Kentucky Derby by the Numbers: Dosage Dilemma
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Square Eddie is one of five Kentucky Derby contenders that meet the "dual qualifier" conditions.

Racing fans trying to pick the winner of the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) won’t get much help relying solely on the Dosage System. Eighteen of the 20 candidates ranked by graded stakes earnings qualify according to the Dosage format. In other words, the odds are overwhelmingly good that a horse boasting the right Dosage figures will win. But playing all 18 at the betting windows might not be the best way to turn a profit.

The Dosage system is a mathematical analysis of a horse’s pedigree based upon the presence and location of certain major sires (each one is called a chef-de-race) in a horse’s four-generation pedigree. Females are not included.

Chef-de-race sires are grouped in five different catogories, ranging from speed (brilliant) to extreme stamina (professional). In between are the categories intermediate, classic, and solid. The closer a chef-de-race stallion appears in a subject horse’s pedigree, the greater the influence. A chef-de race sire is assigned 16 points; second generation chef-de-race sires are assigned 8 points; third generation chef-de-race sires are assigned 4 points; and fourth generation chef-de-race sires are assigned 2 points. A formula is then used to determine a horse’s Dosage Index (DI) and a Center of Distribution (CD).

Horses with a DI higher than 4.00 and a CD above 1.25 are considered unlikely to negotiate successfully the 1 1/4 miles of the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May. Thus, a DI higher than 4.00 and a CD higher than 1.25 mean too much speed and not enough stamina in a horse’s pedigree.

In recent years, the Dosage system has been used in conjunction with the annual Experimental Free Handicap for 2-year-olds to help pick the Kentucky Derby winner. Under the Dosage/Experimental dual qualifier system, horses weighted within 10 pounds of the Experimental Free Handicap topweight are eligible to win the Derby, provided they have the right dosage, meaning a DI not higher than 4.00 and a CD not higher than 1.25.

Square Eddie  , who ran third in the April 18 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in his final Derby prep, ranks as the top dual qualifier among the top 20 graded stakes earners. His DI (3.40) and CD (1.00) are under the guidelines. His 123-pound impost on the 2008 Experimental was three pounds less than the 126 pounds assigned topweight and champion 2-year-old male Midshipman.

Four others rank as dual qualifiers among the top 20 graded stakes earners. Pioneerof the Nile   sports a DI of 3.89, a CD of .86, and a 120-pound Experimental ranking. The others are I Want Revenge  , Chocolate Candy, and West Side Bernie.

I Want Revenge checks in with a DI of 3.00 and a .69 CD. He was weighted at 118 on the Experimental.

Both Chocolate Candy and West Side Bernie were weighted on the Experimental at 116 pounds. Chocolate Candy has a DI of 2.08 and a CD of .70 while West Side Bernie has a DI of 1.80 and a .50 CD.

The two Derby candidates among the top 20 graded stakes earners that check in over the limit by Dosage Index are Win Willy and Mine That Bird. The former sports a DI of 5.00, and the latter has a DI of 5.40.

Another candidate, Musket Man  , checks in right at 4.00 with his DI. His CD is 1.10

Since Fusaichi Pegasus  opened the decade with a victory in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, only one Derby winner has sported a DI above the cutoff. Giacomo  , the 2005 winner, checked in with a DI of 4.33.

Following are the Dosage Indexes and Centers of Distribution for all the Derby winners this decade:
Big Brown  (2008) 1.67 and .36
Street Sense  (2007) 2.14 and .68
Barbaro (2006) 2.41  and .70
Giacomo (2005) 4.33 and .94
Smarty Jones  (2004) 3.40 and 1.00
Funny Cide (2003) 1.53 and .46
War Emblem(2002) 3.40 and .95
Monarchos   (2001) 1.40 and .28
Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) 3.67 and .96

Following are the Dosage Indexes and Centers of Distribution for the top 20 leaders by graded stakes earnings for this year’s Run for the Roses:
Advice (by Chapel Royal) 3.80 and .83
Chocolate Candy (Candy Ride  ) 2.08 and .70
Desert Party   (Street Cry) 3.80 and 1.00
Dunkirk (Unbridled's Song) 3.00 and .68
Flying Private (Fusaichi Pegasus) 3.67 and .88
Friesan Fire    (A.P. Indy) 3.00 and .65
General Quarters   (Sky Mesa  ) 2.69 and .67
Hold Me Back   (Giant's Causeway  ) 3.44 and .80
I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even  ) 3.00 and .69
Mine That Bird (Birdstone  ) 5.40 and 1.19
Musket Man (Yonaguska) 4.00 and 1.1
Mr. Hot Stuff (Tiznow  ) 2.11 and .64
Papa Clem   (Smart Strike  ) 3.36 and .92
Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker) 3.89 and .86
Quality Road   (Elusive Quality  ) 2.38 and .73
Regal Ransom   (Distorted Humor  ) 2.00 and .54
Square Eddie (Smart Strike) 3.40 and 1.00
Summer Bird (Birdstone) 2.56 and .69
West Side Bernie (Bernstein) 1.80 and .50
Win Willy (Monarchos) 5.00 and 1.13

 

 


 

 

 

Most Popular Stories