Identifying the Winner of the Kentucky Derby Using the “Dosage” Method

Identifying the Winner of the Kentucky Derby Using the “Dosage” Method

For 138 years, racegoers have spent countless hours coming up with various methods and “rules” that can be used to help identify the winner of the Kentucky Derby. One such process that has been around for decades points to just eight contenders in this year's Kentucky Derby field as having a chance at winning the Run for the Roses.

The method in question involves Dosage Index, which is a mathematically-based analysis of a horse's pedigree that helps determine its ideal racing distance; and the Experimental Free Handicap, an annual list put out by The Jockey Club that ranks in order each year's top 2-year-old racehorses.

In the early 1980's, longtime Daily Racing Form columnist Leon Rasmussen combined these measurements in a system that did admirably well in identifying potential Kentucky Derby winners. It works like this—a horse must have a Dosage Index of 4.00 or under and must have finished within 10 pounds of the high weight on the Experimental Free Handicap to be considered a potential Kentucky Derby winner. Horses that meet those standards are called “dual qualifiers.”

For a long time this proved to be a reliable identifier of Kentucky Derby winners, but in recent years it hasn't had quite the same success. A big reason for this is many Kentucky Derby horses today don't start their 2-year-old seasons early enough to qualify for a proper rating on the Experimental Free Handicap. The last “dual qualifier” to win the Kentucky Derby was Street Sense in 2007.

However, 2012 is a year similar to those in the past when many of the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby were also top 2-year-olds. With that in mind, perhaps this is the year to dust off the old “dual qualifier” system.

The 2012 Kentucky Derby features eight contenders that rate as “dual qualifiers” under the system. They are Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Liaison, Rousing Sermon, Gemologist, Sabercat and Trinniberg.

Four of those—Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause and Gemologist—all figure to be among the betting favorites for the Kentucky Derby. However, the other four are all likely to be longshots and they may be worth a second look given their status as dual qualifiers. The main selling point of the quartet is their Dosage Index's suggest the lengthy 1 1/4-mile trip of the Kentucky Derby shouldn't be an issue. That means as many in the field begin to get leg wary in the stretch, these contenders figure to remain grinding all the way through to the wire. At the very least, they can potentially trigger huge payouts in the Trifecta and Superfecta.

The key to wagering success in the Kentucky Derby, specifically with the Trifecta and Superfecta, is to correctly trimming the 20-horse field to a small group of contenders. Keep the “dual qualifier” method in mind when conducting this task.




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