Brisnet Late Pace rating report for the 2024 Kentucky Derby

May 4th, 2024

Bettors wondering which horses are most likely to handle 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby (G1) are advised to analyze Brisnet Late Pace ratings.

Brisnet Late Pace ratings measure finishing speed, so horses who earn large Late Pace ratings in Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers have a fair chance to stretch out over 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May.

The data is compelling. Eight of the last 13 Kentucky Derby winners managed to post a triple-digit Late Pace rating in one or both of their final two starts before the Derby. The list includes Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) plus betting favorites Orb (2013), Nyquist (2016), and Always Dreaming (2017), but also double-digit longshot winners Animal Kingdom (2011), I’ll Have Another (2012), and Rich Strike (2022).

Here are the last two Late Pace ratings posted by each 2024 Kentucky Derby contender (excluding a pair of international shippers for whom Late Pace ratings are unavailable):

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Domestic Product: 125 (latest), 108 (two back)
Fierceness: 113, 99
Catching Freedom: 101, 94
Sierra Leone: 101, 84
Resilience: 98, 87
Honor Marie: 96, 95
Just Steel: 96, 85
Society Man: 95, 92
Endlessly: 93, 91
Encino: 91, 97
Mystik Dan: 91, 112
Stronghold: 91, 95
Catalytic: 89, 97
Grand Mo the First: 84, 122
Just a Touch: 83, 95
Track Phantom: 82, 92
Mugatu: 80, 91
West Saratoga: 80, 82
Dornoch: 76, 95
Epic Ride: 76, 92


Only four horses managed to post a triple-digit Late Pace rating in their final Kentucky Derby prep race: Domestic Product (125), Fierceness (113), Catching Freedom (101), and Sierra Leone (101). And only two other contenders managed to crack the triple-digit barrier in their second-to-last prep: Mystik Dan (112) and Grand Mo the First (122).

Domestic Product is the only horse who earned triple-digit Late Pace ratings in each of his final two Kentucky Derby preps. He rallied from behind a slow pace to finish second in the Holy Bull (G3), earning a 108, then closed fast from behind a glacial pace to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) with a 125. But it’s fair to wonder if Domestic Product can replicate those Late Pace ratings in a race with a faster early pace; Grand Mo the First posted a 122 Late Pace rating when finishing third by a neck in the Tampa Bay Derby, then regressed to an 84 when finishing a distant third in the faster-paced Florida Derby (G1).

Speaking of the Florida Derby, Fierceness got away with a modest opening quarter-mile in that 1 1/8-mile contest, but picked up the pace through the middle of the race and finished up powerfully to win by 13 1/2 lengths with a 113 Late Pace rating. That was even better than the 109 Late Pace rating he produced in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), a race in which Fierceness pressed a strong pace before drawing off to beat a deep field by 6 1/4 lengths. It’s impressive that Fierceness has twice earned triple-digit Late Pace ratings in races with decent early paces.

The Louisiana Derby (G2) ranked among the stronger preps from a Late Pace standpoint, with the victorious Catching Freedom (101) and runner-up Honor Marie (96) earning ratings that rank among the top six last-out numbers in the Kentucky Derby field.

In contrast, the giant homestretch rally Sierra Leone (101) unleashed to win the Blue Grass (G1) got him into triple-digit territory even though the next four horses across the finish line—Just a Touch (83), Epic Ride (76), Dornoch (76), and Mugatu (80)—were tiring and earned numbers no higher than 83.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park ranked among the slowest of the final-round Derby preps from a Late Pace standpoint, with the top two finishers Endlessly (93) and West Saratoga (80) earning ratings that rank outside the top eight last-out numbers in the Kentucky Derby field. The Santa Anita Derby (G1) also featured modest Late Pace ratings, and the victorious Stronghold (91) is the only Santa Anita Derby entrant in the Kentucky Derby field.