Clay: Smaller field would produce better Derby

by | 05.01.2011 | 8:04am

Turf writer John Clay, making the case for reducing the Derby field from 20 to 14, suggests one of the reasons this Derby crop looks uninspiring is that we just don't know all that much about the 20 starters:

“After all, possible Derby contenders use fewer races to prepare for the race, but there are more prep races in which they can run. This produces a thinning effect. Trainers and owners can pick their spot, searching for a race that pays well in terms of graded earnings but doesn't present a lot of top-quality competition.

Of the 20 horses that have the graded earnings necessary to qualify for a spot in the Derby field, a dozen have won at least one Derby prep. Trouble is, for the majority of 12, that's all they've won.”

Do you agree they should reduce the size of the Derby field?

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