Friday, May 4, 2012

The Eve of the 138th Kentucky Derby: Analysis, Info and PICKS!

It's Derby time!!  Time to sift through the field of 20 horses to find out who gets the honor of being my losing pick!!  Let's face it, the Derby is tough to bet.  There are 20 runners, and most of the them are legit.  I have a history of "liking" too many, and it causes me to make too many bets.  This year, going light.  Picked out a couple horses I like, for different reasons, and will focus on them, and probably throw in a few small exotics and longshots for fun.

I haven't watched any racing at all this year, so I am basing my picks on the general info that anyone has access to.  I usually try to stay away from the so-called "experts" analysis, but did find one article on the net that I found helpful.  I used this after I had a general feel for who I liked.  

There are some links below to each horses page, along with a short blurb I spit out.

The two horses I am focusing on are #5 Dullahan and #15 Gemologist.  Supposedly, the pace is supposed to be quick.  This should benefit a closer like Dullahan.  The danger could be him falling back too far, and having too much ground, and too many horses to work around.  He was 8-1 this morning, which isn't a bad price if he can pull it off.  Gemologist is another solid horse, who has yet to lose in his career, albeit a short one (5 races).  I actually had a dream the other night (before the numbers were drawn) that the #15 horse won!  I know, deep handicapping methods!!!  Don't laugh, ok?  So, I was happy to see that a good horse drew the 15 slot, and really think he has a chance to win.


#5/#15/#3/#4 $1 EXA BOX

Pretty small stuff, I know.  But as I have said, the Derby is TOUGH, and I have not done well in recent years.  $35 is enough for me to invest!  If I do go to Arlington, and do well in the early races, perhaps I will up some of these bets.  We'll see!!

Let's take a look at this years runners:


#1/Daddy Long Legs/Colm O'Donoghue/Aidan O'Brien
You'll never guess where this horse is from!!  Yup, Ireland.  Won the UAE derby back in March, it's only race as a 3 year old to date.  Finished 12th in last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile, despite a clean trip and has not proven to be able to run on dirt.  Post position won't help either. 
Morning odds: 30-1

#2/Optimizer/Jon Court/D. Wayne Lukas
Finished 9th in the Arkansas Derby, and has not won a race since August of last year.  Has been run in three big stakes races this year in addition to Arkansas, finishing 2nd in the Rebel and 9th in the Risen Star.  Going to be hard to back a horse with those results, considering the rest of the field.  Would be a shocker to see it in the money, let alone win.
Morning odds: 50-1

#3/Take Charge Indy/Calvin Borel/Patrick Byrne
Won the Florida Derby (wire to wire), and finished 5th in last year's Juvenile.  Very good pedigree as T.C. Indy is the grandson of Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew, and son of 1992 horse of the year A.P. Indy.  Has to be a horse to consider as he has the stamina to stay up front and finish.  Calvin Borel is also a proven winner at Churchill, and the inside draw is to his liking.  Considering throwing T.C. Indy in some sort of exacta box.
Morning odds: 15-1

#4/Union Rags/Julien Leparoux/Michael Matz
Came in 3rd in the Florida Derby in March, won the Fountain of Youth in February.  Has never finished out of the money in his short career (six starts).  Going to be one of the more popular picks on Saturday and may end up favorite.  Similar to T.C. Indy, could make a showing, and should be considered in some exotic wagering.  
Morning odds: 9-2

#5/Dullahan/Kent Desormeaux/Dale Romans
Won the Toyota Blue Grass last month, and has had decent results in most of his 8 career starts.  Desormeaux has won before 3 times too.   Half brother to 2009 Derby long shot winner Mine That Bird.  He is a closer, that will benefit a fast pace. Has to be on most handicappers short list.  If the pace is as fast as some predict, he could make serious run with Churchill's long home stretch.  I will have some of my money on him for sure!
Morning odds: 8-1

#6/Bodemeister/Mike Smith/Bob Baffert
So far, looks like the Arkansas Derby winner is the favorite to win this year's Derby.  Finished 1st or 2nd in all four career starts.  Baffert has won this race before as has Mike Smith (Giacomo).  Favorites have a history of coming up short here, so we'll see.  Since 1888, no horse has won the Derby that did not race as a 2 year old.  But, he sounds a lot like Budweiser, so might not be a bad pick! I'm going to throw him out, because you can't bet on them all!
Morning odds: 4-1

#7/Rousing Sermon/Jose Lezcano/Jerry Hollendorfer
Not bad results over 9 career starts (2/2/3), but finished out of the money in two of his three starts this year.  I believe both trainer and jockey are winless in the Derby as well. 
Probably explains the long odds.  However, this is just the kind of horse to sneak in the money and mess up everyone's bets!!  He is a closer, so if the pace is quick, and he has a good ride, perhaps can sneak in the money.
Morning odds: 50-1

