The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports: The Casual 2012 Kentucky Derby Preview

With a deep field of 20 contenders, this year's Kentucky Derby looks to be one of the more competitive Runs for the Roses in recent memory. Because I have a rep to uphold as a two-time defending Derby trifecta champion, I have spent more time than I should have over the course of the past few weeks pouring over YouTube clips of the past performances for all of the entries. And though I am certainly a worse person for disregarding anything I had to do that was actually important (like properly feeding this guy, for example, who has been without bacon treats for far too long), let's cut the crap and get right to the preview.

Casual_derby_medium

Not sure who the random bearded dude in the Red Sox hat is.

Casual Derby Picks and Predictions after The Jump:

First, some ground rules. In this space I'm not going to predict the actual horses to win, place or show. Rather, just as in years past I'm going to narrow the 20 horse field down to a group of 6 for a real casual $1, 6-horse trifecta box ($120) of destiny. Just as in 2010's initial winning trifecta effort and again in last year's triumphant tour de force that paid for your documented lunches for months on end, if you're looking to win some major coin on the Derby, you don't do it by wagering your hard earned money on all of the horses with low odds. You make money by nailing the trifecta or even better the superfecta, loaded with value horses that have a chance to hit the board. Unfortunately, the problem this year is that in this loaded field I just don't see that much value unless something crazy happens. With that in mind, below is likely the longest yet most casual (and hopefully winning) analysis of the 2012 Derby field you will likely find anywhere else. Away we go...

The Horses in Order of Post Position:

1. Daddy Long Legs (30-1):
Like Master of Hounds last year, this Euro-import won the UAE Derby and looked good doing so. However, that race was against lesser competition than he'll find on Saturday, and the one time he did run on Churchill's dirt against many of these same horses he was torched in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile. The 1 post won't do him any favors, either.

Worst case scenario: Daddy gets stuck to the rail out of the gate and can't find room to roam while getting dirt kicked in his face. As Daddy fades into the back of the pack, his handlers begin to wonder how many airline miles they'll get on the flight back to Europe.

Best case scenario: Daddy builds on his performance in Dubai and shocks the world, ruining the Derby for America forever and leading to a Mitt Romney victory in November.

Verdict: I hate spiders. TOSS.

2. Optimizer (50-1):
This horse has had some good runs on synthetic and turf surfaces, but to expect anything optimal (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) from this guy on the dirt is a stretch.

Worst case scenario: Optimizer gets swallowed up at the start from the 2nd post, takes poorly to the dirt surface, and wonders why ‘the greatest two minutes in sports' is going to take him two minutes and 10 seconds.

Best case scenario: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has fixed the race ahead of time.

Verdict: Not going to happen. TOSS.

3. Take Charge Indy (15-1):
Take Charge shouldn't have a problem with this distance, and though a lot of the chatter out of the Florida Derby was about the poor trip Union Rags had, Take Charge was able to put away the field even after getting some late heat from Reveron, the horse that finished 2nd in that race.


Worst case scenario: Used to taking the lead early, Take Charge gets behind the speedier Trinniberg and rather than save energy decides to run with him. As the pace begins to falter, Take Charge doesn't have enough left in the tank and gets run down by a closer.

Best case scenario: Take Charge is able to save some gas running behind the early speed as Borel takes him to the rail. When the speed falters take Charge is still right there, and he's able to fend off any comers similar to what he did in the Florida Derby.

Verdict: At 15-1 I think Take Charge Indy has some good value and can finish at the bottom of exotics or higher. Tough to count out Borel in this race, especially when he has a live horse under him and will get to the rail easily. I don't expect this horse to go off at 15-1 though, probably closer to 12 or even 10.

4. Union Rags (9/2):
Any horse with the ability to move seamlessly between horses and maintain speed is a contender to grab a piece in the Derby, and Union Rags is a horse that has shown just that in his career. In the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, check out how Union Rags moves first to his left and then has the turn of foot to move decisively back to his right at the top of the stretch (1:27 in this clip).


