2010 Kentucky Derby Preview & Analysis

April 30, 2010

Longshot Mine That Bird's spectacular Kentucky Derby victory in 2009 included one variable which could again affect matters in 2010: the rain.

Favorites rarely win the Kentucky Derby, even in good weather. When conditions are wet, the race becomes that much more of a crapshoot.

Quite simply, in horse racing, rain changes everything.

Those horses lacking early speed out of the gate are placed at an immediate disadvantage in the mud. Moreover, horses who prefer to be closers will find their task tougher in the slop, as mud will be flying in the faces of both horse and jockey coming down the stretch.

That is why this year one favorite who perhaps should be avoided is Sidney's Candy.

Candy's Dosage Index - a measurement of breeding used specifically for this race - is a near-perfect score of 1.86 on a scale in which a 2.00 is considered an ideal balance of speed and endurance.

However, Sidney's Candy is a Southern California horse accustomed to plastic tracks. He has never run on dirt, let alone the mud he will encounter on Saturday.

Last year, California horses The Pamplemousse and Pioneerof the Nile both encountered their share of difficulties when leaving the safety of the synthetic California circuit. Such a change could negatively affect Sidney's Candy as well.

Candy also has the far outside position at post 20.

Generally, few horses with a Dosage Index of over 4.00 have won the Kentucky Derby. That is why in a muddy, wide open race, it is important to weed out some of the lesser candidates and look only at those horses with a Dosage Index below 4.00.

One such horse is Dublin at 12-1. Built with a little more endurance than speed, this horse has been improving over recent races and can deal with the mud. Dublin has a Tomlinson rating of 343 and a Dosage Index of 2.33.

If you want to pick a longshot from California, look no further than American Lion at 30-1. His early speed is great, as American Lion prefers to lead from the front. Although he has only run on synthetics, I like his Tomlinson rating (424) on wet tracks - one of the highest in this race. American Lion has a Dosage Index of 3.57.

However, the best pick might be Icebox at 10-1. Not only does Icebox have a good post position, but he also has great speed and a Dosage Index of 3.36.

In the Florida Derby, Icebox ran wide on the final turn, but displayed great speed and was able to come home for the win.

Now, with the second post position, Icebox looks solid. If he can keep his cool in the beginning and position himself for another huge late move similar to the Florida Derby, Icebox could find himself following in the steps of Mine That Bird - a muddy and glorious winner.

By Joe Hammond
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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