Road to the Kentucky Derby: El Areeb thrives in testing conditions

Despite his impressive win, El Areeb still has to find a fair bit of improvement. Photo:

Using the tools available to him via the TRC Global Rankings algorithm, James Willoughby is assessing each of 27 trials in his Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Here is his verdict on the G3 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on January 2.

Trial number: 2 of 27
TRC trial rank: #21
Trial name: Jerome Stakes
Grade: 3
Our Grade: 3
Course: Aqueduct
Date: Jan 2, 2017
Distance: 8.3f Inner
Going: Muddy
Winner: El Areeb
Winner Expected RPR: 108.0
Winner Actual RPR: 110
Winning Trainer: Cathal Lynch (TRC Global Ranking: unranked)
Winning Jockey: Trevor McCarthy (#185)
Winning Owner: M M G Stables, LLC (unranked)
Winning Sire: Exchange Rate (#242)


Could surprising Jerome Stakes winner El Areeb thrust his trainer Cathal Lynch and jockey Trevor McCarthy up the TRC Global Rankings?

The reality is that, despite an impressive 11-length win here, the former breeze-up purchase has still got a fair bit of improvement to find. His Racing Post Rating of 110 represents a smart effort, but this seems like no ordinary year for Derby horses and another five lengths is needed.

Northern Ireland native Cathal Lynch reckons El Alreeb might be up to it, though, and his combination of speed and stamina, which can be reviewed in the YouTube video, will stand him in good stead.

He is likely pointing towards the G1 Wood Memorial – the ‘regional final’ for New York horses – and the nine furlongs will suit him.

Jockey Trevor McCarthy, a top apprentice three years ago, got a good response turning out of the back and his mount seemed to thrive over a testing track, which caught out all those behind – notably the bitterly disappointing favourite Takaful.

The fractions which can be read from the Equibase chart were 23.28 – 24.83 – 27.24 – 4.54. And that last split, measured over 70 yards, is 28.54 pro-rata with the other quarter-splits.

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