Denk on Horses Derby contender profiles
Nehro finishing second to Archarcharch in the Arkansas Derby. (Eclipse Sportswire)
After the first two races of his career, no sane person could have predicted Zayat Stables’ Nehro would be one of the main contenders in the Kentucky Derby.
Nehro finished a decent fourth in his sprint debut December 12 at the Fair Grounds, then a dull 10th in his 3-year-old debut Jan. 15 when stretched out to a mile at Oaklawn Park.
Following an explosive maiden victory in his third career start, Nehro has earned a lofty ranking within this 3-year-old crop with rallying, neck losses in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
Nehro’s maiden win at Oaklawn on February 21 earned a Beyer Speed Figure of just 79, but the sweeping, sustained, wide move he made in the race had to be seen to be appreciated. Last of 11 on the backstretch, Nehro moved four to five paths wide on the far turn and ran by the field in a flash.
Nehro jumped way up in class off that race to the Louisiana Derby, where his late rally fell a neck short of Pants On Fire. Nehro had to wait for a hole on the inside turning for home. That hole appeared, then shrunk, as Pants On Fire bore inward in the final sixteenth of a mile. Nehro just missed getting up for the win, and he was in front one stride after the wire. The time for the mile and one-eighth was 1:49.92 (older multiple graded stakes winner Mission Impazible ran the same distance in 1:49.02 earlier on the card).
Nehro returned three weeks later in the Arkansas Derby and ran another solid race. Well off the strong pace, he commenced a wide rally on the turn, and, again, just missed the victory. This time he fell a neck short of Archarcharch, who got the jump on him. Nehro ran right by Archarcharch immediately after the wire and galloped out strongly. His Beyer figure improved from 94 in the Louisiana Derby to 98 in Arkansas.
Nehro is by Mineshaft, a good distance sire, and judging by the way he galloped out in his most recent two races at 1 1/8 miles, the added furlong in the Kentucky Derby should not be a problem. It might even aid his chances. Nehro sometimes takes a little while to get going, but once he finds his rhythm he can come with a good, sustained rally.
The Derby will be Nehro’s third race in seven weeks, and he has developed a lot in a very short amount of time. He only has the one maiden win, but Nehro is a serious contender to hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. With just a little improvement, he becomes a win candidate.