View Full Version : Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders / Value Line / Analysis

05-01-2015, 10:12 PM
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/8.jpg Dortmund (3-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/18.jpg American Pharoah (7-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/10.jpg Firing Line (10-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/3.jpg Materiality (15-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/19.jpg Upstart (21-1)
http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/images/SCNums/9.jpg Bolo (22-1)

(As of 5/2/15 @ 10:45am, I have dropped Mr. Z from my original contender list and have adjusted my value line a tad)

An interesting and talented field appears to be assembled for Kentucky Derby 141. We have two undefeated horses in Dortmund and Materiality trying to extend their perfect records, and an almost-undefeated horse in American Pharoah installed as the likely post-time favorite.

Then we have the pace. There are a bunch of horses that like to run on or close to the lead, and quite a few that will be racing mid-pack. Then we have a handful of plodders. The plodders have the best closing numbers (not unexpectedly), but they are otherwise lousy horses overall. The best of the deep closers appears to be Far Right. But even at 40-1 (his current early price), I wouldn't touch him.

I always like to see at least a halfway decent closing number on a horse I am backing in the Kentucky Derby, so I'm kind of hoping Firing Line starts to drift up in price a tad from his current 9-1 price. He has decent enough positional early speed and a decent closing number for this group. He'll be an interesting horse to watch during the race.

Interestingly enough, the horse with the best last-out Beyer number, Materiality with a 110 earned in the Florida Derby, is currently being given the cold shoulder in the early wagering at 17-1.

The horse I'm going to take my stand with though, is Dortmund. And I hate backing a horse in a race like this at less then double digit prices (although he is 9-2 in the early going - technically double digits), but I do like this horse a lot. He's 6 for 6 lifetime and has won from on and off the pace (although not too far off, considering he's never been behind more than 2.5 lengths at any point of call of any of his races). My only worry will be how he responds to that last quarter mile. His closing number is pretty blah, so if he gets in a tussle early, it may be lights out for him in the end. I think he's versatile enough to work out a perfect trip, no matter what the early pace throws at him. If they go fast early, he'll settle in behind. If they all take back, he'll go to the front. In the Derby, versatile is the way to be.

The horse I'm taking a stand against is American Pharoah. He's got a couple of horses faster than him early, despite his positional brilliance thus far. He may have a tougher time securing good position early. And his closing number is a tad lame. That's what really concerns me. He's also been facing lesser foes than Dortmund, so he might be a bit "dressed up" on paper. They can take their favoritism. I want no part of this horse on the top end.

Usually, in races like this, I like to spread, as anyone who has watched this board over the years has seen. Often times, that pays big dividends, as it did in the 2014 Breeders' Cup. However, in this year's Derby, I don't think it's going to be worth it to back fringe contenders at a price. Once you get past Dortmund, American Pharoah and Firing Line, in my opinion, the reward won't be worth the risk, even if some of my lesser contenders go off above their value line. Firing Line is the only other horse I'll be keeping a hard eye on if Dortmund gives me the price I need.

If, however, Dortmund gets pounded below 3-1 at the windows (and I don't really see this happening), then maybe I will spread far and wide. But if I'm getting a solid 3-1 on Dortmund, I'm going to play him hard and do most of my spreading underneath in the exacta and try to catch a flyer.

Let's hope for a clean race and some more money than when we started!