Let’s look at some film, throw out some dogs and come up with some simple picks for the recreational gambler on both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, complete with a random Superfecta throw.
Odds of Another American Pharoah This Year Slim, But Still...
The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) is set to take place at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday with the Nyquist being installed as the 3-to-1 opening Morning Line favorite by betting odds maker Mike Battaglia for the first leg of Horse Racing’s 2016 Triple Crown. The other two legs of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown (in the United States) are the Preakness Stakes—set to be held two weeks later on Saturday, May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland followed three weeks later on June 11 by the grueling 1½-mile Belmont Stakes, held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. All three Triple Crown races feature 3-year-old Thoroughbreds whose qualification was determined by a points system which was introduced in 2013. Last year, American Pharoah and Jockey Victor Espinoza shocked the world and won the Triple Crown, becoming the first Horse (and Jockey) to do so since 1978 and Affirmed (and Steve Cauthen) did so some 37 years ago. This year’s heavy chalk for the Run For The Roses is the unbeaten Nyquist (7-0-0-0, W-P-S-O), a Bay Colt who will be jockeyed by Mario Gutierrez and who is a perfect 7-for-7 and has led every race he’s entered, giving up the lead only once—by Annie’s Candy in his Maiden Race. And Nyquist (130 points, $2,289,000 earnings), who is owned by J. Paul Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill, won the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in October, the San Vicente Stakes and also coasted to a win in the Florida Derby on April 2 with Jockey Gutierrez reportedly intentionally swinging the talented Colt wide on the Homestretch just to give him some extra work and to eyeball the opposition he couldn’t see before because they were behind him. Genius. And Nyquist still won by 3¼ lengths. And although Nyquist—the first G1 Horse to W3 straight Races as a 2-year-old since Foolish Pleasure in 1978 and named after Detroit Red Wings (NHL) player Gustav Nyquist—might not have the chance to determine if he doesn’t get passed or is ahead all of the time on Saturday with such a talented pack. But should Nyquist take an early lead and slowly stretch it out, Gutierrez will definitely not hold back here at Churchill Downs—where 4 of L5 and 8 of the L17 winners have won from the Auxiliary Gate (15-20)—nor will he swing his Horse wide and we may see a new star in the making, just like we did last year with American Pharoah.
Kentucky Derby Post Positions, Jockeys—
1—Trojan Nation 50/1 (Aaron Gryder)
2—Suddenbreakingnews 20/1 (Luis Quinonez)
3—Creator 10/1 (Ricardo Santana Jr.)
4—Mo Tom 20/1 (Corey Lanerie)
5—Gun Runner 10/1 (Florent Geroux)
6—My Man Sam 20/1 (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
7—Oscar Nominated 50/1 (Julien Leparoux)
8—Lani 30/1 (Yutaka Take)
9—Destin 15/1 (Javier Castellano)
10—Whitmore 20/1 (Victor Espinoza)
11—Exaggerator 8/1 (Kent Desormeaux)
12—Tom’s Ready 30/1 (Brian Hernandez)
13—Nyquist 3/1 (Mario Gutierrez)
14—Mohaymen 10/1 (Junior Alvarado)
15—Outwork 15/1 (John Velazquez)
16—Shagaf 20/1 (Joel Rosario)
17—Mor Spirit 12/1 (Gary Stevens)
18—Majesto 30/1 (Emisael Jaramillo)
19—Brody’s Cause 12/1 (Luis Saez)
20—Danzing Candy 15/1 (Mike Smith)
Last Year’s Kentucky Derby Winners (2015) and Some Exotics Payouts
W—American Pharoah: $7.80 Win, $5.80 Place, $4.20 Show
P—Firing Line: $8.40 Place, $5.40 Show
S—Dortmund: $4.20 Show
$2 Exacta (18-10): $72.60
50¢ Trifecta (18-10-8): $50.50
50¢ Pick 3: $52.80
50¢ Pick 4: $527.45
50¢ Pick 5: $2,452.90
$1 Double (5-18): $21.20
$1 Superfecta (18-10-8-15): $634.10
$1 Super High Five (18-10-8-15-5): $6,658.30
Best Approaches, Superfectas and Kentucky Oaks, Derby Race Picks
If Nyquist has already won twice as much money and twice as many Races as American Pharoah did at this point in his career, is unbeaten and has only been passed once, then the most logical approach seems to be putting Horses one thinks have a chance to Place, Show and finish 4th on a ticket or tickets with Nyquist (#13) on top. For example, if you would like to try an Exacta (First two places in exact order) and like the second-favorite (8/1), No. 11 Exaggerator (126 points, $2,289,000 earnings; 9 Starts: 4 Wins, 2 Places, 1 Show), then a 13-11 Exacta is the wager for you. But remember, even if this wins, because you are betting the (current) Favorites in the race (at 3/1 and 8/1) your payout won’t be as high as you probably think unless you are a veteran of Racebooks. And expect those opening 3/1 odds for chalk Nyquist to go down as the more people read and talk about him, the more money will come his way and 2/1 could come sooner than later with the history of betting on this race. And, like the Super Bowl, so many one-time-a-year (Horse) bettors wanting to get down and have some action on the $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby. A bet which involves picking the first three Horses in ordered correctly is called a Trifecta, and last year a winning 50¢ Trifecta bet (18-10-8) would have appropriately paid $50.50 with American Pharoah winning, Firing Line finishing in 2nd place (Place) and the highly touted Dortmund finishing 3rd (Show).
