Can Fierceness End The No. 17 Post Jinx In The Kentucky Derby?

Zinger Key Points
  • The most impressive Derby prep race victor was the winner of the Florida Derby, Fierceness.
  • Catching Freedom has been victorious in three of his five races and has increased his speed rating in every outing.

In the 149 previous Kentucky Derbies, 44 horses have raced from the No. 17 post position.

It's the only post that has not sent a horse to the Winners Circle. In addition, outside that post — 18, 19 and 20 — there have been only five winners in 84 attempts.

If there is one horse to end the post 17 jinx at Saturday's 150th Kentucky Derby, it's Fierceness.

Better Atmosphere: For the first time in a few years, the Kentucky Derby and the remainder of the Triple Crown races will be taking place without a black cloud over the industry.

Unlike last year, the seemingly unexplained rash of horse deaths at tracks across the country has subsided.

Also, controversial trainer Bob Baffert will not have any entries. Recall how Baffert was disqualified in 2021 and remains banned for a third year.

As opposed to last year, no other trainer is willing to tarnish their reputation by running a Baffert-trained horse in the race.

See Also: Virtual Horse Racing Game Photo Finish Announces New Funding – Meet The Investors And Next Steps

Another Triple Crown Drought? In 1973, Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in winning the Triple Crown — one of most outstanding feats in sports.

Similar to having three Triple Crown winners in a six-year span during the 1940s, that same feat was replicated with subsequent back-to-back crowns in 1977 (Seattle Slew) and 1978 (Affirmed).

Affirmed’s accomplishment marked the beginning of a 36-year drought until American Pharoah accomplished the feat in 2015.

Three years later, Justify captured the crown. The sport is now in the midst of a five-year lapse; in fact, during that period no horse has been able to win the first two legs, let alone prevail with the sweep.

Blue Grass Stakes Winner Is A Favorite: Sierra Leone

Over the years, wagering on one of the winners of the major Derby preps has been prudent. 

Despite there being a total of 10 winners of the Blue Grass Stakes who have gone on to win the Derby, recent history has not been so favorable. The last horse to parlay a victory in Blue Grass into a Kentucky Derby win was Strike The Gold in 1991.

2024 Blue Grass winner Sierra Leone, post position No. 2, has a top-tier trainer in Chad Brown, though Brown has never won the Derby. Sierra Leone is a consistent late-runner, which bodes well for the grueling 1 ¼ mile race.

Bettors are impressed with the colt, who was in last place at one point in the Blue Grass and eight lengths back at the quarter pole, before galloping to a convincing win.

Speed Demon As The Other Favorite: Fierceness

The most impressive Derby prep race victor was the winner of the Florida Derby, Fierceness.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, who has two Derby wins to his credit, the colt annihilated his competition by coasting to a 13.5 length victory in a blazing 1:48.22, which was more than 2 seconds faster than Sierra Leone in the Blue Grass.

This feat was accomplished without a jockey having to urge him along at all. The question remains whether the colt can navigate the stampede of 16 horses to his inside and be in position for a similar final quarter that he displayed in the Florida Derby.

No Respect For Santa Anita Derby Winner: Stronghold

One Derby prep that has yielded its fair share of Derby winners over the years is the Santa Anita Derby. If you want to shy away from the co-favorites or are looking for a juicy exacta payout, Stronghold deserves some consideration, with Morning Line odds of 20-1. In six career starts, he has never finished worse than second, with three firsts and three seconds.

In addition, his first career win was at Churchill Downs CHDN; so he is familiar with the oval. Despite his overall strong performances, wagerers fear Stronghold has not raced enough against top contenders.

Risk-Reward: With two colts attracting most of the bets, the win/place/show, or even exacta payouts could be paltry.

If you are so inclined, there are plenty of longshots. Since 1980, the favored horse has won just 10 times (just 22.7%). Along these lines, another colt with respectable odds in the Morning Line is Louisiana Derby winner Catching Freedom, at 8-1. The horse has been victorious in three of his five races and has increased his speed rating in every outing.

Also, he has already displayed the endurance to race the 1 ¼ mile Derby, by scoring a victory in the Louisiana Derby at the distance of 1 3/16 mile.

May the horse be with you.

Now Read: EXCLUSIVE  Kentucky Derby Fans Can Score $100K Prize With Web3-Powered SuperFecta Scratch-Off

Image created using artificial intelligence via Midjourney.

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: NewsSports BettingPreviewsTop StoriesTrading IdeasGeneralKentucky Derby
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!