#8/Creative Cause/Joel Rosario/Mike Harrington
Won the San Felipe Stakes, 2nd in the Santa Anita (to I'll Have Another), and has placed in all 8 career starts (4/1/3).  Is showing up on a lot of experts top 5 lists, and should go off at a decent price.  Could definitely be in the money, so consider in your combo bets.  Conversely, this could be the horse that doesn't show up at all.  Another decent horse I will leave out, for the sake of not betting too much.
Morning odds: 12-1

#9/Trinniberg/Willie Martinez/Bisnath Parboo
Won a couple lesser (Grade III) Stakes races this year, and had OK results as a 2 year old before finishing 7th in the BC Juvenile Sprint last November.  Has never won beyond 7 furlongs, and would be a long shot to do so here.  He will get out in front and set the pace, but would be a major shock to finish in the money.
Morning odds: 50-1

#10/Daddy Nose Best/Garrett Gomez/Steve Asmussen
DNB has also won a couple Grade III Stakes races this, but is getting a lot more love than Trinniberg, since he's more likely to stay back in the pack.  Gomez has won here before, and Asmussen is a proven winner.  I'm just not buying it!  Of course that means this will be the horse to F me!!
Morning odds: 15-1

#11/Alpha/Rajiv Maragh/Kiaran McLaughlin
Has some decent results in 6 career starts, with his only dud coming in the BC Juvenile (11th).  Was a close second to Gemologist in the Wood Memorial.  Has some decent pedigree too.  Another horse that could spell trouble for the favorites, but will have to run a very clean race, something he has not done of late.
Morning odds: 15-1

#12/Prospective/Luis Contreras/Mark Casse
Has some up and down results, but does have 4 career wins, including the Tampa Bay Derby back in March.  But a 6th at the Blue Grass Stakes, and a 13th in the BC Juvenile stand out as well.  Those erratic results are probably the reason for the longer odds.
Morning odds: 30-1

#13/Went The Day Well/John Velazquez/H. Graham Motion
Thirteen is my lucky number, so I always throw a few bucks on it.  This year I will do the same!  I know, REAL advanced system there!  This horse hasn't been tested too much, but has shown decent results in the 5 career starts he had.  Including a win in the Vinery Racing Spiral GIII Stakes in March.  Probably not a great price for a horse that most will consider a longer shot.
Morning odds: 20-1

#14/Hansen/Ramon Dominguez/Mike Maker
Hansen is a grey horse, if that's your sort of thing!  He's had very impressive results in his short career with 4 wins and 2 places in 6 starts, including the BC Juvenile last November.  Came in 2nd to Dullahan at the Blue Grass Stakes last month.  I really wanted to find a way to bet on Hansen, but I'm afraid I have to leave him off.  He has the speed, but will he have the stamina?
Morning odds: 10-1

#15/Gemologist/Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher
Never lost in 5 times out, including a close win over Alpha in the Wood Memorial.  Has had the same mount every race, and Pletcher is a proven winner.  This horse could have the right combination of stamina and speed to take this one home.  Will be on my card for sure.  Aside from my "dream" theory, I do think he has a chance to get it done.
Morning odds: 6-1

#16/El Padrino/Rafael Bejarano/Todd Pletcher
Another Pletcher trained horse with a few wins under his belt.  Won the Risen Star and finished 4th in the Florida Derby.  Could be one to keep an eye on, despite not being talked about much. I'm passing, as I think you can find better value at this price.
Morning odds: 20-1

#17/Done Talking/Sheldon Russell/Hamilton Smith
Illinois Derby win was far and away his best win.  Mixed results otherwise.  Not getting much love, would be a long shot to get in the money.  Definite pass.
Morning odds: 50-1

#18/Sabercat/Corey Nakatani/Steve Asmussen
A 3rd in the Arkansas Derby is respectable, some mixed results outside of that.  We'll see how this horse does coming from the outside.  Another closer that might get in them mix, but past results don't merit putting anything major on him.
Morning odds: 30-1

#19/I'll Have Another/Mario Gutierrez/Doug O'Neill
The winner of the Santa Anita is getting a lot of talk here.  A lot of racing experts think he has what it takes to win out the 19 slot.  Probably get a decent price here too.  Have to consider this one in the mix.
Morning odds: 12-1

#20/Liaison/Martin Garcia/Bob Baffert
After 3 wins last year, Liaison has not cracked the money in 3 starts in 2012.  That coupled with it's outside draw will drive this price up, justifiably.  Too many better options here.
Morning odds: 50-1

I will make my final picks and post them later.  

Here is the link for the website I used to help me decide, and get a lot of the info found above.  It's a good read, even if you already have your mind made up. also has decent info, included each horse's past performances.  If it's expert picks you are after, try here.

Thanks, and good luck!!


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