I’ve been staring at this screen for the last 12 minutes as I struggle with how to start this post. So many thoughts are running through my brain, and I think I just need to make this a stream-of-consciousness thing. No order. No concern for sentence structure. None of it.
I had Animal Kingdom in 2011. I sort of had Country House last year. He would have been my win/place wager had I known that Spinoff’s work in the mud before the Derby was a disaster. But I ended up with the Derby tri thanks to Country House. Going back to 2013, I had Golden Soul on all tickets and hit that tri with Orb. Let’s see, what else? I used Bluegrass Cat pretty heavily in 2006, and he ran 2nd to Barbaro at a big price. So I have to say, in the years when favorites don’t occupy all the top spots, I’ve done pretty well. I didn’t have Lookin At Lee in 2017. Also missed Commanding Curve in 2015. So I’m not perfect here. Just solid.
Needless to say, this year’s Kentucky Derby has all the looks of a Derby where the favorites run 1-2-3. I don’t want to admit that because it makes me sad to think about trifectas that pay $160. So it is my moral obligation to myself and all of the LoneSpeed readers to find that big price who can break things wide open. I thought I had him in Dr Post, but the latest word from Team Pletcher is that he’s passing on the Kentucky Derby. I’m a little but surprised by this, but you have to think that the connections know best. And if Spinoff had been scratched because of the muddy track last year by Team Pletcher after the horse, apparently, worked really badly in the mud before the Derby (did I mention that already?), I would have won an amount of money that would have hurt your feelings. But enough about that. The bottom line here is that I need to move on from Dr Post because, well, I really have no choice.
I also thought Rushie was a little bit interesting this year. Just a little bit. But now I’m hearing he’ll pass too, which is probably good for me because I probably would have looked very stupid picking him to hit the board.
The good news for long shot players is that beyond the top three, pretty much every horse in the field will be a price. The three price horses that I expect to get the most publicity are Max Player, King Guillermo, and Caracaro. And I can tell you right now that if any of them finish in the exacta, I will likely not cash a Derby ticket.
Max Player feels like the sucker bet of the century to me. He’s run back-to-back 3rds behind Tiz The Law, and with his off-the-pace style, I can see many people figuring the 10 furlongs will be “right up his alley.” But I don’t see it that way. I don’t think he’s at this level. He’s honest enough but I see him finishing somewhere around 7th.
Caracaro ran well enough in both the Peter Pan and the Travers. He’s an honest horse for sure. But I didn’t see anything in his Travers effort that would signal to me that he’s ready to turn the tables on Tiz The Law. I guess you could argue that he’s ready to fire his best shot making his third start off the layoff, but I won’t be using him either.
King Guillermo has looked really, really good this year. He’s another for whom I can see the appeal. But man, the four month layoff has to be a concern, doesn’t it? It is for me. It just feels hard to back this one with confidence. He won’t be my price play. But I have to admit it won’t shock me if he pulls off the W.
At this point, just over week before My Old Kentucky Home is played before zero fans, I am pretty sure I have my Derby pick. Only you can’t really call it a pick. It’s more like a price play that I’m hoping beyond hope can make it into the trifecta or, maybe, just maybe, the exacta. Do I dare to dream he might win? Can I be that crazy? Can I be that hopeful? Man, Tiz The Law, Art Collector, and Honor A.P. are going to take some beating. That’s for sure. Regardless, I’m going to keep my pick close to the vest for a few more days. We saw what happened to Dr Post as soon as I named him my long shot pick. And I really don’t want to have to end up betting Major Fed or Enforceable if my pick drops out. Because we all know horse racing works that way. Sometimes just imagining our long shot crossing the wire in front can lead that horse to the sidelines. The Racing Gods work in mysterious ways, and they frown upon committing to a pick too soon. So let’s call it an idea of a pick. A mystery, wrapped in a riddle, inside an enigma.
Ok fine, it’s probably Storm the Court.