The pairings of favorites and long shots open up opportunities to profit by just selecting which rival will outfinish the other.
Verrazano (-120) vs Orb (-110)
The eagerly awaiting showdown pits the Wood Memorial and Florida Derby winners matchup as the morning-line’s top two choices. Verrazano is 4-for-4 lifetime, while Orb has notched four straight wins since November.
I am laying the short premium here on Verrazano, looking for Todd Pletcher’s contender to outlast his share of the field. Orb loses John Velazquez to his rival’s saddle here, which should make a key difference as the stakes go up for both foes.
Normandy Invasion -125 vs Mylute -105
Normandy Invasion and Mylute break side-by-side from the No. 5 and No. 6 posts, respectively. Normandy Invasion closed for second place in the Wood Memorial, less than a length behind Verrazano, while Mylute lost the Louisiana Derby by a neck to Revolutionary.
I chose Normandy Invasion as one of my top three betting picks for the race overall, and I am also backing Chad Brown’s colt in this matchup. Javier Castellano stays aboard for the trip to Louisville here, while Rosie Napravnik should be left in the pack’s bottom half on Mylute.
Pick: Normandy Invasion
Golden Soul -125 vs Black Onyx -105
Golden Soul has failed to hit the board in his last two outings, finishing fourth and sixth in the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star Sakes, respectively. Black Onyx has won three of his last four starts, including edging out 11 foes to capture March’s Spiral Stakes.
I am riding Black Onyx in this spot as the hotter of the two long shots, while looking ready for the switch back to dirt. The past pair of outings saw rider Joe Bravo guide Kelly Breen’s challenger to the best speed of his career, while Golden Soul loses Calvin Borel aboard here.
Pick: Black Onyx
Falling Sky -175 vs Giant Finish +135
Falling Sky faded to fourth in the Arkansas Derby, ending a stretch of three straight starts in the money. Giant Finish has hit the board in his last trio of outings, with the sole victory coming on dirt at Aqueduct.
I like the sizable plus betting odds with Giant Finish here, feeling some value between this pair of also-ran’s. Falling Sky may have seen his best days come to a close at Oaklawn, while Giant Finish has seen his speed on the upside and can hang around for a chance at this pack’s top half.
Pick: Giant Finish