Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Channeling the Derby Part II - The Contenders

Followers of this blog - the few, the proud (thanks for continuing to come back) - know it's time for the second installment of Channeling the Derby. This list is created in juxtaposition to Part I - The Tosses. Please see two post below to see who I don't like. The point here is to present up to a dozen contenders and a few betting strategies on the Derby. A few colts will be reconsidered due to training (lack thereof), post positions and possible weather conditions. By the way it's been wet for most of the last 10 days in Louisville and several more days, including Derby Day, have wet weather in the forecast. In addition you may peruse the final Derby Dozen to see how 12 bloggers figure the best 12 horses entering the Derby Gate.

In no particular order, the Contenders:

Shackleford -  interesting since he doesn't appear to need the lead, and likes horses running next to him. He's drawn nicely outside Pants on Fire and Comma to the Top and could be running in a sweet spot three wide into the first turn. Long shot possibility.

Archarcharch - I wouldn't put too much into the number one draw since he races from far off the pace. Blew out three furlongs, old school style, on Tuesday just four days before the big dance. Win considerations at the moment.

Midnight Interlude - I've run hot and cold with him since his big upset win in the Santa Anita Derby. Bob Baffert's comments about his trainee were cool at best earlier this week and he had similar comments before the Arkansas Derby about The Factor. Right now considering third or fourth place on deep exotic tickets.

Dialed In - the most impressive of a less than impressive field. In looking at past races he seems to relish running through fields, so 20 horses may be the least of his problems. Excellent draw breaking just outside front runners, so he'll have room to his left when the Derby gates open. Win considerations.

Animal Kingdom - one of four of reconsidered and he gets on the ticket due to pure talent and distance breeding. His solid Churchill work points to him handling the dirt and with a field filled with distance limitations he gets a long look on top of exotic bets.

Soldat - a wet, meaning less than good, track moves him way up and it looks like he may get a soggy strip to run on. If the track is good, tiring, I will remove his chances for the win. Poor draw at post number 17.

Brilliant Speed - admittedly I'm having a very hard time figuring him. He is another seeming to improve in his workouts at Churchill and has strong stamina on both sire and dam sides. Poor dirt form and poor post - #2 - probably makes him a non-factor.

Nehro - for better or worse he's an underneath horse for me. Maybe he's a super horse or maybe he just likes to finish behind the winner as he has done the past two out. Coming from the 19-hole hampers his chances and I'll only play him for third or fourth.

Mucho Macho Man - honest, yes; consistent, yes; good enough to win, maybe. His post position is a plus and I'm finding it hard to keep him off my tickets.

Stay Thirsty - the better worker training along with Uncle Mo in the Churchill slop; third or fourth at best.

Twice the Appeal - bet with your head, not with your heart. I've reconsidered him and he'll be off my Derby bets, sorry Calvin.

Santiva -not enough done at three to sway me away from others; two-year-old Churchill success not withstanding, he's a dead bet

Derby Kitten - out

Betting strategies:

The past few years I've tried a superfecta wheel - that is picking a winner and wheeling four other horses underneath in spots 2-4. So the bet looks like this A over B, C, D, E/B, C, D, E/B, C, D, E. The bet is inexpensive at $24 for a $1 and requires a good single on top. For instance, last Derby I had Super Saver on top of four others while only correctly pegging Ice Box in the second through fourth spots. I had Paddy Prado in the exacta along with Make Music for Me. I just failed to put it all together. With this field I am not sure I can go with a single on top. I'm looking at a superfecta of three on top for the win with four others underneath.

Another bet I am considering - a Pick Three. I'm thinking of a 3x3x8 play, ending with the Derby. This is a $48 play for a $1, and my thinking is this Derby is so wide open that I should play at least 8 for the win. Sounds a bit crazy, but if I can narrow the two races before to three choices each, having 8 covered would give me a high percentage of hitting - at least on paper - if I'm alive to the Derby.

Next blog - Channeling the Derby - The Bets

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