May 5th, 2007 14:36 EST
Kentucky Derby Produces An Entire Day of Excitement With Two Minute Race
Because it is a sport largely centered around being able to predict the outcome, the gambling industry, horse racing, and specifically the Triple Crown, makes the predictions nearly as much of a story as the race itself.
Odds become the prerace storylines. Today, Curlin and Street Sense will battle it out to be the safest bet, but of course, going for the win typically leads gamblers, casual and serious, to consider others.
While Funny Cide and Smarty Jones were both favored to win in recent history, Barbaro was just a late blooming hot commodity, whose odds surged late, still leaving him as a 6-1 pick. This type of horse, whose odds are between 6-1 and 10-1 frequents the Derby Winners circle. Of course, there are exceptions, such as Giacomo, who seemingly fell out the sky and straight into the lead to win the 2005 Derby.
That said, it is nearly impossible to pick a Giacomo if your reputation or cash is on the line. When I look at this year’s derby field, I see a clear class of possibilities and some very likely scenarios to help you pick a realistic superfecta (the top 4 finishing horses).
Here is how I went about selecting my superfecta. First of all, I sought out the horses I think are legitimate winner’s circle quality. Here are the horses, with jockeys and trainers taken into account, who I could picture with the roses around their neck.
Here is my scenario and my picks for the 133rd Kentucky Derby:
- Street Sense- Although Curlin sits as the morning line favorite at this moment, I would say that Street Sense will be the favorite when the gates are opened, and he probably should be. His trainer, Carl Nafzger only comes when he has something special. A selective trainer, he trained 1990 winner Unbridled. Jockey Calvin Borel is an experienced rider, ranked in the top 30 nationally, who has never had a good shot at the Derby. He should know today is his day. The problem with Street Sense is his lack of burst down the stretch. When he is behind coming down to the line, he has shown no enthusiasm for making a bold move. He will start from gate 7.
- Nobiz like Shobiz- Described as flashy and show stopping, Nobiz has that flair for the bold move that Street Sense lacks. Starting from the 12th gate, he will lurk for the majority of the race and then likely turn on the burners during the turn. He has the trophy case to warrant a Derby win, winning the Wood Memorial with a surge that never stopped. In all of his races, finishing no worse than third since September, he has been a fierce competitor, thriving off of the crowd. His jockey is very suitable; Cornelio Vazquez is an accomplished jockey looking for a Derby win. He guided Closing Argument to an overachieving second in 2005. Trainer Barclay Tagg had a similar horse before, Funny Cide, who took home the roses in 2003.
- Scat Daddy- One of top trainer Todd Pletcher’s record tying five entries, Scat Daddy has been emerging as a trendy selection due to weather possibilities (rain in the forecast). Scat Daddy won the Florida Derby in an understated run away from the field. He is ridden by Edgar Prado, high acclaimed for his ride on Barbaro last year. If the race were about the jockeys, this horse would be the favorite. He has not shown a consistent style, which makes it harder to draw up a scenario for him to win. I think he is Pletcher’s best chance out of the five to secure a long-awaited Derby win. He will go from post 14.
- Circular Quay- Pletcher’s best odds are with Circular Quay at 8-1 on the morning line. He is the longest rested horse in the field, and longer rested than any Derby champion has ever been. After 8 weeks, this horse will go from post 16. Although he was impressive in the Louisiana Derby, he has been outdone by both Great Hunter and Street Sense. Often viewed as a closer, he cannot even be called the best in his own craft. While he undoubtedly has the ability, he appears to be a mystery choice to me.
- Stormello- Here is my gut instinct exotic pick. I am actually not saying he is going to win. I would not put money on Stormello to win, but I would throw him in every superfecta or trifecta I had. A speedster, he will likely battle with Teuflesberg to set the pace. A California competitor, he has shown improvement and is said to be the only horse in the field that has the ability to keep the burners going from wire to wire. Jockey Kent Desmoreaux is one of the best. He has two Derby wins to his name, with Fusiachi Pegasus and Real Quiet. He likely won’t win it, but whoever does will certainly have to deal with Stormello late in the race. He will blast off from gate 17, and blast off is not a hyperbole.
- Great Hunter- A consistent horse who has always been near the front, he has become a trendy pick, even from way out in gate 20. Look for the horse to lurk around the middle of the pack, and as the cream rises to the top, he will stick in the middle. I see him as a horse that has the potential to give something extra and win, but I will not be picking him as my champion. However, he is a good bet to make the superfecta card.
The way I see it playing out, Stormello, Teuflesberg and Liquidity (Great Hunter’s pace setter) will go to the front immediately. Liquidity will fade out quickly, while Hard Spun comes on in the first turn to take the lead. As the contenders sort themselves out, Street Sense will find the rail on the back straight. You will see Hard Spun fade in the middle of the straight as Stormello regains the lead and pulls a few lengths ahead of a fading Teuflesberg. In the middle of the track, Nobiz like Shobiz, Great Hunter and Scat Daddy will lurk. Street Sense will likely make his charge going into the turn. Turning for home, Stormello will hold off Street Sense, and the favorite will lose his motivation, sticking to the rail and fading. On the outside, Great Hunter will make his run for the money. Scat Daddy will follow Great Hunter on the inside. Just onto the stretch, Nobiz like Shobiz will weave from the inside of Scat Daddy to the middle. With Stormello shocking the world with the steady speed, Nobiz like Shobiz will bypass Great Hunter and overtake Stormello in the final strides, winning by less than a length.
My superfecta line looks like this: 12-17-20-14.
That amounts to this:
Nobiz Like Shobiz is my Champion.
Stormello in a shocking second.
Great Hunter finishes third.
Scat Daddy comes home fourth.
Enjoy your mint juleps and have some fun with your selections. The Kentucky Derby is not only the most exhilarating 2 minutes in sports, but the most fun event to try and predict.