In the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill, Union Rags made a game run up the middle to lose to Hansen by a neck, and in the Florida Derby he again changed directions to find open space but wasn't able to track down Take Charge Indy at the wire. In both the BC Juvenile and the Florida Derby, Hansen and Take Charge Indy led wire to wire, respectively, and Union Rags was able to gain but not pass them after running in the middle of the pack until the top of the stretch. This could be a problem in the crowded Derby field. Another big question I have is Rags' speed, as he has consistently posted Beyers of low to mid 90s, not the high 90's to low 100s we tend to see for a Derby winner.

Worst case scenario: Rags gets swamped from his 4 post at the break and gets muddled among a large group of horses at the outset, forcing him to expend a lot of energy making up ground on the leaders while getting dirt kicked in his face. He finally finds room to run down the stretch but is sapped, and gets passed by faster horses than he is in this strong field to finish out of the money.

Best case scenario: Rags won't be near the lead at the outset but finds open space while stalking on the inside to middle and is in the first group trailing the leaders. Rags lets the speedy bunnies fade and with open room at top of the stretch turns on the burners as he usually does to grab a piece if not all of it at the wire.

Verdict: Rags has exhibited strong closing speed in all of his career races, which is a good sign as he is a game horse and will be running at the end, but he'll need a good trip out of that 4 post and find his space in the Derby. Does Rags have the extra quarter mile in him that will prove to be the difference in the Derby? Perhaps. At 9-2 odds, Rags is begging me to leave him out of a high value Derby bet, but he has shown me too much in his Preps to ignore him completely, is a classy horse that has been training well this week and if he gets a good trip he may be able to win all the Tostitos. That 4 post bugs me, as he may have similar issues like he did in the Florida Derby. His trainer won with Barbaro in 2006. RIP. Contender, include in all wagers.

5. Dullahan (8-1):
Dullahan ran down Hansen to win the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland with an impressive closing stretch drive and is one of the strongest if not the strongest closers in the field.


The knock on Dullahan is that he may prefer non-dirt surfaces, but in a stacked Breeders Cup Juvenile Field he ran a strong final furlong and rallied to finish 4th. He has 2 Grade 1 Stakes wins under Kent Desormeaux, most famous recently for steering Big Brown through wins in the Derby and Preakness only to have him give up in the Belmont in 2008, a race at which I nearly passed out at in 100 degree heat and humidity.

Worst case scenario: Dullahan falls too far behind the pace and his late rally attempt falls short of the top 3.

Best case scenario: Just like in the Blue Grass, the fast pace melts the leaders and Dullahan has enough in reserve for another punishing stretch drive to win the Derby.

Verdict: If the early Derby pace is very fast, Dullahan might be the one rumbling down the middle of the stretch to pick up the pieces at the end. Include in exotics.

6. Bodemeister (4-1):
The Bob Baffert trained Bodemeister is the consistently fastest horse in this race with a Beyer speed figure of 108 posted in the Arkansas Derby on the heels of back to back 101 efforts.


There is nothing that I have seen from this son of Empire Maker (2nd in '03 Derby) that would indicate to me that he can't win the whole shebango. However, there are some big questions out there. First, perhaps his 9 and a half length romp in the Arkansas Derby took too much out of him too soon and he's due to 'bounce' back. Next. the 6 post isn't ideal with speed to both his right (Take Charge Indy) and left (Trinniberg), and most of all, history is not on Bodemeister's side. Check it, no Kentucky Derby winner since Apollo in 1882 has been unraced as a two year old. 1882! That's like, a really long time ago! Further, Bode owns just two lifetime wins and in both races he did not pass a single horse. Let that sink in for a second, Bode has never passed a horse en route to winning a race IN HIS LIFE.

