Thursday, May 3, 2012

The 2012 Kentucky Derby

Here's a bunch of women wearing funny hats at last year's Kentucky Derby.  More will do that this year.

Well it's already that time again - the Run for the Roses, the first leg of the Triple Crown, the 2012 Kentucky Derby!  Hooray!  Here are the runners with post positions, jockeys, and morning line odds:

1.  Daddy Long Legs, C. O'Donoghue, 30-1

2.  Optimizer, J. Court, 50-1

3.  Take Charge Indy, C. Borel, 15-1

4.  Union Rags, J. Leparoux, 9-2

5.  Dullahan, K. Desormeaux, 8-1

6.  Bodemeister, M. Smith, 4-1

7.  Rousing Sermon, J. Lezcano, 50-1

8.  Creative Cause, J. Rosario, 12-1

9.  Trinniberg, W. Martinez, 50-1

10.  Daddy Nose Best, G. Gomez, 15-1

11.  Alpha, R. Maragh, 15-1

12.  Prospective, L. Contreras, 30-1

13.  Went The Day Well, J. Velazquez, 20-1

14.  Hansen, R. Dominguez, 10-1

15.  Gemologist, J. Castellano, 6-1

16.  El Padrino, R. Bejarano, 20-1

17.  Done Talking, S. Russell, 50-1

18.  Sabercat, C. Nakatani, 30-1

19.  I'll Have Another, M. Guttierrez, 12-1

20.  Liaison, M. Garcia, 50-1

AE: My Adonis, E. Trujillo, 50-1

The favorite and second choice, respectively, are Bodemeister at 4-1, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert and Union Rags at 9-2, trained by Michael Matz and Ridden by Julien Leparoux.  The somewhat tepid odds show the lack of a dominant horse this year - all the low-ish price horses have plenty of asterisks, and I'm looking for a longshot or a big triple.

Trinniberg will probably go after the lead at the bell - he won't be all alone, though, Take Charge Indy, Bodemeister, and Hansen also have a lot of early lick, so I expect to see that famous Kentucky Derby cavalry charge for the first half of the race.  Pace scenarios like that one often lead to punishing fractions, and the leaders are cooked before they even get to the stretch - remember Giacomo in 2005?  I don't expect to see any of the early leaders at the end of the race.  So who are the stalkers and closers who stand to benefit from a pace meltdown?

There are a bunch of horses here who have one in that style, but I'll limit my choices to the ones with the right post positions, or who have done a similar trick in a G1 or G2 race (which is not an absolute prerequisite - remember Mine That Bird?)  Here are some possibilities, some with big odds, some not:

Dullahan won the Bluegrass Stakes at Keenland with the exact same scenario outlined above from the six slot.  He's in the nearby five position for this race.  A solid contender at 8-1, but not the longshot miracle I'd like.

But then there's Rousing Sermon 50-1, in the seven slot.  He's got the right style for a pace meltdown, and he's starting in the middle of the track.  He could be the bomb that no one sees coming.

Creative Cause will be a little closer to the pack, and almost took the Santa Anita Derby in a stalking style, losing by a nose to I'll Have Another.  The eight slot is nice for him, not too close to the rail, not to far away from it - he looks good at 12-1.

And if you're playing this particular storyline, as I will be, you have to keep second choice Union Rags in the mix.  9-2 is stingy, but he should be right on the tail of the front runners, and he's got a nice spot for stalking.

Enough talk, make a pick already!  Ok, ok, how's this:

8 - Creative Cause
7 - Rousing Sermon
4 - Union Rags

I'm might change my mind on Derby Day, especially if it rains, Tune in to No Hassle at the Castle on Saturday for vacillation and indecision.  See you at the races!