Kentucky Derby Victors and Their Maiden Wins

At least it wasn't raining... - Al Bello

People doubt Bayern because his win this past weekend wasn't a "wow" victory. So what does that mean in context to winning the Derby?

So what is in a maiden win? Admittedly, I had no opinion going into doing this research. But after hearing some of the experts decry that Bayern's win wasn't all that impressive and remembering all of the talk about Uncle Mo's 17 length Maiden victory at the Spa it got me thinking. Is there any correlation between (or at least anything interesting, I'm not in the business of making grand predictions) their first victory and their biggest?

So let's take a look at the data:

/curses as the table function won't work on the damn iPad

Ok, so let's try this again:

This is going to be ugly then as I'm going to go winner by winner and describe the data, sorry.

2013- Orb (by Malibu Moon) - broke maiden at 4th try at Aqueduct on 24 November in MSW 67k company. He won by 2 lengths with his typical deep closer style. He duplicated that style in both the Derby and in the rest of his lifetime starts (running style is just an approximation for lifetime starts).

2012- I'll Have Another (by Flower Alley) - broke maiden at first asking at Hollywood Park on 3 July in MSW 72k. He won by 3/4 of a length in front running style. He was taken back and stalked the pace in the Derby, using that good tactical speed to blast home. His lifetime running style was definitely EP.

2011- Animal Kingdom (by Leroy the Animal)- Broke maiden at 2nd asking at Keeneland on 23 October in a MSW 47k. He won by 3 1/4 lengths by stalking the early speed. He was more of a P in the Derby win but in my opinion is more of a EP type. He's a hard one to really sum up since he ran on turf, Tapeta, regular synthetics, uphill, worldwide, and against Wise Dan. The only thing he didn't do was run down the hill at SA. But that probably wouldn't have bothered him.

2010- Super Saver (by Maria's Mon)- broke maiden at 2nd asking at Belmont on 11 September in MSW 44k company. He won by an easy 7 lengths in front running style. He won the Derby by stalking the pace (EP) and used the same style in the rest of his starts.

2009- Mine That Bird (by Birdstone)- broke maiden at 2nd asking at Woodbine in Maiden Claming 62.5k (but that's Canadian, so maybe 53k?) company on 4 August. He won by 1 3/4 lengths by stalking the pace. In the Derby he came from dead last and had the miracle Calvin move up the rail. He was definitely a closer the rest of his career.

2008- Big Brown (by Boundary)- broke maiden at 1st asking at the Spa on 3 September by an immense 11 1/4 lengths in a MSW 63k. He was all early speed here, a tactic he used frequently, although he stalked the early speed in the Derby. No surprise here.

2007- Street Sense (Street Cry (IRE))- broke maiden at second asking at Arlington in MSW 27k. He won by 1 1/4 by stalking the early speed. He closed from way back in the Derby but was more of a P-type the rest of his career.

2006- Barbaro (Dynaformer)- broke maiden at first asking on the TURF at Delaware Park on 4 October in MSW 40k company. He won with early speed by 8 1/2 lengths. He was definitely a EP type for all other lifetime starts. This horse was straight up a turf horse that was talented enough to get a route over the dirt too. Just shows that winning the Derby is really about timing, talent and pace.

2005- Giacomo (Holy Bull)- broke maiden at 2nd asking at Santa Anita on 22 October in MSW 41k company. He won by 10 lengths by coming from off the pace as a P-type. He was definitely a deep closer for the rest of his career.

2004- Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality)- broke maiden at first asking at Philadelphia Park on 9 November in MSW 23k company by an easy 7 3/4 lengths running on the front end. He was an EP horse in every other one of his starts. On a side note, HOW DID THIS HORSE NOT WIN THE TRIPLE CROWN. So damn talented, such shoddy competition.

Ok so on average we have this:

Colt by Random stallion, breaks maiden in early September in MSW 45k company in the Northeast. They win by 7 lengths in EP fashion. He is also an EP runner for the rest of his starts.

So what can we instill from their maiden win? In my opinion, nothing. Turf, distance (which I didn't compile since the distances aren't really comparable due to juveniles running longer throughout the year, so for me, the date when the broke their maiden is more important than distance), location, level, none really matter to WIN the Derby.

Up next? I'll look at their first stakes appearance and win and how they did it.

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