Are Elite Horses Fading from the Kentucky Derby and The Derby? – BlackSportsOnline
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Are Elite Horses Fading from the Kentucky Derby and The Derby?

The Kentucky Derby and The Derby are two particularly special events in the world of flat horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is arguably the most prestigious race in the United States, while The Derby holds an equal claim in the United Kingdom for flat racing. Both provide the ultimate test for horses and jockeys alike and have become increasingly difficult to predict for bettors due to the high level of competition in both events.

But which race is harder to win? Both have their difficulties throughout their respective distances, so let’s look.

Major Races

Events such as the Grand National in the United Kingdom have a lot more variables, with 30 fences to clear as well as the standard of competition. It is only natural that you’ll see underdogs such as Noble Yeats win the race.

There will undoubtedly be another underdog in the +5000 realm in the horse racing latest odds that will make a charge for the crown in 2023. That is more common in jump racing compared to the flat, but the leading contenders failing to live up to expectations under the spotlight in two of the best flat races in the world is a growing trend.

The Kentucky Derby

The 2022 Kentucky Derby produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of the race. Rich Strike won the event as a rank outsider at +8000 for trainer Eric Reed as the horse and jockey Sonny Leon put forward a brilliant display. The favorite, Epicenter, put up a brave fight throughout but was beaten by three-quarters of a length. Rich Strike had only won one race before the contest and has failed to win since!

Controversy reigned in 2021 as Medina Spirit crossed the line first but was disqualified after failing a drug test that handed the victory to Mandaloun. Mandaloun was a +2600 outsider at the start of the contest, while even Medina Spirit had odds of +1200.

The leading contender, Essential Quality, placed third. You have to go back to 2018 to find Justify, who won the Triple Crown, as a winning favorite of the Kentucky Derby. It proves that form can go out the window when it comes to an elite race unless you have a truly special horse competing in the event.

The Derby

Desert Crown broke the seven-year trend of the favorite failing to win The Derby. Golden Horn was the last favorite to triumph at the Epsom Downs in 2015 and went on to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season. The Derby witnessed many outsiders take the crown, including Wings of Eagles at +4000 in 2017.

Serpentine produced one of the best performances by an outsider in the history of the event as he led from start to finish in 2020, blowing away the rest of the field.

Desert Crown restored an element of order to proceedings in 2022, but the race has not witnessed a truly elite horse enter and then dominate the race for several years. It appears to be a trend across flat racing, and it will be interesting to see if this continues in the future.