Saturday, May 05, 2007

Yum! Brands

I have a bad feeling this year. Predicting this Kentucky Derby is much like predicting New York’s beloved Powerball- except you are limited to 20 numbers. Even the presented by Yum! Brands adds a nice Lotto stylization to it. Oh, Medaglia d’Oro, I miss you.

Well, it also means we all have a sporting chance to hit this thing- which frankly only has to help me. I haven’t hit the Derby in awhile. The introduction of luck elements simply has to help. Also, I have my bottle of Woodford Reserve- actually purchased in Kentucky during Thunder over Louisville- so it has to be an optimistic totem.

Today’s story seems to feature two horses perceived as a cut above the field: Curlin and Street Sense- and my overriding impression is that you almost have to bet against them. Curlin is being lauded to the skies for his two smashing graded prep performances- both performed in, wait for it, Arkansas. His 102 Beyer in the Arkansas Derby is a not a particularly good number for a champion running free near the top. Plus, while 102 might get it done here, he ain’t getting that cruising trip in this mob today. Street Sense was the best of this class last year- crushing many of these horses in the Juvenile last year at CD. But he has done little since- and his Blue Grass prep was out and out slow. That race won’t get him on the board today. Frankly, Street Sense is a favorite only because the last time we “really” saw him was the awesome performance seven months ago.

Mind you, both could win this thing- but the price you get doesn’t befit the records on hand. Or frankly, the very chanciness of this event: throw in the probably off track, all this Polytrack nonsense, and the enormous field getting in each other’s way… well, it does not feel like Giacomo again, but certainly one must consider value more than pure merit.

So I am going to recommend playing a collection of "second tier" horses- hoping one breaks through- and whose price indicates a little better risk-reward option.

As seen to the right, I like Hard Spun- who ran a 101 getting it done in the G2 Lanes End. As I stated above, a Beyer around 102 might get it done today. Giacomo’s brother Tiago is here today, sports a huge Grade 1 prep win at the Derby at Santa Anita and has also run a triple digit Beyer. Nobiz Like Showbiz is a tough nut too, a real brawler in traffic, whose best efforts are just shy of 100- but won the G1 Wood memorial to punch his ticket here.

So I’m gonna run a bunch of small exactas out there. Put Hard Spun, Nobiz Like Showbiz and Tiago on top of one another, Circular Quay, Street Sense and Any Given Saturday. That is fifteen small tickets- figure $3 on the Hard Spun and Tiago tix, $2 on the others- that is $40- and the approved play for this afternoon.

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