17 May 2013

Orb Will Be A Tremendous Underlay

Orb is great Orb is this and Orb that, c'mon people, the horse won in the goop. I've been handicapping races for a long long time and one of my steadfast rules is to not rate off track races unless it is the only race the horse has in its past performances, and if that is the case, do so with extreme reluctancy. Take away his Kentucky Derby win, and his speed numbers are slightly inferior to more than just one Preakness entrant. I'm not saying he can't win, but he will be a huge underlay, not the biggest underlay of the year, as I've seen many 3-5 shots or less go down the tubes at Aqueduct and Belmont this year, for example, horse that looked like really bad bets going in. Orb could also be like a Zenyatta, the speed figures might not matter, he just gets it done. But I really don't like him tomorrow. Besides the inferior speed figs and the big win in the slop, there is also the fact that he was well prepped off a month plus layoff prior to the Derby, this also makes him a big bounce candidate.

Horses like Orb make the game beatable. Yes, they win some of the time, but because they are so overbet, it means there will be others in the race that will be underbet. Seeking value is the only way to beat the game in the long run, and unless Orb goes off at 7-1 or better, there is no value there.

I got dusted with my Derby picks, but again, this is a long term game and the Derby was just a race. That being stated, I am probably very due when it comes to getting the Preakness close to right. So who do I like? My ratings came up with three horses close to tied.

Mylute, with Rosie Napravnik, could be the one. He had a very good speed figure in the Louisiana Derby, and the 30+ day layoff going into the Derby might have been a negative. In fact, this horse rarely runs twice within a month, but looking his Derby line, I have to figure that coming back within two weeks could mean a peak performance from him. He will most likely need a fair track or more preferably a closer's track, in order to win the race.

The fact that Goldencents is in the race, means either you can totally discount his 49 length loss in the Derby, or that his connections are just plain nuts. I am leaning towards the former. He had a very good number in the Santa Anita Derby, and figures to be very close to the pace in the Preakness. If he is right, I don't think he will be compromised by other early speed in the race, and there isn't much of a difference between 1 mile and an eighth and 1 mile and 3/16th, so distance shouldn't be an issue.

Oxbow is the final horse in my top three. The Preakness distance looks perfect for him, and the expected pace of the race and his post position, makes him a contender. He ran a good race in the Derby, and should be able to time his move much better tomorrow, his past figures are decent, and he should have no problem outrunning his final odds in the Preakness.

A case could be made for almost every horse in the Preakness. If I use Orb, it will be on one superfecta ticket with my top three picks.



4 May 2013

Obligatory Kentucky Derby Post

The Kentucky Derby, the most hyped 2 minutes in sports, goes off today, hosted by an organization that doesn't give a rats behind when it comes to growing horse racing. OK enough with the negativitytruth, lets move on to my analysis.

I have to stick to my handicapping guns. I don't like horses who race a mile and a quarter who have been off over 30 days. That line of thinking was much better 30 years ago before trainers started
racing horses like they are in Europe, and before such phenomenal training methods like hyperbaric chambers were used by "clean" trainers. But still, those who raced within 30 days have a distinct advantage over those who haven't.

So I am eliminating these horse from finishing 1-2: Revolutionary, Golden Soul, Mylute, Giant Finish, Lines Of Battle, Itsmyluckyday, Orb (yes, Orb), and Will Take Charge.

Now that I have the race down to 11 contenders, time to eliminate the slower ones, or the ones that appear farther off from a peak race. Those are Overanalyze, Frac Daddy, and Fallen Star.

So now we have eight, and to be honest, on figures, they are inseparable to the point that trip will mean just about everything. That being stated, value is key. That means eliminating Goldencents and Verrazano. Gun to head, I like the latter better, for what it is worth.

I Tweeted that Normandy Invasion will win in a romp, but that was before he ran off with his exercise jockey in the morning, so I've downgraded him to third. I am now leaning heavy on Palace Malice to win the Derby. The distance
doesn't seem to be a problem, and coming off an artificial surface might just give him a huge fitness edge, and he seemed to just be short in his last. I can't say that Pull The Pocket hasn't influenced my decision to rate Vyjack high, but he needs to put the pom poms down because the 19 post might make it very difficult for Vyjack to have the trip needed to win. Oxbow has had three 10 posts in a row and now gets the rail in the Derby. This could mean the shortest trip around the track for jockey Gary Stevens. Java's War, who beat my selection in the Blue Grass maybe peaked a race too soon, and his last to first effort including a terrible start has sucker's bet written all over it, but he just can't be dismissed today, and Charming Kitten just seems to be a fringe contender, but a perfect trip could mean roses just the same. He did show good turn speed in the Blue Grass.

10-20-5-2, that is my four horse box.

Go Palace Malice, but more importantly, it would be nice to see a horse compete for a chance at the Triple Crown in the Belmont this year.

Here is the 2013 Blue Grass Stakes: