HRI's Triple Crown Power Rankings

The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings is a consensus opinion of HorseRaceInsider's editorial staff compiled and written by executive editor John Pricci. It is an amalgam of achievement and opinion relative to the merits of the 2013 Triple Crown. The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings will be adjusted each week following significant prep race developments.

HRI Final Staff Poll for Derby 142: Back to the Future

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 1, 2016—Today’s installment of HRI’s Kentucky Derby Power Rankings, the final of 2016, comes with staff comments and a disclaimer.

Last week we asked our staffers and contributors to give us their Top Five Derby horses and, unlike in previous pools when we insisted on an amalgam of accomplishment and opinion, today's HRI Triple Rankings for Week 9 is based on individual staff opinions one week before the show.

The caveat is that the rankings are being posted three days in advance of the critically important post-position draw, before all riding assignments have been confirmed and early line odds posted. Clearly, preferences are very likely to change.

Final HRI selections—a final Top Five, with traditionally truncated comments, will be posted here in the wee hours, Friday a.m.. We will also post our top three selections for the day’s Kentucky Oaks. as of now, this is what we project might happen on Derby Day.

A final consensus of opinion follows. [Ed. Note] My personal Top Five will be rated in order of Pricci Energy Ratings, a compilation of energy distributor based on optimum performance when similar dynamics apply; in short, their best races.

Tom Jicha:

1. Nyquist: Perfect record, perfect off-the-pace style, suitable for fast or slow pace.

2. Mohaymen: Liked him in the Florida Derby. Every horse is entitled to one dud [Secretariat was third in his Wood Memorial]. Latest works are brilliant.

3. Mor Spirit: Always finds a way to get a piece of the pot.

4. Gun Runner: Hasn’t done anything wrong this year but La. Derby horses don't get the roses.

5. Brody’s Cause: Loves Kentucky more than one-and-done college hoop stars.

Mark Berner

1. Mohaymen: Willing to forgive his poor Florida Derby after seeing his Churchill workouts. Tactical speed to be in good position if Danzing Candy allowed to control pace.

2. Gun Runner: Earned co-top BRIS figure in Louisiana Derby victory and is training well. Broke maiden at Churchill but 42-day gap since his last race a concern.

3. Nyquist: Champ remains undefeated but his best figures were earned sprinting and believe distance limitations exposed when ducking out late in the Florida Derby.

4. Brody's Cause: Returned to top form winning the Blue Grass and has room to improve further. CD maiden breaking deep closer will be at the mercy of the pace.

5. Exaggerator:
Won sloppy Santa Anita Derby from far back on a sloppy and should be closer to the pace in Louisville. Rates higher selection if the track is wet.


1. Gun Runner: All prior Derby winners under points system earned 150+ points. He is only one this year [Favorite Nyquist second at 130].

2. Nyquist: Undefeated Juvenile Champion has beaten earlier prep winners.

3. Brody's Cause: Strong closer with good juvenile foundation and course experience.

4. Exaggerator: Versatile, good juvenile foundation, beat earlier prep winners, handles any surface.

5. Creator: Another strong closer also beat earlier prep winners; by the most coveted sire.

John Pricci

1. Exaggerator (Pricci Energy Rating-192): As Indulto said, owns versatility and handles any surface. Loved the way the Desormeaux’s educated their 3YO old-school style.

2. Mohaymen (PER 191):
Training like a wild horse, which could be the good news and the bad news. Praying for a fast track for all; hates races with built-in excuses.

3. Mor Spirit (PER 190): Form cycle eerily reminiscent of Silver Charm for same barn. Also has used recent races as training exercises for Saturday. Like we said, fast track, please.

4. Danzing Candy (PER 184): Drawing a line through Santa Anita collapse due to extremely fast pace and adverse conditions. Shipping in on top of race worked for Funny Cide.

5. Destin (PER 184):
Top figure sheet number the reason for eight-week freshening. Training very well and while we love freshness, the historical Derby spacing perspective a serious concern.

Pricci Energy Ratings Addenda: Again, the accompanying figures are based on top performance, given optimal dynamics. Of course, 10 furlongs is the great unknown for but ratings based on two-turn performances only.

Given how the figures are compiled, and based on a year and a half of beta testing, a PER difference of 10 points is considered significant. The fact that the spread among our personal five finalists is eight points underscores the wide open nature of Derby 142.

Interesting to note that Derby favorite Nyquist has a PER of 178, followed closely by Gun Runner (175), Whitmore (174), Outwork and Mo Tom (173), My Man Sam (172) and Creator (171).

HRI Final Kentucky Derby Consensus with ranking points based on a 6-4-3-2-1 scale.

1. Mohaymen-15
2. Nyquist-13
2. Exaggerator-13
4. Mor Spirit-12
4. Gun Runner-12
6. Brody’s Cause-6
7. Danzing Candy-2
8. Creator-1
8. Destin-1

Written by John Pricci - Comments (11)


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