Time to put Derby info to work

May 1, 2009 10:36 PM
by Mark Mayer |

UPDATE: 7:40 a.m. Saturday:
I Want Revenge has scratched.

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The seminars are done, and it’s time to take in the 135th Kentucky Derby with mint juleps, prize drawings and parties at most Las Vegas casino resorts. Weather could be a big factor with an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday afternoon in Louisville.

"We can’t wait to do this again for Breeder’s Cup," said Palace Station race and sports director Zack Goldberg regarding the pre-race seminar featuring GamingToday’s Richard Saber, Palace Station’s Vic Vivio and Race Day Las Vegas radio host Ralph Siraco. "We had another sellout crowd here and hopefully the demand will be high enough to have another one for the rest of the Triple Crown."

The Derby line at Palace Station had I Want Revenge the 3-1 favorite, followed by Dunkirk and Pioneerof The Nile at 4-1. Friesan Fire was just behind at 5-1 with the next closest horses Desert Party and Hold Me Back each at 15-1. Six horses were listed at 50-1 as of Friday afternoon.

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Saber likes I Want Revenge in a superfecta with Friesan Fire, Dunkirk and Pioneerof The Nile. Siraco has Advice, Hold Me Back, Friesan Fire and I Want Revenge in his superfecta. Vivio goes with Dunkirk, I Want Revenge, General Quarters and Hold Me Back.

Here are the panelists breakdown of the 20-horse field.

(1) Westside Bernie: Saber: No chance. Don’t figure him in the top three. Siraco: He’s no Big Brown so no win from the rail. Not a speed horse so must weave through traffic. Vivio: Fourth may be best for him.

(2) Musket Man: Saber: Will be overwhelmed. No better than ninth or tenth. Siraco: Has a great resume, but may be a little too small. Vivio: Has never run a poor race. Good superfecta horse.

(3) Mr. Hot Stuff: Saber: An up and comer, but no shot here. Toss him out. Siraco: Spent all his time on the West Coast chasing Pioneerof The Nile. Vivio: The 1¼ mile distance suits him. Fourth may be best for him.

(4) Advice: Saber: Stay away from him. Won’t beat any of the top horses. Siraco: I still see his win in the Lexington. Could get in the mix. Vivio: Runs his best on synthetic surface. Throw him out.

(5) Hold Me Back: I like his 15-1 morning line odds. Might use him. Siraco: Tough to judge how he will do on dirt. A shot with exotics, but not to win. Vivio: Hall of Famer trainer Bill Mott is high on him, I give him a shot in exotics.

(6) Friesan Fire: Saber: Will move up if the track is bad. Will be right there off the early speed. Siraco: He loved the slop in the Louisiana Derby. His 7-week layoff is a factor. Will be in the mix. Vivio: Faster pace could take something out of him. Part of the mix.

(7) Papa Clem: Saber: He’s had some fast workouts, but I just don’t like him. Siraco: I think he peaked in the Louisiana Derby. Not on my ticket. Vivio: He won’t be the same horse that won the Arkansas Derby. Up against it.

(8) Mine That Bird: Saber: Would be a good prop bet to finish last. Siraco: He’ll be backpeddling faster than horses coming at him. Vivio: The rabbit who is set up for Dunkirk.

(9) Join In The Dance; Not worth commenting on from the panel.

(10) Regal Ransom: Saber: Part of the early pace, but will be chewed up. Siraco: The less intriguing of the Dubai horses. Vivio: The Dubai horses are overrated.

(11) Chocolate Candy: Saber: He’s all synthetics. Too many jockey changes. I’ll just watch him. Siraco: I respect Jerry Hollendorfer and he’ll have this horse ready. In my plays. Vivio: Just don’t think he’s fast enough here.

(12) General Quarters: Saber: Could hit the board, but won’t win. Siraco: Would make a great Hollywood story, but don’t think he’ll win. Vivio: Has responded well after the blinkers were taken off. Can run every surface. A legitimate shot here. A live long shot.

(13) I Want Revenge: Saber: He will get revenge on Pioneerof The Nile. Two wins in a row on dirt. Has courage and guts. My winner. Siraco: Part of the equation. Key is the inexperience of jockey Joe Talamo. Vivio: Great in the Wood Memorial. All set if he can get through the first turn.

(14) Atomic Rain: Saber: Fourth in the Wood. No shot. Siraco: He would shock the world. Vivio: Brought in to make sure pace is good.

(15) Dunkirk: Saber: I love gray horses on an off track. Immense talent. In the top three. Siraco: Promising horse considering lack of experience. Just not sure about his demeanor. A mystery horse who has everything else. Vivio: His demeanor is fine. My winner. Don’t see a horse that can hold him off.

(16) Pioneerof The Nile: Saber: I want him second to set up a great Preakness. He’s strictly synthetics. Siraco: Out of post 16, I just don’t know. He has a closing kick, but trip means everything for him. Vivio: Everything has to go right and I don’t see it. He’s not on any of my tickets.

(17) Summer Bird: Saber: Another bird horse that won’t do crap. Siraco: He’ll need a set of goggles. Vivio: His fourth start since March 1, which is hard to do. Outclassed.

(18) Nowhere To Hide: Saber: Barbequed. Siraco: No shot. Vivio: Merely an attention getter.

(19) Desert Party: Saber: Best shot for the Arabs. Tough post, but an excellent shot to hit the board. Siraco: One of my top five until I saw the post. Nobody is talking about him. Vivio: I like Regal Ransom better. Toss him out from 19 post.

(20) Flying Private: Saber: Horse gives D. Wayne Lukas box seats. Siraco: I can’t use him. Vivio: Lukas has him in because it’s the Derby.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer