Saturday, May 7, 2011

Kentucky Derby 137 Pick and Plays - Final Channeling

The ramp up to the Kentucky Derby includes three months of watching, reading and ranking the prospects. There was honest and blind belief in a few horses that I thought were special, but ended up much less than that. Both To Honor and Serve and Casper's Touch were young, talented colts I thought would be standing in the Churchill starting gate tomorrow. Alas, I was dreadfully wrong.

Besides keeping tabs on equine athletes and human connections, I've laid my share of wagers down - some good, some bad and some just plain ugly. One of my best bets was a win wager on Midnight Interlude in the Santa Anita Derby; one of the worst, a win wager on Uncle Mo in the Wood at 1-9. I know, I know foolish, but I was simply trying to build more "shares" in a contest at the time. Believe me it was the only time I've ever bet on such a heavy favorite.

Now that the gate is set, I've eaten a healthy slice of Pecan Derby Pie and I've looked of the Daily Racing Form one more time, I'm ready to come up with a few Kentucky Derby picks. The potential bets will follow with a brief explanation for each: two Superfectas, which if you'd like can serve as a basis for trifecta and/or exacta bets and a win wager. The Pick 3 looks too tough as I can't narrow the Turf Classic to under six selections.

I'll start with the most difficult bet first, the superfecta - that is trying to correctly predict the first four finishers in a 19-horse field. It sounds hard, is hard, but has the potential top pay $250,000! You can also play the superfecta for a base bet of a dime, so you can keep the bet affordable.

After factoring all the horses I liked into a $400 superfecta wheel and left feeling exposed to more than a few entries that could break up my bet, I'll take an inexpensive shot at the big ticket. I'm figuring it this way - I'd rather be wrong for a few bucks than wrong for a lot of bucks. Or maybe I'll get lucky.

Since rain is more than likely before and around post time, I'm taking an experienced sloppy track winner to wheel on top of the superfecta ticket - 17 Soldat. Sure his Florida Derby was awful, but they forced him to run out of his comfort zone, by taking him under a hold along the rail. Sure a coast-to-coast score is unlikely, but maybe if he runs to his front-running strength and goes three-wide just off the pace, he may pounce on front runners and win going away before the closers close. It's worth a shot.

Underneath, I'll go with four closers:
  • 1 Archarcharch - the post is a problem only if you think he'll win; I don't because I'm putting him underneath. It looks like he comes out of a key race and he's got the talent and bloodlines to contend.
  • 2 Brilliant Speed - following his strong work and showing on Churchill track, I'm willing to give him a shot at a price
  • 8 Dialed In - proven dead closer for Nick Zito probably means another runner up finish, maybe
  • 16 Animal Kingdom - finding position to close into will be a key element to his success, but I am betting on him improving enough to hit the board.
So the $1 Superfecta will be 17/1-2-8-16/1-2-8-16/1-2-8-16 for $24.

Since I did the grunt work handicapping for a more madcap scramble let me give you a 10-cent Superfecta: 8,13,16,17/1,8,13,16,17,19/1,2,3,14,15,19/2,3,12,14,15 would cost $40

Since I'm proposing to single Soldat on top of the Superfecta, you'd think I'd just play him to win as well and I will.  But I'll also be adding Mucho Macho Man and probably Animal Kingdom for two, small additional win wagers. Interestingly, I have three "uninvested shares" in $25,000 Derby Prep Contest at To get my shares vested and a chance to share in the $25,000 pool, I will have to cash a single $10 win wager. So I'll be using one of the three horses mentioned above to hopefully get more than $50 back.

Good luck with all your Derby Day wagers!

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