Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Holy Bull

We've reached the trailhead. At Gulfstream Park, we have a Pletcher horse, an Unbridled from Tony Dutrow, a Dicky Dutrow horse with a goofy name looking to rebound, the Ramseys are represented with a classy colt form the El Prado line -- the frenchman in the irons, Zito has a precocious fast one at the far post and Wolfson adds blinks to a 3YO that needs focus at the rail. This is pretty exciting for the opening shot of the 2010 Derby Trail.

Fifty Bucks
For this year's trail, I'm gonna try a new a segment called fifty bucks. Rather than just a narrative, I'm gonna apply specific wagers (using fifty bucks) to weigh my opinions and perhaps demonstrate good money management throughout the trail.

For the Holy Bull, I'm not goiung to bet anything more exotic than an exacta. It's early in the trail and it's a one-turn race. The pace is hard to determine but will likely be tepid. There is no need for any of these horses to win this race; however they'll need to finish strong and give more of an account of themselves. I want to focus in on three horses for the win in this contest: Aikenite, Winslow Homer and Jackson Bend. I also see Thank U Philippe, Homeboy Kris and especially William's Kitten as threats to hit the frame. 

I'll start with Thank U Philippe. This guy loves to be the bridesmaid, but what he's shown in last is that he is still sort of playing around. He had to be put under a ride for over half the race and never drew within contention. He gets blinks and the rail and I don't see him lasting long on the front end. Homeboy Kris didn't really change trainers as the form suggests; this was Dicky Du passing his horse to his lieutenant while serving a violation. Kris folded miserably when stretched out in last and I don't know what effect that will have on his confidence. He could grab a piece of this race. William's Kitten boasts the powerful Ramsey/Maker/Leparoux connections, which in Kentucky, you would ignore at your own peril. This guy finished well at Churchill in last to take second in a race that had a lot of pace going two turns. The turnback in distance and the lack of pace bode poorly for him here, but I wanna see his last furlong. It could be smoking. And it's wise to trust the punters with him; if he's favored, he wins.

Aikenite had a nice campaign last year placing in a couple grade ones and getting a rough trip at the Breeders Cup. Like the Kitten, it seems he might want more distance, but I have a feeling Pletcher will tweak this guy's running style and ask for more in the early stages. The pace for the one-turn miles at GP are usually pretty tepid; the long backstretch allows for no need to fight to save ground. This combined with Pletcher's pretty blatant tactic to hit the front end could spell Aikenite to be closer to the front, and I think he's gonna have a good shot in here. Winslow Homer loves an Off track and the bettors love the other Dutrow. He's an Unbridled Song, which also gets a lot of attention. This will be a class test for him, but he's live in here and could be ready to take the next step. Jackson Bend has not had the best of trips but finds a way to win. He seems ahead of the curve and the only liability is his trainer Nick Zito doesn't have a good off-the-layoff record. But I think it won't matter and Jackson Bend will continue his dominance.

$10 exacta Jackson Bend/ Winslow Homer-Aikenite ($20)
$5 exacta box Jackson Bend-Winslow Homer-Aikenite ($30)


  1. It is a pretty good opening the Derby Trail proper. I'm playing against the Dicky Dutrow entry but kinda like the Ramseys' classy colt and even the frenchmen.

    These are very impressive water colors.

  2. I'm also playing against Kris even though he could have nice odds and like this distance.

  3. Good picks; looks like you won $80 and change off the $5 exacta box.

  4. Yeah, Pletcher always finds a way into my pocketbook though. I figured he might run Aikenite into the buzzsaw of the pace.