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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

April 2022 - Derby Top Seven

Not This Time

We are now only 35 days away from the 2022 Kentucky Derby. For the last 4 months on the Derby Trail, things have remained fairly steady and straight forward. Looking at the top ten list from February 1st, the main players have performed right on point and carried their inheritance across that finish line, displaying that talent every step of the way. Sometimes when you overthink things, you can get caught up in the noise and wander off the clear path and into the woods, struggling all the way. This year, there is no reason to divert yourself through that thick brush.

As with every year, there will be more than 4 contenders who can travel the 10f. At the moment, there are actually a dozen of them going into April. Each contender was talented enough to gain points into this prestigious race. Our job is to distinguish the best of the best out of that dozen. The nature of a 20-horse gate in the Kentucky Derby will always figure to impede even the best bred and best performers every year. If you gamble on a superfecta, common sense will put the best top four on that ticket but there is no guarantee that they will find a suitable gate, an unimpeded run, a fearless jockey, or even proper position. A good superfecta ticket will hold at least 8 runners (double the superfecta minimum) in order to cover yourself in case of calamity.

At this point in time, 35 days out, these are the top seven performers who hold the very best inheritance for the distance and who have also proven that they are running true to their charts. They have tackled each race, regardless of winning or even in defeat, as dictated by that inheritance. They have conquered adept competitors. They have shown talent regardless of bias. All but one has run with full fields and gained valuable experience in doing so. They have superior configurations that align with the history of the Kentucky Derby. They are versatile, adaptable and classy, which will aid in the chaos of the stampede out of the gate.

The criteria written above does not mean that they will find the perfect trip and as every year shows, it never happens. Therefore, we must look at all contingencies within the 2nd tier to cover any situation that may arise. The second tier, at the very least, must be adept at distances between 9.5f and 10f. That final 4th horse may stagger his way in 10 lengths behind the top tier (those with at least 10.3f capability) which means we must find the "best of the best" within that category as well. That will come later.

The dominant winning superfecta in the Kentucky Derby consists of 3 speed contenders and 1 stamina contender. There have been years where that rule has not applied though. Knowing that the vast number of editions has indeed ended in the first way, you must at least secure a ticket that is holding 3 speed contenders and at least one stamina. For instance, if you pack your superfecta with a majority of stamina category horses, you are already putting YOURSELF at a disadvantage before the bell. No matter your contention and gut feeling on certain colts in that gate, the fact remains; year after year, speed dominates the Derby. In addition, there is always the possibility of a talented "average category" colt finding himself with a great deal of luck in his run and he manages to hit that board. At the moment, there isn't one to be found but that may change this month.

This is the moment where I put that "ego on full display" and where my confidence in handicapping the Kentucky Derby year after year far surpasses any of those "hotshot writers" out there or those "pedigree gurus" who think they are really something unique and special. Those bigshots who scoff at the mention of the word DOSAGE can kiss my ass. These are the same ones who left Simplification off the board in the Holy Bull stakes. These are the ones who questioned Epicenter's distance capability at 8.5f. The very ones who slip in the backdoor quietly at this tiny obscure website, reading this very article and taking notes, while slamming the very thought of dosage. Yes, them. They are clueless with breeding, clueless with distance capability and even more clueless with what actually dominates every year in the Kentucky Derby. I don't care who I offend at this point. I've seen my articles lifted too many times and, after all, it's my website. I can say whatever I want.

Out of the seven on this final list, four of them have been at the forefront at the Dirty Horse Club since the end of January. One of them climbed aboard at the beginning of March. And the 6th and 7th ones are making their debut tonight. This is not me working some sort of magic. This is Dr. Roman's Dosage theory coupled with Federico Tesio's ideology. I simply read the configurations and align them with the past performances. I do not place faith in timeform figures or beyer figures for 10f distance capability. That idea is a joke and simply ridiculous. I look to see who is bred for a distance over 10f, who displays speed against the bias, and how the history of the top players of the Derby consistently reveals the greatest advantage of the (un-altered) horse. Again, this is not some crystal ball that I have on my coffee table. It is in the understanding of how the numbers work and the absolute pure consistency of knowing exactly how to combine the numbers of both the chefs and the reines, which in turn, will always point out a player.

