HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, MAY 5, 2022 – As we have written often, and as most people know, Churchill Downs boasts an especially fast-drying main track.
Given the amount of rain expected in Louisville Oaks Day, we cannot know at this writing what the track condition will be Derby Day. [No rain yet as this is posted].
The rain is supposed to stop, giving way to cloudy conditions. Of course, sunshine and a nice breeze would go a long way in this process.
Whatever the surface is labeled, we do not know how the rail is playing until seeing it with our own eyes. As bettors, we can make last-minute adjustments. As public handicappers, not so much.
We have analyzed the Derby Pick 4 with wet conditions in mind. We love turf racing, but Saturday’s sequence contains two extremely competitive turf events; educated guesswork required.
If there is one element to take comfort in, know that everyone is in the same boat; adjusting is key. Bettors can be thankful for a lack of deadlines, post time notwithstanding.
Bias will have an effect and that can create value opportunities on the tote board—when you, and the jockeys, can identify them properly.
Without question, this is the toughest Pick 4 sequence we have ever seen: no excuses, just fact. Wager accordingly.
CHURCHILL DOWNS Derby Day, 2022
G2 American Turf Race 9
The Skinny: Course condition will be the difference maker. Management will try to keep this on turf by any means necessary. We have based our choices on less than firm going. Speed has done well on the new course thus far, but a yielding or soft course are problematic in that it can favor closers over tiring going or hinder late runners that cannot get their best footing.
Main Event, figures forward-looking, was pressed throughout his last and drew off late. Balnikhov handles off footing well. Stolen Base, trips compromised, reunites with Prat. Sy Dog undefeated with benefit of good trips; toughest test here.
TICKET TOPPERS: Main Event (5-1), Balnikhov (5-1), Stolen Base (12-1), Sy Dog (7-2)
WIN VALUE PLAY: Stolen Base to win at 9-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Red Run (15-1)
Grade 1 Churchill Downs Sprint Stakes Race 10
The Skinny: Jackie’s Warrior showed courage and class in season’s debut; extra furlong should help, handles any footing. Reinvestment Rick a game second to Speakers Corner, one of the best horses in the U.S.; ready now. Prevalence has made the transition from 3 to 4. Aloha West has been training for months with purpose for seasonal debut.
TICKET TOPPERS: Jackie’s Warrior (5-2),Reinvestment Risk (7-2), Prevalence (6-1), Aloha West (4-1)
WIN VALUE PLAY: Prevalence to win at 7-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Cezanne (4-1), Long Range Toddy (30-1)
Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic Race 11
The Skinny: Throw a blanket over this field. Nine of the 10 entered have winning attributes. Santin is now ready for best go.
TICKET TOPPERS: Santin (6-1),Adhamo (9-2), Ivar (4-1), Shirl’s Speight (3-1), Mira Mission (10-1)
WIN VALUE PLAY: Mira Mission to win at 10-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Cavalry charge (12-1), Public Sector (5-1), Bizzee Channel (30-1)
Kentucky Derby 148 Race 12
The Skinny: Never have I seen a group of qualified Derby contenders in my life. Never! Having said that, and with an eye towards a possible wet track. Messier needed his run in the Santa Anita Derby. Epicenter is a deserving favorite, sophomoric early line. Zandon was crazy good in the Blue Grass; linemaker may have it right—politics notwithstanding. Smile Happy needed the Blue Grass, loves this surface. Cyberknife impressed in AR Derby and is training up a storm. Simplification, old school type, was honed for speed in FL Derby.
TICKET TOPPERS: Messier (8-1), Epicenter (7-2), Zandon (3-1), Smile Happy (20-1), Cyberknife (20-1), Simplification (15-1)
WIN VALUE PLAY: Smile Happy to win at 15-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Mo Donegal (10-1), White Abarrio (10-1), Charge It (20-1), Crown Pride (20-1)
Be mindful of personal bankroll; bet with your head, not over it cliché applies. Take one approach and stick with it for two days. All exotics plays at minimums available. Straight wagers are $2 units.