When handicapping the Kentucky Derby, it can be a good idea to analyze the races at Churchill Downs in the final days before the race, searching for any signs of a track bias that could potentially affect the Kentucky Derby. To save you time, The Turf Board has you covered with Churchill Downs Track Bias Reports!
This two-part series will analyze the dirt races at Churchill Downs on Thursday, May 5th, and Friday, May 6th, the final two days before the Kentucky Derby. The first part can be read here. I hope you enjoy!
There were nine dirt races held on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs, including four held around two turns. Speed fared reasonably well in the sprint races early on the card, with a gate-to-wire winner in the first race and another front-running winner in the second, but both were odds-on favorites that held off closers to win.
As the day went on, the track seemed to grow significantly more tiring, and closers–particularly those racing on the outside–began to race with more and more success. In the sixth race, the La Troienne Stakes (gr. I), Curalina posted a final time of 1:42.45 for 8.5 furlongs, while later on the card, Majestic Harbor won the Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at the same distance in 1:43.10. Despite the fact that Majestic Harbor ran 0.65 seconds slower than Curalina, he received a Beyer speed figure of 102 compared to Curalina’s 100, indicating that the Beyer team also believed that the track slowed down.
With this in mind, it could be important to keep an eye on how the main track at Churchill Downs is playing throughout Derby Day. I think there’s a good chance that it starts off fast, but slows down considerably as the day goes on, and with a very long gap between the final dirt race before the Derby and the Derby itself, the main track could be particularly slow and tiring for the Derby.
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