Nyquist seeks repeat to Derby victory

May 17, 2016 3:01 AM

The 2016 Kentucky Derby is now in the rear-view mirror and the horses this handicapper fancied certainly finished far better than nearly all the ones this handicapper believed would have no chance.

The desire, for Saturday’s Preakness, at least in this corner, is to stress value – that is: risk a little to win a lot. Two weeks ago the long shot Mo Tom failed, but we horse players are a resilient lot, for certain. Is there any credit to garner by repeating what was said in this space two weeks ago about Derby hero Nyquist ? That is:

“He’ll be on the engine or near the pace ready to pounce. If an unlikely scenario of an uncontested lead takes place, he could go all the way. A must include and he’ll be in the mix unless a poor draw or road trouble hinders him.”

Nothing seems to have changed since the first Saturday in May except there will be far less value in the Preakness. Nyquist may be as low as 1 to 2 depending on who steps up to deny him in Baltimore.

California-based conditioner Bob Baffert is expected to send out Collected, the strong winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. However, Baffert will not be headed to Baltimore unless he thinks he can win. These two, Nyquist and Collected should be one, two and you can decide on your own if you want to reverse. Others continue to have respect for Exaggerator, but at some point his connections will figure out he just can’t beat Nyquist. However, running for second money in Triple Crown races is not so bad.

The relatively new match up props many racebooks now offer are intriguing in a 20-horse field such as the Kentucky Derby. However, because at most joints you can’t parlay these head-to-head picks, there is no way to risk a little to win a lot. The recent proliferation of the “sports style” bets into horse racing with fixed prices and paying juice on such wagers is a jagged pill for us diehards to swallow.

To many of us, the pari-mutuel system was perfection. However, it has gradually been polluted by all forms of rebates, high take out, and the math boys having access to pool sizes and trends most of us do not have at our disposal. Throw in small fields and making a decent score for most bettors becomes more difficult.

The smaller bettor is down but not out. String Nyquist into a pick four with some long shots and hope springs eternal. As I said, we horseplayers are a resilient lot.

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