Worst Case scenario: Bode is forced to hang back a bit out of the 6 and stalk early. He reacts poorly and never makes a run.

Best case scenario: Bode breaks well and gallops comfortably either with or just behind the leaders. When asked to step on the gas, Bode responds and makes this race a joke in the final furlongs.

Verdict: Bode has answered a lot of questions with some bullet works at Churchill this week. He's not the biggest or strongest horse, but he's plucky and fast. If he gets a good trip, Baffert's winning this Derby...but that's a big ass IF out of the 6 post. Bodemeister could be the next big thing or he could be this year's Dialed In, who went off at 4-1 in last year's Derby but wasn't a factor. On talent alone, have to include in all wagers.

7. Rousing Sermon (50-1):
Rousing Sermon finished 3rd in the Louisiana Derby, a race that I attended and was won by a 110-1 shot. That's pretty much all you need to know about Rousing Sermon.

Worst case scenario: The horse leaves the starting gate.

Best case scenario: The horse refuses to leave the starting gate.

Verdict: There is no possible scenario that in any way will result in Rousing Sermon finishing in the top 3 of this race. TOSS. (Note: Rousing Sermon will probably win the Derby )

8. Creative Cause (12-1):
Generally I dislike West Coast horses in the Derby, but Creative Cause is an exception for me because he has run consistently well in every race, including an excellent run at Churchill Downs in the BC Juvenile.


CC has posted speed figures of 92, 92, 102 and 94 in his last 4 races, with the 102 coming in a victory in the San Felipe over Bodemeister. That's right, the very same Bodemesiter that is the Derby favorite. The 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita was a good prep race for him as he fought neck and neck with I'll Have Another before losing by a nose.

Worst Case scenario: The California Curse Curtails Creative Cause resulting in a bizarre headline acronym of CCCCC.

Best case scenario: CC settles nicely out of the 8 post and is in prime position in the stretch to make a move. As Bodemeister and Hansen sputter in the final furlongs, his consistent speed gets him a piece of the pie at the wire as he's able to hold off similar speed in Union Rags, Gemologist or the closers.

Verdict: I could see Creative Cause winning the Derby, so I'm definitely including him in exotics.

9. Trinniberg (50-1)
Trinniberg represents the best short distance speed in this race and he will gun to the front of the pack and lead the pace early for the first 7 furlongs or so. He will then get run down. Ot at least that's supposed to be how it plays out.

Worst case scenario: Trinniberg isn't even able to gain the lead at the first turn and gives up, delightfully allowing the other and better horses to pass him so he doesn't finish in the top 3 and ruin everyone's action.

Best case scenario: Trinniberg leads the field decisively around the track and no other horse is able to put pressure on him approaching the 7th furlong. Trinniberg kicks it into another unfamiliar gear the rest of the way and holds off the entire field. Like he did here.

Verdict: Bon chance, but likely no chance. I hope. TOSS.

10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1):
Winner of the Sunland Derby against woeful competition, DNB showed an impressive closing speed to run down the leader and nip him at the wire.


DNB will take his closing style to Churchill, where he will likely need a quick early pace to wear down the leaders and give him a chance.

Worst case scenario: DNB starts slowly and the race never produces the pace he needs to sneak up on the field down the stretch.

Best case: Bode, Trinnenberg, Take Charge Indy and Hansen go at a hot pace early and the field begins to weaken down the stretch. Closers like Alpha, Dullahan and DNB take advantage and with the best speed of the three (DNB clocked a 100 Beyer in the Sunland) DNB grabs a share.

Verdict: DNB has apparently looked sharp on the track this week, so if the pace is fast early he has a chance. He has improved in his last two races, already has 2 graded wins at 9 furlongs, and I like his value at 15-1 as a sharp closer. Enough value to include in exotics.

