Friday, May 1, 2009

Kentucky Doings

Rachel Alexandra
looked like Wonder Woman crushing the Kentucky Oaks by 20 lengths today. Wow! Her connections were apparently considering running her against the boys in the Derby, and now I'll bet they wish they had. Some Derby trivia: 38 fillies have run and only three have won: Winning Colors in 1988, Genuine Risk in 1980, and Regret in 1915.

And speaking of the Derby, it looks like it's going to be a wet one. Most of these horses haven't run in the mud, and their breeding yields very few clues as to how they will do. The mud tends to favor front runners, though, for the simple reason that horses, like people, don't like to have mud kicked in their face.

I'm sticking with my pick for I Want Revenge, who looks much the best on paper. But, as handicappers are fond of pointing out, horse races are not run on paper, so I'm going to cover a few other numbers as well. Plus, I Want Revenge's odds are going to be so anemic (he's opening at 3/1 and will surely get bet down from there) that I'm hunting around for some good longshot, exacta, and trifecta plays.

In my opinion, the most intriguing opportunities are the bottom-tier speedballs - horses who would be little more than a pace factor on a dry strip. If the track is sloppy, I'm going to use Join in the Dance at 50/1, Desert Party at 15/1, and Atomic Rain at 50/1 (although I might leave this last one out).

All the other short-odds horses - Pioneerof the Nile, Dunkirk, and Friesan Fire - really have to be left in the mix, but if one of those wacky 50-1 shots find their way in to the exacta, it'll be disco dancing and banana daiquiris at the castle tomorrow night!