The Mid-Range Category is the next set to look into, picking up from the article Derby Quality - Speed.
As stated in the previous article, the three top qualities that a colt must be holding to be considered Derby Material are:
Inherited Speed vs Displayed Speed as shown in their Preps
Inherited Stamina to withstand 10f which is found in their charts.
Bias Ability according to the Weather, either displayed previously or according to their chart.
There is a major difference between the Speed Category (3.00 and over) and the Midrange Category (2.00 to 2.90). In its simplest form, colts in the 3.00 and over category were blessed (from their chefs) with 3+, 4+, 5+ times the amount of speed inheritance over stamina. In the midrange category, these colts received 2 to 2.9 times the amount of speed over stamina from their chefs. That is a great deal of difference, especially because Speed wins races and if the colt inherited more they will always hold an advantage over those who were not recipients of the same. This statement makes complete sense when you consider the distances of the early maidens and shorter preps that these colts are let loose at.
Additionally, the midrange colts (2.00 to 2.90) have a built-in even speed/stamina balance from their chefs. They are not lopsided to speed like those in that higher echelon speed category, and they are not lopsided to stamina (under 2.00) like their counterparts in the stamina category. Those colts who have indexes under 2.00 have the stamina, but sometimes they lack in speed. The Midrange colt, balanced to an extent already from their chefs, stand in the center of the speed/stamina balance and this placement generally goes against the very attributes that the Derby demands. They thrive in the Belmont Stakes because of that built-in balance. The major quality that is required in the Derby is an overabundance of inbred mare stamina coupled with DISPLAYED SPEED leading up to the big day. The more packed the attributes, the better, on both sides. The mid-range colt automatically finds a disadvantage based on the even average chef balance. As the history of the Kentucky Derby confirms, the midrange colt is the least advantaged category year after year. Conversely, they are always the most advantaged in the Belmont because of that raw even balance of speed and stamina that is a major requirement to last that 12f run.
The mid-range colt finds his greatest success and greatest advantage at two specific distances - 7f and 12f. It is due to the balance that they received from their chefs. At 7f, a quick speedster (index over 3.00) will generally falter with that wicked speed until he learns to pace himself. A stamina horse (under 2.00) simply needs more track. The mid-range horse has the highest advantage in most every 7f graded stakes race based on the history of the winning numbers in these graded stakes races. The 12f of the Belmont is easy to comprehend, too much inherited speed for that distance will beat a horse down before the far turn. Too much inherited stamina gets the horse around the oval but the speed down the lane is insufficient. In conjunction with that, since the speed guys can't get around the full track and pack it in (Baffert clones aside), we are left with those 2.00 to 2.90 guys who realistically have more inbred chef speed in them than the stamina horses. They beat them out by default. The balance of the midrange colt is perfect and based on the outcomes of the Belmont Stakes, the advantage they carry is off the charts.
Because of the fact that both 7f and 12f is the perfect spot for this type of breeding, it is important to understand that some of these colts will favor that 7f side going forward in their careers because they favor the sires (or mares) in their charts that lean to speed. On the flip side, some will gravitate to that 12f side, because they favor the sires (most likely the mares) in their charts that lean to stamina. It takes a complete and total standout who can gravitate to both sides and that is easily read along the way. These are the guys who beat up their speedy opponents early on and these are the guys who have the mare numbers to sustain it going longer.
For a 2.00 to 2.90 to win the Derby, they must have exhibited that they are capable of bypassing the even and subtle chef balance with the raw talent and jets to beat up on the speed guys along the way. In this one regard, the midrange colt is extremely easy to read because we have past performance sheets and speed figures. Unlike the speed guys, whose past performance sheets MUST be secondary to their breeding as it pertains to the Derby, the average midrange category MUST have shown the ability to DISPLAY some sort of speed leading up to the big day. In other words, he MUST have beaten up on the speed guys or, at the very least, been competitive with them. Only a past performance sheet will tell you that, therefore, this category is opposite of the Speed category. High beyers and timeform figures, quick short workouts, and CONSISTENCY in those qualities will be the very first thing that will tell you that he is burning through his evenly balanced numbers. It will tell you that as disadvantaged as this category is, how this particular guy is performing through his numbers, will highlight him as a player every single time. It means he is a standout because he was not born with those quick fast speed indexes - he is blowing through his numbers. It is then our job to look at the mares breeding to distinguish between a 7f to 8f runner (types like Whitmore, Roadster, Irap) or a 10f to 12f runner (types like Battle of Midway, Dortmund, Union Rags). Everything revolves around their performances to date and what those mares are bringing to the table. It is our job to know which ones go that 10 to 12f distance and which ones want to be milers.
