On Saturday, May 4, the Kentucky Derby will be run for the 145th time under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Register at TwinSpires.com and receive a $100 sign-up bonus to use on the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Twenty equine athletes will test their courage, speed and stamina over a 1 1/4-mile distance in front of a massive, energetic and often raucous crowd. Talent is paramount but composure and fortitude are other critical components for a Derby triumph.
Based on the results of the points races over the last several months, all 20 horses earned their way into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Some will be favorites, and others will be longshots. But remember, the horses don’t know the odds.
On paper some horses might look better than others, but races aren’t run on paper, and horses aren’t machines. They’re living, breathing animals. None of their race day experience to date, or any schooling they might go through the week before the race, can recreate the insane atmosphere they will face on the first Saturday in May.
From the walkover to the paddock to the tunnel to the racetrack and finally the starting gate, the Kentucky Derby participants will be center stage with an audience of roughly 170,000 people. Some of the horses will get stage fright, others will act like seasoned professionals.
Horses who get worked up before the race are unlikely to put their best hoof forward when the gate opens. Those who don’t turn a hair have a much better chance to run to their top capabilities.
Here are some of the positive and negative signs you can look for on Kentucky Derby Day.
· Overall alertness
· On their toes, nudging the pony
· Prancy, but not too prancy
· Well-defined muscle tone
· Shiny coat — one that glistens in the sun — dappled, like freckles on a human
· Bright eye
· Satellite ears
· A horse with their neck bowed, feeling invincible
· Sweating on a cool day. Look for a frothy substance on the neck and kidney area. It’s a sign of nervousness. Sweaty horses are said to be “washed out”
· Dull and disinterested — walking with their head down like they just woke up from a nap. Take note, the lazy look may not be a negative for classy, seasoned veterans who have been to battle many times and understand their job
· Rambunctious — horses who are overly excited are wasting valuable energy
· Incessant tail swishing — a sign of being mad or upset
· Head over the pony in the post parade — a sign they’re anxious and looking for comfort
Horses can’t talk, but they can communicate with their body language, not only in the Kentucky Derby, but in every race that is run. When picking horses to bet on, use these visuals to your advantage.
by The Racing Analysts of TwinSpire