2022 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile – Simplification

HOW HE GOT HERE

A Florida-bred, Florida-trained, and Gulfstream Park raced colt, Simplification sports one of the more unique resumes in this year’s Kentucky Derby. After a sub-par debut sprinting on the Tapeta, Simplification was put on the dirt for his next start. All he did on that day was win by 16 lengths and put up some monster speed figures. However, the hype did die down as he once again went six furlongs on the Gulfstream Park oval, this time fading following a speed duel and running third. Nevertheless, he jumped up to stakes company and never looked back, as he has won or placed in four straight stakes on the South Florida road to the Kentucky Derby.

The campaign began against a rather subpar bunch in the Mucho Macho Man S. (L) on New Years’ Day, where he showed his familiar speed and posted another dominant wire-to-wire victory. This led into his first official points race start, the Holy Bull S. (G3). Off at 7/2, it was expected that this supposed speed ball had a clear pace advantage with a large lack of early speed from his other opponents, but Simplification absolutely blew the start and was forced to come from far back for the first time in his career. Through a crafty steer by Javier Castellano, Simplification was able to sustain a bold rally and run a very strong 2nd despite the trouble. I thought this stamped the colt as a true contender for major three-year old races this year, and he backed that up with an off-the-pace score in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2). In the Florida Derby last time out, he flashed the early foot we saw earlier in his career, and it seemed like dueling between two rivals softened him just enough to fade to third down the lane.

 

HOW HE FITS HERE

Simplification fits the mold of a horse who has one off race in their final Derby prep before running respectably on the big day. A favorable comparison could be another horse who placed in the Florida Derby after a Fountain of Youth S. win – Code of Honor. Simplification’s talent is apparent through his dominant wins, but his ability to find ways to lose is also a concern. Expect him to be closer to mid-pack in this year’s race, as there seems to be plenty of frontrunning and close-stalking types. The adaptability this colt has presented this year suggests to me that there’s no reason to get mixed up in traffic and a potential quick pace.

The biggest fault for Simplification is his inability to beat White Abarrio, who won both the Holy Bull S. and Florida Derby. I’ll give Simplification the benefit of the doubt for the Holt Bull run, but he had every chance to be the better horse in the Florida Derby but was unable to. It’s also worth noting that no horse out of the ten runners he beat in the Fountain of Youth S. has come back to win in their next start.

CONNECTIONS AND PEDIGREE

Simplification will be the second Kentucky Derby starter for trainer Antonio Sano, following Gunnevera in 2017. Sano has had good success at the highest levels and certainly maximizes the potential of his better stock. Our subject will be ridden by Jose Ortiz, who I’m sure most reading are familiar with. Ortiz has led the nation in earnings on multiple occasions and took out the 2017 Eclipse Award for Champion Jockey. He has yet to win the Kentucky Derby, but placed with both Good Magic and Tacitus in recent years.

Not This Time is set to be represented by two Derby starters this year, Simplification and Epicenter, and also has one horse on the outside looking in in In Due Time. Not This Time was an excellent runner who’s career was cut short due to injury, but has begun a prolific ascent up the sire rankings from his first few crops. Simplification is out the Candy Ride mare, Simply Confection, who placed in stakes on dirt while racing. This pedigree screams classic distances, and is actually on the same exact cross as likely Derby favorite, Epicenter, so the bloodlines are definitely not a knock on Simplification.

 

OVERALL CHANCE

Simplification seems like a horse one can’t avoid in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Although he’s coming off a loss, his consistent figures and running lines give him the chance to at least find the board. As we’ve seen over the past two years, coming off a win in the Kentucky Derby doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory. He’s well bred for this kind of race, is adaptable as can be, and just finds ways to run good races. Does he have to get a little better? Absolutely. Yet it’s fair to think the value will be flowing come post time, and taking a flyer on Simplification might be a profitable route when all is said and done.

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