This category has an extremely difficult time keeping up with the speed guys and the stamina guys in the 10f Derby, but that does not mean that they should ever be disregarded. Their performances will make them stand out and their breeding will tell you whether or not they are the 7f runner or the 12f runner. Never underestimate a midrange colt, but always remember that the obvious even balance they are holding from their chefs will only be one side of the coin. The mares will tell you whether or not he wants that mile range or that 12f range. There will always be a handful of entries in this category in the Derby gate. They gain their points two different ways. The first way is because the prep distances are what they want and what they thrive in. Those 7f to 8.5f prep races. These are the guys that are extremely easy to toss for the 10f Derby. (Lone Sailor, Untrapped, Majesto, Roadster, etc.) The second way is because they are monsters that exhibited speed at a huge disadvantage along the way and the rare type who want the 12f of the Belmont. (Palace Malice, Union Rags, Ruler on Ice, Paynter, etc.). Of course, the advantage of the inheritance of major stamina through a Tapit offspring, 1st or 2nd generation, coupled with a 3.00 or under chef index will also point to a huge advantage in the Belmont.
High Speed + Stamina wins the Derby and that combination can be found in any category. It is very rare in the midrange category but when it appears it is so easy to spot.
There are 3 things to look at when judging whether or not a midrange colt can be competitive in the Derby:
He must have DISPLAYED incredible speed up to 9f consistently with the ability to outrun the Speed contenders in his maiden and prep races. Consistently posting speedy workouts below 6f. This is the most important aspect of a midrange bred colt. He must be on par or just under the speedsters along the way. Beyers figures are paramount. Standout performances on a sloppy track as well, which means he is out-performing the more advantaged speedier colts on that field. It also means that he is capitalizing on the speed side of his balance from his chefs and if his mares happen to throw in any more additional speed.
2. Any midrange colt who is packing total chef points around 36 and above will always find a greater advantage in the Derby.
3. Extreme numbers from the mares, packed up and loaded on the stamina side of the speed/stamina balance. If it is on both, all the better.
All three items are extremely important in this category and you must take the time to look. It is rare for this category to make it to that winners circle, but they do every once in awhile. They also hit that board if you play superfectas, and the same rules apply. In addition, if we happen to watch one of these "average midrange" colts hit that wire first in the Derby, the chance that he will find ease winning the entire Triple Crown becomes a much greater possibility because the horse has a clearer advantage in the Belmont. Just ask Affirmed and Seattle Slew! The speedier winners of the Derby do not hold that advantage, (unless they are souped up Baffert horses) which is why the Triple Crown Trophy is so hard to procure. What holds the advantage in the Derby tends to lose that advantage in the Belmont.
Lets look at the last 4 "midrange bred" colts who managed to win the Kentucky Derby. All 3 of the main qualities are consistent.
2019 COUNTRY HOUSE
DP = 5-7-11-1-0 (24) DI = 2.69 CD = 0.67
Mare Profile = 4-6-2-10-9 Speed = 10 Stamina = 19 Index = 0.53 Triads = 12-18-21
Leading up to the Derby, this guy was never off the board. He only won one race prior to the Derby but being an "average 2.69" guy, the ability to at least hit that board consistently says something. But the number one giveaway with Country House was his 3rd place finish in the Arkansas Derby. This horse flew from the back of the pack, passing horses like it was nothing and he ran out of track ON A SLOPPY SURFACE. He had no business being able to do this with his breeding (from the mares) and that race was the prelude to the sloppy conditions of the Derby that year. He flew on a 9f sloppy track and he demanded more track. It was basically a gift that all but went unnoticed. So, here we have an evenly balanced 2.69 colt from his chefs who exhibited serious speed on a disadvantaged sloppy track coupled with the highest inbred mare stamina that was installed in the 20 gates of the Derby. Look at those mares numbers. Speed = 10, Stamina = 19. That is serious stamina. That is 12f Belmont stamina. The balance of that mare see-saw tilts all the way over to the stamina side. Here is a horse who exhibited crazy speed on a sloppy track, always hit the board in every race he ran and he was packing more than enough stamina from his mares numbers to conclude that this guy would never ever end up on the miler side of his balance. We were due for a midrange guy to take this race and the conditions were spot on for him to capitalize of off Maximum Security.
