Thursday, May 4, 2023

Horses to Watch in Derby Pick 5 Sequence

In addition to the Kentucky Derby analysis provided below, here are a few horses I like in the Pick 5 sequence ending with the Run for the Roses.

Race 8, Pat Day Mile
  • Top Selection: #13, Damon's Mound (20-1): The 14-horse field is fairly unimpressive. After watching all career race replays for each horse, this guy's first two stood out, to me, as potentially tops in the group. Boasts debut win last July at Churchill Downs that was eye-popping. Followed that by winning Grade 3 Saratoga Special in August, but after that is what's suspect. Trainer put Damon's Mound in two-turn race where he competed but tired. Then a 7-month layoff to 2023 debut in a turf sprint in mid-April at Keeneland. Can only assume goal was to discover what the horse likes, and to me it's sprinting at one turn. Will either sparkle or finish last. High reward vs. risk. Using with horses 9 thru 12 in exotics. Winner comes from the outside.
Race 9, American Turf Stakes
  • Top Selection: #5, Johannes (15-1): Normally not a fan of turf horses from California, but this one has taken extremely well to the lawn after three dirt tries and scored dominant and visually captivating wins at three distances. Jockey Umberto Rispoli ships east with the horse and didn't have to ask one bit for effort. Maybe most impressive was win on quirky downhill turf course where Johannes was jostled, checked and surged with ease thru traffic to win going away. Just looks like an intelligent horse who gets a great stalking post just outside my close second selection, #4, Talk of the Nation (10-1). There's no chance the latter goes off more than 5-1 IMHO but there's still value. The favorite, #11, Carl Spackler (3-1) may be overbet based on his wins and by Caddyshack fans. But if you look at horses he beat last out, only one of the next six finishers broke his maiden and the others remain winless. Talented, but got a soft field that day. May do $10-type 4-5 exacta box. 
Race 10, Churchill Downs Stakes
  • Top Selection: #7, Cody's Wish (4-5): Not a particularly compelling betting race. Only concern here is horse making his first start of 2023 after winning the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in early November. Enters winning 7 of last 8 and the only loss was second by a neck. The last four were without lasix, which is why I give the edge here over #6, Tejano Twist, who's clearly on the rise and I consider a win contender. Nothing creative; using these two and maybe #10, Endorsed, in Pick 5 ticket. 
Race 11, Turf Classic Stakes
  • Top Selection: #3, Wolfie's Dynaghost (10-1): Fun betting race since there's no standout. Speculating that jockey John Velazquez sets this runner for the lead and think he's got the stamina for the 9-furlong distance. Runner up of Wolfie's win on March 25 scored at big odds next out in the Elkhorn at Keeneland, which signals this guy beat a credible runner that day. Will use in exotics with #5, Up the Mark (4-1), and #8, Santin (9-2); the latter ran against Wolfie's in March and faceplanted out of the gate before finishing a game fourth. Is 2-for-2 at Churchill and can certainly beat this field. 
Main 50-cent Pick 5 ticket (Races 8-12): 9, 12, 13 with 4, 5 with 6, 7 with 3, 5, 8 with 14, 15: $36

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