The Graded Earnings Curse ?

I did a little research on the graded earnings statistics for the last five Derbies and noticed a thing or two worth mentioning. While there may well be a Juvenile Champion curse and winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile sometimes leads to the most graded earnings, that is not usually the case. There may also be a Most Graded Earnings curse, from 2002 through 2006 no horse with a million dollars or more in graded earnings going into the derby has managed to win.

The list of million dollar earners reads like a who’s who of top colts who did not deliver on Derby Day.

• Brother Derek - $1.114,980
• Afleet Alex - $1,245,000
• Essence of Dubai - $1,518,000
• Harlan’s Holiday - $1,286,064
• Johannesburg - $1,006,489
• Empire Maker - $1,072,000
• Peace Rules - $1,035,000
• Wilko - $1,004,515

On the other end of the spectrum having average earning or just enough graded earnings to get in the gate is by no means an indicator of performance. Funny Cide had $303,000 in earnings and War Emblem just $300,000. In 2005 Giacomo was 18th in graded earnings with $184,000 and Closing Argument was 19th but Pro Prado who was 32nd on the list got in the gate with $105,000, he finished ahead of bigger earners like Friends Lake, Castledale and Pollards Vision.

In 2003 Empire Maker scared away most of the competition yet Ten Cents A Shine got in the gate with a paltry $46,240 in earnings and finished a respectable 8th.

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