My only non-Baseball post of the year:
Good morning, and welcome to Derbyville…opening “Oaks Day” with an unexpectedly rough cold symptoms, which is a real drag – the sun is out and STRONG today but rain the rest of the weekend, the ensuing mud may tip all of my picks upside down (a good handicapper knows how to fabricate excuses!).
The mud + wide open field = another potentially ticket-tearing race tomorrow. I am thinking about Smarty Jones in 2004 this morning more than I was thinking about Giacomo in 2005…
Odds listed are from today’s morning line. Good luck, hope your horsey comes in!!
Lookin At Lucky (3-1); After the ‘original’ favorite Eskendereya was scratched from the contender list early this week, enter this 2-year old who was never faster than on dirt. Baffert drew the inside gate as well, adding to the current Derby favorite status Lucky is enjoying. His record is the best in the field (6-1-1 in 8 startes) but has a history of traffic issues out of the gate – if another horse gets in front of him, consider that door closed.
Super Saver (15-1); An impressive and consistent 2-2-1 record in 6 starts (recently finished 2nd in the Arkansas Derby, narrowly) is usually a ho-hum handicapper markup, and trainer Todd Pletcher is notorious for winning everything except the Derby…so, let’s consider the jockey. In a fantasy baseball draft, 2009 NL MVP Albert Pujols goes in the first round. Calvin Borel is the Albert Pujols of graded stakes horse-racing; he knows the horses he rides and knows how to work them into consistently impressive performances. Borel also specializes in come-from-behind wins (remember Mine That Bird last year?) – this horse and this jockey could be a winning combo. Nobody was looking last year, this year they are, hence the close odds. Drawing Gate #4, a strong start is the best bet (Lookin at Lucky, eat my dust!)
Mission Impazible (20-1) Gina started me looking at this horse, another Pletcher entry with a slim chance of victory…sounds like a good long shot pick to me!! Gate #14 is a happy spot to start, in my opinion, add the preferred position to Paz’ impressive Louisiana Derby victory and we may be on to something here.
Jackson Bend (15-1); Nick Zito returns in Gate #13, with jockey Mike Smith – out of 9 starts he’s got a 5-4-0 record; his last 3 races placed 2nd across the board. He’s known as a ‘stalker’ and if the race is close, providing he’s in the right place he could pull a surprise or so at the last minute. Don’t forget Smith and what he accomplished with 50-1 Giacomo in 2005.
Paddy O’Prado (20-1); Some say he’s better suited for the ‘Irish Derby’ (ha ha, that’s Kentucky Humor, I guess) but hopefully there isn’t more to laugh about than that. Kent Desormeux is a proven winning jockey, but trainer Dale Romans has only made one appearance in the Derby with Sharp Humor in 2006 (finished 19th ‘several hours later’ as they say). Talk about long shot! Gate #10, well that is anyone’s guess – the field is so wide open today, these odds could pay off a lot more by post time Saturday.