Derby up for grabs!

April 30, 2002 9:00 AM
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The first question you hear in every race book all over town is who do you like in the Kentucky Derby?

I wish I knew who I liked because the more I study, the more confused I get. But I have come up with a pretty good game plan on how to make my Derby wager. The best play will be to try and cash in on the double between the Kentucky Oaks on Friday and the Derby on Saturday.

This double returned a great payoff last year, and it’s sure to bring a nice price again. Both races look to be wide open, but appearances can be deceiving.

The Oaks figures to come down to three horses ”” Bella Bellucci, Take Charge Lady and YOU. I will use these three along with four in the Derby ”” Buddha, Medaglia d’Oro, the Castle Gandolfo/Johannesburg entry and Came Home.

Then I am going to key YOU, who is working up a storm on the Churchill strip, with my four main Derby horses. Finally, I will add Essence of Dubai, Perfect Drift (my long shot special) and Saarland to the mix.

Harlan’s Holiday is not in my equation because I sometimes get hardheaded and do things like this. My main reason for the pitchout is that he will probably be the favorite and favorites have just one victory in last 22 Derbys (Fusaichi Pegasus).

Also, even though Harlan’s Holiday is consistent, the only horse of mention that he beat is a little pony named Booklet. I see HH making a premature move and ending up with nothing. That’s what my hardhead thinks, so if you’re smart you will put him on your tickets somewhere.

If for some reason your ticket is dead after Friday, I would key d’Oro to the horses we used in our doubles. Trainer Bobby Frankel seems to think he is training a monster. Bobby F. really likes his chances.

If Came Home can rate, he will have a great shot in this 20-horse field. The reason for overlooking Sunday Break is that he has very little chance of qualifying because of insufficient earnings (at press time, there needed to be defections for Break to draw into the field). Should Sunday Break earn an entry, you must use him.

Best of luck, you’ll need it. And, remember don’t drink too many mint juleps. If you do, give me a call and I’ll drive you home!