11. Alpha (15-1):
Alpha is an intriguing horse in this race. In both the Champagne Stakes and the Wood Memorial, Alpha finished 2nd displaying a hard charging stretch drive befitting of his closer pedigree. In both of those races Alpha was in trouble throughout yet managed to fight through it, so it's possible he could be ready to shine in Derby if he gets a clean trip out of a favorable 11 post right in the middle of things. Alpha's never won a race outside Grade 3, however, so this might be too much to ask of him among this quality field.

Worst case scenario: Alpha fades to the back befitting of his closer style, but doesn't react well to a race involving 19 other horses. By the time he's called on to make a move he finds himself in a crowded position without much room to run, and his closing drive prevents him from falling into superfecta territory.

Best case scenario: Alpha calms down on Derby day and as the horses break he settles into position nicely, eating up track while conserving energy. At the top of the stretch he finds a clear path and his closing kick merits him at least a show.

Verdict: I like what I saw out of Alpha in his preps, and especially in the Wood where he got pinned to the rail early yet fought through it to grab 2nd to Gemologist. With Beyers of 85, 91, and 98 in his last 3 races he is improving and has enough tactical speed to finish in exotics. His woeful performance at Churchill in the BC Juvenile against similar competition is concerning. Of the closers I prefer Daddy Nose Best and Dullahan. Borderline include at bottom of exotics.

12. Prospective (30-1):
Prospective isn't a fast horse, earning a career best 90 speed figure while winning the Grade 2 Tampa Derby over an uninspiring field. Finished a distant 6th to Dullahan in the Blue Grass in his last time out.

Worst case scenario: Just as in the Blue Grass, Prospective is overmatched in this classier field, and runs just fine in the Derby except that his just fine is good for about 12th.

Best case scenario: I don't know...he becomes another horse?

Verdict: I clearly don't have much hope for Prospective in this race. I suspect his odds will be much closer to the 45-1 range at post-time than the morning line 30-1. TOSS.

13. Went The Day Well (20-1):
Such a ridiculous name for a horse would lead me to otherwise toss it with extreme prejudice, but upon further inspection this guy actually has some interesting things going for him. WTDW has the same team behind him as last year's Derby champion, Animal Kingdom. Also like Animal Kingdom, WTDW won his Derby prep in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes and in the same fashion, stalking off the pace and closing with a flourish, registering a career best 92 Beyer in the process.

Worst case scenario: WTDW has yet to face elite competition in his life, and once pitted against such class he doesn't react well and fades into, as Mike Tyson would say, bolivion.

Best case scenario: WDTW continues his improvement, and out of the 13 post is able to stalk the leaders as he sees fit. He exceeds his 92 Beyer with a career best in the Derby to win the roses and get chicks.

Verdict: Big question mark here. Love the value at 20-1 or even higher, but include at the expense of others? The 92 Beyer number isn't inspiring in this field. Borderline inclusion in exotics.

14. Hansen (10-1):
Hansen is one of the most difficult horses in this race to handicap. First of all, he's a white horse (THAS RAYCESS!) and is owned by some doctor in Kentucky that is a huge d-bag, so much so that he attempted to spray paint the horse's tail blue so he would look like a damn Kentucky Wildcat horse in front of the home fans in the Blue Grass Stakes. The stewards said hell no to that idea but only after he had already painted the tail blue without telling the trainer, so the trainer then had to go bleach the tail back to its natural white and the trainer and the d-bag owner got into a shouting match before the race.


Background nonsense aside, Hansen has finished in the money in all of his career races, including wins in the loaded Breeder's Cup Juvenile over Union Rags and Creative Cause and a win in the Gotham Stakes (above) over lesser competition. In the Breeder's Cup race Hansen stormed to the lead and held off all comers. In the Gotham, Hansen was able to settle off the pace and still roll to victory, displaying a key ability to ‘rate' and still win. However, in his latest prep in the Blue Grass he once again shot out to the lead and was run down by Dullahan in the final furlong.