I firmly believe that those who scour the internet for picks and tips from these "handicapping websites" do more harm than good. What are you learning? Do you think that reading about what beyer the horse received in a prior race is going to tell you anything that you probably don't already know? Do you think that any one of them could point out a 2-year-old with complete confidence, who has the capability of 11.7f and that he is built perfectly for the Kentucky Derby? What would make anyone put their faith and betting dollars in someone else's picks who says, "his distance should be okay because his sire won at the classic distance." What a bunch of bullshit. They are clueless, just as clueless as a handful of trainers out there who ruin perfectly bred animals because they don't place them in the correct races. And if these so-called handicapping experts weren't clueless, you'd be reading the same type of insight that you see on this website when it comes to the Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Hell, they'd win awards for it. The goal with this sport (and this website) is to become a great handicapper on your own. After all, this is what it is all about. Sitting down to tackle a race, putting your own puzzle pieces together. Having confidence in your own handicapping and accepting the defeats along with the successes.

Little Gramps - 1928

The greatest handicapper that I have ever seen was my Grandfather. It was his job. He got up every morning, put on his bow tie and he boarded a bus for the nearest track. He was handicapping serious horses, 7 day a week, back as far as the 40's, and the only time that man would accept an outside pick is if the "fellas" knew a fix was in. The magic of this sport is that it relies on you and you alone, to untangle that puzzle with every tool possible. I hope that the content of this site has added to your repertoire. This is what horse racing is all about. You.

Year after year, these numbers, the combinations and the insight is spot on. And this final Top Seven list, which mimics basically the same colts as it did when posted on January 29th is the evidence. Every year, at least the top 3 finishers who hit the board in the Kentucky Derby have been pointed out from the beginning. I am 101% confident that the superfecta for the 2022 Kentucky Derby will be found within the 7 colts talked about below. Call it ego. Maybe. But I prefer to call it...reading dosage like a champ.

Our fellow handicapper, Brian, pointed out Simplification minutes after he won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes back on January 1st. He spotted the performance; he aligned that performance with the colt's configurations and knew, immediately, he was a Derby contender. That race was not even a Derby prep. Tracking down his 16-length win in his maiden race was all the evidence we needed to see where that breeding was going to lead him. It is all about the numbers and how they relate to his performances. This happens every year, over and over again. The Derby is a scripted race when, and only when, drugged up colts are not competing.

This website was always about trying to give the reader the tools to be able to read these numbers on their own and follow the history. I have tried to pass along the absolutely infallible and perfect system for finding a Derby player from a full crop of two year olds. Hundreds upon hundreds of them. I have pointed out the successes and the mistakes along the way so that we can all learn going forward. I have given insight on what to look for, what the horse needs to present, what he has, what his limitations are, what bias he will favor, and what his strengths are. How far he is capable of going and when he will hit his wall. If the horse cannot compete as his chart dictates every step of the way, then he must be tossed if he doesn't live up to that chart. Good-bye Classic Causeway. It was apparent that you probably would follow in Tax's footsteps. The bias of a track can never be underestimated.

I had stated at the beginning of the year, that this would be my final year because of Bob Baffert. His detriment to the scripted history of these numbers, his demolition of the breeding records and charts and his overuse of drugs that tainted those historical records made me absolutely determined to go out with a bang this year. I have studied hundreds upon hundreds of charts and replays. I have worked on the bias of tracks, filled 3 notebooks of numbers, sires, percentages, pace projections, expended energy, etc etc. It was the year without Baffert nagging at my back with pure frustration and I loved every second of it. I am happy to state that since we now know that his suspension will hold and that we will actually have a Baffert-free Derby for two years, I will remain onboard for 2023.

