Far Right is a nice horse. On his best day he could be a factor in big races. That is precisely the problem with the Kentucky Derby this year. There are just so many good horses running - and a few that could be absolutely exceptional - that it will be much harder than normal for horses like this one to break through and for bettors to figure out what to do with them.
So, can Far Right win the Kentucky Derby? I guess so. I mean, he's a really nice horse. He just needs everything to go his way because he is very unlikely to be able to beat American Pharoah, Dortmund and Carpe Diem if any or all of those three are at or near their best. Oddsmakers aren't particularly optimistic about the chances of that happening - Far Right sits at 35/1 in early futures action at BetOnline.
Arkansas Derby: I really liked this race for this horse. He was in no hurry out of the gate and happily took the rear of the field for the first three-quarters of a mile or so. He made a very nice move starting on the last corner and looked happy and energetic while finishing strong down the stretch. He was not in the same stratosphere as the brilliant winner, American Pharoah, but there is no fault in that. He was clearly and solidly second best. There is room for improvement, though. Chiefly, when he entered the stretch he was clearly drifting to the side when running straight is obviously a shorter route to the finish line. In the Derby drifting can lead to a rough ride in the stretch because things are so crowded. It wasn't so bad as to be a massive concern, though.
Prior experience: I often complain at this time of year about how inexperienced a lot of the Derby horses are. I certainly can't apply that here - the Derby will be Far Right's 10th career start. He started way back in April last year, and after two seconds he broke his maiden the third time out at Churchill Downs. It is worth noting that he has had three trips already over the Derby surface - a first, second and third. That's a big asset. His last six races have been stakes action. He won the first two of the four Derby prep races at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. He started with the Smarty Jones then took the Southwest. He then skipped the Rebel and trained up to the Arkansas Derby - at least in part to avoid having to run twice against two-year-old champion American Pharoah. The big thing that stands out across his career is that he is a deep closer - one of few in the Derby field. He is happy to stay way back of the leaders until his time to move comes. He could potentially get lucky in the Derby. Several of the top horses in Derby field like to be on or near the lead, so there could be an aggressive early pace. That would set up nicely for a closer like Far Right.
Trainer: Ron Moquett is one of the type of stories that makes the Derby so much fun. Primarily a regional player running in the south, Moquett has been solid but only rarely plays at the highest levels. He has had two Breeders' Cup starters, with the best finishing third. This will be his Triple Crown debut. If he can keep calm and focused then he will have this horse ready. Unlike horses out of barns like those of Baffert or Pletcher, the advantage horses from small barns get is the amount of personal attention they can get from the trainer.
Jockey: Mike Smith has ridden him the last three times out. That was no guarantee he will be aboard again in the Derby, though. Smith faces a tough choice. He has ridden both this horse and Ocho Ocho Ocho, and both are pointed at the Derby. He has also ridden Bolo, who has the points to get in and is undecided. He has said he thinks Bolo should stay on grass, but the owners are reportedly leaning towards the Derby anyway. Smith had options - and he probably could have gotten another ride if he wanted to with uncertainty around who will ride El Kabeir and others. He chose this horse, though, and that's a big endorsement. Smith has won all three Triple Crown races, including the Belmont twice. He also has a ridiculous 21 Breeders' Cup victories. He's older now but is still among the very best big-race jockeys in the world. He's a major asset.
Breeding: I am not crazy about Far Right's breeding. It doesn't measure up to the best of this field by any means. He is a son of Notional. That horse was impressive early on the Triple Crown Trail in 2007 and was going to be an intriguing option after finishing second in the Florida Derby. He was injured before the race, though, and missed the rest of the season. He has not yet produced much at stud. Far Right's damsire is Vindication. He's a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, which is obviously a positive. Vindication died young, so we don't know enough about what he is capable of. His offspring have been decent, but there is more of a sprint influence than a stamina one. It's not impossibly bad breeding all in all, but it could certainly be better.
Want free sports betting picks? Doc's Sports has you covered - get $60 worth of picks free from any of Doc's Sports expert handicappers. Click here for free picks (new clients only).
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Kentucky Derby Handicapping
- 2021 Kentucky Derby Prop Bets and Expert Betting Predictions
- Best Trifecta Bets for the 2021 Kentucky Derby
- Kentucky Derby Field - The Lineup and Morning Line Odds
- 2021 Kentucky Derby Betting and Wagering Strategies
- 2021 Kentucky Derby Betting Trends
- 2021 Kentucky Derby Long Shots
- 2021 Kentucky Oaks Predictions and Race Analysis
- 2021 Kentucky Derby Facts
- Known Agenda Odds to Win the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions
- Hot Rod Charlie Odds to Win the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions