Why the Kentucky Derby is arguably the top horse race in the entire world

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 26th 2018

They call the Kentucky Derby “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” Whoever first said this was spot-on.

Below is a video for last year’s Kentucky Derby through the eyes of West Point Thoroughbreds CEO Terry Finley who had a minority ownership in last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

I interviewed Terry Finley after the last year’s Florida Derby for a Derby profile on Always Dreaming for US Racing which can be accessed here:  https://www.usracing.com/news/kentucky-derby-road-to-the-roses/2017-kentucky-derby-contender-profile-always-dreaming

The above profile was one of the top viewed articles on US Racing last year during Derby month.

I could say “little did I know at that time that Always Dreaming would go on to win the Kentucky Derby.” But I volunteered to write that US Racing Derby profile after that Florida Derby performance because I thought he would win. I always hedge just in case you get an unpredictable performance.

The Good News, as my readers can attest, I have been real high of late on a Derby sleeper in “My Boy Jack.” Remember, I liked Lookin’ At Lee as a Derby sleeper last year in my pre-Derby article titled: “Is there a Mine That Bird in the 2017 Kentucky Derby field?” https://www.usracing.com/news/kentucky-derby-road-to-the-roses/mine-bird-2017-kentucky-derby-field

Lookin’ At Lee finished 2nd in last year’s Kentucky Derby at 33-1 odds.

Well, guess who bought minority ownership in My Boy Jack over last weekend? Terry Finley and I will be interviewing him tomorrow for my Derby profile on My Boy Jack.

Early Derby odds for My Boy Jack have ranged from 30-1 to 18-1.

Stay tuned!

If you read my latest US Racing article “Who’s your Daisy in the 2018 Kentucky Derby?” See: https://www.usracing.com/news/kentucky-derby-road-to-the-roses/whos-daisy-2018-kentucky-derby

You will know that this year’s Kentucky Derby should be one of the most exciting!

–Michael

 

 

 

Who’s your “Daisy” in the 2018 Kentucky Derby?

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 24th 2018

If you really want to know why I think this year’s Kentucky Derby is going to be one of the most exciting we have witnessed in a long while, I tell all in my latest article for US Racing. The link is provided below.

https://www.usracing.com/news/kentucky-derby-road-to-the-roses/whos-daisy-2018-kentucky-derby

My Great Uncle Joe is mentioned in the above US Racing article. For those who are interested, here is a link to the The New Yorker magazine article where my Great Uncle and my Abruzzi Italians descendants are chronicled by distant cousin Richard Severo “FORTE E GENTILE” (Italian for Strong and Kind) The Annals of Immigration. A highly entertaining read. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1979/09/03/forte-e-gentile

Also for US Racing, I am also working on a profile for my Derby sleeper “My Boy Jack” which should be out next week. I think this article may be better the last. Stay tuned!

-Michael

Why I like My Boy Jack as a Derby Sleeper

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 23rd 2018

A prelude to why I volunteered to write a Derby Profile for “My Boy Jack” for US Racing whom I feel is a Derby Sleeper. I will provide the link for this profile once published. First, I like horses who have Secretariat on at least one side in their blood line and he has it on both sides (paternal and maternal). I mentioned in a previous article last year that this Secretariat in the bloodline was an interesting new trend for Derby winners.

Secondly, I like my Derby hopefuls to have a final 3 Furlong time under 38 seconds in their last major Derby 9 furlong prep. In the Louisiana Derby, his 2nd to last Derby prep, I calculate a final 3 furlong time of 37.21. Third fastest in this class but he will get an additional furlong in the Kentucky Derby to knock off tired horses.

Thirdly, My Boy Jack is a closer, most horse racing fans favorite running style because they lag around at the back of the pack early on and then move up the field and start plucking off the competition. If you followed me last year, I sang a similar tune about Lookin At Lee in a US Racing article  “Is there a Mine That Bird in the 2017 Kentucky Field? CLICK HERE. Lookin At Lee finished 2nd in last year’s Kentucky Derby.

My Boy Jack is the best closer in this class and he will have plenty of early speed which will work to his advantage. Although he may not win, he has to be in all of your superfectas and exotic bets.

–Michael

 

2018 Kentucky Derby Sleeper: My Boy Jack

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 21st 2018

The next US Racing article I will be working on is a Kentucky Derby Profile on the Desormeaux Brothers’ colt “My Boy Jack.” He’s my Derby sleeper and I like the name. I had a Uncle Jack who I loved and my good friend Steve has a grandson named Jack, an unusual name for a toddler this age, cutest boy ever. Always smiling.

–Michael

There’s a Bad, Bad Moon Rising

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 19th 2018

I finished the 1st draft for my article for US Racing on the 2018 Kentucky Derby. I will provide a link to the article once published. (Update: SEE) Last year I had the top viewed article on that site during Derby month. I thank my loyal readers for helping put me me over the top last year. I make negative $99 from this blog every year but have made a little money and bonuses for article submissions on US Racing.

I don’t care about “The Money” as I am doing fine. But if things change, I think I would be most valuable as a pedigree analyst when it comes to bidding on yearlings and 2-year-olds where I see hundreds of thousands of dollars are throw away each year. Sometimes millions. Stupid money squandered away frivolously.

But back to the main point, I want to stress that this year’s Kentucky Derby will be one that you won’t want to miss. There’s a Bad, Bad Moon Rising. And the 136 year-old “Curse of Apollo” is in serious danger of coming to an end. I’d bet it ends. I didn’t get into why on that article submission but I will on this blog. Build your first Saturday in May around the 2018 Kentucky Derby as a fair warning.

–Michael

Who’s your 2018 Kentucky Derby winner?

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 16th 2018

Stay tuned race fans. I’m preparing an article for US Racing on this topic. Last year I won the most viewed article on US Racing during Derby month and received an extra bonus. I hope to repeat the feat this year. I will just say that I haven’t had as much fun writing my upcoming an article as I have had in years. I will provide a link on this blog. But until then, is there are Bad Moon rising like there was for the Arkansas Derby with Magnum Moon?

–Michael Cox

The 2018 Arkansas Derby – Magnum Moon

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 10th 2018 – Updated April 14th 2018 6:26 PM CST

The last of the major Derby preps are coming up this Saturday at Oaklawn Park. I totally love the Arkansas Derby and Oaklawn Park but won’t be able to preview it accurately as I will be in Las Vegas on vacation until Saturday afternoon.

Overall, from anticipated entries, this is Todd Pletcher’s trainee Magnum Moon‘s race. I don’t feel at this point that this Derby prep that any colt that can beat Justify, Mendelssohn or Bolt d’Oro. I don’t even think that Magnum Moon, who I would make this Arkansas Derby’s favorite, is even Todd Pletcher’s best Derby hopeful at this point. That honor goes to Audible–the Florida Derby winner.

But we will see. I reserved judgement, for the most part, until all Derby preps are run. But barring some unexpected result, your top four Derby hopefuls at this point are: Justify, Mendelssohn, Bolt d’Oro and Audible. I do love Magnum Moon’s pedigree so perhaps I may move him up my rankings with a great performance.

Below are the entries, post-positions, weights, jockey assignments and morning line odds:

The Arkansas Derby  – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #11 at Oaklawn Park – Post-Time: 6:18 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Beautiful Shot (122) – Eramia/Desormeaux – 30/1
2. Machismo (118) – Spieth/Quartarolo – 20/1
3. Ten Fold (118) – Espinoza/Asmussen – 4/1
4. Dream Baby Dream (118) –  Contreras/Asmussen – 15/1
5. Solomini (118) – Prat/Baffert – 2/1
6. Magnum Moon (122) – Saez/Pletcher – 8/5
7. Plainsman (118) – McMahon/Van Meter – 30/1
8. Quip (122) – Geroux/Brisset – 9/2
9. Combatant (115) – Santana Jr/Asmussen – 6/1

Update: No scratches to report.  I liked straight Win bets on Magnum Moon but not at 1/2 or 3/5 live odds. A Place bet on Solomini might pay out as much, if not more, than a win bet on Magnum Moon. If this race has taught me anything the last five years, sometimes there are surprise performances. Although I think Magnum Moon will win, I am laying low and making a $2 Place bet on Plainsman at 99-1. And a $2 Exacta keying Magnum Moon over Solomini, Plainsman and Quip. That is 6 over 5,7,8.  So $8 total bet.


On the Docket…

I am planning a big article for US Racing. Last year, one of my articles  was the top viewed article on that site during Derby month. I hope to duplicate that accomplishment this year and I think you will enjoy it. 

–Michael

2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

April 8th 2018 – Updated 4:45 PM CST

Ok, I crunched some numbers and I have recommendations for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 which can be accessed HERE .

Overall, I feel that it is important for a Kentucky Derby winner to have run the final 3 furlongs in their Derby prep in a time 38.0 seconds or faster. Below are the times I calculated for the key prep races:

Justify                     36.87 in the Santa Anita Derby
Mendelssohn        37.34 (estimated) from the UAE Derby
Bolt d’Oro             37.35 in the Santa Anita Derby
Audible                  37.48 in the Florida Derby
Vino Rosso            37.63 in the Wood Memorial
Hofburg                 37.88 in the Florida Derby
Good Magic          38.21 in the Blue Grass Stakes
Lone Sailer            38.21 in the Louisiana Derby
Enticed                   38.27 in the Wood Memorial
Noble Indy            38.49 in the Louisiana Derby
Runaway Ghost    38.53 in the Sunland Derby

I had to estimate Mendelssohn’s time from his last 700 meter stretch in the UAE Derby from Trackus. His speed between the 1200 meter to 1600 meter mark was faster (36.61 mph) than his final 300 meter speed (35.55 mph). He won by such a large margin (18 1/2 lengths) that he was able to coast home. So I think his estimated time above is real close to Justify’s time.

We still have the Arkansas Derby coming up next weekend but I doubt we will see any performance that will be better than what Justify, Mendelssohn and Bolt d’Oro accomplished in their last prep.

So I would recommend Boxed Exactas using Bolt d’Oro, Justify and Mendelssohn. That is 2, 12 and 15 in this pool. Right now Justify is sitting at 3/1 and the live favorite in this pool. Mendelssohn is the second favorite at 5/1 odds. Audible is at 7/1 and Bolt d’Oro is at 10/1

For straight win bets, if you are going to play them in this pool and not wait until Derby day to see post-positions and scratches, what you could do is take $60 and bet $30 of it on Justify, $20 on Mendelssohn and $10 on Bolt d’Oro, At the current live odds listed above, if one of these three horses win, you will get paid back somewhere between $110 to $120. This is a Return on Investment of 83.3% to 100%.

If Justify’s odds dip down to 2/1, then it would pay back $90 if he is the Derby winner. So this 3 horse win bet play would net you a 50% Return on Investment at the minimum.

As far as Beyer Speed Figures, the top two in this Derby class are Justify with the 107 preliminary Beyer he earned yesterday in the Santa Anita Derby and Mendelssohn’s 106 in the UAE Derby.

Last Update: No real changes in the odds noted above. I really think that the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner will be one of three horses: Justify, Mendelssohn or Bolt d’Oro

As a side note, I am planning a big article for US Racing. Last year, one of my articles  was the top viewed article on that site during Derby month. I hope to duplicate that accomplishment this year and I think you will enjoy it. 

–Michael

2018 Santa Anita Derby Preview – Bolt D’Oro vs Justify

20161105_1447290

April 6th 2018 – Updated April 7th @ 5:18 PM CST

Tomorrow is a huge day in the sport of horse racing with the Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass Stakes and the San Anita Derby all scheduled on the same day. A minimum of six horses will punch their ticket into the Kentucky Derby field with a first or second place finish. Due to time constraints, I am not able to preview all three races so I chose to preview the Santa Anita Derby as I think this race will be the best of the three. Most importantly, I think the Santa Anita Derby is the one most likely to produce the eventual Kentucky Derby winner.

Overall, I am keeping an open mind but I think the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner will be one of these four colts: Bolt d’Oro, Audible, Justify and Good Magic. And probably in that order. I really liked the prospects of the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie but it was announced on Wednesday that McKinzie suffered a hind-leg injury last week and will miss the Kentucky Derby and probably the Preakness Stakes as well.

The Todd Pletcher trainee Audible had an impressive win in the Florida Derby last weekend. The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic is still on my radar but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing third place finish in the the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He’ll get a chance for redemption in the Blue Grass Stakes.

As for Bolt d’Oro and Bob Baffert’s other Derby hopeful Justify, they will lock horns tomorrow in the Santa Anita Derby. NBC Sports Network will air live coverage. Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds.

The Santa Anita Derby  – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #9 at Santa Anita Park – Post-Time: 6:12PM CST. Televised by NBC Sports Network and TVG. 

Post/Horse/Jockey/Weight/Trainer/Morning Line Odds
1. Instilled Regard (124) – Rosario/Hollendorfer – 5/1
2. Orbit Ridge (124) – Blanc/Ruis – 50/1
3. Bolt d’Oro (124) – Castellano/Ruis – 6/5
4. Jimmy Chila (124) – Gutierez/O’Neill – 30/1
5. Pepe Tono (124) – Espinoza/Garcia – 20/1
6. Justify (124) –  Smith/Baffert – 4/5
7. Core Beliefs (124) – Baze/Eurton – 20/1

My Pick: I am up in the air on this one but it’s going to come down to Bolt d’Oro or Justify for the win. So my play will likely be a 3-6 Boxed Exacta with these two horses if it is a dry race. Justify is the morning line race favorite at 4/5 odds. I am fine with that as I feel that Justify should be the race favorite. There is no doubt that Justify is fast. In the only two starts of his career, he produced in triple digit Beyer Speed Figures (104 and 101). Justify may win the Santa Anita Derby but still finish behind Bolt d’Oro in the Kentucky Derby. Working against Justify’s Run for the Roses chances, Justify never raced as a 2 year-old. The only Kentucky Derby winner to have never raced as a 2 year old was Apollo in 1882. 

