Friday, April 30, 2010

CR Dunbar's Annual Kentucky Derby Preview

I went to Vegas for the NCAA tournament. I watched college basketball for hours on end. I bet single games, parlays, over/unders, the whole sha-bang of sports betting. In the end, I broke about even and felt like I wasted days in Vegas (Houston sucks).

One day, during the first and second quarters of the new block of games, I wandered over to the horse racing section. During the Florida Derby, I put $4 down on an exacta with one horse keyed to win and two others underneath. I wanted to save $2, so I didn't box all three.

Of course, the three horses that I picked went 1-2-3, but the horse I needed to be in first came in third. I now had a $4 piece of scrap paper. If I had not tried to save $2 in Vegas, I would have won $200.

What am I trying to convey in this deeply personal story? Horse racing is where the action is. $2, $4, $6 is all you need to hit a month's paycheck in 2 minutes, and there are no better odds than the Kentucky Derby.

With 20 horses in this crap shoot, you have every chance to hit big on simple bets. The two favorites in the race, Sidney's Candy and Lookin at Lucky, just drew the worst post positions in the race. With horses as diverse as the women in a Vegas burlesque show, we need to try and find the standout with the big knockers and not the disappointment that is hiding under makeup.

For the sake of brevity, this is how I see it and who I like:

Plenty of speed has scratched from the race. You are going to see Line of David, Conveyance and Sidney's Candy gunning from the start trying to break from the pack. Ice Box, Stately Victor and Dean's Kitten are going to stay back and wait to close. All the others are going to be crowded in a pack like a hot craps table.
  • Lookin at Lucky (1) - would have bet him if he didn't get the 1 post.
  • Ice Box (2) - best closer of the bunch, coming off a long reprieve, one of the horses that should have boxed in Vegas.
  • Super Saver (4) - Increasing speed figures, Arkansas Derby was slow. Look at who is the rider, the ragin' cajun Borel who is on a Derby hot streak.
  • American Lion (7) - In a strong post at the 7, average speed figures might be all you need if you have a clean trip and press the lead, likes the dirt.
  • Jackson Bend (13) - been playing second fiddle all year to favorite that has since scratched.
  • Awesome Act (16) - Was great two races back, bad stumble last race, could end up being the wise-guy horse.
  • Sidney's Candy (20) - synthetic to dirt surface transition has been going well for others, why not him? 20 spot not as bad as 1 spot, ask Big Brown.
My winning bet is on Super Saver. He is improving, should go at a good price, he knows the track and Calvin Borel is turning into a little good luck Buddha that you put on your cards at the poker table.

My exacta, trifecta and super will be a mix of Super Savor, Awesome Act, American Lion, Ice Box, Sidney's Candy.

Pit boss has me in a sideroom "encouraging" me to reveal my first-second-third: Super Savor (4), Ice Box (2), Sidney's Candy (20).

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