April 28, 2010

Derby week trivia - Post Positions

Quite an ironic post position draw yesterday in that the two betting favorites in a seemingly wide open Derby drew the worst positions, see below. Many feel that the one hole is the worst spot but I can't help but think Sidney's Candy would be better off at the rail to save the ground, knowing he figures to be very close to the pace early and that there are 10 furlongs for him to maneuver around a horse or two, rather than being forced minimum 4 wide around the first turn. But the year Big Brown's camp chose the 20 post (while a couple other options were still available) people preached doom and gloom and he managed to get a fairly easy stalking trip only four wide. Several winners have come from the 15-20 post auxiliary gate over the past decade, so I guess anything is possible. Here's a look at the posts with odds, for your convenience:

1. Lookin At Lucky, 3-1
2. Ice Box, 10-1
3. Noble's Promise, 12-1
4. Super Saver, 15-1
5. Line Of David, 30-1
6. Stately Victor, 30-1
7. American Lion, 30-1
8. Dean's Kitten, 50-1
9. Make Music For Me, 50-1
10. Paddy O'Prado, 20-1
11. Devil May Care, 10-1
12. Conveyance, 12-1
13. Jackson Bend, 15-1
14. Mission Impazible, 20-1
15. Discretely Mine, 30-1
16. Awesome Act, 10-1
17. Dublin, 12-1
18. Backtalk, 50-1
19. Homeboykris, 50-1
20. Sidney's Candy, 5-1

Although I'll save my Derby picks for Friday's posting, I would like to share my "toss" horses for Saturday's race. With 20 horses in the field, you have to take a stand against some very capable horses, and I've been much more succesful in tossing horses than actually picking winners. A couple of cases in point were Dunkirk last year, who became the "it" horse after running second to Quality Road in the Florida Derby - he finished 11th while going off at lower odds than my pick, Pioneerof The Nile, who finished a gutsy 2nd. Likewise, back in 2006 I was shocked that Sweetnorthernsaint went off as The Derby favorite when I didn't have one cent bet on him. Too bad I also tried to beat the true talent of that year, Barbaro.

This year I'll take a stand against two of the co-third choices at 10-1 in morning line, Ice Box and the filly Devil May Care. I witnessed Ice Box's Fountain of Youth futile effort against Eskenderaya when he didn't get more than one "courtesy call" by the track announcer. And even though closers don't fare well in slower pace scenarios, they usually don't give up lengths in the stretch either, which is what he did. His Florida Derby victory came without the top 3 finishers from the FOY running back and that pace scenario was the fastest of any Derby prep. Thus, he should have looked like a world-beater coming from the clouds to win by a nose against a Pletcher horse (Rule) that he thought so little of he withdrew earlier in the week.

Regarding Devil May Care, I tipped my cap with previous comments about how she is coming off of one really good race against suspect fillies and a light race schedule. It seems to me like the recent success of other fillies in triple crown races has affected the morning line odds and likely the sentiment of the betting public when it may not be deserved for this particular filly. The owner basically admitted that when Big E scratched and that left John Velazquez without a Derby mount he felt bad for him and decided to give it a go. I'll take my chances elsewhere... stay tuned tomorrow!

Yesterday's trivia answer is $9,814 that was fueled by 50-1 shot Giacomo and 72-1 shot Closing Argument in the zany 2005 Derby! Would have been a nice year to wheel "All" with "All" for a $760 total outlay.

If you'd like to participate in a "just for fun" handicapping contest, please email me your top 3 horses - in order - to erickords@yahoo.com . Good luck with your handicapping!

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