Ojo is this: Speed = 14 Stamina = 8 Index = 1.69 Triads = 20-19-14.

That set-up is completely backwards and that is all you need to know. That is the epitome of what does not work in the Kentucky Derby. Ever. Toss and don't look back.

Update: After further review, I think he lasts longer than his numbers are saying. He did well in the UAE and that shows a horse who is running through his inheritance. Good balance but still up against it.



Brian: This horse has the widest array of outcomes…He could win for fun because he’s Justify, or he could finish 45 lengths back, because his inexperienced baby nerves get the best of him…I’ll be honest and tell you a week ago I was not going to use him. Couldn’t. Wouldn’t. Shouldn’t. Won’t! And now…. I just might. His pedigree is really sweet…Gun Runner over Flatter…8 points towards stamina. AND I can’t un-see what I saw. And if you look at his works and patterns, and you see how long he’s been doing it…Well, damn. And then there’s his connections…And well…do I have to pay and use him? I’ll reserve final judgment until after his final work.

Update: Toss; If he beats me, horse racing is F’cked up.

Gerard: Must use. Talented colt who could win, but I still don’t think they should enter him.

Lisa: There isn't enough room here so I will just say, refer to the analysis for the explanation. There are specific and concrete reasons, based on the particulars of the SA Derby and players involved, the SA track bias, and his breeding that I do not like for Churchill. It is not simply because of his inexperience - but the Baffert touch is one that I will never trust. My ongoing dilemma is whether or not to pay at the ticket windows for the insurance policy that will cover my ass. I don't know that answer yet.

Update: Let's just say that I refuse to be burned by another Baffert clone, especially an inexperienced Baffert clone. This farce costs the betting public every stinkin year. I see no other way but to spend to spread this horse. The entire Zendan/Baffert putrid stench will ruin our Derby yet again. Damned if you do and damned if you dont. How much does that roll of the dice cost?? This time its a fkn BABY CLONE with zero inbred speed.



Brian: He’s kind of the forgotten horse. In January, he was the Derby favorite. Now, after a 3 month layoff, and two 2nd place finishes, both at 9F, and both against the two likely derby favorites, he’s going to be no better than 12-1, and maybe 15-1?All while not being fully cranked? He’s another that has paired Beyers, and is likely to move forward. Is he a 10F horse…his pedigree says so. I’m using him defensively. Board hit.

Update: Going to get a perfect rail trip…. Does he have kick in the stretch?

Gerard: Solid in two starts this year. Gets back to his happy place in Churchill. Expect Lanerie to get him to the rail. Can’t dismiss.

Lisa: There is alot to like about this horse but he did not step up and take hold of the bottom of that chart, therefore, I believe his inferior mares numbers will bite him hard at the top of the stretch. Can he grab a minor piece? Of course, he has 10.25f. I'm on the fence between a toss or a 4th place nod at this point in time. Lets see how things shake out with the gates.

Update: Great gate. I may just use low on the ticket.



Brian: This won’t be popular, but I’m going against. He’s a turf horse. His pedigree is sweet, and he just ran fast in the Jeff Ruby, but that was synthetic. Prior to that race, McPeek was pointing him to Europe, but now everyone caught the fever. Taking a stand. Toss!

Gerard: Washed out before the Holy Bull so I can’t judge him on that. Has handled dirt at Ellis Park and seems to be handling Churchill judging by recent workouts. Jockey is underrated. Worth a shot at a price.

Lisa: I didn't like this horse for the Derby from the beginning but I certainly loved that extraordinary St. Simon percentage. I have come straight back to my senses. No amount of lineage to St. Simon will change this horse's track preference and that Churchill Track will not be playing like Tapeta on Derby Day. Souped to the max. Toss.



Brian: He scares me. Stamina over Stamina who also happens to run near the pace. The only difference between him and Epicenter is that Epicenter has been fast. And I read somewhere that fast horses win horse races. Can he get faster? Yes. Is he improving? Looks like it. But he really hasn’t been fast yet, and he hasn’t beaten anybody. If I use him it will be in the 3rd and 4th spots, but I’m more likely to not use him. Speed kills, and he ain’t got it. Yet.

Update: Improving, but needs perfect trip to overcome lack of speed

Gerard: Tends to get too amped up pre race. Professional performance in the Arkansas Derby, but that was a strange prep.

Lisa: Sitting with "Epicenter-type Stamina" and his apparent fondness for the Churchill track which is revealed both in his maidens and his recent killer workout may point to the colt who has been heard singing late at night in his stall, "Oh, the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home..." I think this guy wants a speedier track and could be ready to grab his piece. Keeper.

Update: Using him much heavier than I had originally thought after having time to handicap the final contenders. I believe he will love the Churchill track and his pace figures will now match his preferred bias. Not as heavy if it rains though.



Brian: Total question mark. He’s won 3 of 4, but his win in the UAE Derby was slow! That said, he should have no problem w/ the distance, and previous Japanese horses show he will pick off horses in the stretch…Could he get up for 4th…maybe. Can he win…I highly doubt it. Will I use him…also doubt it.

Update: Been working like crazy… Use underneath

Gerard: Will be over bet based on what Japanese horses have done this year. At least he shipped in early.

Lisa: The answer here is not about his win in the UAE, it is all about his performance on the muddy track in the Hyacinth and how that combines with his win in the UAE. He came in 6th on a sloppy bias that demands speed and 1st on a bias that demands stamina in his last. The Derby requires both. But the 6th place on paper is a bit deceiving - he came from the back and made up alot of ground, charging wide, before running out of track at 8f. This is significant. I do not like his configurations for the Derby, however, overseas colts are a bit different. He is the only one that I am still working on and I can't commit to anything with confidence yet. The answer revolves around the Tokyo race. I will get there and update both this spot and the analysis when satisfied. I'm leaning to keep. - Update: Got a great replay to review (thanks Bart) and after looking into it - this guy is a definite keeper. He performed beautifully in the Hyacinth, even with his 6th place. Only 1/2 second off the winner and flying.

