As horseplayers, we always are looking for the opportunity to leverage our opinion and make some Moolah while doing so. We spend hours of our lives looking at data, computer programs, past performances and toteboards to prepare for when those chances arrive. The Kentucky Derby is usually one of those assured given opportunities that we don’t have to go an seek out, but we all know and understand that this year’s run for the roses is nothing but usual. We understand and know who these horses are and it seems that Tiz the Law stands above the rest and is projected to go off as an even money favorite or even lower. Is there a value in betting this year’s Kentucky Derby? So what to do? – What to do? When faced with a difficult situation we will be true to who we are. We are Horseplayers! Let’s start with a basic outline of where to start our value quest:
- Fight the Law
- A 20 horse field in arguably the most prestigious race in North America – Lots of potential for the unpredictable.
- Are there any horses that can compete with Tiz the Law from a talent standpoint?
- Pace makes the race
- Take a stand with the Favorite
- Jockey Colony will be different
- Vertical wagering
- Horizontal wagering
Fight the Law
Any horse race can be unpredictable, but lets place 20 of the country’s top 3 year-olds in a straight line and say go. This year there will not be the roar of 150,000 fans at the track but nevertheless the start will be so ever important. Many years my top derby horse has been hard bumped or sideswiped at the start and then that’s that’s. We all want to the best horse win the race, but so many times the start can prevent that from happening. The post position draw will take place next week and will have an impact on how the runners will be used out of the gate.
Who can complete with Tiz the Law? Key word being compete. Tiz has the top speed figures and has proven that he can handle the 10 furlongs no problem. He has done it at the highest levels and continue to improve after each start.
Authentic – has continued to improve from a speed figure standpoint and has very similar running style to Tiz. Trained by the master of the Derby, Bob Baffert. If any of the factors that we discussed earlier with regards starting cleanly affect the pre race favorite, I would anticipate Authentic to step into the divers seat and be one of the ones to catch.
Art Collector – Very similar to Authentic, Art Collector is progressing from a speed figure and like to go to the front.
Honor A. P. – One of the top at my personal list of challengers to Tiz. If trainer John Shirreffs has been working Honor A. P. with this as the goal, maybe not having him at 100% before. I believe his running style ability makes him extremely competitive.
Another factor that plays into the outcome of every race is pace. The pace in the Derby has moderated somewhat by the points system in order to qualify. No longer do you have sprinter types playing catch me if you can; nevertheless the pace is always honest. So many horses, so much pressure on the jockeys to get their mount into into his ideal running position. This year’s contest has many confirmed front runners, including our pre-race favorite Tiz the Law. Could Storm the Court, Rushie, Thousand Words, King Guillermo, Ny Traffic and Art Collector all push Tiz the Law to go faster than what he wants to go? – Personally I think this is a likely scenario.
Take a stand with the Favorite
Without going to a rant on how many things this pandemic has changed, I will do what we are doing; taking it day to day being thankful for what we do have. Many of the country’s top jockeys will not participate in this year’s Derby. No disrespect to the riders that will be participating but the angle here is that many of the horses who have ability to compete wtih Tiz the Law, won’t have their usual rider; Tiz will have his, Manny Franco.
Another potential positive for taking Tiz would be at the betting windows. While the $2 win on bet on him is not going to do much for your bankroll, there are multiple strategies to use by keying him. His odds are not going to be great, but many of the other runners that will come in behind him potentially will be undervalued. Payouts for the Trifecta, Superfecta, and Super Hi 5 have historically still paid really well, even with a shorter priced horse at the top. Keying Tiz on top allows us to play our tickets for greater amounts or include more horses underneath. Same holds true for horizontal wagers. If we key Tiz in the Derby it allows us to leverage that opinion to include more horses in our Pick 3 or Pick 5, maybe beating a favorite in another race. And don’t forget about the multiple day horizontal wagers like the Oaks Derby Double and the Oaks Woodford Derby Pick 3.
As we get closer to Derby 146 things will change and get clearer. Whichever side you end up on or if you land somewhere in the middle, its going to be a fun week as prepare for the this years 2nd leg of the triple crown.