Sticking with Baffert for Kentucky Derby isn’t bad

Apr 21, 2009 5:01 PM
Getting Rich with Saber by Richard Saber |

With just 12 days until that first Saturday in May, the field for the 135th Kentucky Derby is almost set.

Trainer Todd Pletcher got another horse in the race as Advice won the Lexington Stakes this past Friday beating the 7-5 favorite Square Eddie who made an electrifying six wide move and stormed to the front down the lane. Eddie looked like the winner, but just gave it up late.

The big news this weekend was that top jock Garrett Gomez will keep his mount on Pioneerof The Nile and give up the highly regarded Dunkirk. In my humble opinion this was a no brainer for agent Ron Anderson.

Pioneerof The Nile has won four straight stakes races including the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and Gomez was on all four. Trainer Bob Baffert knows what it takes to win the Derby as he has done it three times. Pletcher, though one of best, has had little luck when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.

Also Dunkirk will be bucking one of the biggest Kentucky Derby trends of all time, "the curse of Apollo." No horse has won the Derby that did not race as a 2yo since Apollo pulled that one off in 1882 paying $169.80 for the win.

So Gomez said no to riding Dunkirk with only three lifetime races – a maiden win, an allowance win and a second in the Florida Derby behind Quality Road. If Dunkirk wins or not, this was the correct decision by the all knowing Anderson.

Maybe the very deep pocketed Mr. Zayat, who wants to win the Kentucky Derby as much as his deep pocketed cousins from Dubai, may have made Anderson a deal he could not refuse?

Looking at Quality Road in brief, he will be trying to break the four-race curse. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby with just four races since Exterminator did it in 1918 paying $61.20. The good thing is that times are changing.

Last year Big Brown broke the three race curse when winning the Kentucky Derby with just three lifetime races. So we just may see another one going down this year.

One thing you may want to take note of: If Bob Baffert wins with Pioneerof The Nile, you will want to bet him right back in the Preakness. Baffert won the Preakness each of the three times he won the Derby.

If you are looking for some Triple Crown action, you can bet yea or nay at any of your favorite Station Casinos. If you think that there will be a Triple Crown winner, you get 6-1. You can lay 8-1 that no one will sweep all three races. If you are not going to be in town for the Derby you can also bet on the winner.

It’s just a short 9 days until the BIG Kentucky Derby seminar at Palace Station. Let me tell you this one is a must attend for the free food, cocktail service, expert opinions and deep handicapping information that you will get.

We will also be putting together a community superfecta ticket for anyone that wants a little or big piece. Stop by the Palace Station Race & Sports Book on Thursday, April 30 at 6 p.m. or get there earlier to make a few bets. Don’t miss out on the freebies.

A huge thanks is deserved to the big guy at Palace Station Zack Goldberg who runs the Book. Without him we could not put this event on. Kudos to Zack.

Taking a quick looks at baseball and at some of the advice we gave in this column before the season started, home dogs are 30-17 when taking +1½ runs. The win 5 and lose 5 system is 8-4 with both going 4-2.

The Yanks’ new ballpark has become a pitcher’s nightmare and a hitter’s haven.