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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

The Fourth Horse

As we sit one month away from the 147th edition of our beloved Kentucky Derby, we must take the time to remind ourselves that hindsight is 20-20. Each year, from the early maidens to the last of the preps, we tirelessly go over each and every colt. We follow their every move. We work on our handicapping pouring over every last item and then we say “This is the year!”

How many times have you placed a superfecta bet in the Kentucky Derby only to miss it by one? Personally, I have lost count. That fourth horse invades that ticket every year and every single time, he made perfect sense after the fact. He always fit that Derby Mold with the perfect configurations for the bias. Without fail, those numbers told his story perfectly and the horse ultimately made it happen.

Determined to not suffer the same fate this year and in trying to keep a sharp eye on that prized superfecta payout, it is high time to go back to the scene of the crimes as a reminder. This is not easy. It brings up old wounds. It highlights both the blindness and the sheer stupidity of years gone by. It reveals a lack of discipline and a reminder of those times when things are staring you right in the face but you refuse to remove the blinders. Even when things are written out in black and white, bold print, over and over during a season and you slam the door shut on it just before the post parade.

You see, the 4th horse is just as easy to spot as the first horse. Maybe we just don’t want to believe it. How could it be? A fifty to one shot in the Kentucky Derby? A horse who hasn’t posted a win in 2 months? No way! Can’t be! Keep searching. Keep circling the field. Land back on him again. But nobody is even talking about him. Walk away again. Circle back. Dismiss him again and then watch him hit 3rd place on that tote board. The fourth horse does not mean the fourth place guy on the super. It means he's the elusive quiet 4th player but he always tells us every year that he has the 10f. He tells us that he loves that bias and he tells us that he is ready to reveal that he was built for this 10f race. He tells us every year and it is ALWAYS exposed within those configurations.

That scenario happens every single year without fail. Just like all of you, I sit and re-read that analysis as if it was the first time I saw it. I am no different than any one who frequents the Dirty Horse Club. Yes, I write the analysis. I read the numbers. I understand them fully. I know exactly how they work in the Kentucky Derby. Every year that there has been access to these numbers, I have studied them, tracked them, listed them, pondered them and on and on. I write what those numbers are saying, I do not make it up, and just like you, I sit and I log on and I read it. Every single year, those numbers are spot on. Every year, those numbers tell the exact story – start to finish. And every year, without fail (except Nyquist’s year), that fourth horse beats the living crap out of us. And the entire time, either that horse was written out as a player or he certainly had every number exactly where it was supposed to be. EVERY YEAR.

There are 20 horses in the gate. Sixteen of them will not pay you. That does not mean that all 16 of them didn't have a legitimate shot when presented with the 10f track. It means that a few of them got unlucky. It means one or two got bashed out of the gate. It means maybe their jockey made a huge mistake around the far turn. Whatever transpires throughout the race itself has no bearing on a horse's ability to tackle that distance that he was built for. Every year, the day after the Derby, that order of finish from top to bottom makes so much sense and most times those top four had every advantage under the sun to hit that board. Every tell-tale sign was highlighted, pondered, spoken about and then POOF! Dismissed without a second thought. Left off of your ticket and then you watch the payouts flash on the screen and see that $48,000 super payout which remains as a sucker punch all the way up until the next first Saturday in May.

The Fourth horse is just as equipped as the first horse. Those who hit the first four spots of the Derby all have one thing in common – THE GENES TO GO THE DISTANCE. They are all gifted on the specific bias. They all have that one piece of advantage that is so easy to spot but what a handicapper must realize is that there could be 6 or 7 who have that extra special perfect set-up but only 4 of them could possibly pay you. That doesnt mean that the other 2 or 3 gifted colts were bad, it simply means that only 4 could be part of the tote board and the split second luck of it all eventually comes into play. I have come to realize over the years that it isn’t the inability to spot the correct players (be it 4 or 5 or 6 or even 7) who have that Derby magic – it is more about the pressure to commit to both yourself and to your friends the EXACT top 4 and the EXACT winner. It has finally occurred to me that no matter how you slice and dice it, when it comes to the Derby – it will bite you in the ass every single time.

