by Jon White
April 14, 2021
It’s understandable that much attention at this time of the year is focused on the upcoming Kentucky Derby on May 1. That being said, many racing enthusiasts are looking forward to the showdown between champions Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver in this Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
These are the two highest-ranking distaffers in the land. Monomoy Girl is No. 3 (behind only 4-year-old colts Mystic Guide and Charlatan) in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Swiss Skydiver ranks No. 4.
The Apple Blossom has attracted a field of six. Monomoy Girl was assigned top weight of 124 pounds, two more than Swiss Skydiver.
The remainder of the field consists of Letruska (118 pounds), Getridofwhatailesu (117), Another Broad (115) and Chance to Shine (114).
Monomoy Girl is a two-time Eclipse Award winner. She was voted champion 3-year-old filly in 2018 and champion older dirt female in 2020. Swiss Skydiver was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly.
Trained by Brad Cox, Monomoy Girl has finished first in 15 of 16 career starts. However, she was disqualified and placed second for causing interference in the Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing in 2018.
Kenny McPeek trains Swiss Skydiver, who has won six of her last nine, highlighted by a neck victory in last year’s Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Kentucky Derby winner Authentic finished second in the Preakness. Authentic concluded his 3-year-old campaign and racing career with a Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph en route being elected 2020 Horse of the Year. Authentic also was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male.
I ranked Swiss Skydiver’s Preakness triumph as the best performance by a Thoroughbred in the United States last year.
My selections for the Apple Blossom are below:
1. Swiss Skydiver
2. Monomoy Girl
Yes, it’s true that Monomoy Girl defeated Swiss Skydiver the only time they have met. They faced each other in the Grade I BC Distaff last Nov. 7 at Keeneland. Monomoy Girl won by 1 3/4 lengths as an even-money favorite. Swiss Skydiver, sent away at 2-1, finished seventh, 8 1/4 lengths behind Monomoy Girl.
But as far as Swiss Skydiver’s defeat in the BC Distaff is concerned, I am drawing a line through it. Swiss Skydiver, ridden by Robby Albarado, stumbled at the start. Immediately after the race, Albarado downplayed the fact that Swiss Skydiver did not have the best of starts.
“It maybe cost her a length or two position-wise, but it didn’t cost us the win,” Albarado said.
But it turned out that Swiss Skydiver emerged from the race with an injured heel. It’s possible that might have negatively affected her performance. Four days after the Breeders’ Cup, McPeek tweeted that the filly had injured her heel much worse than originally thought. McPeek went on to write in his tweet that Swiss Skydiver “will rebound in 2021.”
Swiss Skydiver did indeed rebound from her 2020 BC Distaff defeat in her very first 2021 start by winning Santa Anita’s Grade I Beholder Mile by 2 3/4 lengths.
I was so impressed by Swiss Skydiver’s Beholder Mile victory that I’m thinking she has an excellent chance to turn the tables on Monomoy Girl in the Apple Blossom.
Among the other reasons that I’m making Swiss Skydiver my top pick in the Apple Blossom is she:
--Almost certainly will be a better price than Monomoy Girl.
--Has the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure, a 101, compared to 96 for Monomoy Girl.
--Sports the best lifetime Beyer in the field, a 105, while Monomoy has the second-best figure of a 104.
--Owns a better top Oaklawn figure, a 99, than Monomoy Girl’s 96 Beyer in that category.
--Does get to carry two pounds less than Monomoy Girl despite Swiss Skydiver’s superiority to Monomoy Girl in multiple Beyer Speed Figure categories.
CONCERT TOUR DROPS ONE SPOT ON MY TOP 10
Concert Tour went into last Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby as possibly emerging from the race as the Kentucky Derby favorite. But when he finished third to lose for just the first time in four career starts, he took a precipitous drop in popularity.
In a 12-1 upset, Super Stock won the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby going away by 2 1/2 lengths. Caddo River finished second at 3-1, a head in front of Concert Tour.
When Concert Tour previously had won Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 13, he thrashed Super Stock by 6 1/2 lengths and Caddo River by 6 3/4 lengths. Not only did Concert Tour win the Rebel by 4 1/4 lengths, he just cruised home while under wraps, with jockey Joel Rosario repeatedly looking back in the final furlong.
That made it pretty easy to envision Concert Tour winning the Arkansas Derby. And if he won it as comfortably as he had taken the Rebel, he figured to be embraced by a great many bettors in terms of the Kentucky Derby.