If you are looking to play a Trifecta, I’d add Instilled Regard. But note that with a seven horse field (or less if there are any scratches), exotics won’t pay back very well unless there is absolute chaos and a huge upset. I don’t see that happening here. You are better off playing big Win or Exacta bets on Justify or Bolt d’Oro. I bet $250 on Audible to win last week in the Florida Derby and that bet paid back $650 ($400 net profit). If this year’s Santa Anita Derby is wet, I would probably recommend straight win bets on Justify since he excelled on a sloppy, sealed track at Santa Anita in his last start.

UPDATE: No scratches to report yet in the Santa Anita Derby. In the Wood Memorial, I liked Enticed for the win. I feel that the stewards should have placed Vino Rosso second due to the bump on Enticed. But I knew that Aqueduct wouldn’t reverse the call on track favorite Todd Pletcher. He’s too valuable to East Coast racing.

In the Blue Grass Stakes, Quip was scratched. I am glad that I didn’t preview this race as it seems to wide open for my comfort level. But a nice bounce back win for Good Magic. I am not overly impressed with his the final winning time over 1:50 though.

My next blog topic will be the last Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 that is going on currently and will end this Sunday at 5PM CST (6PM EST). You can see the current live odds by clicking HERE . I recommend waiting until the completion of all three of tomorrow’s Derby preps before making any wagers in this pool. I will be monitoring the live odds clear up until the final hour and will give my recommendations.

–Michael

2018 Florida Derby Preview – A Todd Pletcher Repeat?

florida-derby

March 29th 2018 – Updated March 31st 5:25 PM CST

Another huge weekend on the Derby trail is coming up this Saturday with the Florida Derby. Three of the last five Florida Derby winners went on to win the Kentucky Derby. I will admit up front that I am a bit disappointed with the quality of this year’s field. I think a race of this stature and a purse of $1 Million dollars should have attracted another heavy hitter or two other on the Derby trail other than Aubible and Promises Fulfilled.

However, slap me silly, remember that the Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming was the surprise winner last year having never won a Graded Stakes race entering that race. And Always Dreaming went on to win the Kentucky Derby. So this race deserves your attention.

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 105th Louisiana Derby. The race will be televised live by NBC Sports Network.

The Florida Derby

The Florida Derby – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #14 at Gulfstream Park – Post-Time: Saturday March 31st at 5:30 PM CST. Televised by NBCSN 

Post/Horse/Jockey/Weight/Trainer/Odds
1. Strike Power (122) – Saez/Hennig – 4/1
2. Millionaire Runner (122) – Batista/Mejia – 50/1
3. Tip Sheet (122) – Zayas/Gold – 30/1
4. Promises Fulfilled (122) – Albarado/Romans – 3/1
5. Storm Runner (122) – Gaffalione/Romans – 20/1
6. Catholic Boy (122) – I.Ortiz Jr/Thomas – 7/2
7. Hofburg (122) – J. Ortiz/Mott – 20/1
8. Audible (122) – Velazquez/Pletcher – 9/5
9. Mississippi (116) – Leparoux/Casse – 12/1

Race Commentary:  This race should come down to Aubible, Promises Fulfilled and Catholic Boy for the win. I ranked the Todd Pletcher trainee Audible in my Top 3 Kentucky Derby Contenders awhile back behind Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie. Will trainer Todd Pletcher be a repeat winner of the Florida Derby?

Nothing I have seen in my research for this races changes my mind about Audible. So he will be my favorite for this year’s Florida Derby so long as it is a dry race. Audible has been training well and ran an impressive time of 1:41.92 in the 8 1/2 furlong Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park back on February 3rd. 

UPDATE: There no scratches and no chance of rain. The betting public right now likes Aubible and Catholic Boy and is cold on Promises Fulfilled. I still like big straight win bets on Audible.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Santa Anita Derby and the much-anticipated rematch of Bolt d’Oro vs McKinzie at Santa Anita Park. I will also preview the best of the two remaining Derby prep races that day between the Blue Grass Stakes and the Wood Memorial depending upon their entries. If time permits, I will preview all three.

–Michael