Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey – Unknown
Congratulations to the 2015 Road to Kentucky champion Gregory Grcevich, who outlasted second place finisher Kent Borgerson by about 500 points after posting a Derby day score of 1,440 points. Mr. Grcevich had a very impressive run throughout the 4 month contest, as his lowest counting score was 609 points. His Week 16 score was the 9th best score of the day. Because this year’s contest was extended by two weeks, Mr. Grvevich had a higher overall point total than previous winners. However, his overall score of 14,073 is consistent with previous years’ average weekly totals, and underscores the necessity to average 1,000 points per week for the duration of the contest. There weren’t many longshot winners this year, so Mr. Grcevich’s scores speak to the consistency of his selections. Congratulations again on a job well done!
The Week 16 winner was Rose Krumenauer with a score of 2,104 points. She was far ahead of runner-up John Pfeiffer with 1,656 points, and her winning score likely had Race 1 winner (602 points) or Race 4 winner (674 points).
As for the Kentucky Derby itself, favored American Pharoah rewarded his backers with a grinding 1 length victory over Firing Line, with Dortmund finishing third another 2 lengths back. There’s plenty of post-mortem Derby analysis already out there, but my cliff notes version of the race is that I thought the top three finishers all tripped well enough to win if they were good enough. American Pharoah was widest of the three which isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, but he did prove to the skeptics that he could bear down and win a dogfight if he needed to. How this affects him going forward is yet to be determined, but I don’t believe that lack of fitness or weak competition will be viable reasons to play against him at Pimlico.
Breaking down the other contenders, Frosted ran a nice fourth with some trouble and he will be pointed for the Belmont Stakes. It’s hard not to like his chances there! Materiality missed the break and was buried early, but rallied late for 6th. His post position really mandated a clean break from the gate and he was his own worst enemy in that regard, but I see him moving forward from the experience and being a big factor in the 3 year old races down the road. Carpe Diem and Upstart were disappointing to put it mildly. It’s anybody’s guess what they do going forward, but my inclination would be to draw a line through their Derby efforts and back them with confidence in future races if the price was right.
It was poetic that my Kentucky Derby selection in the contest was last-place finisher Upstart. I did nothing but spin my wheels throughout the 16-weeks, and Upstart’s curious effort was an appropriate cherry on top of a dismal dessert. Congratulations once again to this year’s winners, and the rest of us can look forward to another opportunity for glory in 2016!
That’s a wrap.