Pressure. Every year, the day before the Derby, my phone does not stop ringing. Friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers, call and say the same thing… “Who do you like in the Derby?” By the 18th call I want to kill myself. How in God’s name do I explain to some casual, once a year, two dollar win ticket gambler, all of the ins and outs of every different scenario based on projected pace, how that pace will affect two certain stamina guys who must be on the ticket, but if it really does rain then we can’t use them and then we have to box these two speed guys because of the payout but then there is this longshot who is ready to explode… Blah…Blah…Blah.

Pressure. End up giving them the names of two different speed guys and hang up. I am sure that you feel that pressure to keep up appearances – choose 2 or 3 top guys – and stick with it all month when you know there's something missing. How do you tell somebody that there are eight possible top four runners on the field and you won’t know your top 4 or 5 until five minutes before post time? Then the phone starts ringing again 5 minutes before post and you're scrambling to place the bet with your hands trembling. This is the reason we miss by one every year. We all do it. Is it that absurd to point out that there are 8 horses on the field who have an advantage, two have the greatest advantage, and depending on the weather, or the bias, or the luck of the draw, there still remains 6 other horses who have what it takes to run the 10f and have a shot at that board?

Because every year, there ARE at least 8 who DO have the ability to win this race, or at the very least, to grab their piece of the pie. We are programmed to announce our top 2 or 3 and then fumble aimlessly to proclaim with all the certainty and confidence in that last 4th horse that will complete the superfecta. In doing so, because of that pressure, we trash the other 4 advantaged horses that we know have just as good of a shot as the other - and then the race is over, we missed by one again and we are left in a daze. Then you go back and read that damn analysis and that 4th horse has a write up that says, "If it's raining - you MUST use him. He's perfect for the mud. Look at his loaded chef's profile. It doesn't get much better than that." Just punch me now!

There are NOT only four horses out of 20 entered in the Derby year after year who has what it takes to win. There are NOT only four out of 20 who are advantaged AND will also get that perfect unimpeded run. There are several colts who will be entered who magically lose their advantage while different colts gain. It is not one colt who gains – it could be 2 or 3 who gain. Pressure to announce that ONE horse will inevitably make you lose by one yet again.

Four out of twenty hit the board. At least 10 horses can be tossed immediately and without a second thought every year. This leaves 10. Out of that 10, two are usually standouts and they are both a “must use.” - This leaves eight. Out of that eight, there is a strong possibly that each one of those colts can indeed travel the distance. This is the Kentucky Derby, 10f, not some 9f Grade 2 Prep race. If they are bred correctly, that 4th horse can be any one of those well-bred colts and they could hit that tote board in any of those top 4 spots. It happens on a yearly basis. The numbers point them out - the odds leave us questioning those numbers. Maybe they weren't as fast as the bigshots leading up to the big day, and maybe, just maybe, a few of those bigshots couldn't travel 10f even if they were given a head-start. It is 101% inheritance from both the chefs and the mares that will allow any longshot to finally enter HIS race - and that is when he explodes.

In addition, the first 5 seconds of the race could easily knock out the best bred and the most advantaged colt on that field. Just ask Classic Empire or Friesen Fire or Afleet Alex or Medaglia d’Oro or Pioneerof the Nile. There are times when the weather will flip everything on its side, as was the case with well-bred Thunder Snow and Mendelssohn. It also affected a few of the best thoroughbreds in history like Damascus and Tapit and Skip Away.