Worst case scenario: Hansen zooms to the pace from the 14 post and it's the Blue Grass all over again, as he leads for a majority of the stretch but falters late.

Best case scenario: Hansen settles off the pace from the 14 post and it's the Gotham all over again, as he storms past the leaders at the top of the stretch and battles for the win.

Verdict: Fuck if I know. If Hansen had gotten a rail post I would be tossing him, but the 14 position at least gives him a chance to duplicate his run in the Gotham, and we know he has the speed and class to win this race. As such, he should be included in exotics since it's possible he could win the whole thing.

15. Gemologist (6-1):
Gemologist had an impressive run at Gulfstream where jockey never asked anything of him and he glided to a monster win over lesser competition, but it's the run in the Wood Memorial that has generated his greatest buzz.

At Belmont, Gemologist help off a hard-charging Alpha at the end, but what was impressive about this wasn't that Gemologist ‘held on' for the win, it's that he appeared to see Alpha out of his right eye and then kicked it up a notch in the closing strides to beat him by a neck. Unlike Bodemeister, Gemologist has passed horses in his career and has shown he can win with the lead or coming off the pace. I don't love the speed with this horse - career best is a 98 which is just about my cut-off for a potential winner.

Worst case scenario: Faced with elite competition for the first time, Gemologists stalks nicely out of the 15 post but doesn't have the speed to fend off a faster closer and fades.

Best case scenario: Running off the pace and rating just like he did in the Wood, Gemologist has running room at the top of the stretch and outclasses his less tested competition down the stretch to the wire.

Verdict: Out of the 15 position, there's no reason why Gemologist shouldn't be able to run his race and stalk the leaders nicely. He's unbeaten and needs to be included in all wagers.

16. El Padrino (20-1):
I liked what I saw out of this horse in the Grade 2 Risen Star here in New Orleans as he earned the win while posting a 98 speed figure in the process. However, when he made the jump to better competition and longer distance in the Florida Derby, he regressed a bit and finished 4th. Also, as it turned out all of the horses in New Orleans were terrible.

Worst case scenario: Breaks the 16 gate running hard to catch the leaders and just gets nothing going the rest of the way, plodding his way over a potentially fast track and finishing in one of the middle to final groups.

Best case scenario: El Padrino, which means ‘The Godfather' in Spanish, shoots everyone in the head and wins. This horse has a chance to make some noise as he has the speed to do so, I'm just not convinced he has a big race in him on this surface against this field.

Verdict: If the track is wet then he has a chance but I'm not buying him at 20-1 in this one. TOSS.

17. Done Talking (50-1):
The Illinois Derby winner is a closer, but doesn't appear to be in the same class as some of the other closers in the field. The Illinois Derby contained a very poor field this year and when Done Talking ran in the Gotham he was trounced by eventual winner Hansen by like a million lengths.

Worst case scenario: Everything in the race happens like everyone thinks it will.

Best case scenario: Every horse in the field runs faster than it usually does out of the gate which completely gases them down the stretch. Done Talking, which has been plodding along like a donkey, is somehow still running at the end and wins.

Verdict: TOSS. (Note: This horse will likely win the Derby)

18. Sabercat (30-1):
Sired by Bluegrass Cat who was 2nd in the Derby and Belmont, Sabercat has the bloodlines to enjoy the extra distance and at 30-1 odds is the good value. The problem with Sabercat is that he's just not fast. Cat's best Beyer was a 92 in the Arkansas Derby, a race dominated by Bodemeister and even in that one, Cat finished 3rd and wasn't exactly rallying in the end. The race he won to get into the Derby field was called the Delta Jackpot, which sounds likes a horrible slot machine at Harrah's.

Worst case scenario: Sabercat runs his usual race and just like in the Arkansas Derby is unable to gain on the leaders. In Derby with stronger field and faster horses, he finishes in middle to back of pack.

Best case scenario: Sabercat improves on his Arkansas run and is able to grab a piece of the action with a strong stretch drive.

