Analyzing Kentucky Derby Trends

Written by superuser | May 3, 2023

Analyzing Kentucky Derby Trends

Kentucky Derby trends make each year’s race interesting and difficult to predict. The final preparation and the Derby are separated by three weeks. That is a long time for bettors to wait. How exactly do you use the race’s trends to succeed in betting on the Run for the Roses?

Key Points

– There is a correct way to use Kentucky Derby trends.

– Betting the Kentucky Derby requires skill and time to do the research.

Kentucky Derby Trends & Time

If you are going to analyze a trend, you have to consider the time frame. Bettors can look at previous races. Anyone with a fundamental understanding of statistical analysis and a few outdated race programs can identify a ton of  trends.

The problem is that the trend might not be all that trustworthy. Take the 2012 Derby winner I’ll Have Another. The horse was ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Gutierrez had spent time at Hastings Park in Vancouver before winning at Churchill Downs. Hastings Park would be considered a “minor league” track compared to Churchill Downs. Gutierrez had won racing titles at Hastings Park in 2007 and 2008.

Would it have been wise to bet on I’ll Have Another in 2012 because he was being ridden by Gutierrez? Would it have been wise to bet on any horse being ridden by Gutierrez because he had won the Derby or the Preakness Stakes previously. For the record, he only won one more time at Churchill Downs in 2016.

While Gutierrez wasn’t a strong trend, there are some that are worth considering. For instance, there is a trend involving horses that haven’t competed as two-year-olds. Only two horses in the history of the Kentucky Derby – Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018 – have won at Churchill Downs without racing as a two-year-old.

Sample Size

Which would you consider more reliable – two out of three or 200 out of 300? The percentages are the same, but the smaller sample size leaves plenty of room for error.

A larger sample size doesn’t guarantee that the trend is accurate or that it foretells the future, but it does increase the likelihood that it will. Any Derby trend should be evaluated in light of the sample size.

An occurrence that happened in four of the last five races might be a trend. One that occurred in 45 of the last 50 would be a much stronger trend.

You should also take a look at the sample’s timeline. For instance, if the sample size is 50 horses, that might sound like a large sample. However, if that had happened over a period of 120 years, the trend wouldn’t have been nearly as strong as it would have been if it had happened in the last 20 years of the race.


Fundamental Trends

Some trends are fundamental to a horse’s performance in the race. Others are much less important and have less of an effect on the end result.

As we’ve already mentioned, a fundamental trend is the fact that since 1882, only one horse has ever won without competing as a two-year-old. The causes are obvious and important. A horse lacking in racing experience and endurance foundation needs to compete against similar horses.

If a horse wasn’t prepared to race when it was two, it probably has physical, mental health, or maturity problems that need to be addressed. This doesn’t imply that a horse who hasn’t run at two will never win, but it does imply that the trend is significant and strong enough to take into account when handicapping.

There are numerous core trends that have little to do with the final result of any horse race. The way a horse runs or how horses can be expected to perform is less affected by trends like the prep races the horses compete in, the equipment they use, and so forth.

Just because a horse competed and won a Grade I Stakes event five months prior to the Run for the Roses doesn’t mean it’s more qualified to win.

Bettors need to develop their skill at distinguishing  between trends that will actually affect the race and those that will only appear to. This is crucial because, in any given race, there will be numerous trends you can spot and highlight.

Those trends will help you identify a number of the field’s horses. You can only hope to gain insight from trends by identifying those that are most likely to affect the race’s outcome.

Kentucky Derby Media Attention

The more media attention a trend receives leading up to the race, the greater the effect on public bettors. When the media makes a trend sound more compelling, the public jumps on it and acts accordingly.

Remember, public bettors love favorites. Sportsbooks set odds based on a number of factors. Public action is one of them. Any media attention only exacerbates the public’s love for favorites. Smart bettors can use that to their advantage.

The Kentucky Derby attracts a significant amount of public money, significantly more than any other horse race. A core trend may be more useful if it is less well-known.

Before you go, it’s almost summertime. Go see how to get ready to bet this summer.