Since Nyquist's winning superfecta year, everyone knows that the track record here has been consistently 3 out the 4 top finishers year after year. With the (sorta) absence of Baffert and his souped-up speed clones that never followed their breeding, I do hope its 4 out of 4 this year. In order to cover ourselves, we must have at least 2 back-ups to withstand things that are out of our control. Bad trips, bad bumps, getting trapped on the rail, bad riding, etc will always rear its ugly head and there is nothing we can do about it. We cannot marry our picks until the day of, ideally during the post parade, and must be ready to shift at a moment's notice. Remember, we do not have gate assignments, we do not know the bias, we have no knowledge of the weather.

That said, these are the very best of the best out of this crop for the Derby. Four of them are speed colts, three of them are stamina colts. That's it. But remember, we must be able to switch out and roll with the punches. If a horse like Mr. Big News struts into the arena late with his configurations we must substitute immediately and not disregard to our own detriment! (I will never let that one go! So obvious it still bothers me!) The configuration of that ticket will take superior ingenuity and it must be done with absolute precision this year. I will settle for nothing less. One does not handicap a single race for 9 months without expectations of getting paid. Nor should you.

We will explore each colt and make adjustments later as we get a week or so away from the big day. We do have a few preps to go as well and if things change, I swear I have no problem ripping this up and starting all over again. I intend on hitting the superfecta. I will not settle for the Trifecta this year. The Super High 5 is in the cards as well. No better year than this one.

This Top 7 consists of the four best "speed category" colts and the three best "stamina category" colts. The final analysis, which will be posted prior to gate assignments and as early as possible, will fine tune everything, getting down to the details. We have been well on our way since the very beginning of the trail, but we are not yet at the water's edge.

I have added "Confidence Level" ratings for a Board Hit - for both Clean Track and Sloppy Track - based on three criteria:

  1. Alignment with Past Performances to Breeding/Distance Capability.

  2. Alignment with the History of Winning Configurations of the Derby to Breeding.

  3. Alignment of Style, Talent, Adaptability, Consistency, Will and Determination

Top Tier Consideration




DP = 12-12-14-0-2 (40) DI = 3.44 CD = 0.80

Mare Profile = 7-4-1-8-8 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.76 Triads = 12-13-17

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 82% Sloppy Track = 95%

Generally, when a colt is holding 40 points total, the mare's configurations may not come into play. This is good news for Messier, as his mare's set-up is horrendous. There is always the possibility though that the mares want their say, especially for a clean track, which is why this horse is not getting 95% confidence on both bias'. Additionally, when he ran over one mile away from Santa Anita without the lead, he was compromised. It would appear that this guy will need the lead and that prerequisite is not guaranteed in the Kentucky Derby, especially if Forbidden Kingdom gets a gate or if Classic Causeway wants to commit suicide. I believe this horse could be very vulnerable at 10f off of a sloppy track, but the Baffert antics will still be unavoidable. With his former assistant acting as "trainer in name only" the "un-testable" stamina potions are still a real threat. Messier does not need magic potions with his breeding, but I would bet my entire Derby bankroll that nothing will stop it. Baffert is seeking vindication and he desires his name all over that NBC program on May 7th with "his horse" entering that winners circle. Messier will act as Baffert's step back into society, so I trust nothing that has his name attached to it - just as every year since Pharoah. Baffert still looms large here. Messier has an excellent set-up for board-hit material on a sloppy track, there is no doubt in my mind about that. However, if it wasn't for Baffert lurking around the corner and if this horse had zero attachment to him, I would give him more like a 75% confidence level on a clean track. Can't do it. This horse must be used top to bottom on your super ticket, rain or shine.


