Danza wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady photography)One of the most popular clichés around the betting windows—especially on the Triple Crown trail—is “if you didn’t go to the wedding then don’t go to the funeral.”

I did not just miss Danza’s wedding in the Arkansas Derby, but I was at the church next door getting stood up at the altar by Ride On Curlin.

I like both horses going into this week’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and expect both to be a fair price at around 15-to-1.

The trouble with Danza is that in the past 22 Derbys, extravagant prep race weddings have led to Derby funerals, as horses who are shorter odds in the latter than they were in the former are winless in 36 tries dating back to 1992.

If we limit the sample to the modern era of Derby win betting, which I consider 2001 and beyond when coupled entries and the mutuel field were eliminated, then it’s still a zero-for-17 slide.

Each Kentucky Derby starter since 1992 whose off odds was less than his previous race:

Year:

Horse:

Prep:

Odds:

Derby odds:

finish:

2013

Mylute

Louisiana Derby

19.00

15.00

5

2011

Nehro

Arkansas Derby

9.80

8.50

2

2011

Shackleford

Florida Derby

68.90

23.10

4

2011

Twice the Appeal

Sunland Derby

25.60

11.90

10

2011

Archarcharch

Arkansas Derby

25.20

12.50

15

2011

Midnight Interlude

Santa Anita Derby

13.90

9.60

16

2010

Ice Box

Florida Derby

20.70

11.70

2

2010

Stately Victor

Blue Grass Stakes

40.10

20.20

8

2009

General Quarters

Blue Grass Stakes

14.30

10.30

10

2007

Imawildandcrazyguy

Florida Derby

37.30

28.90

4

2007

Tiago

Santa Anita Derby

29.30

14.80

7

2007

Storm In May

Arkansas Derby

30.30

27.20

16

2006

Storm Treasure

Blue Grass Stakes

65.60

51.90

11

2004

Castledale

Santa Anita Derby

30.00

21.90

14

2004

Friends Lake

Florida Derby

37.40

18.50

15

2003

Indian Express

Santa Anita Derby

35.80

10.80

14

2002

Lusty Latin

Santa Anita Derby

47.10

22.10

15

1999

Menifee

Blue Grass Stakes

7.70

7.00

2

1999

Stephen Got Even

Spiral Stakes

7.00

5.10

14

1998

Hanuman Highway

Arkansas Derby

27.10

22.50

7

1995

Jumron

Santa Anita Derby

13.30

5.60

4

1995

Citadeed

Guineas prep

16.00

11.60

9

1995

Lake George

Santa Anita Derby

32.70

11.60

18

1994

Mahogany Hall

Blue Grass Stakes

19.10

16.70

9

1994

Smilin Singin Sam

Remington Park Derby

22.30

16.70

10

1994

Meadow Flight

Flamingo

26.40

16.70

11

1994

Ulises

Lexington

20.30

16.70

14

1993

Ragtime Rebel

Arkansas Derby

73.80

8.50

9

1993

Truth of It All

Lexington

21.70

8.50

10

1993

Wallenda

Blue Grass Stakes

14.90

12.50

13

1993

Mi Cielo

Arkansas Derby

9.30

8.50

14

1993

Rockamundo

Arkansas Derby

108.00

10.20

17

1993

Tossofthecoin

Wood Memorial

15.90

8.50

19

1992

Conte di Savoya

Blue Grass Stakes

73.90

21.30

4

1992

West By West

Wood Memorial

31.30

12.80

11

1992

Ecstatic Ride

Blue Grass Stakes

38.70

12.80

14

In that “modern era” that began this century (and in earnest with Lusty Latin in 2002 since there were no qualifiers the previous year), only Nehro and Ice Box managed to hit the board (both with runner-up finishes), though Imawildandcrazyguy and Shackleford both hit the super for a line of 17-0-2-0-2.

Nehro was the shortest price of any wedding-funeral horse at 17-to-2 to win off his runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby, and he mostly ran to those odds when second to Spiral Stakes winner Animal Kingdom. Interestingly, that year’s Arkansas Derby winner (and my top pick), Archarcharch, also saw his odds drop: going from 25.2-to-1 when winning the Arkansas Derby to 25-to-2 for the Kentucky Derby.

The above chart includes wedding-funeral horses back to 1992 but does not include any parts of an entry or the mutuel field for the 1992-2000 editions of the race. A bolded prep race indicates that horse won the prep.