Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015

Churchhill Downs – May 2, 2015
Race 11 - 6:45 PM
Kentucky Derby (Grade I)
Purse - $2,000,000
Distance - One And One Quarter Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 –  Ocho Ocho Ocho
2 – Carpe Diem                                                
3 – Materiality                                                  
4 – Tencendur                                                  
5 – Danzig Moon                                                             
6 – Mubtaahij                                                                   
7 – El Kabeir
8 – Dortmund
9 –  Bolo
10 – Firing Line
11 – Stanford
12 – International Star
13 – Itsknockout
14 – Keen Ice
15 – Frosted
16 – War Story
17 – Mr. Z
18 – American Pharoah
19 – Upstart
20 – Far Right
21 - Frammento

**First some fun facts to entertain your friends:
  • If you like "betting" the jockey Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby last year and is riding the favorite American Pharoah this year.
  • Jockey Calvin Borel has won three out of the last eight Kentucky Derbies and is on board #7 El Kabir.
  • Only three of these horses were sired by Kentucky Derby winners - (Ocho, Ocho, Ocho / 2007 Street Sense) // (Dortmund // 2008 Big Brown) and (International Star // 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus)
  • I've checked several times and they misspelled Pharoah -- my auto spell is NOT happy.

Most experts agree this is one of the most competitive Kentucky Derbies we've seen in a long time. Two of these horses are undefeated, and three of these horses only have one loss!!            

I believe you can easily make cases for 7 or 8 of these horses….and that’s what I’m about to do.

Let’s begin with #2 Carpe Diem – his only loss was in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile (2nd place) and that was his only loss in 5 races. Incidentally he was defeated by Texas Red who is off the Derby Trail.

Here is Carpe Diem’s last race - the Blue Grass Stakes:
(also featuring: #1 Ocho Ocho Ocho & #5 Danzig Moon)

Carpe Diem has been very impressive his entire career and the morning line has Carpe Diem at 8/1 odds – unfortunately he may have the most to overcome of all of the really quality horses. Carpe Diem will need a fast, clean break out of the gate and then to overtake the lead in the first turn. If he can accomplish that he’ll have a solid shot at going Wire to Wire in this one.

Unfortunately there are so many good horses in this race, I think he could easily get swallowed up in traffic before they hit the first turn and never find a way out.  Nobody is going to “help” this horse win.

Next to Carpe Diem is Florida Derby winner  #3 Materiality, who outlasted serious contender #19 Upstart.

Here is the Florida Derby:
(also featuring #12 Itsknockout & #19 Upstart)

Materiality enters this race undefeated – and his victory in Florida is impressive. He’ll have the same struggle as Ocho Ocho Ocho and Carpe Diem in that he’ll need to escape the starting  gate without error or his race could be over in less than 4 seconds.

Materiality is going off at 12-1 – I think fair odds would have him closer to 15 or 20 to 1. I don’t like his lack of experience….and he’ll need some luck in the beginning – but (similar to Carpe Diem) if he can escape the traffic and grab the rail early, he looks legit.

#6 Mubtaahij (means “elated” in Arabic” – however he’s an Irish Horse) absolutely crushed the competition in the UAE Derby – (for those who don’t know the UAE Derby is in Dubai) – See Here:

It’s not often we get the UAE Derby winner in the Kentucky Derby – so this is really cool! This horse brings a lot of mystery to the table and it would not surprise me if his odds go from 20-1 to somewhere around 10-1 or lower. Watching this race he looks like a monster to me (not the only one in this field though) ---- however most horses do not travel well – and Dubai to Kentucky is no easy trip, including the time change that I’m sure messes with a horses schedule.

He’s got everything going for him except the jet lag – I like this horse to be competitive, but a victory is asking a lot.

***Incidentally he's an Irish Horse -- and Irish Horses are always tricky -- for me they either seem to finish first (when I don't bet on them) or last (when I do).

#8 Dortmund is currently the 2nd morning line favorite and for a number of very good reasons. He is undefeated in 6 races and has a fantastic post position. His last victory was the Santa Anita Derby – (also featuring #9 Bolo).

**As a side note Dortmund, twice squeaked out wins against #10 Firing Line.

Dortmund deserves to be a favorite in this race, however I don’t like the 3-1 morning odds. I don’t think he’s seen enough competition, and I think there’s too much talent in this race for him to be sitting at 3-1.

#12 International Star is currently going off at 20-1 – and this may be the horse flying under the radar. His lifetime record is 5 wins in 9 races – however he’s won his last three. Here he is duking it out in the Louisiana Derby:

(also featured: #11 Stanford, #14 Keen Ice, & #16 War Story)

International Star has a great post position – he’s got a lot of experience and he’s on a 3 race winning streak – he’s very tempting at 20-1 – if his odds stay here or go higher, you should really consider at least wagering $2 on this one.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
says the Cold Never Bothered
Him Anyway......
 Going off at 15-1 is Wood Memorial Winner #15 Frosted – I personally am not enamored with Frosted, and not just because when I think of his name I think of a very popular Disney Tune……I think the general consensus was that #7 El Kabeir would finally put his talent together and win the Wood Memorial, instead he came in a distant 3rd, so Frosted was a bit of a surprise. 

See Wood Memorial: (also featuring #4 Tencendur and #7 El Kabeir)

Frosted only has 2 victories in 7 attempts and I would need to see odds north of 20-1 before even considering this horse.

Finally we come to the favorite #18 American Pharoah – winner of the Arkansas Derby, and a horse who has also won 4 of his last 5 races.

(Arkansas Derby – also featuring #17 Mr. Z and #20 Far Right)

The expectation is that American Pharoah will patiently wait in the opening stretch to find the right spot and then slowly move to the left….he’ll have ample time to do it from the 18th spot, and he should be able to dictate where he'll be going into the first turn.

He’ll go wide in the first turn and at that point we’ll find out what kind of competition he’ll be looking at……did Carpe Diem or Materiality find a way to survive the opening …if they did American Pharoah will need to have the race of a lifetime….if they didn’t, things are looking up for American Pharoah.

Coming out of the first turn American Pharoah will be close to the lead –(a length or a few lengths off) and we’ll see if anyone is there to challenge him – likely Dortmund, Firing Line (don’t forget this horse) or International Star – all could be a few lengths ahead  or even with him as they hit the second turn.

If all of the major contenders (except Mubtaahij) are behind American Pharoah as they come out of the second turn and head for home…..then I believe only Mubtaahij stands a real chance at catching this horse from behind.

If Dortmund, Firing Line or International Star have the inside (and American Pharoah is forced wide in the final turn) and any of these horses have a length or two ahead of American Pharoah….it could be a nail-biting finish!!

Closing Speed likes: American Pharoah / Firing Line and Dortmund

If I’m betting $24 on this race I like:

$1 Exacta Box: 2,3,18 (Carpe Diem / Materiality/ American Pharoah) = $6
$1 Exacta Box: 6,10,19 with 8, 18 = $6
$1 Exacta Box: 8,18 with 6,10,19 = $6
$2 – to win – 20, 19, 6 = 6