Came Home a good bet in open contest

April 30, 2002 9:32 AM
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Betting a bundle on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is like unbuckling on the Super Bowl just because it’s the last NFL game of the season, when there were many other better wagering opportunities during the season.

This year’s Derby is not a race to bet serious money. It’s too wide open. Trying to zero in on one horse out of 20 in a race anyone can win is dicey at best. But that’s why it’s called gambling.

That said, and with post positions yet to be selected at press time, here is one man’s thoughts on the 128th Run for the Roses:

Essence of Dubai: Godolphin hasn’t bought a Derby win yet, and this one was buried by Johannesburg in BC Juvenile.

Harlan’s Holiday: Never worse than second, but only two favorites have won Derby in last 23 years, Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 and Spectacular Bid in 1979.

Johannesburg: Talented colt, and he’ll have to be to win at 11/4 miles off one seven-furlong prep.

Buddha: Game Wood win, but lacks seasoning, likely pace casualty.

Private Emblem: If you like longshots, here’s one.

War Emblem: Surprised Repent in paceless Illinois Derby.

Saarland: Distance in his favor.

Blue Burner: Should fancy 11/4 miles.

Proud Citizen: This year’s Charismatic? I don’t think so.

Easy Grades: Question of quality.

Castle Gondolfo: Named for Pope’s summer home and blessed with Bailey.

Request for Parole: Deserves a second look.

Lusty Latin: Slithered home in something called the Rattlesnake.

It’sallinthechase: Will need APB early on.

Ocean Sound: Trainer Cassidy big Yankee fan, will need home run.

Wild Horses: May run like one early, but not when it counts.

Crimson Hero:  Zito hopes this is Go For Gin reincarnate.

THE DERBY TRIFECTA

3 ”” Perfect Drift: Camp very optimistic, but a gelding hasn’t won the Derby  since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.

2 ”” Medaglia d’Oro: Sharp colt could give Frankel first Derby win.

1 ”” Came Home: Improved every start this year, has speed and maturity to relax, get good position, move at opportune time and hold off belated charge of stretch runners. Critics say he can’t win, so the rebel in me says he can, and so does his record of six wins from seven starts. This colt has a valuable intangible ”” heart. Now who are you going to believe: me, or your eyes?

And here’s the winner of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks: Bella Belluci.