There certainly was a chance that an undefeated Concert Tour, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, quite possibly would be the Kentucky Derby favorite instead of an undefeated Essential Quality, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2020 conditioned by Cox. One reason it would not have been surprising for Concert Tour to receive more betting support than Essential Quality on the first Saturday in May is because Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby a record-tying six times, whereas Cox has not even had a single starter in the race prior to this year.
As expected by most, Caddo River was hustled to the front early in the Arkansas Derby. Concert Tour pushed the pacesetter through the early stages when racing slightly off the lead. The opening quarter was run in :22.62, the half in :46.51. Those were characterized as “lively fractions” in the Equibase chart comments.
From where Concert Tour was at the top of the stretch, he was supposed to go on and win. But after leading by a head at the eighth pole, Concert Tour simply lacked the necessary punch thereafter.
“Whether it’s the first race on a sleepy Thursday at Aqueduct or the Arkansas Derby, pace makes the race,” Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman wrote. “It was paramount here, as a sharp pace set the race up for later runner Super Stock, who got an ideal trip and moved forward in his second start of the year.”
Concert Tour “seemed to be going the better of Caddo River heading into and around the far turn, took awhile to finally push past Caddo River in upper stretch, but was rubber-legged when Super Stock ranged outside him, and he lost the place to a horse he had passed,” Privman also wrote. “Very disappointing for a horse who, had he romped here, might very well have been the Derby favorite. Now, he’s one of the race’s major questions.”
In the wake of his Arkansas Derby setback, Concert Tour has dropped several spots in various Kentucky Derby rankings.
For instance, Concert Tour ranked No. 2 in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll before the Arkansas Derby. He slipped to No. 6 this week.
BloodHorse’s Byron King had Concert Tour ranked No. 2 prior to the Arkansas Derby. King now has Concert Tour ranked No. 6.
Secretariat.com’s Steve Haskin had Concert Tour ranked No. 4 before the Arkansas Derby. Haskin now has Concert Tour ranked No. 11.
Daily Racing Form’s Derby Watch had Concert Tour ranked No. 2 before the Arkansas Derby. Marty McGee put Concert Tour’s odds at 9-2. Only Essential Quality had shorter odds at 5-2. Derby Watch now has Concert Tour ranked No. 5, with his price rising considerably to 10-1.
Keep in mind that what NTRA voters, King, Haskin and Derby Watch have done in their rankings reflects the negative reaction by most people to just one loss by Concert Tour.
In my opinion, there might be something of an overreaction to Concert Tour’s Arkansas Derby loss. It’s not as if he got trounced in the Arkansas Derby. He lost by 2 1/2 lengths, not 12 1/2 or 20 1/2.
I learned a long time ago one should not put too much emphasis on a single defeat.
That philosophy was a major reason why I did not jump off Secretariat’s bandwagon in the 1973 Kentucky Derby even after he did not win the Wood Memorial, a defeat that sent shock waves throughout the racing world.
How strong was my belief in Secretariat in the spring of 1973? Consider what I wrote in my high school newspaper, the Lewis and Clark Journal, on March 22, 1973: “Going out on a limb and living dangerously I daresay that 1973 will be a historic year as Secretariat will become the first Triple Crown winner since the great Citation in 1948.”
Regarding what happened in the 1973 Wood Memorial, William Nack wrote: “Secretariat had lost his first race, and was disqualified [from first to second] in the Champagne, but that was all in the past. Few expected Secretariat to ever lose another race. But in his last big prep for the Derby, Big Red did lose.
“In the Wood Memorial, Secretariat’s stablemate Angle Light went straight to the front and never looked back. A new challenger to the supremacy of Secretariat named Sham finished second, and the best Secretariat could do was third.
“Knowledgeable racing fans realize that many races are won by speed horses who are simply not caught by horses who come from behind. But this was the mighty Secretariat? How could it happen?
“Later, trainer Lucien Laurin revealed that an abscess inside Secretariat’s mouth must have caused the horse serious discomfort, possibly accounting for the defeat.”
I think it’s fair to say that is the most famous abscess in the history of Thoroughbred racing.
Of course, as a high school student in Spokane, Wash., I knew nothing of Secretariat’s abscess. But even without knowing about the abscess, I steadfastly stuck with Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby despite his loss in the Wood a fortnight earlier.
“You can’t throw out a horse because of one defeat,” I wrote in the Lewis and Clark Journal on April 25. “It takes more than that. A perfect example is last year when Riva Ridge lost the Everglades but came back strongly to take the Blue Grass Stakes, Kentucky Derby and grueling Belmont Stakes.”
