Girvin Not a Likely Derby Contender, but Preakness a Possibility

Girvin went to post in the Feb. 25 Risen Star Stakes at 8-1 odds. He had been training great and showed his improvement and speed with a strong closing kick to win the Grade II Risen Star race and secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with 50 qualifying points on the Road to the Roses. Girvin was able to save ground along the rail, and his final time of 1:43.08 seconds at the Fair Grounds Race Course was the third fastest in the 1 1/16 mile Risen Star in the past 15 runnings of the race.

As Girvin prepares for his final Derby prep in the Louisiana Derby April 1, he’ll be asked to carry his jockey Brian Hernandez a bit further to the finish – 1 1/8 miles. From there, the questions will be asked as to whether Girvin can get the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles faster than his 19 rivals in the Kentucky Derby.

A look at the past and pedigree can provide us of his potential and whether we can profit from Girvin’s experience. We always want to project improvement for a 3-year old as he makes a bid in the Derby and on the Triple Crown trail. The Preakness Stakes could follow for Girvin, and that’s a distance of 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico.

Girvin’s sire is Tale of Ekati, who won the Belmont Futurity as a 2-year-old and was a top miler at age 3 and 4. He did win the 2008 Wood Memorial going 1 1/8, and followed with a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Derby as a big longshot. The Wood Memorial was his only win beyond a mile and the Canadian-bred finished his career with 5 wins and 1 place in 15 starts.

Girvin’s dam is Catch a Moon, and his damsire Malibu Moon was the son of A.P. Indy, who won 8 of 11 starts including the 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic in his final race. Malibu Moon’s career was cut short by a slab fracture of his right knee, but Malibu Moon is a top-10 ranked sire by earnings.

Girvin’s pedigree indicates that 1 1/8 miles could be at the top of his scope, making a Kentucky Derby victory unlikely. Girvin is an average sized colt but does possess a running style and stride fit to stretch out. In the last nine years, four colts won both the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby, but only one placed in the Kentucky Derby and that was last year when Gun Runner finished third. For Girvin to get on the top of our radar to win or place in the Derby, he’ll have to show continued improvement and run a huge race against a stronger field in the Louisiana Derby.

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