2012 I'll Have Another
DP = 2-4-7-1-0 (14) DI = 2.11 CD = 0.50
Mare Profile = 6-5-1-10-8 Speed = 11 Stamina = 18 Index = 0.67 Triads = 12-16-19
In the same vein as Country House, the mare profile tells the complete story. The spread between the speed/stamina balance is a large 7 points leaning all the way over to stamina. In addition, his chefs index is on the lower end of the average category (2.11) which gives him a tendency to lean a bit more to stamina on that chef balance. The triads ascend towards stamina. It is a shame that this colt was not given his day in the Belmont, because his numbers screamed that he was built perfectly for that race. As a matter of fact, out of the three Triple Crown races, it was the Belmont where he would have found his greatest advantage of them all. As an "average bred", this guy consistently beat up on the speed he was entered against along the way which of course made him a standout in this disadvantaged Derby category. He had only one poor performance along the way, and that can only be attributed to one thing - Julien Leparoux. The kiss of death on dirt. Luckily, Julien never returned to his back.
2007 Street Sense
DP = 8-1-12-0-1 (22) DI = 2.14 CD = 0.68
Mare Profile = 3-7-1-13-5 Speed = 10 Stamina = 18 Index = 0.58 Triads = 11-21-19
The familiar set-up from the mares shows up again with an 8 point spread in the mares speed/stamina balance which means this guy wants the 12f side as opposed to the 7f side. But, he was a speed demon in those shorter distances which made him an easy standout in this category. Street Sense was never off of that trifecta winning ticket along the way, beating up on his speedy opponents at those disadvantaged shorter distances. Lower end 2.14 index gives him a slight stamina edge on that even balance from his chefs and when you add in the mares, you have a recipe for great success in the Derby. Midrange colt that exhibits the jets to beat up on his speedy foes going short ALWAYS becomes a standout in his category and when you see all of that inbred mare stamina, you know he will be extremely deadly and competitive in the Derby. Another colt who missed exhibiting the outstanding advantage he would have had in the Belmont Stakes. Rags to Riches was one lucky filly that day in that Street Sense was not in the gate with her.
DP = 14-8-21-2-1 (46) DI = 2.41 CD = 0.70
Mare Profile = 4-4-5-8-6 Speed = 8 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.68 Triads = 13-17-19
This guy is the epitome of the perfect qualities for a midrange colt as it pertains to the Kentucky Derby. He held every winning attribute that reveals a complete standout monster in this category. Undefeated "2.41 midrange" beast leading up to the Derby. No speed contender could touch him in those shorter disadvantaged races. He was packing 46 incredible chef total points which doesn't get any better than that when it comes to the Kentucky Derby no matter what category the colt falls into. The mares, in this case, could be moot because of the loaded dominant chefs influence, but there is no denying that mare additional stamina none-the-less. An inheritance of a 6 point spread between that mare speed/stamina balance. Triads ascend heavily. He had Triple Crown winner written all over him.
The above 4 horses won the Kentucky Derby because they held everything that a midrange colt would NEED to both show and hold to be a player. Those are the set-ups and the conditions which will give you the answer on whether or not the horse has what it takes, against that disadvantage to conquer a field of 20 at 10f with that breeding. He must have displayed his speed along the way (which is rare) and he must have the mare stamina to sustain it. When one of these guys hits the Derby wire first, he has a huge opportunity to capture the Triple Crown. It is all about demonstrating speed along the way with the mare stamina to tilt that 7f tendency.
Go to Next Article: Derby Quality - STAMINA