Update: Definite keeper even with the sub-par mare numbers. His balance is exquisite.



Brian: He’s easy for me. I’ll be using him across the board... I identified him back in December, and he hasn’t let me down yet…He was on the worst part of the track in the Florida derby and was doing all of the dirty work. He’s proven to be very versatile, and his pedigree, like his half-brother Epicenter is phenomenal. There is a very real possibility of a Not This Time exacta. I love this guy, and if he takes to Churchill, watch out.

Update: Don’t think he’s a winner, but will spread him anyway

Gerard: The more people dismiss him, the more I like him. I think the Florida Derby is better than it looks.

Lisa: I will be spreading this horse completely across the board. The balance in his breeding puts him top tier on both sides of the spectrum. He has "Shared Belief type" potential based on the same type of balance with the ability to perform on fast tracks, against the grain. If Churchill is even just one step down from the Gulfstream speedy bias, this horse will show everyone what he is truly made of. His type of configurations along with the workouts at Gulfstream are very note-worthy. Major Top Player.

Update: With finally figuring out the extra Not This Time Speed Influence, I have slight concern. But being superstitious means I will still keep him, especially because I had a very strong feeling all last week that he was going to pull Post 13. Spooky. Somebody is trying to tell me something but I dont know which way to take it! He stays.


EARLY VOTING - Not Running

Brian: ***See my Wood comments w/ Mo Donegal*** Pace presence. Don’t trust his jump from a 91 to a 111 between Withers and Wood. He’s a cut below, and with a projected lively pace, he’ll be a casualty. I’ll pass.

Gerard: Got everything his own way in the wood and still couldn’t hold off Mo Donegal. Expect him to wait for Preakness.

Lisa: I was never a fan of players coming out of Aqueduct for the Derby, however, Early Voting displayed his powerful stamina ability on the dry track in the Wood and he also presented a Royal Flush on the sloppy track in the Withers. He showed his ability to capture both sides of his inheritance which is major for the Derby. 11.1f optimum with the ability to excel on a sloppy surface is a keeper for me in the bottom slots of the super.



Brian: This guy is a deserving favorite. He’s got a beast of a stamina profile with a -0.42 CD and killer triads from his mares. What makes him incredibly special though is that aside from his stamina profile, he’s going to be on or just off the lead. He’ll stay out of trouble, and has no distance limitations. His pace figs are all at or near the top of his class, and he’s already won at Churchill. The only thing preventing him from hitting the board is bad luck, but guess what, that happens in the Derby. He’s the Most Likely Winner though.

Update: 3 hole doesn’t hurt him.. he’ll find his spot no matter what.

Gerard: As the distances increased, so did his speed figures. Don’t think we have seen his best yet. Major player.

Lisa: Even though I believe this guy is the best bred, the most talented and the one to beat, the fact remains; "stamina-driven" colts are not the advantaged party in the Derby. Therefore, even though I hate wasting money spreading the best on the field, I cannot look past the history of the Kentucky Derby. I must go plural here...Top SPOTS.

Update: Regardless of outcome, Epicenter is the most talented, best bred horse of this field. And if Baffert gets his glory again, I see Epicenter getting his revenge in Keeneland in the Breeders Cup Classic. He's at a disadvantage in this race against Messier.



Brian: I want to like him, but he’s probably not there yet. He’s got a real nice pedigree, and his speed figures are all trending in the right direction. His style is to sit right off the pace. The problem is he keeps getting passed by the likes of Epicenter, Zandon, and Smile Happy. He could surprise, but I think he just lacks that kick needed in the stretch. Toss.

Update: This could be the pace presence that hangs around and blows up tickets…. Use in the 4th slot

Gerard: Wasn’t embarrassed in the Risen Star or LA Derby. Needs to find a little more.

Lisa: Derby-worthy configurations but has not lived up to them along the way. Appears much better suited for Churchill. Need more time and will update.

Update: Love the post, love the configurations and I truly believe after long hard work, that this horse will finally be on a track that his breeding prefers. Not a bad bet underneath because of the bias.




Brian: I love his pedigree, Not This Time over Curlin, and his FOY effort was actually very solid, but his figures are all very lacking. He peaked at a mile and has since been trending in the wrong direction. Had he flashed in the Lexington, he could have been considered, but he came up empty. He’s never been past 8.5F, and he’s never run a triple digit anything. Toss.

Gerard: Would be more suited to some of the summer derbies.

Lisa: Killer numbers just like Simplification and Epicenter but he never showed his attachment to them. He had the opportunity but he couldn't connect with that hefty chart. Not every "Not this Time" colt can stand up to that lineage.




1. Epicenter

2. Messier

3. Simplification

4. Zandon

Top "Extra Add" - White Abarrio

Second Tier: Charge It, Crown Pride, Smile Happy, Mo Donegal


1. Epicenter

2. Messier

3. Simplification

4. Pioneer of Medina

Top "Extra Add" - Cyberknife

Second Tier: White Abarrio - Mo Donegal - Charge It - Smile Happy


1. Epicenter

2. Messier/ Taiba

3. White Abarrio

4. Charge It

Top "Extra Add" - Crown Pride

Second Tier: Simplification, Zozos, Pioneer of Medina, Zandon (I give up!)


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