The move that wins the Derby
Front-runners sometimes win the Kentucky Derby, and late runners do, too, but the classic style for winning the race is a strong move on the final turn.
Recent winners such as Barbaro (2006), Street Sense (2007) Big Brown (2008) and Mine That Bird (2009), as well as all-time greats such as Secretariat (1973) and Spectacular Bid (1979) accelerated on the turn to seize command by the time they were a furlong away from the finish line.
Racing fans aware of this history may have thought, “This is the Derby winner!” when they watched Normandy Invasion in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on November, 24, 2012. He lost it by a nose to Overanalyze, but his mid-race acceleration looked like a Kentucky Derby move. (He’s No. 9, in the red-and-white silks.)
Since the Remsen, Normandy Invasion has lost both of his starts as a 3-year-old, but he had an excuse in each. He had a disastrously bad start in the Risen Star Stakes, and he couldn’t rally effectively after the slow early pace in the Wood Memorial Stakes. But if he displays his Remsen form on Saturday, he will be a strong contender.