2024 Kentucky Derby run styles

May 3rd, 2024

Post positions are set for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1), and the last two editions set up well for late runners. Projecting pace scenarios is far from an exact science for handicappers, but it’s safe to say the potential exists for another hot and contested pace on Saturday.

Based upon the previous races of each horse, Brisnet Past Performances classify runners into four different categories.

Early (“E”) types do their best running on or close to the lead. Horses with an “E/P” designation, early pressers, can show the way if necessary or be farther back if the pace is hot, but they generally like to race within a few lengths of the early action. Pressers (“P”) are more off-the-pace runners, midpack stalkers with some versatility. And “S” types, sustained runners, have exhibited the characteristics of one-run closers.

Here is a projection of run styles for this year's Kentucky Derby field:


#1 Dornoch (20-1) - A frontrunning winner of the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Remsen (G2), Dornoch faltered when trying stalking tactics in the Blue Grass (G1), and the speedy colt promises to send from the rail post after drilling a fast half-mile work in advance of the Kentucky Derby. The presence of late runners to his immediate outside in the starting gate may be a benefit.#9 Encino (20-1) – Displayed fine speed leading all the way in the Lexington (G3) three weeks ago, and Encino’s sharp five-furlong breeze last Saturday suggests he’s tied on for another frontrunning performance.

#10 T O Password (30-1) – Japanese invader has shown early speed in both of his starts. If he’s quick enough, T O Password’s best chance will be on the front end of the Kentucky Derby.

#12 Track Phantom (20-1) – Steve Asmussen adds blinkers to help his pupil relax and finish better, but Track Phantom will still be forwardly placed with his natural speed. The colt has raced on or within a head of the early lead in all seven career starts.

#17 Fierceness (5-2) – Kentucky Derby favorite has run the fastest races, generating a 106 Brisnet Speed rating for his 13 1/2-length, wire-to-wire win in the Florida Derby (G1). And while he has the versatility to settle close, Fierceness figures to use his top-class speed to avoid being caught too wide.


#8 Just a Touch (10-1) – Showed excellent speed chasing a hot pace in the Blue Grass, winding up a commendable second to Sierra Leone, and Just a Touch is well-drawn to receive a favorable trip in the second flight.

#11 Forever Young (10-1) – Unbeaten from five starts over five different tracks, this classy Japanese colt didn’t like kickback when dropping off the pace in his second start and displayed good speed winning his third start on the front end. Forever Young will look to show tactical ability in the Kentucky Derby, hustling from the starting gate to avoid dropping too far back in a bulky field, and his rider will attempt to get him outside in the clear.

#15 Domestic Product (30-1) – Since making his career debut, the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner has never raced more than three lengths off the early pace in four starts. Domestic Product’s sharp recent work at Churchill Downs suggests he’ll look to establish positioning in the first half of the field during the opening quarter-mile.

#18 Stronghold (20-1) – A pace-pressing scorer in the Sunland Derby (G3), Stronghold settled just off the leaders before launching his winning rally in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and has never been more than 2 1/2 lengths behind at the second call in six career starts.

#19 Resilience (20-1) – Has shown tactical speed in all three starts this year, recording a convincing win with the addition of blinkers in the Wood Memorial (G2). Resilience will try to stay within striking range from the break of the Kentucky Derby.


#2 Mystik Dan (20-1) – After showing speed in his first four starts, Mystik Dan improved switching to stalking tactics in the Southwest (G3), romping by eight lengths. He exits a rallying third in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

#5 Catalytic (30-1) – An off-the-pace type in his first two starts, Catalytic raced closer in a Florida Derby lacking early speed, but the lightly raced colt may have a difficult time establishing early positioning Saturday from an inside post.

#6 Just Steel (20-1) – A game runner-up in the Arkansas Derby, Just Steel displayed more speed as a juvenile, developing into more of a stalking type in recent stakes appearances. He’ll try to avoid being too far back in midpack during the opening stages of the Kentucky Derby.

#13 West Saratoga (50-1) – Winless from three starts beyond a mile, West Saratoga will try to establish positioning just off the pace, but he may not be quick enough to work out a trip in the first half of the field.

#20 Society Man (50-1) – Showed improved positional speed finishing second at 106-1 in a slow-paced Wood Memorial, but Society Man has never established positioning in the top three at the first two calls of five career starts.


#2 Sierra Leone (3-1) – Winner of the Blue Grass and Risen Star (G2) this year, Sierra Leone has proven to be a dynamic closer from far off the pace.

#4 Catching Freedom (8-1) – Perhaps more versatile than he displayed last time, Catching Freedom promises to be out the back after a strong last-to-first win in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

RELATED: Brisnet Late Pace rating report for the 2024 Kentucky Derby

#7 Honor Marie (20-1) – Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, Honor Marie exits an encouraging runner-up effort in the Louisiana Derby and has been last or next-to-last during the opening stages in all five career starts.

#14 Endlessly (30-1) – His affinity for dirt will be tested, but Endlessly has displayed a powerful closing kick on turf and synthetic.

#16 Grand Mo the First (50-1) – He’s not the confirmed closer like others in this category, but Grand Mo the First may lack the speed to avoid being in the back quintet during the opening stages.