Kentucky Derby 2014: The (Nonexistent) Curse of Apollo Continues On

On the horses unraced as a juvenile competing in the Kentucky Derby front, there really isn’t any new and improved information from the last time I posted about this in 2012. But to catch you up to speed: Bodemeister finished 2nd in 2012 while Verrazano was 14th in 2013. Apollo’s win in the 1882 Kentucky Derby still marks the last time a horse unraced at the age of two won the race.

It really wasn’t my intent to rehash things which have already been covered, but as we’re facing the potential of a multitude of horses unraced as a juvenile entered in the Derby this year (at least Constitution and Hoppertunity), here’s a brief update: There is still no “curse” or “jinx.”

The reliability of data for past performances of Derby entrants is suspect once you hit a certain point; however, it is reliable from 1937 to the present. Starting in 1937, the first horse to run in the Kentucky Derby unraced as a juvenile was Comenow in 1944.

Since 1937, there have been 76 editions of the Kentucky Derby, with a total of 1,167 horses breaking from the starting gates. Of these 1,167 horses, 58 (5%) were horses unraced at the age of two.

If you limit yourself just to Kentucky Derbies since 1937 where the field included at least one horse who was unraced as a juvenile (starting in 1944), you’re looking at 42 races with a total of 695 starters. Of these 695 starters, 58 (8%) were horses unraced at the age of two.

To reiterate: The 58 horses since 1937 in the Kentucky Derby who were unraced at the age of two have made up a total of 8% of race fields in which they appeared (42 races). These 58 horses have made up a total of 5% of all race fields since 1937 (76 races).

At this point, it would be more surprising if a horse unraced at the age of two had won the race than it is that none of them have.

To throw a horse you like out of your wagers simply because they fall into the box of “unraced as juvenile” might not be a good decision – Bodemeister (2nd 2012) and Curlin (3rd 2007) have proved that in recent years.

As an aside, an interesting trend has developed: Four of the last six Derby horses unraced at the age of two have gone on to either win or finish second in the Preakness and/or Belmont.

Horse (Year)

Derby finish

Preakness finish

Belmont finish

Comenow (1944)

12

DNS

DNS

Bert G. (1945)

14

DNS

DNS

Hampden (1946)

3

3

4

Perfect Bahram (1946)

9

DNS

DNS

Rippey (1946)

10

DNS

DNS

Coaltown (1948)

2

DNS

DNS

Fanfare (1951)

5

DNS

DNS

Golden Birch (GB) (1951)

19

DNS

DNS

No Regrets (1956)

7

3

DNS

Gone Fishin’ (1958)

8

3

DNS

Our Dad (1959)

15

3

DNS

Gleaming Sword (1968)

14

DNS

DNS

Fourulla (1971)

19

DNS

DNS

Big Spruce (1972)

7

DNS

5

Dr. Neale (1972)

15

DNS

DNS

Kentuckian (1972)

10

DNS

DNS

Forego (1973)

4

DNS

DNS

Twice a Prince (1973)

12

DNS

2

Agitate (1974)

3

DNS

DNS

Confederate Yankee (1974)

12

DNS

DNS

Bold Chapeau (1975)

8

8

DNS

Media (1975)

5

10

DNS

On the Sly (1976)

5

DNS

DNS

Amano (1976)

4

DNS

DNS

Affiliate (1977)

9

DNS

DNS

Best Person (1977)

15

DNS

DNS

Chief of Dixieland (1978)

9

DNS

DNS

Great Redeemer (1979)

10

DNS

DNS

Flying Nashua (1981)

8

12

DNS

Air Forbes Won (1982)

7

DNS

DNS

Reinvested (1982)

3

6

DNS

Wavering Monarch (1982)

12

DNS

DNS

Majestic Shore (1984)

20

DNS

DNS

Irish Fighter (1985)

11

DNS

DNS

Wheatly Hall (1986)

6

DNS

DNS

Zabaleta (1986)

12

DNS

DNS

Pendleton Ridge (1990)

13

DNS

DNS

Corporate Report (1991)

9

2

4

Alydavid (1991)

14

DNS

DNS

Devil His Due (1992)

12

DNS

DNS

Disposal (1992)

18

DNS

DNS

Strodes Creek (1994)

2

DNS

3

Pulpit (1997)

4

DNS

DNS

Desert Hero (1999)

13

DNS

DNS

Valhol (1999)

15

9

DNS

Wheelaway (2000)

5

DNS

4

Curule (2000)

7

DNS

11

Trippi (2000)

11

DNS

DNS

Atswhatimtalknbout (2003)

4

DNS

DNS

Song of the Sword (2004)

11

9

DNS

Greeley’s Galaxy (2005)

11

7

DNS

Showing Up (2006)

6

DNS

DNS

Curlin (2007)

3

1

2

Summer Bird (2009)

6

DNS

1

Dunkirk (2009)

11

DNS

2

Midnight Interlude (2011)

16

13

DNS

Bodemeister (2012)

2

2

DNS

Verrazano (2013)

14

DNS

DNS

*DNS – Did Not Start

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s