DP = 2-5-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 9-5-2-7-8 Speed = 14 Stamina = 15 Index = 1.00 Triads = 16-14-17

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 100% Sloppy Track = 95%

Tapit stamina over Into Mischief speed with a 3.80 chef index has absolutely no excuse for not hitting that board or winning the whole thing outright other than getting smashed out of the gate. He has a full concrete history of success for a board hit in this race and his past performances back him entirely. On January 18th, the weekend of Pool Two for the Futures Bet, I did some quick work on his numbers, but since he was a Tapit horse with a 3.80 index and also with Into Mischief through his mare line, his numbers could not be taken at face value. I needed more time. I spent about week working and studying everything I could when it came to this horse and his chart. The following week, prior to his debut in the Holy Bull stakes, I posted the Top 10 article and put him at #9 because of his impeccable chart. Once he demonstrated that he was capable of running to those numbers in the Holy Bull, he was moved all the way up to #2 on March 1st's list. After today's performance in the Florida Derby, this horse, who is built even better than his half-brother Essential Quality, has no excuse for not being in that stretch in the Derby. He absolutely, positively, without even a shadow of doubt, has the power, the breeding, the talent, to win the 2022 Kentucky Derby. He revealed it all in his maiden race back in Sept of 2021 - by his chart.


DP = 4-3-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80 CD = 0.92

Mare Profile = 6-5-6-9-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.79 Triads = 17-20-22

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 86% Sloppy Track = 90%

This colt is equipped with undeniable and perfect configurations both top and bottom to be a major threat in the Derby. Again, the possibility of a hard trip or getting banged around in the stampede out of the gate will always supersede the best set-ups. His sire, Classic Empire, suffered a horrible trip headed by Julien Leparoux and the best on the field that day had to settle for 4th place. With Morello, this could happen as well, and I do not believe that this guy is "the best on the field" which is why he gets an 86% on a clean track. He is part of the top Seven at this point and must be used of course, but only 4 can hit the board. I do believe that his advantage will get heightened a bit extra on a sloppy track. Either way, Morello is a very strong undefeated player who has the proper configurations to excel in the Derby.


DP = 4-9-10-1-0 (24) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.67

Mare Profile = 13-3-2-5-6 Speed = 16 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.63 Triads = 18-10-13

Confidence level for Board Hit: Clean track = 87% Sloppy Track = 93%

In March 1st's Top Eight list, I had the "average category" guy, Emmanuel, at #4. In his analysis I wrote, "He will have his hands full against his stable mate, Charge It, who is also in Pletcher's barn. Let the points fall as they may." Well, the points did fall, right in Charge It's back pocket. As a 3.00 Tapit offspring, I would always point out that they have a very hard time with success in the Derby unless they have an index over 3.10. As the history of the Tapit performers reveal every single time, 3.00 is the cut-off and that the mare's line is generally null and void. In this particular case though, we need to look a bit deeper. One, this horse entered a Grade One Derby prep with two maiden races under his belt and was able to compete, with staggering class, against 2 top tier Derby players. And two, his mare's contribution is abnormally twisted with a complete dominance in loaded speed. Just like White Abarrio, who has Into Mischief on the bottom of his chart, he has serious stamina over serious speed as well. The top requirement that is the Kentucky Derby every year. He gets 87% on a clean track because of that 3.00 index (White Abarrio at 3.80 gets 100%) but that is still superfecta worthy and top 7 worthy in my book.



DP = 0-0-9-1-2 (12) DI = 0.60 CD = -0.42

Mare Profile = 1-10-5-8-5 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.74 Triads = 16-23-18

