Friday, May 4, 2012

Kentucky Derby Thoughts and Other Picks & Thoughts

With the Kentucky Derby less than 24 hours, the build-up is about to explode everywhere. This blog cannot wait for all the fast racing with huge competitive fields in the Derby and the undercard, plus the other good racing around the country. Let get to some thoughts and picks.

For my detail thoughts on the Kentucky Derby, please visit the Thorofan's Handicapper's Corner, where I eliminate horse after horse until I find the winner. (Short version, I like Daddy Nose Best barely over I'll Have Another, with Creative Cause, Alpha, Gemologist the only three I can see winning.). I sent that along on to the fine folks there at Thorofan on Wednesday night, but since then I have had some second thoughts. After taking another look over the past performances, my thoughts on one horse in particular has drastically changed. For most of the last three weeks since the Arkansas Derby, I had been high on Sabercat to snatch a piece of the exotics at worst, with an outside chance to win. But on the last look, I realized that he his performance looked much better than it probably was in real life. The horse did make up ground late in the stretch, but his closing kick was not as good as it seems. The rest of the field chased after Bode and ran themselves into such vulnerability that Sabercat was able to pick them off. The fact that he could not get by the distance challenged Secret Circle is proof that his closing kick was an optical illusion. Maybe he can pick off 4th, but I no longer think he can hit the board.

For even more thoughts on each horse in the Derby field, take a look at Paul Mazur's blog over at Chicago Now  He and I go back and forth over the chances of the field, disagree over his pick and drop a Simpsons reference that I have been haunted by ever since a certain member of the field won the Breeders' Futurity back in October.

Some quick-and-dirty picks for the stakes on the Derby undercard:
Churchill Downs Handicap: Taking a stab at a big price with Gantry. He is going great right now, riding a four race win streak. He took down Fair Grounds sprint specialist Cash Refund twice over the winter. He figures to be a good price to play against Smiling Tiger (the long layoff raises some red flags), Amazombie (this is not his best distance) and Shackleford (This blog always plays against him at his depressed odds).
Churchill Distaff Turf Mile: Two horse race between Marketing Mix and Daisy Devine. Aruna is better than her last, but this blog is going to take a chance and go against her.
Humana Distaff: Groupie Doll won the Vinery Madison in a sparkling performance, turning the tide against Musical Romance and Hot Summer. She has paired up big performances in the past and has won over the CD dirt. Accepting some sort of chalk in this P5 sequence is necessary, as not every race will be won by a huge longshot.
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic: Slim Shadey and Brilliant Speed are both good prices, both figure to enjoy the pace set-up and both are not on many people's radar. This is not Turallure's optimal distance, even though he does have a win over it.

Good luck folks. Enjoy the great day of racing!

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