This year the Kentucky Derby top three seem as logical as I can remember. American Pharoah, Dortmund, and Carpe Diem will most likely be the only horses under 10-1. Even though those three deserve that kind of attention, you have to think that it won’t be that easy…one or two horses are gong to jump into the mix and make the exotics pay huge. The last two years are great examples of this as logical horses finished first and third, but massive price horses Golden Soul and Commanding Curve got up for second to make exactas, trifectas and superfectas explode. So lets forget about the logical top finishers and focus on those that can hit the board at a great price.
Clearly when starting your search for value, two horses jump off the page: Frosted and Upstart. Frosted looked like a different horse last time out when dominating the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct after disappointing all winter at Gulfstream. He had a breathing problem that was corrected before the Wood, so perhaps that has been his problem all along. His pattern reminds me a little bit of Wicked Strong last year, who was bet pretty well and finished fourth. If you like Frosted, you have to also like Upstart who has defeated him multiple times. It’s been awhile since Upstart found the winners circle, but he ran consistently well at Gulfstream this winter. This one could be a grind it out type that will stay on for the extra furlong and pass a lot of tired horses.
Both Upstart and Frosted are great plays, but they also are going to most likely be bet down to the fourth and fifth choices. Frosted will end up being the “wise guy” horse, and Upstart will have enough backing from New York and Florida to become overbet. They’ll still pay decent, but we are looking for the BIG PRICES. These two won’t make the superfecta pay $50,000 and your life won’t change if you hit a Frosted-Upstart-American Pharoah trifecta box. Maybe you can stay away from McDonald’s for a few weeks, but you won’t be buying a new car!
So where is the MAJOR VALUE? First, you have to throw logic right out the window. If you logically thought Commanding Curve and Golden Soul would hit the board then first of all congrats on great handicapping, but secondly, if that’s the logic you use while handicapping you probably needed that score tremendously because you haven’t been cashing! Anyway, the first illogical horse with a shot to hit the board is War Story. Let’s compare past performances of the Kentucky Derby prep races leading up to this race of War Story with Commanding Curve and Golden Soul.
|Fair Grounds||3/30/2013||9||Louisiana Derby – Gr. 2||4|
|Fair Grounds||2/23/2013||10||Risen Star Stakes – Gr. 2||6|
|Fair Grounds||1/19/2013||10||LeComte Stakes – Gr. 3||2|
|Fair Grounds||3/29/2014||11||Louisiana Derby – Gr. 2||3|
|Fair Grounds||2/22/2014||11||Risen Star Stakes – Gr. 2||6|
|Fair Grounds||3/28/2015||11||Louisiana Derby – Gr. 2||3|
|Fair Grounds||2/21/2015||11||Risen Star Stakes – Gr. 2||2|
|Fair Grounds||1/17/2015||11||LeComte Stakes – Gr. 3||2|
You can see the similarities. All of them prepped at Fair Grounds, none of them could win, but they all did at least hit the board at some point. It’s also worth noting that all three have very similar running styles and War Story has had a bit more success than the other two up to this point. So if you just watch the replays and look at the past performances, War Story could arguably be considered not completely illogical. But if you dig a little deeper maybe you can catch something that not everyone will see.
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