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 99% Sloppy Track = 85%

I believe this is the horse to beat in the Derby this year, especially on a clean track. The only reason why he was denied 100% in the confidence level by 1% is because one never knows the true allegiance of a jockey. Rosario has a profound allegiance to the "Victim" and ever since he left that stall last year with his foot out of Rock Your World's stirrups, I never trusted him again. Epicenter drops down to 85% confidence level on a sloppy track. For a stamina boy, that certainly isn't bad. He has never run on a wet track but there are several reasons why he still gets 85% confidence that he will still be part of the superfecta on that bias. One, his sire was a monster on a sloppy track. Two, both his half-brothers, In Due Time and Chasing Time, followed suit and excelled on a sloppy track. Three, his running style puts him in an advantage on a muddy surface, running with the top flight with more than enough stamina to continue. Four, this horse is utilizing both the top and the bottom of his inheritance to perfection and the mares are giving him enough speed to compete on a sloppy track. Fifth, Epicenter will be sitting on the very bottom of the speed/stamina category list which is exceptionally advantaged due to his unsurpassed stamina inheritance. This means that if the track is overtly muddy and deep, or sticky, or hard to run through, he will have the position and the raw stamina to continue through it, whereas those on the border in distance will give in. Epicenter is the best of the crop in the breeding department and with a nice clean run, he will be very hard to beat. The speed and determination of White Abarrio (and Messier) is a threat mainly because the Speed Category is the advantaged party and has been since Animal Kingdom.


DP = 1-0-9-0-0 (10) DI = 1.22 CD = 0.20

Mare Profile = 2-11-4-11-3 Speed = 13 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.90 Triads = 17-26-18

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 88% Sloppy Track = 85%

A bonafide Champ even in defeat. The Florida Derby hands complete advantage to speed driven colts. The only other contender on the field sporting stamina like Simplification was Classic Causeway. Both of these guys entered a 9f race (below their optimum) that requires excessive speed on that bias at that distance. Classic Causeway packed it in half way through the race and Simplification carried on with a will to win completely against how he is built. Two Tapit boys with speed beat him on that bias. There is no prerequisite that a colt must go undefeated on the road to win or hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. Remember Country House, packed with stamina, could only manage a distant third behind Omaha Beach and Improbable in the Arkansas Derby. Bias against him. Distance against him. Up against two speedy advantaged 9f runners. Country House was left as an afterthought, and nobody cared that he ran 3rd in that race against his breeding. He was dismissed and went off at 65 to 1 odds. If you dismiss the obvious talent of Simplification's incredible performances against his breeding and against any advantage from day one, do so at your own peril. This horse is absolutely part of the top 7 for the 10f Derby. His configurations were not "killer" for the Florida Derby, but his configurations are SPECTACULAR for the Kentucky Derby. Just ask the other stamina guy Code of Honor, the colt who also came in 3rd in the Florida Derby and 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. He was basically dismissed as well. Only 4 can hit the super and if you grab 8 contenders for that ticket, his potential odds, his configurations, his breeding and his class are a far superior choice from any others not on this list. The horse has been consistent, below his optimum and against his configurations every step of the way and has succeeded in each of his performances with class.


DP = 0-2-6-0-0 (8) DI = 1.67 CD = 0.25

Mare Profile = 3-2-5-12-6 Speed = 5 Stamina = 18 Index = 0.45 Triads = 10-19-23

Confidence Level for Board Hit: Clean Track = 70% Sloppy Track = 30%

I learned my lesson in 2020 when a newcomer slid into the Kentucky Derby with killer configurations named Mr. Big News. He was loaded to the max and was sporting the type of configurations that we look for every year. I stuck with Sole Valente as one of the stamina players instead of divorcing him for something better. That idea cost me the superfecta, losing it again by one as usual. I will not ever do that again. So here he is. The son of Gun Runner. A stamina boy with magnificent mare numbers. The type that cannot be ignored on a clean track. (Plus, I needed a stamina guy to even everything out!) Overloaded stamina configurations do find favor in some Derby Editions when there are two or more speed demons entered as well who cannot sustain the distance. We may have just that in this year's edition. This guy has a 13-point spread leaning to stamina from his mares while he is only holding 8 total points from his chefs. The triads are crazy good with their depiction of clear-cut stamina. A fast opening quarter and his configurations will come into play with the best of them. That could never be ignored.


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