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It’s “the greatest 2 minutes in sports” according to the Kentucky Derby’s twitter bio, and you know what, they are absolutely correct and it’s not even close.  Come Saturday at 6:46pm eastern time, the horses will be in the gate and we the viewers will be treated to another action packed 2 minutes from Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky

The post positions were released on Tuesday morning for the 145th “Run for the Roses” and I was immediately jacked up to play the ponies this weekend.

However, the very next day the previous morning line favorite, Omaha Beach (4-1) was scratched due to an entrapped epiglottis. (whatever the hell that is, something in the horses mouth/respiratory tract is what I gathered from a quick google search.  Doesn’t sound fun.)

With the scratching of the favorite, that now opens up the field a bit to a trio of horses who now sit atop the table when looking at the odds.

Game Winner (9-2)

Improbable (6-1)

Roadster (6-1)

These horses all have something in common, they have all been trained by legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert’s rap sheet of accomplishments is nothing short of spectacular and his 2 most recent Triple Crown accomplishments came via the 4 legs of horses by the names of American Pharaoh (TC winner 2015) and Justify (TC winner 2018).  If you remember watching last year, Justify was an absolute man among boys on the racetrack.  Baffert knows horse racing and it’s looking less and less Improbable (word play) that he will find himself again in the winner’s circle with one of his ponies.  But which one?….. lets take a look at the favorites and some of the horses I’ll be wagering on come Saturday afternoon.

 (15) Game Winner – The knock on this horse is that he hasn’t shown great speed out of the gates and has had difficulty closing races down the stretch.  He has drawn an outside starting position which could force him to have to close strong if he does not settle in towards the front of the pack and on the inside of the track.  It’s forecasted to be sloppy & rainy, something that horses have a difficult time with if they have to come from behind down the finishing stretch.

(5) Improbable – From a racing strategy standpoint, this horse is quite the opposite when compared to Game Winner.  Offspring of previous derby powerhouse & Triple Crown Winner, Justify, Improbable has shown success in “stalking” the pace and hanging around the front of the pack but not out in front before closing in strong fashion.  Recent 2nd place finishes in the Arkansas Derby and the Rebel Stakes (both races won by Omaha Beach) have him in nice form heading into the Run for the Roses.

(16) Roadster – Another one of the horses we see at the top of the odds chart is also another that has a less than favorable post position as he will come of out the 16 spot.  A potential for a major setback here if he can’t find his way into the inside heading into the first turn. Winner of the Santa Anita Derby just one month ago has shown some strong performances out in California.

(8) Tacitus – This horse is currently riding a 3 race winning streak that includes victories at the Tampa Bay Derby & the Wood Memorial.  Currently sitting at a very inciting 8-1 odds it could be hard to not throw a few bucks down on perhaps the horse who comes into the race in the best current form.

(12) Code of Honor – Sitting at 12-1 and replacing Omaha Beach in the starting gate at post position 12, this horse hasn’t seen a finish worse than 4th place in his last 5 races.  This colt was the winner of the Fountain of Youth stakes at Gulfstream back in early March and wound up coming in 3rd at the Florida Derby after a shaky start.  This is a horse you could find some value in by tossing him into your exotics.  I may even place a small wager on him to show come Saturday.

(7) Maximum Security – 4 career starts and 4 victories for this one.  Maximum Security is coming off his biggest win of his career in his last race at the Florida Derby and draws a decent post position with the 7 spot. Another horse here with tempting odds and a pedigree to boot could make it hard to stay away from him.

Long shots worth a shot?

Perhaps the 2nd most known trainer at the Derby every hear is Todd Pletcher and he finds himself with 2 thoroughbreds competing for a shot at victory this Saturday.

(10) Cutting Humor – 30-1 – A winner in his last race, albeit a weak field, at the Sunland Park Derby this horse could be in position to use rest to its’ advantage and make a charge for the finish line coming out of the 10 spot in the starting gate.

(18) Spinoff – Another 30-1 longshot came in 2nd in his last outing at the Louisiana Derby.  Maybe he’s worth a shot at the backend of a superfecta.

Picks:

To Win: I’ll have 2 different WIN bets and they’ll be on Tacitus & Improbable.  Improbable is most likely the best horse in the field now that Omaha Beach is out and Tacitus looks like one of the better horses as well coming into the race on his three-race win streak.

To Win/Place/Show: I’ll throw a little down on Maximum Security here to find the podium.  He cruised to a win at the Florida Derby after a strong start and has a good post position.  Hopefully he climbs inside early and finds himself in 1st, 2nd ,or 3rd after crossing the finish line.

Exacta: Since i’m betting both Tacitus and Improbable to win I’ll go ahead and throw them in an Exacta and “Box” it. (They can finish 1-2 in either order and the bet would win).  Another Exacta I like is putting Improbable on top of Code of Honor.  That could pay out nicely if the 12-1 shot comes in 2nd.

(5-8) & (5-12)

Trifectas:

(Boxed) – Improbable – Maximum Security – Game Winner (5-7-15)

Straight – Improbable – Tactuis – Code of Honor (5-8-12)

Superfectas:

Improbable – Tacitus – Code of Honor – Cutting Humor (5-8-12-10)

(Boxed) Game Winner – Improbable – Maximum Security – Win Win Win (15-5-7-13)

Those supers are always my favorite bet of the triple crown races.  It’s essentially like lighting a few bucks on fire because I don’t ever box my superfecta here.  Truly trying to catch lightning in a bottle here if it ever hits because it would be a MONSTER payout even on a $5 bet.

Good Luck to all and lets find some WINNERS!!!

Follow on Twitter @TCFPgoy

 

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