There are NOT only 4 horses capable of hitting the superfecta in the Derby and to dismiss any one of them is a huge mistake. Do not fall prey to the pressure of telling anyone who your top 3 or 4 picks are because there will always be at least 7 or 8 who have the correct breeding. Couple that with luck and ease with their performance and they will crack that Tote Board every time. As it is every year, the answers to these advantaged 10f colts will be laid out based on their speed/stamina balance - which gives each one of them the EXACT SAME ADVANTAGE on a 20 horse field. Even if a huge favorite posted 105 beyers in his last 2 races, that does not mean he is hitting 10f. Beyer and Timeform figures will not give a horse the distance, only inheritance will. On the flip side, if the longshot was only capable of 90 beyers BECAUSE HE WANTS MORE GROUND, who are you betting on to hit that board in the Derby? That 105 beyer guy doesn't stand a chance. Just because a horse is installed as a longshot doesn't mean he can't run 10f. It means he did not perform at a certain level leading up to the Derby - which, in reality, has no bearing. The proof of this lies in the results charts of most every past Derby edition.

The Fourth Horse does not mean he can only come in fourth. It means that he had the breeding and the balance and he is well-equipped to hit any spot on that superfecta – including First Place. Never underestimate the perfect breeding for 10f no matter what odds he is installed at. There will be several who are built perfectly for this race. There will be several who did not perform to the heights of the favorites in this race. There will be several who walk quietly into that gate with the absolute perfect set-up for the day, ready to roll in a race that he was built for. Odds have no meaning and the only thing standing in our way every year lies within the configurations of all the advantaged players – not just the favorites.

For 2021, at this moment, one month before the Derby, there are several colts that are completely and totally lost in the background. EACH ONE OF THEM has the numbers and the breeding to go the distance. Horses like Helium, Like the King, Rombauer, Rock Your World, (if they all see a gate) and quite a few more which we will wait on. They are not slam-dunk horses – they have what it takes to perform at 10f. So when you read and reread the analysis this year, it is up to you to dive as deep as you can to find the answer. It is always there. Pay no attention to odds. Pay no attention to the talk and chatter. Pay no attention to beyer and timeform figures for all of those shorter preps. Pay attention to the distance capability and the bias of that track. Just like yourself, I will also be reading and rereading what those numbers are telling us. It never stops until one minute after that post parade.

If you do anything this year in preparation of configuring your superfecta ticket, please, re-read the following portion of this article at least 5 times before placing your bet. This is to remind yourself that if there are 6 underdogs on that field with the proper Derby configurations, you better think twice before you start tossing a few of them to save a bit of money at the windows. That extra 10 or 20 bucks is nothing compared to what that payout could bring. Even though I wrote this, I will re-read it daily as a reminder – everyday – until 5 minutes before post…


Every single solitary colt written below had the breeding, the balance, the numbers and the advantage as a so-called “Longshot” to be the 4th horse and crack into that superfecta win ticket. Each one had the bias numbers for that particular day. Each one had the proper numbers and configurations when their mares and their chefs were combined. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.

Never underestimate the power of knowing what a horse has inherited and how longshots are just as capable of hitting that Top Four based on his breeding for the distance of this particular race. At the moment, there are several colts that are equipped for this race who appear to be completely under the radar. They have the same exact advantage as the favorites. This year, there will be no top picks on my part. This year, I will read those numbers as carefully and as confidently as possible for every scenario and I will relay what they say. My sincere advise is to read it over and over again. Do not dismiss any horse who has the inheritance for the given bias. Configure your ticket as best as you can while taking every precaution. The numbers never lie.

The analysis will be out this year with plenty of time to scrutinize, however, it will not be out until I am 101% confident in what those numbers are saying. I am on a quest and I truly believe that this year will end up being a huge surprise and a major payout. We are looking at some pretty good 10f runners this year and they are all not part of the elite hotshot group. This year is huge.

On a side note... The analysis will be password protected. You will need to be a subscriber, logged in, with the Club's Password to access the analysis. The password is still the same, it has not changed. If you forgot it, then send me an email. If you feel you want the password - then send an email as well.


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