Malagacy remained unbeaten making his first two-turn start in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park, edging away to a two-length decision, and stamped his Kentucky Derby ticket with the 50-point prize. The lightly-raced colt has done everything right so far, but his 95 BRIS Speed rating won’t get it done against better rivals this spring.

Speed ratings can increase significantly for lightly-raced horses on the improve but Malagacy distinguished himself from the start of his career, registering a 104 figure posting a 15-length maiden tally at 5 ½ furlongs on January 4 and a 103 for a seven-length allowance romp at 6 ½ furlongs on February 12.

His numbers took a significant hit while stretching out in distance. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt is expected to return to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 15 and could turn things around in the final prep, but it’s difficult to get excited about his Kentucky Derby chances based upon the Rebel.

The next three finishers battled it out to the wire, with a photo needed to determine Sonneteer in second, a nose better than Untrapped with Petrov another nose back in fourth.

Sonneteer, who is now 0-for-9 and was overlooked at 112-1 after failing to finish within four lengths of the winner in his last three outings, did receive a career-best BRIS Speed rating but it was only a 93.

Risen Star (G2) third-placer Untrapped and Southwest (G3) runner-up Petrov saw their Speed figures decline.

Here are the top BRIS Speed ratings from Kentucky Derby qualifying races this year (90 or above, top four finish required):

Horse

 

Race (finish position)

 

BRIS Speed

J BOYS ECHO

 

Gotham (1st)

 

104

GORMLEY

 

Sham (1st)

 

102

GUNNEVERA

 

Fountain of Youth (1st)

 

102

IRISH WAR CRY

 

Holy Bull (1st)

 

102

AMERICAN ANTHEM

 

Sham (2nd)

 

102

ONE LINER

 

Southwest (1st)

 

101

TAPWRIT

 

Tampa Bay Derby (1st)

 

101

CLOUD COMPUTING

 

Gotham (2nd)

 

100

EL AREEB

 

Jerome (1st)

 

100

EL AREEB

 

Withers (1st)

 

99

MCCRAKEN

 

Sam Davis (1st)

 

99

GIRVIN

 

Risen Star (1st)

 

98

UNCONTESTED

 

Smarty Jones (1st)

 

97

GUNNEVERA

 

Holy Bull (2nd)

 

97

PETROV

 

Southwest (2nd)

 

97

TAPWRIT

 

Sam Davis (2nd)

 

97

STATE OF HONOR

 

Tampa Bay Derby (2nd)

 

96

UNTRAPPED

 

Risen Star (2nd)

 

96

STATE OF HONOR

 

Sam Davis (3rd)

 

96

MALAGACY

 

Rebel (1st)

 

95

ROYAL MO

 

Robert Lewis (1st)

 

95

PRACTICAL JOKE

 

Fountain of Youth (2nd)

 

95

THREE RULES

 

Fountain of Youth (3rd)

 

95

WILD SHOT

 

Sam Davis (4th)

 

95

ILIAD

 

San Felipe (2nd)

 

94

TRUE TIMBER

 

Withers (2nd)

 

94

WILD SHOT

 

Tampa Bay Derby (3rd)

 

94

GUEST SUITE

 

Lecomte (1st)

 

93

SONNETEER

 

Rebel (2nd)

 

93

J BOYS ECHO

 

Withers (3rd)

 

93

LOCAL HERO

 

Risen Star (3rd)

 

93

UNTRAPPED

 

Rebel (3rd)

 

93

GUEST SUITE

 

Risen Star (4th)

 

93

NO DOZING

 

Tampa Bay Derby (4th)

 

93

PETROV

 

Rebel (4th)

 

93

CLASSIC EMPIRE

 

Holy Bull (3rd)

 

92

TERM OF ART

 

San Felipe (3rd)

 

92

IRAP

 

Robert Lewis (2nd)

 

91

PETROV

 

Smarty Jones (2nd)

 

91

UNTRAPPED

 

Lecomte (2nd)

 

91

EL AREEB

 

Gotham (3rd)

 

91

ACTION EVERYDAY

 

Gotham (4th)

 

91

GORMLEY

 

San Felipe (4th)

 

91

ZAKAROFF

 

El Camino Real Derby (1st)

 

90

SHEER FLATTERY

 

Robert Lewis (3rd)

 

90