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At one-and-a-quarter mile, the Kentucky Derby is a relatively long race. This makes examining how a horse runs a race vitally important.
Avoid long shots that like to explode out of the gate. While some horses have a chance to maintain this pace, those are not the horses that are going to be found in the long-shot category.
Any horse with longer odds is not going to have the pedigree to hold the lead for over a mile. They will simply push the pace and fade.
And that is what can open the door for horses with a strong finishing kick. With a tiring field, a horse that knows how to close can come on strong and surprise everyone at the end.
Just as important as results is the caliber, or class, of horses that horse is running against. You definitely want to avoid going with a horse that is making a jump in class.
While success in these lower classes can point to potential, that potential will not be fulfilled until that horse gains some experience against top-flight competitors.
It can be useful to identify horses that had success in lower classes. Just pick the ones that also have experience against elite competition.
In the end, this is always a good place to start. You want to check the trainer and the jockey for the horses, and find the ones who have had success in the Kentucky Derby.
An elite trainer is not going to take on a horse that they do not feel has what it takes to compete in these competitions.
They have made great careers on identifying winning horses, and it is always a good idea to jump on their bandwagon.
Also, the jockey should never, ever be underestimated—especially in these longer races. Strategy plays a huge role in winning the Kentucky Derby, and you want a jockey on your horse who has shown they know how to win at Churchill Downs.