Fred Faour: Pace will play a big role in who wins the Kentucky Derby (and you winning free furniture)

Fred Faour: Pace will play a big role in who wins the Kentucky Derby (and you winning free furniture)

Mattress Mack has an awesome promo where if the Kentucky Derby favorite wins you get your furniture free. Check out the flyer below then let’s look at one of the most important aspects of any horse race:

There is an old saying in horse racing:

Pace makes the race.

And that is often true in the Derby. A horse generally needs to be close early to avoid traffic and put itself in position to win. If the pace is too contested, you get what happened last year – a long shot closer pulls off the upset.

By nature, horses are pack animals, and the alpha horses are the ones that like to control the pack. So they are very often front-runners. But if the pace is too fast, they run out of steam, and other horses will run by them. Some horses only run their best when they are in a pack.

There are essentially four types of runners – pace setters, pace pressers, stalkers, and closers. This year’s field is dominated by stalkers, including the probable favorite and furniture horse, Forte.

Stalkers are generally the preferred horses because they avoid a hot pace up front, will get the jump on closers, and put themselves in the best position to win.

When Medina Spirit won in 2021, he set solid fractions on a very fast track, going 46.70 for the half and 1:11.21 for six furlongs and held off everyone. Of course, he failed a drug test and was disqualified.

Some horses are just so brilliantly fast you can’t catch them. Legendary Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was one of those. In 2001, Point Given was the best 3-year-old, but he finished fifth. He was too close to a hot pace – the fastest in Derby history at the time – and faded late while closing Monarchos picked up the pieces. So much of the result at the Kentucky Derby (and any horse race) depends on how the pace develops.

In this Derby, Kingsbarns looks like the lone speed. But he wired a week Louisiana Derby group, and pressers tend to show more speed going longer. That means horses like Practical Move could also be on the lead. The problem with the Derby is everyone is coming from someplace different. Louisiana speed might be less than California speed.

That’s why a horse like Forte, who should be stalking 4-5 lengths off the lead, is so dangerous. He can catch the front-runners, and the closers have to come and get him. Horses like Angel of Empire should also be in that mix.

Pace makes the race.

And it will again a week from Saturday.

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