|The 7/2 morning line favorite was Orb.|
The Kentucky Derby is almost always a wide-open affair. Changes in the qualifying process have made it even less predictable in 2013.
Most years, the field has at least a couple of sprinters that won a graded stakes race at six furlongs and qualified based on those results. Frequently, you could count on them to charge to the front and set quick fractions before tiring and allowing late-running closers to overtake them in the stretch. The fact that those type of horses didn’t make the field this year makes picking the race 'shape' somewhat more difficult.
This field is not exactly slow, but there is no obvious speed demon that you expect to set the pace. Most analysts think that Falling Sky will take the lead outright or duel with Goldencents. I believe that Verrazano might go to the front early but even if he doesn’t, he should be close to or on the lead coming into the final turn. Oxbow and Itsmyluckyday should be right there. Larry Collmus will thunder, “and DOWN the stretch they come,” and just about anything might happen.
Conventional wisdom says that if there is a fight for the lead and the fractions are fast, it sets up well for Normandy Invasion (7:1), Orb (7:1), and current favorite Revolutionary (5:1).
If the leader hits 1/2 mile marker at 48+ seconds, it’s more likely that Goldencents (6:1), Verrazano (9:1 from a 4:1 ML), or Itsmyluckyday (9:1) can hold off their late running challengers.
In a field this open, the best bet is to look for value and play whatever angles you can. With that in mind, I present my $101 in bets for the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
$1 Exacta: 8, 9, 14, 16 over 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 [Cost $32]
I’m leaving chic-picks Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion out of all my wagers. Both have to come from the behind a crowded field on a day that might be rainy. While Calvin Borel has made a name from himself doing exactly that at Churchill, I’m going to hope that this is the year his luck runs out. Leaving those horses out should guarantee at least a push in any combination and could pay nicely if one of the bombs gets up for second.
Fall down Normandy Invasion! Fall down Revolutionary!
$1 Exacta box: 6, 9, 10, 12, 18 [Cost $20]
The longish-shot express. Any winning combination here should pay handsomely.
$.50 Partial Trifecta Key: 8, 16 / 8, 12, 14, 16, / 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20 [Cost $12]
I don’t really want to bet a trifecta – difficult to hit and expensive - but with the $.50 option available I’ll splash for Orb and Goldencents on top of my usual suspects.
$8 to place on the 18; $8 to place on the 20 (Frac Daddy and Vyjack) [Cost $16]
Sometimes funny things happen with place totes. If the top two finishers are both long shots, they split the place money and the payouts can be almost as lucrative as win bets. If either of these hit, this ticket should pay for the rest of the wagers.
$8 to win on the 8 [Cost $8]
Hmmm. I guess that means I think the douchey-double of Rick Pitino and Doug O’Neill are going to win. Oh well. Kevin Krigger seems like a pretty good dude.
$3 to win on the 6, 10, 14 and 16 [Cost $12]
The jockey wagers. A little love for Rosie Napravnik, Mike Smith, John Velazquez, and Joel Rosario. If everything else goes pear-shaped, these give me a final chance to cash at least one ticket.
$1 superfecta on the 8, 18, 10, 14 [Cost $1]
Might as well swing for the fences: Goldencents finds a stalking trip on the rail and takes the lead from Verrazano at the turn for home. Palice Malice makes a move from 6 lengths back to briefly challenge but Goldencents finds another gear and gets it done. A hard-charging Frac Daddy passes a tiring Verrazano and noses out Palice Malice in a photo to take second. Book it, Dano.
Garwood B. Jones’ In-a-pinch Mint Julep:
- Fill glass with (crushed) ice
- Pour to top with bourbon
- Stir with a candy cane (there’s probably one in your Christmas decorations)