Which horses can get the distance? That's a central handicapping question around the Kentucky Derby every year. After several months of prep races we have clues. Pedigree is also a key piece of the equation.
Using the sire search function within the Betmix Angler handicapping software we scanned starters at 9 furlongs or longer for the sires of the Top 25 Derby point earners. The results, from January 1, 2012 through April 14, are shown in the chart below.
14 individual sires show a decent sample size (75 or more starters). Among those First Samurai, sire of Sunland Park Derby (G3) winner Cutting Humor, is the leader in distance Win% with a 17.69% strike rate. That figure is followed closely by the progeny of Hard Spun (17.56%), who has Louisiana Derby runner-up Spinoff sitting at #18 on the Derby points leaderboard.
Tapit (Tacitus & Bourbon War), Candy Ride (Vekoma & Game Winner) and War Front (Omaha Beach & War of Will) each have a pair of potential Derby starters and their sons will be among the most heavily played by Derby bettors. All three sires have very solid distance Win % figures over 15%.
If our survey revealed any potential distance questions it would be for Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero Roaster. The sons and daughters of his super sire Quality Road are batting just 11% in 9 furlong or longer contests.