On April 25 (10 days before the race), these were my 1973 Kentucky Derby selections in the Lewis and Clark Journal:
3. Stop the Music
4. Angle Light
Secretariat rallied from last to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths. He completed 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5, slicing three-fifths of a second off the track record set by Northern Dancer in the 1964 Kentucky Derby. All these years later, Secretariat’s record still stands.
Sham ran fast enough that day to win the vast majority of Kentucky Derbies, but he had to settle for second while finishing eight lengths clear of Our Native in third. Forego (a future three-time Horse of the Year) ran fourth in the field 13. Stop the Music, who I picked third, was not entered in the Kentucky Derby. Angle Light wound up 10th.
I’m not saying that Concert Tour definitely will rebound and win the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in his final start before the race a la Secretariat. But might this happen? You bet it might.
I am not going to judge Concert Tour as harshly as most people are for not winning the Arkansas Derby.
I’m not forgetting the high praise Baffert had for Concert Tour’s Rebel performance, calling it “kind of an American Pharoah-type run.”
American Pharoah kicked off his 3-year-old campaign by splashing home to a 6 1/4-length victory on a sloppy track in the Rebel. And then, unlike Concert Tour, American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths while on his way to a Triple Crown sweep for Baffert.
American Pharoah recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 100 in the Rebel and 105 in the Arkansas Derby. Concert Tour? His top Beyer Speed Figure so far is only a 94. Maybe Concert Tour just is not fast enough to win the Kentucky Derby.
But after giving it much thought and remembering that “you can’t throw out a horse because of one defeat,” I decided to drop Concert Tour only one notch to No. 3 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week.
Another reason for not dropping Concert Tour any lower is it would have meant putting him below Hot Rod Charlie. I’m reluctant to put Hot Rod Charlie above Concert Tour because of the rider situation.
Rosario won the Grade II Louisiana Derby aboard Hot Rod Charlie and Grade II Rebel on Concert Tour. Churchill Downs lists Rosario as Concert Tour’s rider for the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 1.
Ron Anderson is Rosario’s agent. Anderson is one of the most accomplished jockey agents to ever take calls. Wouldn’t you think Anderson would have Rosario on Hot Rod Charlie if that’s who the agent felt had the better chance to win the Kentucky Derby? Instead, it’s Flavien Prat who will be Hot Rod Charlie’s pilot that afternoon.
Oh, sure, some will say that the main reason Rosario is riding Concert Tour instead of Hot Rod Charlie is nobody wants to take off a Baffert horse in the Kentucky Derby. But a jockey did just that a couple of years ago.
In 2019, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on Roadster and the Grade I Arkansas Derby aboard Omaha Beach. Despite Roadster being trained by Baffert, Smith opted to ride Omaha Beach in the Kentucky Derby for Hall of Fame horseman Richard Mandella. Baffert then turned to Florent Geroux to ride Roadster, who finished 16th in the Run for the Roses. Unfortunately for Smith and Mandella, Omaha Beach had to be scratched from the Kentucky Derby due to an entrapped epiglottis.
Meanwhile, you would think people would not be so quick to downgrade Concert Tour so much considering what happened with Authentic last year.
In Authentic’s final start before the Kentucky Derby, he barely won Monmouth Park’s Grade I Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles. There were many doubters as to whether Authentic possessed the stamina needed to win the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. And what happened? Authentic won the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 8-1. Perhaps people who don’t think Concert Tour can succeed at the 1 1/4-mile trip will regret having that supposition, as was the case last year with Authentic. After all, Concert Tour’s sire, Street Sense, had sufficient stamina to win the Kentucky Derby.
Essential Quality, five for five overall, remains No. 1 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. The way I see it, his resume makes him clearly the one to beat. But is Essential Quality a slam-dunk? No.
Rock Your World, who is three for three overall, climbs a notch to No. 2 on my Top 10 this week. He posted a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when a dominant 4 1/4-length winner in the Santa Anita Derby. Rock Your World is the lone candidate for this year’s Kentucky Derby to have recorded a triple-digit Beyer. That in itself makes him a contender.
I think Hot Rod Charlie, Florida Derby winner Known Agenda and Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Highly Motivated also belong on the list of Kentucky Derby contenders.
But for me, even though Concert Tour finished a disappointing third in the Arkansas Derby, it’s far from out of the realm of possibilities that Baffert finds himself posing with a Concert Tour draped in a garland of roses on the first Saturday in May, just as the colt’s sire did in 2007 for trainer Carl Nafzger.
And don’t forget, in Street Sense’s final start prior to winning the Kentucky Derby, he did not win. He finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes.
