Another Year to Remember
By Dick Downey
The Kentucky Derby has become like an old friend to me. We can be apart for a year, but when we meet again, things just pick up where we left off. That's a comforting feeling.
There is another analogy I often consider, and it's that the Derby and the game of golf are very much alike. Each endeavor has fundamentals that don't change, but at the same time every round is different. That's what keeps it interesting.
A different cast of horses every year means that the Kentucky Derby remains fresh. Even though it's 142 years old, to me the Derby is reborn every time it has a birthday. The purpose of The Downey Profile is to remind us of the fundamentals, and I try to use them to help guide us in the right direction.
Those of you familiar with The Downey Profile know we try to isolate a Top 4 group of horses, thus, in most years, eliminating 80 percent of the field. From those four horses we try to find the best one and predict the winner.
In 2016, for the third straight year the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner came from the Top 4 of The Downey Profile rankings. The Top 4 actually produced the top three finishers in this year's Kentucky Derby.
The top rankings were, in order:
1. Brody's Cause
3. Gun Runner
My own selections for the Derby yielded the cold trifecta.
1. Nyquist (first)
2. Exaggerator (second)
3. Gun Runner (third)
4. Brody's Cause (seventh)
5. Outwork (fourteenth)
6. Suddenbreakingnews (fifth)
At the risk of being immodest, I must also say I constructed beneath my Derby selections a dollar superfecta bet that cost $88, and it yielded $542.10.
Greg "The Commish" Johnson selected the Derby exacta in reverse order.
1. Exaggerator (second)
2. Nyquist (first)
3. My Man Sam (eleventh)
4. Whitmore (nineteenth)
5. Mo Tom (eighth)
Greg turned the tables in the Preakness by keeping Exaggerator right on top. His top four picks also produced the superfecta, which yielded $317.00 for a dollar.
1. Exaggerator (first)
2. Nyquist (third)
3. Stradivari (fourth)
4. Cherry Wine (second)
5. Fellowship (eighth)
My Preakness hopes were dashed after Nyquist ran the fastest opening quarter-mile in the history of the race. I can't say he would have won had this not happened, but he would have had a much better chance.
1. Nyquist (third)
2. Exaggerator (first)
3. Collected (tenth)
4. Stradivari (fourth)
In the Belmont Stakes, I touted Lani, who was 20-1 on the morning line, as my key horse and wrote, "I'm going to bet Lani to win and show with the larger bet to show." At mid-stretch, Lani was surging big-time, and I thought he was going to win, but he flattened out the last 100 yards and finished third. Sent off at 12-1 odds, he returned $6.60 to show. Superfecta models I constructed included Creator in the fourth spot but not on top.
My Belmont selections were:
1. Lani (third)
2. Exaggerator (11th as the favorite)
3. Suddenbreakingnews (ninth as the second choice)
4. Stradivari (fifth)
5. Destin (second)
Greg went long on top, too, and then he saw his number one selection blocked not once, not twice but three times from the quarter pole to the eighth pole.
1. Governor Malibu (fourth)
2. Exaggerator (11th)
3. Seeking the Soul (12th)
4. Destin (second)
5. Suddenbreakingnews (ninth)
The chart call for Governor Malibu, who was fourth at each call except when sixth at the stretch call: "remained along the rail after the start, kept an eye on the front runners sitting in the pocket, was checked while in tight and close proximity to the heels of Gettysburg at the quarter pole, angled into the two path only to have that lane blocked by the aforementioned rival, altered course back to the rail, was in the vicinity of the eighth pole, when forced to check in tight quarters when cut off by the former pacesetter, tipped wider and got going again, finishing with good courage to earn the last major check."
I didn't open The Downey Profile Subscription Page until April 8, and I almost didn't work on the website at all this year because my dad, who is 87, had a rough winter. Based on this year's experience, which turned out to be great, my plan is to get started next year at about the time the major Derby points races get going.
Well, that wraps things up, and I'll get some time off now. I plan to attend Breeders' Cup, but I don't know whether I'll open a Subscription Page for it. I haven't done that for three years.
In the meantime, thank you so much for being with us. Best wishes and good luck to all.