McCraken Career Statistics
Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $385,048
Owner: Whitham Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Ian Wilkes
Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Pedigree: Ghostzapper – Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold
Recent Finish: 3rd in Blue Grass, G2 (4/1/17)
Notable Wins: Sam F. Davis, G3 (2/11/17), Kentucky Jockey Club, G2 (11/26/16)
McCraken has won 4-of-5 starts and is 3-for-3 over the Churchill Downs track. His lone defeat was a 3rd place finish last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes. In that race, he went off as the 8-5 favorite but failed to fire late and flattened in the drive to finish nearly four lengths behind the long shot winner Irap.
McCraken was the favorite when Pool 3 and Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed. He suffered a minor ankle injury in training Feb. 28 and was held out of the Tampa Bay Derby. While some will question why he was too close to the pace and his failure to finish in the Blue Grass, there have been many horses that have not run well at Keeneland only to bounce back on a better more suitable surface. McCraken has been training very well back at his favorite track at Churchill, and there is no questioning McCraken’s class or ability to get the Derby distance as a son of Ghostzapper.
McCraken has the ability to settle behind the speed and finish very strongly, and if he doesn’t get behind a wall of traffic or suffer a poor early trip and fall too far back, he should be one to watch turning for home down the stretch at the Derby.
Some key speed figures and stats for McCraken:
- Final 3/8ths time in Blue Grass – :38.27 seconds
- 95 Beyer Speed Figure in Sam F. Davis Stakes
- Set Tampa Bay Downs track record in Sam F. Davis for 1 1/16 miles at 1:42.45
- No Bluegrass Stakes runner has won the Derby since 2007
Horses that are finishing strongly at the end of their prep races are more likely to handle the distance of the Kentucky Derby (1 ¼ miles) than horses that are tiring at the end of their prep races. Each of the last five Kentucky Derby winners – and 15 of the last 20 – ran the last three-eighths of their final Derby prep race in less than 38 seconds. Ten Derby horses fit that speed figure profile, and while McCraken is not one of them, we believe he didn’t care for the Keeneland track and he’ll be more fit and ready to run returning home to Churchill Downs.