Welcome to Predicteform’s Featured Race of the Week. Most weekends, the research staff at Predicteform will select a Graded Stakes Race and provide an in-depth analysis of the Pace Figures and Form Cycle Pattern of each starter. Please see the Legend or Pattern Guide for back-up definitions and patterns.

View the Pace Figures here for the Arkansas Derby while reviewing the race analysis. For Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances, CLICK HERE.

Danza - Another Derby contender out of the Todd Pletcher (the #1 trainer in the country by money earned and stakes wins) barn, takes a flyer at making the Derby. Pace Figures show an expected decline off a Double Top Pattern (DTOP) – fastest Final and 4f Pace Figure - on 2/14. Looks like Pletcher noticed the same thing and gave him rest, bringing him back in the Grade III Spiral Stakes while posting a reasonable 73.7/73.8 (final/4f) effort. This type of equal effort (same Pace Figure for final/4f), shows a horses ability to manage his energy.  If he returns or exceeds his best effort two back of 76.5/80.6 (final/4f), he could be in the hunt.

Knock Em Flat – He posted a 76.3/72.6 (final/4f) in his most recent effort which was a Double Top Pattern (DTOP). This indicates a horse has run its fastest Pace Figures which usually means a decline in performance. Note the two negative patterns - the DTOP and NEG in his first two lifetime starts.

Tapiture – Take a look at his last three races. His 4f Pace Figures are: 73.2-71.1-68.6 (most recent). You’ll notice a decrease in the figure meaning he is getting better at conserving his energy. With his three final Pace Figures over the course of the same races within 2.5 points and a positive jockey change to Joel Rosario (after being ridden overly aggressive), Tapiture comes into this race on a solid Pace Figure line. And, sitting in 13th place in the 2014 Kentucky Derby point standings which means he has already qualified for the Kentucky Derby, it begs the question: Will Steve Assmussen have Tapiture geared up, or will he save the best for the first Saturday in May.

Ride On Curlin – Currently in 23rd on the 2014 Kentucky Derby point standings , Ride on Curlin needs a top 3 finish to punch his Derby ticket. On a similar 4f pattern as Tapiture, his last three 4f Pace Figures are: 82.1 - 71.3 - 69.8 (most recent). What’s even more interesting are his last three final Pace Figures: 67 - 69.3 – 75.1 (most recent). Notice the improving spread (in dirt racing, the final Pace Figures gets bigger while the 4f pace figures is steady or decreases). His final Pace Figure of 75.1 was a 5.8 point jump from his previous start, the same as Wicked Strong’s 5.8 final Pace Figure improvement (69.6 – 75.4) over his last two starts prior to wining the GI $1,000,000 Wood Memorial last week. With tactical speed; a good post position; and at a 4th place finish to put him in the hunt, Ride on Curlin should find his way to the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby.

Thundergram – The longest shot in the race at 30-1, his lifetime best final Pace Figure is two points lower than any of his competitors and five points less than most. Was not surprised to see big step up off a SOFT Win Pattern (SOFT) last start but he would have to improve another 7 points from 71.5 to 77-78 to get close, which extremely unlikely.

Commissioner – And, another from the Todd Pletcher barn, Commissioner has shown signs of a Derby runner prospect. He is currently sitting in 33rd position in the 2014 Kentucky Derby point standings, needing a 3rd place finish to qualify for his spot in the Derby. His final Pace Figures have shown steady positive movement as his last three starts are 74.8 – 74.1 – 77.3. His 4f pace figures are more erratic which raise a minor concern.

Conquest Titan – His last three final Pace Figures are: 77.2 – 74.6 – 73.2. Three successive decreasing final Pace Figures for a horse that sits in 36th place on the 2014 Kentucky Derby point standings needing a 2nd place finish to qualify, puts a monumental task at the feet of this runner.

Bayern – This runner is on a very similar Pace Figure pattern as Constitution, winner of the GI Florida Derby and Social Inclusion, 3rd in the GI Wood Memorial. Here are the last two Pace Figures for all three horses:

Constitution

Final

79.2

73.6

 

4f

72.4

81.9

 

Pattern

REV

NEG

       

Social Inclusion

Final

82

77.4

 

4f

73.5

83.5

 

Pattern

REV

NEV

       

Bayern

Final

75

73.8

 

4f

68

78.7

 

Pattern

REV

NEG

Bayern did have a misstep in early March, a bruised foot which forced him to miss a start. His last race was 60 days ago (2/13/14), which is typically not what you want to see from a potential Derby winner though trainer Bob Baffert is a magician with these types of layoffs.

Strong Mandate – Draws the outside post for legendary trainer, D. Wayne Lucas, Strong Mandate sits in 27th place on the 2014 Kentucky Derby point standings, needing a top 3 finish to make the Derby. A consistent sort with no final Pace Figure or 4f pace figure under 70 or over 74.6, he did show improvement off both his New Pace Top (NPT) and Reversal (REV) Form Cycle Patterns two and three starts back respectively. He is on a good line and will need to be geared up with his best effort to be competitive in here.

Pace Figures for the entire Oaklawn Park card on Saturday which also includes the $600,000 Grade II Oaklawn Handicap featuring, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner – Will Take Charge, are available now in the shop. You can also subscribe to the Pace Figures for all tracks including Keeneland Racecourse, which features FIVE graded stakes races on Saturday highlighted by the Grade I $750,000 Bluegrass Stakes.