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Union Rags Ready to Roll

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 5/4/2012 3:34:47 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Take Charge Indy, Union Rags, Dullahan, Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best, Alpha, Hansen, Gemologist, I’ll Have Another
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Kentucky Derby
Where: Churchill Downs
When: Saturday, May 5th

The 138th Running of the Kentucky Derby is loaded with quality, even if the contestants’ Beyer Speed Figures suggest otherwise. Union Rags and Bodemeister appear to be a cut above the rest of the field, with a handful of horses likely to vie for minor awards. I’ll group the contenders I don’t like, followed by those I do like, and wrap it up with my betting strategy for the big race.

First, the horses I don’t like. By the way, it’s safe to assume that if I don’t mention a horse, I won’t be using him on any of my tickets. #3-Take Charge Indy (15-1) was allowed to set a modest pace in the Florida Derby over a track that was favoring speed. The short stretch at Gulfstream Park gave favorite Union Rags little time to reel him in. This horse could get cooked on or near the pace this time, with the super-speedy #9-Trinniberg (50-1) signed on. You’ll note that Take Charge Indy was a non-threatening fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, and figures to do no better this time.

#5-Dullahan (8-1) is a stone closer in a huge field, so traffic trouble is a distinct possibility. He’s a big finisher on turf and synthetic, but has yet to show that same burst on dirt, where his lifetime record is 3-0-0-1 with a top Beyer of 83. He sucked up for fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and is a possibility to round out tri’s and super’s at underlaid odds. #14-Hansen (10-1), last year’s BC Juvenile winner, acted up in his Thursday gallop and can’t afford to do that on race day. He’s nicely drawn outside the main speed, but will have to relax early to have any chance here. I still don’t think he’s a mile-and-a -quarter horse, and am taking a stand against.

Now, for the ones I like, starting with the fringe players. #8-Creative Cause (12-1) is as tough as nails, and has never finished worse than third (by a length) in his 8-race career. He handles the Churchill strip just fine, and is bred for the classic distances. #10-Daddy Nose Best (15-1) hit the 100-mark on the Beyer scale last out in winning the Grade 3 Sunland Derby. He picks up the services of Garrett Gomez, and has looked great in the a.m. Like Creative Cause, he should be closing from mid-pack. #11-Alpha (15-1) has had a few hiccups in his preparations for the Derby, but blew out nicely last Saturday over the Belmont Park Training Track, and appears set for a solid effort. This beautifully-bred colt should love the mile-and-a-quarter. #15-Gemologist (6-1) is a perfect 5-for-5, with two of those wins coming over the local strip. Like his sire, Tiznow, he digs in when challenged. #19-I’ll Have Another (12-1) was impressive in his two starts at Santa Anita, and should make his presence felt if he can work out a trip from Post 19.

#6-Bodemeister (4-1) towers over the field figure-wise, but there are some concerns. He had no starts as a two-year-old, which is the kiss of death for this race. Also, his Arkansas Derby tour de force came just three weeks ago, so you wonder if he’s had time to fully recover. His final work at Churchill was eye-catching, but the surface that day was glib, and he might not have gotten a lot out of the move. I wouldn’t be shocked if he won, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if he failed to hit the board.

My pick is #4-Union Rags (9-2). This grand-looking individual worked the day before Bodemeister over a track that was deep and tiring before the rains came. His work was awesome, and it took nothing out of him. You know he likes Churchill, and as mentioned earlier, his Florida Derby defeat came with a ton of excuses…he wasn’t cranked up…he was bottled up the whole way…the track was speed-favoring…the pace was modest…the stretch is a mere 898 feet…yet he still came running. This horse is the real deal…and he’s sitting on the race of his life! I’ll bet on #4-Union Rags across the board, and key him on top in exactas and tri’s over #6-Bodemeister, #8-Creative Cause, #10-Daddy Nose Best, #11- Alpha, #15-Gemologist and #19-I’ll Have Another. The tickets shape up as follows: $1 EX 4/6,8,10,11,15,19…cost of $6; $1 TRI 4/6,8,10,11,15,19/6,8,10,11,15,19…cost of $30; I’ll play one saver exacta, with Bodemeister over Union Rags.

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

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