Using Nyquist—and assuming he Wins—with other Horses will be a common approach many will take, and rightfully so with that formula working lately with chalks doing pretty well in The Run For The Roses. And trying a handful of Superfectas (First four finishers in exact order) has been a favorite Plan of Attack for this Race the last several years. And a couple of Horses who seem like they have a shot to be in the potentially be in the money on Saturday afternoon are No. 3 Creator (110 points, $690,000 earnings; 8 Starts: 2 Wins, 4 Places, 1 Show), winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and priced at 10/1; the Bob Baffert-owned No. 17 Mor Spirit (80 points, $658,400 earnings; 7 Starts: 3 Wins, 4 Places, 0 Shows), ridden by Gary Stevens; and, No. 20 Danzing Candy (60 points, $290,000 earnings; 5 Starts: 3 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows), jockeyed by veteran Mike Smith and opening at 15/1 due to unfortunately drawing the far outside No. 20 Post position. So a 13-11 chalky start with a combination of any two of the No. 3, 17 and 20 Horses in the order anticipated was the basic building block for this working example which may be worth working with and 13-11-3-20 the somewhat random Superfecta chosen below. And one approach for this number of Horses with this type of feel for a Race with seemingly one fairly big (current) Favorite is a Superfecta Key, using Nyquist (#13) as the Key Horse (who must win) with three (or more) Horses who must finish in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, in whatever order.
Why So High on Odd Saddle Cloth Numbers Proposition Bet This Particular Year?
Just take a close look at the Horses (and their respective Odds) this year with the Odd Saddle Cloth Numbers and making a Props bet on an Odd-Numbered Horse to win the Kentucky Derby seems to be to most logical of all picks, depending on the price when it comes out. In the past, the odds (for the Even and odd numbered Saddle Cloths) have been pretty close to even, but this year we could see a large chalky price on the Odd Numbers so bet early if you find this and Bally’s in Las Vegas and John Avello always has this Prop up on Kentucky Derby day. This year with this bet you will have the No. 1 (Trojan Nation 50/1), No. 3 (Creator, 10/1), No. 5 (Gun Runner, 10/1), No. 7 (Oscar Nominated, 50/1), No. 9 (Destin, 15/1), second-favorite No. 11 (Exaggerator, 8/1), favorite No. 13 (Nyquist, 3/1), No. 15 (Outwork, 15/1), No. 17 (Mor Spirit, 12/1) and No. 19 (Brody’s Cause, 12/1), and an incredibly solid lineup, especially compared to the other 10 Even-numbered Thoroughbreds scheduled to Run this Race. The numbers don’t lie, and heading in I liked the 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 13 and 20 Horses without knowing where they would end up being drawn. The Odd-numbered Horses really seem to have a massive edge on the Even-numbered Horses this year. It’s really crazy. But then again, we’re talking about a Race with large muscular Animals doing a massive oval-circle-lap around a Track in the beautiful Commonwealth of Kentucky with strange and small men dressed in colorful Silks atop them on a Saddle, whipping them when them when they want them to try to go a little bit faster to try to win the prestigious Race and a bunch of Money and Prestige. And a ring of Roses and possibly a Sugar Cube or two and at least days of Triple Crown speculation.
And although no horse in Kentucky Derby history has ever won starting from the No. 17 Post spot (Mor Spirit), the 10 Even-numbered Post Position Horses this year look like the worst (accidental crop) in decades, and we could very well see Odd-numbered Horses Winning, Placing, Showing and finishing 4th in this race with maybe the best two Even-numbered Horses in the 20-horse Field (for now, expect a couple of possible Scratches by Saturday) being No. 20 Brody’s Cause (114 points, $1,123,138; 6 Starts: 3 Wins, 0 Places, 1 Show)—who unluckily drew the No. 20 spot Wednesday and at 15/1 odds—and No. 14 Mohaymen (80 points, $852,850; 6 Starts: 5 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows), who opened at 10/1 odds. And since 1900, the Post Position with the most Wins (13) in the Kentucky Derby has been the No. 5 spot, which will be graced this year by Chestnut Colt, Gun Runner (151 points, $906,920; 5 Starts: 4 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows) who opened at 10/1 on the Morning Line and who has 4 wins in 5 career Starts and could very well finish in the money at Churchill Downs this weekend.
KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER PICK: #11—Rachel’s Valentina, 7/2
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER PICK: #13—Nyquist, 3/1
KENTUCKY DERBY LONGSHOT PICK: #4—Mo Tom, 20/1
KENTUCKY DERBY RANDOM SUPERFECTA PICK: 13-11-3-20
KENTUCKY DERBY PROPS PICK: Odd Saddle Cloth Number to Win
KENTUCKY OAKS/KENTUCKY DERBY DOUBLE: 11-13
2016 Kentucky Derby Information
What: 142nd Kentucky Derby
Where: Churchill Downs Racetrack, Louisville, Kentucky
Distance: 1¼ miles
Course Type: Flat
When: Saturday, May 7, 2016
TV Coverage: NBC
Radio Coverage: Sirius XM, SIRI 93 (Internet 93, includes Undercard, 2 p.m. EDT)
Kentucky Oaks Radio: Sirius XM, SIRI 220 (Internet 964, 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT)
Kentucky Derby Post Time: 6:34 p.m. EDT/5:34 CDT/4:34 MDT/3:34 p.m. PDT
The Weather Channel Forecast, Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday, May 7: High of 84°, Showers in the Morning and then Partly Cloudy in the Afternoon, 40% chance of Rain, Winds WSW 10-20 mph, Humidity 53%, UV Index 8 of 10.