Triple Crown season… the favorite time of year for a horse player, outside of Breeders’ Cup (or Australia A on Friday nights for us degenerates).
This year’s rendition of the Kentucky Derby was quite formful, as we saw the favorite/Santa Anita Derby winner Justify absolutely cruise through the slop at Churchill Downs through fast fractions to a 2 1/2 length victory. Bluegrass Winner and last year’s 2 year old champ Good Magic placed, Florida Derby winner Audible was a very close 3rd, and the longest price on the board at 85/1, Instilled Regard, with Drayden Van Dyke aboard, ran a bang up race to finish 4th.
For myself, the Kentucky Derby is the one race of the year where I swing for the fences in regards to the Superfecta. This year I was lucky enough to be right about the order of finish (for a change) and cashed on 2 tickets after having Justify on top and keying Good Magic to finish in the top 4 with the majority of the field. I am hoping my Churchill wagering form transfers to Pimlico.
This year’s Preakness Stakes brings us 8 runners: 4 from the Derby and 4 new shooters. Let’s rundown the field:
Quip, 12/1 ML, Rodolphe Brisset/Florent Geroux:
Arkansas Derby runner up has finished out of the money only once in his five race career. He has also been on the front end through modest fractions in the majority of those races. Quip should be forwardly placed in this race but does he have the speed to run with Justify? Not in my opinion, but he is a fighter, and an underneath finish wouldn’t surprise me.
Lone Sailor, 15/1 ML, Tom Amoss/Irad Ortiz Jr.:
Lone Sailor encountered a little traffic trouble in the Kentucky Derby but still ran a credible race to finish 8th, after flattening out in the final 1/16th. There should be enough pace for him to run at in this race with multiple horses likely to be forwardly placed. Expect him to be at the back of the pack early. He is the best closer in this race and I expect him to be flying late as others back up.
Sporting Chance, 30/1 ML, D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras:
Tons of physical ability, and a lack of mental stability. Sporting Chance has had his “chance” in multiple races but always seems to either flatten out in the final 1/16th, or make an abrupt right hand turn and take out anything in his path. I award Sporting Chance no points, and may God have mercy on his soul. Stay away from him. (With me saying this he will likely hit the board now.)
Diamond King, 30/1 ML, John Servis/Javier Castellano:
Winner last out Diamond King comes out of the Federico Tesio Stakes, a local prep for the Preakness at Laurel. He will bring a little speed to the party and should be forwardly placed. I pose the same question with Diamond King that I did with Quip, can he run with Justify? I don’t think so, but as witnessed in his previous races he has the ability to rate. Expect him to try to sit close up front with Justify. How long can he hold on? Maybe for 3rd if he’s lucky.
Good Magic, 3/1 ML, Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz:
The two year old champ did nothing wrong in the Derby and ran his best race, yet he could not catch a monster of a horse in Justify. How close does he sit early on, and at what point does Jose Ortiz make his move to challenge Justify? His best chance in my opinion is to challenge Justify early, as Classic Empire did to Always Dreaming in last years Preakness, and hope that Justify folds. If he does challenge Justify early, I still don’t give him much of a chance to win, or even to hang on for place. His best chance is a grinding 2nd place to Justify, once again.
Tenfold, 20/1 ML, Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.:
Lightly raced, by Curlin, and trained by Steve Asmussen, this colt ran a decent Arkansas Derby to miss the board by a 1/2 length, after stepping up from allowance company. I see him sitting 4th or so early on, and wonder if he got anything out of the Arkansas Derby? Keep him around for the bottom of the tri.
Justify, 1/2 ML, Bob Baffert/Mike Smith:
Good luck trying to run with this monster of a horse. “Coach” D. Wayne Lukas was quoted as saying “We’re in deep doo doo” after seeing trainer Bob Baffert lead Justify around the barn at Pimlico. Justify is undefeated in 4 starts after breaking his maiden in February at Santa Anita, while also breaking the 136 year old “Curse of Apollo” by winning the Kentucky Derby on May 5th. Bob Baffert is 4/4 with turning his Derby winners back in the Preakness, and I see no reason why he won’t be 5/5 after Saturday. He is clearly the horse to beat, and a serious threat to the Triple Crown.
Bravazo, 20/1 ML, D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Saez:
After his strange Louisiana Derby performance, he ran a credible Kentucky Derby to finish 6th, after a wide but virtually trouble free trip. After the draw, Wayne Lukas said he expects both his runners to be forwardly placed, but neither can run with Justify and are running for the bottom rungs of the Tri/Super at best.
There is not a lot of value in this race with Justify at 1/2 and him being the most likely winner. I will look to exactas/trifectas to try and add some value with Lone Sailor keyed underneath Justify.
The horse to beat: Justify
Longshot: Lone Sailor
Wagering strategy, $200 budget:
~ $10 trifecta, $40 per ticket, total cost: $80
2nd: Lone Sailor
3rd: Quip, Diamond King, Good Magic, Ten Fold
2nd: Quip, Diamond King, Good Magic, Ten Fold
3rd: Lone Sailor
~ $50 straight exacta:
2nd:. Lone Sailor
~ $.50 trifecta key box (saver if chaos ensues), total cost $63:
~ $7 lucky souvenir win bet on Justify… just because.
May the Racing Gods be with us,