With the Kentucky Derby just four weeks away it’s about time for us to get into the meat of it all.
On the strength of his smashing record performance in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct this past Saturday, the Nick Zito trained Bellamy Road was made the 3-1 favorite to win the KD in pool three of Churchill Downs future book. I think everyone just got a little to excited about this performance in which he got an easy uncontested lead and just cruised home.
I know that Big George S, who also happens to own the Yanks, was very happy. Well Zito continues on his major roll and at this point looks to hold all the aces. But why take 3-1 on a horse a month before when on race day you will most likely get 8-1 or higher.
So far the Derby looks to be loaded with need to lead types and could be a mad dash to that first turn. Burnout time often occurs in that first mile at Churchill Downs, setting it up for a come from behind horse at a big price. That’s just what I’m looking for.
I think this week will produce the winner of this year’s KD, which will come out of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland or the Arkansas Derby (both this Saturday). In the Blue Grass I think that front runner Consolidator will get hooked by High Limit. This could set up big efforts by Bandini or Closing Argument. I really like the way Bandini ran in his last. If he’s able to rate behind the speed, it will set him up perfectly not only for a win in the Blue Grass but at the Derby.
In Arkansas, Fleet Alex will try and rebound from his throat problem and get back into the Derby picture. I look for a huge effort by Andromeda’s Hero. If so, you can pencil him in as one of my top choices for the KD.
The last horse to win the Derby off a five-week rest was Needles in 1956 and he was a big favorite. There’s no huge favorite this year, so 10-1 in any future pool is a big mistake.
There has also been a ton of money in the future book on the Godolphin trained Blues and Royals, which heads to the Derby off one prep. Since 1937, half of the 20 horses that raced in the Derby off a single prep race have lost. No Derby for you, Godolphin.
The Santa Anita Derby this past week was won by the Jeff Mullins trained Buzzards Bay. This horse is another speed type that dueled with General John B, which was eighth in the Fountain of Youth. Bay was beaten by High Fly and Bandini by some 26 lengths.
This was the third straight year that Mullins has won this race. The race set up perfectly for Wilko, but had to settle for third. The filly, Sweet Catomine, was up the track. No Derby for her. I see no KD winner that ran in this race and you can confidently dismiss all the animals that ran in the Santa Anita Derby.
Revisiting run lines
Last week we mentioned taking +1Â½ at even money and promised to update how this play does. Well, the first week we only could muster two plays and split 1-1. The winner won outright 8-3, while Baltimore was our loser. The O’s knocked out the "Big Unit" and went out to a 5-2 lead last Saturday after five innings. In the sixth, the "O’s" had a man on third with no outs, tried a squeeze that failed and the runner was thrown out. In the bottom frame, Baltimore looked to be out of the inning when a misplayed pop led to a six run inning for the Yanks and that was it. We will keep posting the results on this play throughout the year.
Arrows at Joe Pa
I read that Penn State center E.Z. Smith was kicked off the football team for his role in an incident in which arrows were shot through a dormitory wall at a party. Joe Pa said that Smith will be off the team until the end of summer. Now that is some punishment! Heck, he’s back when the season starts!
What am I missing here? Joe you need to find an easy chair somewhere, retire, sit back and reminisce about what you would have done to this guy 10 or 15 years ago. That’s like catching a guy in baseball using steroids and giving him the winter off. Ridiculous!