- Gary West writes that Ravel will win the Kentucky Derby, and he's a smart guy, so let's take a closer look.
In winning the Sham, Ravel ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.91, or about 1 1/2 lengths slower than the older horses in the Strub Stakes two races later. But to win the Sham, Ravel had to overcome a dawdling pace, and he did so with uncommon acceleration, running the final three furlongs in about 36 seconds (35.91). While winning the Strub, Arson Squad ran the final three furlongs in 37.38 seconds. [McClatchy)As I mentioned previously, Ravel (Fusaichi Pegasus) earned a Beyer of 102, as compared to Nobiz Like Shobiz' 98. And, as Mr. West mentioned, it was only his third career start, for the Pletcher barn. It was also his first race on a real dirt course.
However, I must say that I didn't quite see the race the same way. I thought that he was close enough to the slow pace that it helped rather than hurt, and he worked out a ground saving trip with Garrett Gomez, until they swung out three wide turning for home. So I'll be a bit skeptical of this one for now (he's 9-1 in the early wagering for the futures pool). You would think that the Sham would be a good early indication of who could get the Derby distance, but the last three winners, Bob and John, Going Wild, and Master David, all fared quite poorly at Churchill.