It feels a bit strange not covering Kentucky Derby on site (first time in five years) or being at Churchill Downs for some part of this weekend (first time in seven years). So here are the thoughts I jotted down when handicapping the race. (Human-interest lines don’t factor into my betting, but I suspect I’m in the minority on that one, so I included a few here.)
1. Vicar’s in Trouble—Strong sire, beat tough competition in Louisiana Derby, increasing speed figures last three races. Jockey, Rosie Napravnik, would be first female to win Derby.
2. Harry’s Holiday—Heavily raced, doesn’t have the speed, doesn’t have the breeding
3. Uncle Sigh—Out of his league, doesn’t have the speed, part-owned by Wounded Warriors
4. Danza—Won his biggest race, but got a clean trip; lightly raced; dam’s sire breeds for distance; strong workouts
5. California Chrome—Not good breeding, already raced 10 times, due for a setback, will be over bet
6. Samraat—Poor breeding, doesn’t have the speed
7. We Miss Artie—Out of his league
8. General A Rod—Lightly raced, bred for distance, competitive, may not have the speed
9. Vinceremos—Horrible last race, but it was on Polytrack; does much better on turf; bred for distance
10. Wildcat Red—Outperformed his pedigree; super competitive
12. Dance With Fate—Doesn’t have the speed, hasn’t run on dirt this year
13. Chitu—Dam’s sire bred for distance, lightly raced, has the speed, may be out of his league
14. Medal Count—Bred for distance; great workouts; coming back off just three weeks rest and raced eight days before that; poor showing on only dirt race this year, but had a bad trip
15. Tapiture—Strong jockey-trainer combo, not great speed figures, sire breeds for distance, lost to two other in field last time out
16. Intense Holiday—Bred for distance, sped increased last four races, only raced three times this year
17. Commanding Curve—Lightly raced this year, likely out of his league, doesn’t have the speed
18. Candy Boy—May not have the speed, lightly raced this year
19. Ride On Curlin—Lots of wide trips might mean he’s used to the distance–or that he’s terrible in a crowd; well bred, and for distance; three straight faster races; over raced. Jockey is Calvin Borel, three-time Derby winner, which is good for him but bad for betters as he’ll be over bet.
20. Wicked Strong—Bred for distance. speed has increased last three races, strong workouts. Boston connection.
I’m playing a few combinations, but Vicar’s in Trouble, General A Rod, Chitu, Medal Count, Intense Holiday, and Wicked Strong factor heavily on them. Wildcat Red probably would too, but I already have a $10 win bet on him at 60-1 from a future pool, so I’m covered there.