Verdict: If Sabercat had finished strong in the Arkansas I'd like him a lot more, but he faded a bit at the mile and an eighth. He's looked good this week on his home track at Churchill and is good value at 30-1 to grab a share at the bottom of exotics.

19. I'll Have Another (12-1):
This horse won the 2012 Santa Anita Derby and for the best analysis I can offer, below is what I wrote last year about Midnight Interlude, the winner of the 2011 Santa Anita Derby.

"Here's the thing - I hate horses that win the Santa Anita. Each year a horse comes out of the West Coast and lays a big fat egg at Churchill amidst a world of hype. Since 2006, Brother Derek, Tiago, Colonel John, Pioneerof the Nile, and Sidney's Candy have all won the Santa Anita only to fail to bring home the roses at Churchill. I don't find Midnight's past performances all that impressive either, running slow speed numbers in short distances and only running a mile and an eighth just once. I know what you're thinking. "Wait, Casual my main man, are you really about to toss a Baffert horse that won the Santa Anita Derby and has one of the higher speed figures of all the horses in the damn race?" Yes. Yes I am. I am going to let Midnight Interlude beat me tomorrow. Just don't see the value at 10-1 which will likely be closer to 8-1 at post time. Verdict: TOSS."

Midnight Interlude finished 17th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, and coming out of the 19 post I expect similar from I'll Have Another.

20. Liaison (50-1)
It takes a super horse to win the Derby from the 20 post and Liaison is no Big Brown. TOSS.

Ok, so let's see what we've got left:

3. Take Charge Indy (15-1)
4. Union Rags (9/2)

5. Dullahan (8-1)
6. Bodemeister (4-1)

8. Creative Cause (12-1)
10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1)
11. Alpha (15-1)
13. Went The Day Well (20-1)
14. Hansen (10-1)
15. Gemologist (6-1)

18. Sabercat (30-1)

OK, that's 1, 2, 3, wait...11 damn horses! Yikes. At this point last year I was down to 9, which makes sense given that this is a much deeper field with more legitimate contenders. Nonetheless, here comes The Slaughter!

First, I'm kicking out the 13 horse Went The Day Well. In a different year I think he might have a shot and I dig the Animal Kingdom connection, but he isn't as experienced as Animal was coming into this race and I don't think he'll suddenly emerge as a star among this field and win this race.

Next, I'm bouncing Hansen. Screw Hansen. As much as I think he can win the race, I'm not using him as I hate his owner who is a pompous loon Kentucky fan, John Calipari is a cheater, and I'm not quite yet over that Nerlens Noel haircut stunt. That, plus I just don't think he has this distance in him and I don't love his value at 10-1.

This brings us to 9!

3. Take Charge Indy (15-1)
4. Union Rags (9/2)

5. Dullahan (8-1)
6. Bodemeister (4-1)

8. Creative Cause (12-1)
10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1)
11. Alpha (15-1)
15. Gemologist (6-1)

18. Sabercat (30-1)

The Slaughter must continue...

There is excellent early speed in this race in Trinninberg, something that was severely lacking in the Florida Derby that Take Charge Indy led wire to wire. In earlier races in which Take Charge wasn't in the lead at the outset, he didn't show that burst in the final furlong that will be necessary to grab a piece in the Derby. I'll let others throw their money on Borel on the rail this year, and I think come post time that 15-1 will be a worse price. Take Charge Indy is out.

Next to go is Sabercat (30-1). Though I kinda dig the name, would love to grab Sabercat at a 30-1 price and have him hit the board for me, I just don't see anything in his past performances that would warrant the inclusion over some of others who are more tested and classy. Sabercat has won three races in his career all at a mile or 7 furlongs. When asked to go 8 furlongs against better competuition in the Rebel he finished 8th and when asked to go 9 furlongs in the Arkansas Derby he finished 3rd, but nearly 10 lengths behind Bodemeister.

