My last and "official" Derby Top 10 shakes out as follows, with post positions and day 1 closing odds;
1) #14 Verrazano 11-1
2) #3 Revolutionary 5-1
3) #5 Normandy Invasion 8-1
4) #10 Palace Malice 25-1
5) #16 Orb 6-1
6) #17 Will Take Charge 31-1
7) #12 Itsmyluckyday 11-1
8) #19 Java's War 22-1
9) #8 Goldencents 5-1
10) #9 Overanalyze 14-1
I see some major odds discrepancies, such as the obvious- #14 being totally disrespected at 11-1! In addition to juicy win odds, those who like this horse should top him in a $1 exacta wheel and pray for a long-shot. That bet costs $18 with the defection of Black Onyx and if he truly goes off as the 5th choice would pay a $200 minimum (same 11-1 range return) and could pay closer to $1,000 if a 25-1 shot or greater rolls in for second.
So my famous "toss" horse this year is #8 Goldencents. First a little history, as hard as it is to pick a winner from a 20ish horse field, I've been singling out a short horse each year. Granted, some years I have been aided by bad trips (Gemologist was my short last year at 9-1, 16th place finish), but the only horse who has burned me was Ice Box when he flew up for 2nd place to Super Saver (my #2 pick) over the slop in 2010. Earlier in the week, I was hoping to short Orb (as M-L favorite, this would be the equivalent of having shorted sub-prime mortgages in 2008 if he runs poorly!). But as much as I was unimpressed with his slower win times at Gulfstream Park (these horses disappoint more than the Wood Memorial), he has a few things going for him. He reminds me of Fu-Peg in 2000 in that he is the most gorgeous horse in the field and he has made a swooping closing move into a slow pace - a big plus for a closer that they CAN do more. I am encouraged that he seems to spook easily, so I'll put him in 2nd - 4th in my big superfecta bet but hope he melts in the paddock with 150,000 screaming drunk Kentuckians.
I'm shorting Goldencents this year, even though if I am wrong I can see him actually winning the dang race due to his whopping 105 Beyer speed figure in the Santa Anita Derby. He is a true speed horse with the fastest split times by far, so I can't see him rating effectively (although IHA burned me last year by coming further back in Derby). Further, some of you may have heard of the "bounce" theory where a horse runs a much faster than typical race and his next start is flat - also known as Ragozin # progression. I just can't see him duplicate that last race and actually those horses were nothing like the best from the Wood or Louisiana Derbies this year. That's it folks, take it to the bank!
Other observations; Mylute and Frac Daddy seem to be way overbet due to their Kentucky connections and 60 minutes Rosie - ugghhh! Whereas, Palace Malice with Hall of Famer Mike Smith are getting no respect at 25-1. Did anyone notice what Mikey did yesterday in the Oaks? Exactly, rang the damn bell with Princess of Sylmar at 38-1. He is the best big money rider in the country, bar none, period, exclamation point!!! My goal is to have a good enough horse for him to ride before he retires - he's getting up there. No disrespect to Calvin "Boo Boo" Borel, but I'd take Smith at 25-1 over Calvin at 5-1 in some backup bets to exploit these odds.
Kids, I hope you have a Fantabulous Derby now. Now that my "official" work is done, I can sit back, relax and enjoy the greatest 6 hours of pre-Derby coverage (other than that damn Bob Costas - he and Rosie Napravnik in the same interview may make me puke!). But then we will get to experience the truly greatest two minutes in sports. Whoooooo, brother (shout out to Ronaldo and Rick Flair)!