View Full Version : Kentucky Derby 2014 Analysis

05-03-2014, 06:00 AM
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/20.jpg Wicked Strong (4-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/3.jpg Uncle Sigh (5-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/6.jpg Samraat (6-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/5.jpg California Chrome (9-1)

If you haven't guessed by glancing at the above, I place great importance on the results of this year's Wood Memorial. It was the strongest prep race in my opinion, and was won convincingly by my top choice in this year's Derby, Wicked Strong.

It's always dicey backing a horse who ran his eyeballs out last time out, improving by leaps and bounds over anything else he's ever run. However, this will only be his seventh lifetime start and fourth as a three-year-old, so further improvement or at least a repeat performance off the four week layoff is not out of the question. He is the best closer in the race according to the TimeformUs (http://www.timeformus.com) figures, and that never is a bad thing in the Kentucky Derby. The track wasn't unkind to speed on Friday, but the Derby is a different animal, and having a solid closing kick always helps. Breaking from the far outside post for this particular horse shouldn't be such a terrible thing. He'll be able to stay out of trouble early as the rest of the horses dive inside looking for position, and his propensity to run from off the pace should afford him the time to secure his niche near the back of the pack and out of any serious trouble early in the race. Minimum odds 4-1.

Uncle Sigh got off slowly in the Wood Memorial last time out and found himself near the back of the pack, not his preferred running style. I bumped him up a few notches after seeing how speed played decently on Friday. This horse is also adding blinkers today, which only serves to reinforce the fact that he will be near the front or on the lead in the Derby. He has shown that type of speed in the past. I'm not thrilled with his human connections - his trainer and jock are average, and together, they are even less than average. But he will be a huge price and could end up filling out a big exacta or trifecta ticket. Minimum odds 5-1.

Samraat is a better horse than Uncle Sigh, and has beaten that rival every time they have met, but only a neck separated the two in the Gotham two months ago. I put Uncle Sigh above Samraat only because of Uncle Sigh's pace advantage and the addition of blinkers. Samraat came into the Wood Memorial unbeaten, but left it 3.5 lengths behind my top choice in what was probably a good learning experience for the Derby. He stayed relatively close to a very fast pace and still managed to finish second. All in all, I think Samraat is a very viable contender and has the tactical speed to get excellent position. His chances of winning combined with his expected post time odds likely make him the value play of the race. Minimum odds 6-1.

California Chrome, who will be the post time favorite in today's race, is riding an impressive four race winning streak where he's won by open lengths each and every time. However, his numbers leave him as only my fourth choice overall, and sets up an excellent bet-against opportunity in my opinion. Minimum odds 9-1.

In the end, I feel very comfortable leaving California Chrome off my exacta tickets, and will spread around using my top three choices along with some longshots underneath who can close, like Commanding Curve, Dance With Fate and Intense Holiday.

I hope we all get to cash some nice tickets today!