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Don’t Jump Off the Verrazano Bandwagon!

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 5/3/2013 3:24:26 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Revolutionary, Goldencents, Overanalyze, Itsmyluckyday, Verrazano, Orb
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Kentucky Derby
Where: Churchill Downs
When: Saturday, May 4th

Due to the scratch of #1-Black Onyx (50-1) late Friday morning, Kentucky Derby 139 has been reduced to a field of 19. With this many runners, the trip will be crucial. The way I view the race, there are a half-dozen serious contenders...I’d be shocked if the winner did not emerge from this group. We’ll take a brief look at the outsiders, then focus on the top six.

#2-Oxbow (30-1) disappointed at 3-1 in a slowly-run Arkansas Derby, and got poor marks this week from DRF Clocker Mike Welsch. #4-Golden Soul (50-1) has yet to beat winners or crack 90 on the Beyer scale. #5-Normandy Invasion (12-1) will be well-backed at the windows, but he too is just a maiden winner whose closing kick keeps coming up short. #6-Mylute (15-1) fell a neck shy of Revolutionary in The Louisiana Derby, and the extra distance of this race won’t help close that gap. #7-Giant Finish (50-1) showed up here when several others bowed out earlier in the week…looks like a “Derby Fever” type. This will be the third race in five weeks for #10-Palace Malice (20-1)…how much is left in the tank? #11-Lines of Battle (30-1) won the UAE Derby in a crawl…but has never raced on dirt…the mystery horse. #13-Falling Sky (50-1) will take them as far as he can on the front end, but should check out before turning for home. #15-Charming Kitten (20-1) makes his dirt debut…appears best-suited for grass. #17-Will Take Charge (20-1) runs here off an unconventional 7-week break. #18-Frac Daddy (50-1), like several others in here, has yet to defeat winners. He does like the Churchill strip, however, and could show up underneath in the exotics. #19-Java’s War (15-1) was no match for Verrazano at Tampa Bay Downs…he won’t be here either. #20-Vyjack (15-1) couldn’t beat Verrazano either (in the Wood)…can’t see him turning the tables from Post 20.

Now, for the contenders:

#3-Revolutionary (10-1): The scratch of Black Onyx just means that jockey Calvin Borel will have one less horse to deal with in his pursuit of a rail trip. Revolutionary is classy, game, very brave, and has the burst of speed that typifies many KY Derby winners. He’ll be a handful with a clean trip.

#8-Goldencents (5-1): His Santa Anita Derby win was arguably the most impressive of all the KY Derby preps, in terms of speed and pace figures. Perhaps the main concern is that Falling Sky to his outside may clear and leave Goldencents pinned on the rail by a stalking Verrazano. Also, Goldencents arrived too late to post a work over the track, so you have to wonder how he’ll handle the surface.

#9-Overanalyze (15-1): This colt should be sitting on a top effort in the third start of his form cycle. He won the Arkansas Derby easily, albeit in slow time. He’s got plenty of upside from a figure standpoint, though, based on the 99 Beyer he earned in winning the Remson to close out his 2YO campaign. He’s been training well locally, too. Live at a price.

#12-Itsmyluckyday (15-1): I’m a big fan of this horse. He’s fast, versatile, and has flourished since his arrival from the Sunshine State. Note his losses: career debut, two off layoffs (including the Florida Derby), and two on the lawn. He’ll probably find himself toward the front of the second flight. Ignore this guy at your peril.

#14-Verrazano (4-1): What’s not to like about this horse? He’s undefeated (4-for-4), well bred, good looking, fast, in expert hands, and doing extremely well. If he had made his career debut one day earlier, we wouldn’t be talking about, “…no horse since Apollo in 1882…”. Sure, the speed fig for the Wood was low, but he accelerated when he had to to keep his unbeaten streak intact, and beat some nice horses in the process. Verrazano should get a perfect stalking trip behind probable pacesetter Falling Sky to his inside…take over on the far turn…then we’ll see what he’s made of.

#16-Orb (7-2): Don’t get me wrong…Orb’s a very nice horse who seems to be getting better and better. He’s made a great impression since his arrival at Churchill Downs. Still, his speed figures don’t stand out, and his 4-race winning streak comes with asterisks. Orb beat Revolutionary when that horse ran the worst race of his life. He beat nothing in his 3YO bow. He defeated Violence in The Fountain of Youth, but that rival sustained an injury in the race. Finally, he beat Itsmyluckyday in the Florida Derby, but trainer Plesa was using that race purely as a stepping stone, and didn’t have his horse fully cranked off a two-month break. Orb has the look of an underlay.

I’ll bet on Verrazano to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better, box him in exactas with the other five contenders, and key him first and second in trifectas with the other five contenders.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for this year’s Run for the Roses. Best of luck and happy gambling!


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