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Kentucky Derby Betting Free Picks – SportsUntapped.com
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Added May 1st, 2010 by David Glisan

Kentucky Derby Betting Free Picks
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The 136th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place today at Churchill Downs and should be one of the most wide open fields in recent memory.  With the last minute withdrawal of pre-race favorite Eskendereya, there’s a very unusual parity among the remaining horses with no definitive favorite emerging.  Looking At Lucky was a 3-1 morning line favorite, but he’s been bet down to 9-1 as of 10:00 PM Pacific.  The current favorite is Todd Pletcher’s ‘other’ horse, Super Saver at 7-1.  That would make him an unusually high priced favorite for the Kentucky Derby, and there’s good value all throughout the twenty horse field.  With the exception of the two aforementioned horses, every other horse in the field is priced at double digit odds.  For the purpose of this analysis we’re using the current track odds from Churchill Downs–you can stay up to date on the current prices at this link:

http://www.kentuckyderby.com/contenders/live-odds

There is some good news on the weather, which has been a major concern throughout the past week.  The original forecast, which we described as ‘borderline apocalyptic‘, has improved somewhat.  The forecast still calls for a good chance of heavy thunderstorms throughout the day on Saturday, but the latest radar images suggest that the most severe weather won’t hit the Louisville area until Saturday night or Sunday morning.  At this point, ‘worst case scenario’ is for an inch or so of rain during the day on Saturday.  That’s not great, of course, but much better than the deluge that was originally forecast.  Churchill Downs officials have made all sorts of contingency plans to deal with any severe weather, including delaying the post time for the Derby and making use of the newly installed lights at the track.  Track conditions are unlikely to be ideal, but every indication is that the conditions will be manageable.  We’ll monitor the weather throughout the day on Saturday and if conditions necessitate an update to our race handicap we’ll post accordingly.  At this point, however, that doesn’t look like it’ll be necessary.

KENTUCKY DERBY:

When handicapping the Kentucky Derby we’re looking not only for a horse that is likely to be competitive, but a good price.  This year presents something of a good news/bad news scenario for handicappers.  The bad news is that with such a large field without any standout favorites that there’s countless ways the race can play out.  Throw in the variable of the weather, and it makes it even harder to try and figure out what will happen once the gate opens.  The good news is that the prices are very attractive across the board, and that gives us the opportunity to back several horses that should be in the mix.

We’ll start with Looking At Lucky, whom I had little interest in at 3-1.  Much is being made of his disadvantageous post position, to the extent that he’s been bet down to 9-1.  At this price, he’s starting to look like a good value.  It’s important to keep in mind that at a mile and a quarter, there’s time for a good horse to recover from a bad post position and even a bad start and get in a position to win the race.  Certainly, there’s a good reason for trepidation over a horse starting from the rail. The last horse to win the Derby from the rail was Ferdinand in 1986, and none have finished in the money since Risen Star came in third in 1988.  Still, at this price we’ll take a position on Looking At Lucky.  He’s got the right ‘connections’ with trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Garrett Gomez, has shown an ability to work through difficulty, and has looked very good in his recent workouts.  He was overvalued at 3-1, but we’re thinking he’s undervalued now.

We also like the new race favorite, Super Saver.  Todd Pletcher is the trainer, and there are few better at Churchill Downs than jockey Calvin Borel.  His best case scenario is a track that is slightly ‘off’ but not a mud bog.  He’s performed well on sloppy tracks, and obviously that could be crucial on Saturday.  There’s some concern that he’d want to go for the lead early and wouldn’t have the stamina to hang on but he’s more consistent and versatile than the garden variety speedster.

Our top choice ‘to win’, however, is Awesome Act.  The biggest rap on him was a substandard performance in the Wood Memorial, but he simply had a bad race.  He got in trouble at the start and was never a factor, but still ran a decent Beyer Speed figure of 93.  With such a big field, you want a horse who can come from off the pace and has shown an ability to work through the pack.  If Looking At Lucky is unable to recover from his disadvantageous post position, Awesome Act is arguably the best ‘closer’ in the field.  We also like his current price of 14-1.

If you’re looking for some horses to use underneath in exotics, take a look at the Nick Zito trained Jackson Bend.  He’s got good speed, is consistent and doesn’t need to be in the lead.  He needed to catch some breaks to make the field, but we’ve had an eye on him all year.  He’s currently 21-1 making him worth a ‘to win’ flyer as well as a good choice in your exotics.  And if the weather is a real mess, the horse best equipped to handle it could be Paddy O’Prado who has won on turf which is usually a good predictor of performance on ‘off’ dirt tracks.  He’s been bet down from 20-1 to 11-1 for that reason, but if the weather is nasty is definitely worth using underneath on your exotics.

TO WIN THE KENTUCKY DERBY:  Looking At Lucky (9-1), Awesome Act (14-1), Super Saver (7-1) and possibly Jackson Bend (21-1) as a longshot choice


TO USE UNDERNEATH ON EXOTICS: Jackson Bend (21-1) and Paddy O’ Prado (11-1)

 
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