Thunder Gulch’s career on the track was criminally short. Injured and retired during the fall of his three year old campaign, we never got to see how scary great he had a chance to become as a four year old.
Instead we have his Kentucky Derby win to savor. Noteworthy is just how fast that early pace is. And Thunder Gulch is incredibly never further than 3 1/2 lengths away. Those early leaders didn’t last but the best horse on the track that day sure did.
As a three year old he would only lose three times with valid excuses for each. To a dawdling front runner named Wild Syn in the Blue Grass Stakes. To heralded stable mate Timber Country in the Preakness. To Cigar in the Jockey Club Gold Cup due to injury.
So why was a horse this good 24-1 on Derby day?
Thunder Gulch is a classic example of how the betting public mistakenly puts too much emphasis (positive and negative) on a horse’s last race. Prior to his 4th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Thunder Gulch impressively bested Suave Prospect twice at Gulfsteam Park in the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby. Had he skipped the Blue Grass, his odds that first Saturday in May would undoubtedly been below 5-1.