Ooh, suddenly we're down to 7.

4. Union Rags (9/2)
5. Dullahan (8-1)
6. Bodemeister (4-1)
8. Creative Cause (12-1)
10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1)
11. Alpha (15-1)
15. Gemologist (6-1)

Out of the 7 horses above I am absolutely including Union Rags, Bodemeister, and Gemologist because I legitimately think either of them can win the race depending on the trips they get. Out of those three I'm less high on Union Rags due to the post position and speed factor, but he runs hard at the end of races. HEY LOOK I CHOSE THE THREE BETTING FAVORITES. I AM SO AWESOME AND SMART AT HORSE BETTING AND HAVE WASTED ALL OF YOUR TIME. That leaves the next three to fill out the 6 horse trifecta box, so I'm looking for three horses with decent value that can finish at the bottom of the trifecta or higher.

The first value pick is the 10 horse Daddy Nose Best at 15-1. DNB showed in the Sunland Derby that he has enough speed to win this race, and he already has 2 career wins at 9 furlongs (one of them at Churchill). I can't toss that combination of the 100 Beyer the two wins, especially in this race that should have a lot of early speed.

The second value pick is Creative Cause at 12-1. Creative Cause is a battler. He finished a neck behind the leaders in the BC Juvenile, defeated Bodemeister in the San Felipe, and was a nose behind in the Santa Anita in a race he was running full at the finish. He should get a good trip from the 8 spot as well.

With the early speed, it means that one of the closers is likely to grab a piece of the action. But which one?

The final pick to round out the 6 horse trifecta comes down to Dullahan (8-1) or Alpha (15-1). As much as I like Alpha's price and was impressed with his ability to fight through horses to rally for 2nd in the Wood Memorial, that race was also quite telling as Alpha appeared to fade in the final few strides and would not have been able to catch Gemologist if that race were 10 furlongs like the Derby is. If he couldn't catch Gemologist, who isn't exactly the fastest horse at 9 furlongs, I don't think he'll be able to run down someone even faster such as Bodemeister either. In Alpha's career action against Grade 1 Stakes competition, he finished that 2nd to Gemologist in the Wood (no other Derby entrant in that field) and 11th in the BC Juvenile.

Dullahan on the other hand, could be somewhat of a beast. Though he may favor other surfaces more than dirt (his wins in the Breeder's Futurity and in the Blue Grass were on Keeneland's Polytrack surface), he notably ran a very fast final furlong at Churchill Downs in the BC Juvenile to rally for 4th. Jockey Kent Desormeaux is a 3-time Derby winner and last year's champion Animal Kingdom wasn't much tested on dirt prior to the Derby either.

So there we have it. The $1 6-horse trifecta box ($120) will include:

4. Union Rags (9/2)
5. Dullahan (8-1)
6. Bodemeister (4-1)

8. Creative Cause (12-1)
10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1)
15. Gemologist (6-1)


Chalky, but as stated above due to the fact that this is one of the deeper fields of talented horses in recent memory, and I can't talk myself into liking some horse at long odds that I just don't think will be there at the end. Though there isn't great value here and a winning trifecta with a combination of the above at current prices isn't going to pay next month's mortgage or rent like last year did, it should provide you with enough flow to take your significant other to a nice dinner at that place they wouldn't let you in before, and it will certainly make your significant other at the local den of ill repute happy for the evening.

It's possible that weather will become a factor or other developments may occur as post time nears on Saturday that will impact the above wager. The prices for the horses will change (I hope Dullahan can get into the 10-1 range) and I have a tendency to go back and forth and talk myself out of my analysis, so be sure to check right back here in the comments for entertaining schizophrenic updates and gratuitous clips of Kate Upton doing that Cat Daddy dance right up until go time.

At the end of the day, wager how you wish but remember to wager, because life without gambling on ponies is a life not worth living.

Enjoy the race.

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