Derby Day Picks 2009

Happy First Saturday in May! To be honest, I’m a having a little trouble getting jazzed about today with the late scratch of I Want Revenge after all the other defections and breathtaking splendor of Rachel Alexandra being wasted on connections that see the Triple Crown only as a function of showcasing stallions. Talk about a bring down, at least they’re out and proud about it and not trying to pretend that it determines the best 3yo in training… I’ll give them that.

Moving on, another reason why I’m having a hard time getting jazzed is that I felt there was more value apparent in the Oaks card, such as my picks of Miss Isella and Bullsbay, than I can find today. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!

Kodiak Kowboy looks tough to beat in the Churchill Down, this is his distance and if the track is still sloppy or off I might single him in any multi-race wagers. An acception to that would be Accredit who should benefit from the added distance… leave him off at your own risk. The Roundhouse is an interesting long shot to me as he’s improving and has placed to Kodiak Kowboy in the past (although he was the fav in the race).

Update: Accredit for the win! Still alive in the Pick 6 and Pick 3. The Roundhouse got up for the 3rd, was really hoping he could get place as I had a little exacta box of the two. Kodiak Kowboy was hard ridden half way through, not his day.

The Eight Belles (nee La Troienne) is a little tough. I’ll go with Just Jenda here but will throw in Warrior Maid and Lady’s Laughter for some fun. Warrior Maid is cutting back to a distance that suits her and has done well on the second off and Lady’s Laughter is more of hunch play than anything. She’s won at a mile on the dirt and placed by a neck to Stone Legacy, who was only 20 or so lengths behind the 2009 Triple Crown winner yesterday. I’m having trouble getting jazzed about Four Gifts as the favorite but the distance should suit her and she’s reunited with her winning jockey, Shaun Bridgmohan, which is always something to take note of.

Update: Ugh, Four Gifts beats Just Jenda and leaves me playing for 5 of 6 in the Pick 6. Warrior Maid gets third. Oh, I’m also out of the Pick 3 now too, damn. Time to order pizza!

I really liked Ballymore Lady in the Distaff Turf Mile (look, a race that’s still called Distaff!! ok, maybe my mood is lifting) but I’ll use Elusive Lady, Visit and Lemon Chiffon. I do like Tizaquenna but wonder if she needs to sets the slow pace to win on the turf? I’m not sure that’s going to happen with Rasierra in the race so I’ll stick with my other 3.

Update: Guess that answers that question about Tizaqueena, she can sit off the pace and win! Dawn After Dawn, who looked ready to rock in the parade, hung tough for second while Lemon Chiffon was third. It looked to me like Smith struck Elusive Lady with his whip in the stretch when as he passed with Lemon Chiffon. Elusive Lady, my pick, definitely stopped.

I’m looking forward to betting against Informed Decision in the Humana Distaff, but will not leave her off any multi-race tickets. She hasn’t fared as well switching from synthetic to dirt and Secret Gypsy and Game Face look tough.

Update: I only played a small exacta of Royal Michelle over a few horses because she looked really good in the parade but Informed Decision blew by the rest of the field in the stretch. Naturally I left her off my desperation Pick 3. I think my frat boy neighbors are having a Derby party, maybe I should ask them who they like, ugh!

Before I handicapped the Woodford Reserve I thought I might single Einstein, but regardless of the fact that that Einstein loves the distance and surface combo, Proudinsky and Zambezi Sun are interesting and should do well on the softer turf. Proudinsky is on a roll and training well for Bobby Frankel while Zambezi Sun should finally show what European turf class is about after running on concrete turf and then poly out in Cali. This one should be interesting. After just watching the first turf race of the day, the outside post should also be helpful to Zambezi Sun and Einstein.

Update: As it turns out, I could have singled Einstein. What a race! Very thrilling stretch battle with Einstein getting up in time to beat a very game Cowboy Cal. At least I’m alive in the double. It’s now confirmed that my neighbors are having a Derby party, they’re all dressed up and when their door opened I heard someone explaining what Quinella is.

And now for the big one, the breeding showcase, the Stallion Derby! Like many a player my pick to win is Friesan Fire. I took me until now to really settle on that as my official pick. I almost, ALMOST went with Desert Party.

My A-Team, top 3 are: Friesan Fire / Desert Party / Papa Clem. I would not be surprised to see any of those three win. I will definitely have tri and exact boxes of those three + win bets on Desert Party and Papa Clem (Friesan Fire’s odds will probably be too low for me for a win bet… but if he looks good, who knows!).

I’ll also use Musket Man and Summer Bird. I may do a $1 3/5/all ticket ($204) but am not entirely sure yet. I also ready have some interesting live futuracta tickets with Friesan Fire on top so I’ll wait to see the parade and spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how to construct my tickets.

Good luck, let’s get them all home safe and may the best stallion win!

Update: I had a brutal day at the windows but as it turns out, the only gelding in the field won… take that “Stallion Derby”!