The Kentucky Derby usually isnít a chalky race,
but the favorite has won 3 out of the last 5 races. One of the best
strategies for wagering on the first Saturday in May is to find a
horse that ranges anywhere from 3-1 to 10-1 and key bombs behind
him. This will be one of the most wide open events in years, so you
will find plenty of value at the window. Letís take a look at some
of the top contenders.
I Want Revenge- Many thought all hope was lost for
winning the Wood Memorial after the son of Stephen Got Even totally
missed the break. He proved he could overcome trouble by winning
that race, and shocked many people at the same time. Jockey Joe
Talamo had skeptics before that win, but he proved he could keep a
calm head when many jockeys wouldíve panicked. I Want Revenge shares
the highest BSF of any horse in the race with Quality Road at 113.
He earned that number for his effortless 8 Ĺ length win in the Grade
III Gotham Stakes. It is very likely that he will be the morning
line favorite, probably around 3-1 or 4-1.
Quality Road- First time lasix can do wonders for a
horse as we learned in last yearís Breeder Cup Classic. We learned
that lesson again when Quality Road beat a tough field in the
Fountain of Youth with the utmost ease. He earned a BSF of 113 for
that effort, and shares the honor of highest BSF in the race with I
Want Revenge. His next race was even better. The son of Elusive
Quality turned back a bid from the favored Dunkirk, and proved to us
that he can go the distance. The effort earned him a BSF of 111.
Jimmy Jerkens does well with this type of horse, and jockey John
Velazquez is among the best in the entire country. I think this colt
could be special and he is my personal choice at this moment. He
will be the second choice at 4-1 to 5-1.
Pioneerof The Nile- Garrett Gomez rides with ice in
his veins, and had his choice from three horses; this is the one he
chose. That should mean something to handicappers. The son of Empire
Maker has won all three starts this year, including a victory in the
Grade I Santa Anita Derby. His trainer Bob Baffert has won the
Kentucky Derby a whopping three times in the past twelve years. He
likes to close from mid pack, and he hasnít encountered an overly
fast pace as he might in the Derby. I donít like the fact that he
hasnít cracked a 100 BSF, but he was very sharp in his last win and
could be getting better. He couldnít possibly be in any better hands
in terms of jockey and trainer. Iím not too crazy about this one,
but he will have PLENTY of support without me. Look for him at odds
of around 6-1.
Friesan Fire- The son of A.P. recorded a career best
last out en route to a 7 ľ length romp in the Grade II Louisiana
Derby. Many will be concerned with the 7 weeks rest he has coming
into the Kentucky Derby, but the same strategy worked for trainer
Larry Jones when Hard Spun finished second in 2007. This colt didnít
really impress at two, but has exploded this year. He has three
starts, and three wins in 2009. All three came in graded stakes
company. How well this colt runs will depend on how he handles the
layoff. Jones is among the best with three-year-olds, and has had
the runner up in the Kentucky Derby for the past two years. He may
finally have his winner with this colt. You can expect to get 8-1 or
9-1 on this runner.
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