My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below:
1. Essential Quality
2. Rock Your World
3. Concert Tour
4. Hot Rod Charlie
5. Known Agenda
6. Highly Motivated
7. Medina Spirit
8. Midnight Bourbon
10. Super Stock
RECAP OF SELECTIONS FOR 2021 U.S. POINTS RACES
For Xpressbet.com in late January, I began making selections in the U.S. races offering points toward the Kentucky Derby.
Of the 21 such races, I have picked the winner in nine of them, as noted below:
Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable
01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.60
01-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.00
02-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.20
02-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th
02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th
02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.40
02-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd
02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.80
02-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.00
03-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th
03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd
03-06-21 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good, WON, $3.00
03-13-21 Rebel Stakes, Concert Tour, WON, $5.40
03-20-21 Louisiana Derby, Proxy, finished 4th
03-27-21 Jeff Ruby Steaks, Hockey Dad, finished 3rd
03-27-21 Florida Derby, Spielberg, finished 8th
04-03-21 Wood Memorial, Crowded Trade, finished 3rd
04-03-21 Blue Grass Stakes, Essential Quality, WON, $3.00
04-03-21 Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit, finished 2nd
04-10-21 Lexington Stakes, Proxy, finished 4th
04-10-21 Arkansas Derby, Concert Tour, finished 3rd
UPDATED STRIKES SITUATION
My Derby Strikes System (DSS) consists of eight categories developed to try and determine a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. When a horse does not qualify in one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article.
A number of the categories in the DSS are associated with the Kentucky Derby being run in May. As a result, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable.
The DSS has returned in 2021 now that the Kentucky Derby is back to its traditional spot on the calendar.
According to the DSS, going back to 1973 and excluding the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September, the vast majority of Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike.
Since 1973 (again excluding 2020), 39 out of the 48 Kentucky Derby winners (81%) have had zero strikes or one strike, while just seven have had two strikes.
The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were:
Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4
Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4
Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5
Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8
Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5
Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8
Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3
The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was:
Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8
In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy.
It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined.
These are the points and strikes for horses listed by Churchill Downs as “likely starters” in the Kentucky Derby as of April 12:
Points Horse (Strikes)
140 Essential Quality (0)
110 Hot Rod Charlie (1) Category 4
109 Super Stock (1) Category 3
104 Like the King (0)
102 Known Agenda (0)
100 Rock Your World (2) Categories 1 and 7
100 Bourbonic (2) Categories 1 and 3
74 Medina Spirit (0)
70 Concert Tour (2) Categories 2 and 7
66 Midnight Bourbon (1) Category 4
52 Mandaloun (1) Category 4
50 Highly Motivated (2) Categories 2 and 4
50 Helium (1) Category 5
40 Soup and Sandwich (2) Categories 2 and 7
40 Dynamic One (3) Categories 1, 2 and 4
40 Sainthood (2) Categories 2 and 7
These are “possible starters within the Top 20 preference list,” according to Churchill:
50 Caddo River (2) Categories 2 and 4
40 Panadol (2) Categories 2 and 7
40 Crowded Trade (3) Categories 2, 4 and 7
34 Rombauer (3) Categories 1, 2 and 3
Listed as “next up in order of preference” by Churchill:
32 Hidden Stash (2) Categories 2 and 5
30 Dream Shake (3) Categories 2, 4 and 7
25 O Besos (2) Categories 2 and 3
20 Get Her Number (3) Categories 3, 4 and 5
20 Hozier (3) Categories 2, 3 and 5
20 King Fury (4) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 6
20 Hockey Dad (2) Categories 2 and 4
18 Keepmeinmind (2) Categories 3 and 5
14 Nova Rags (3) Categories 2, 4 and 5
13 Unbridled Honour (3) Categories 2, 3 and 4
THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS
After C Z Rocket won Oaklawn’s Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap last Saturday, he is No. 9 after not being Top 10 last week.
The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 346 Mystic Guide (24)
2. 317 Charlatan (7)
3. 313 Monomoy Girl (5)
4. 296 Swiss Skydiver (1)
5. 239 Knicks Go
6. 213 Colonel Liam
7. 179 Idol
8. 97 Gamine
9. 89 C Z Rocket
10. 56 Maxfield
After Super Stock won the Arkansas Derby, he debuts at No. 7 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll.
The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 366 Essential Quality (34)
2. 266 Rock Your World
3. 261 Hot Rod Charlie (1)
4. 253 Known Agenda (1)
5. 158 Highly Motivated
6. 144 Concert Tour
7. 138 Super Stock
8. 101 Medina Spirit
9. 66 Life Is Good (1)
10. 57 Greatest Honour
MY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIES
What are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below:
1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.)
2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)
3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)
4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)
5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)
6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.)
7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.)
8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)