Info for Students » Uncategorized

Figuring out the best Kentucky Derby pick

Something happened last week that has changed my typical Kentucky Derby experience.     My friend and fellow Derby fan Roger Swearingen passed away. For years I would go to the OTB in Bloomington and bring him a racing form for the Run for the Roses. Unfortunately, I will not be doing that this week.     I will, however, still be playing the Derby.     A question asked of me in recent days is who I think the favorite will be. I could not say then and I cannot say now. There are a few reason involved, including the fact that there is no clear-cut favorite.     Even the track’s odds maker cannot come up with a decisive favorite. Nor can the handicappers. As of Monday, there were about a half dozen horses that were liked — a lot.     Like the odds maker, I am waiting for the post-position draw today to look more closely at the entrants. For starters, that’s when I will know what horses are entered and where they will be attacking from at the beginning of the race.     The field is expected to be full — 20 starters. What this means is that the horses on the inside have to get out quickly, maybe using too much energy early for the 1 1/4-mile event, and the horses on the outside have a longer run to make to get into a good position.     Frankly, I’m going to be looking at the horses between the fourth spot and the 13th slot. Of course, there will be a lot of banging going on between those positions.     The early “favorites” appear to be Union Rags, Gemologist and Bodemeister. The Churchill Downs odds maker dude said post-position will be a determining factor in who gets the “favorite” tag.     Yahoo! Sports has Bodemeister and Union Rags sitting at 5-1 and Gemologist at 7-1. But these are not official odds. Mike Battaglia is the Churchill Downs odds maker and he has said he is waiting until the drawing of postpositions.     According to USA Today, Battaglia said the favorite will not be lower than 4-1.     This means little to nothing for the casual better because the odds will fluctuate Saturday prior to the race.      As for me, there are a number of horses that have drawn my interest. Union Rags with Julian Leparoux on board is one of them, as are Bodemeister (Mike Smith) and Gemologist (Javier Castellano). I have identified eight horses that I like, so this only adds to the difficulty in choosing a favorite.     The hard-nosed handicapper will look at all sorts of things in determining which one gets the bet money. Their workout times, past history on different track surfaces and against other entrants, trainers, jockeys, etc., are among the many things they look at in a horse.     The more casual bettor will not understand a lot of the information that is out there. My suggestion, if you are looking for specifics, is trainer and jockey. This is not an exact science and there are a lot of good trainers and jockeys.     Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher are probably the biggest names among the trainers. Leparoux has been a hot jockey of late, and recent Derby winners include Kent Desormeaux and Calvin Borel.     The novice will also go to the unconventional thought process that really is not uncommon. Many will use favorite numbers or favorite colors of the silks. Some like the color of the horse. My wife is partial to the grays. So, if the “5” horse is a gray wearing scarlet and grey, rest assured I will be putting money on that horse.     In a race as big as the Kentucky Derby, luck is the biggest factor in determining a winner — on the track and at the window. The best thing to do is to go with your gut instinct and enjoy the race.   Something happened last week that has changed my typical Kentucky Derby experience.     My friend and fellow Derby fan Roger Swearingen passed away. For years I would go to the OTB in Bloomington and bring him a racing form for the Run for the Roses. Unfortunately, I will not be doing that this week.     I will, however, still be playing the Derby.     A question asked of me in recent days is who I think the favorite will be. I could not say then and I cannot say now. There are a few reason involved, including the fact that there is no clear-cut favorite.     Even the track’s odds maker cannot come up with a decisive favorite. Nor can the handicappers. As of Monday, there were about a half dozen horses that were liked — a lot.     Like the odds maker, I am waiting for the post-position draw today to look more closely at the entrants. For starters, that’s when I will know what horses are entered and where they will be attacking from at the beginning of the race.     The field is expected to be full — 20 starters. What this means is that the horses on the inside have to get out quickly, maybe using too much energy early for the 1 1/4-mile event, and the horses on the outside have a longer run to make to get into a good position.     Frankly, I’m going to be looking at the horses between the fourth spot and the 13th slot. Of course, there will be a lot of banging going on between those positions.     The early “favorites” appear to be Union Rags, Gemologist and Bodemeister. The Churchill Downs odds maker dude said post-position will be a determining factor in who gets the “favorite” tag.     Yahoo! Sports has Bodemeister and Union Rags sitting at 5-1 and Gemologist at 7-1. But these are not official odds. Mike Battaglia is the Churchill Downs odds maker and he has said he is waiting until the drawing of postpositions.     According to USA Today, Battaglia said the favorite will not be lower than 4-1.     This means little to nothing for the casual better because the odds will fluctuate Saturday prior to the race.      As for me, there are a number of horses that have drawn my interest. Union Rags with Julian Leparoux on board is one of them, as are Bodemeister (Mike Smith) and Gemologist (Javier Castellano). I have identified eight horses that I like, so this only adds to the difficulty in choosing a favorite.     The hard-nosed handicapper will look at all sorts of things in determining which one gets the bet money. Their workout times, past history on different track surfaces and against other entrants, trainers, jockeys, etc., are among the many things they look at in a horse.     The more casual bettor will not understand a lot of the information that is out there. My suggestion, if you are looking for specifics, is trainer and jockey. This is not an exact science and there are a lot of good trainers and jockeys.     Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher are probably the biggest names among the trainers. Leparoux has been a hot jockey of late, and recent Derby winners include Kent Desormeaux and Calvin Borel.     The novice will also go to the unconventional thought process that really is not uncommon. Many will use favorite numbers or favorite colors of the silks. Some like the color of the horse. My wife is partial to the grays. So, if the “5” horse is a gray wearing scarlet and grey, rest assured I will be putting money on that horse.     In a race as big as the Kentucky Derby, luck is the biggest factor in determining a winner — on the track and at the window. The best thing to do is to go with your gut instinct and enjoy the race.  

Comments are closed.