Kentucky Derby Predictions 2020

I guess this is what it took to get me to emerge from my non-blogging cave for the past several weeks… or is it months? I’ve lost all track of time since all this virus BS began. I can’t tell one day from another, except that each day seems to suck more than the previous one.

I’m tired of it all. How about you?

I’d like to think it ends with logical and reasoned decisions made by people with an adult view of the world, but I’d also like to think I can pick the powerball numbers at will. So I’ll dispense with predictions of violence and apocalypse and stick to picking this year’s Kentucky Derby, bumped this year to Labor Day weekend from its traditional May spot.

The clear favorite this year is 17 Tiz The Law, and for good reason – this horse simply outclasses the remainder of the field. The current line is 3-5 on him, and it’s been a while since a Derby favorite has been under even money. He’s got the speed and the consistency, and has won every race in his career except for a sloppy track effort.

Forecast for Churchill Downs on Saturday is sunny & clear. Fast dry track. Check.

So I’ll definitely go with 17 Tiz The Law as my winner… but with odds like that and MY ENORMOUS EGO to be satisfied, it’s time to think about what sorts of combo plays are possible.

My second choice would be 18 Authentic, one of two Baffert trained entries. Authentic has a near perfect record, save a close failed-as-favorite effort in the Santa Anita Derby. Bounced back nicely in the Haskell with the great Mike Smith aboard… but today, Smith will be riding his long-time partner 16 Honor AP, another horse I’d throw into my combos. Authentic switches to John Velazquez, who has a very nice 3/4 in the money record with Baffert with two wins. That tells me Baffert thinks he’s got a definite shot against Tiz The Law, and is definitely gunning for a money position. I’d also say the same for Honor AP and Smith, even if some of the numbers aren’t as strong.

My other picks for possible money finishes would be 15 NY Traffic, currently 20-1, despite running a fantastic Haskell Stakes, only losing by a nose to Authentic. This horse is improving and comes into this race with some nice momentum, ready to challenge horses who look better on paper… but I’m thinking he could get into that 2-3-4 position and fatten up any exotic pools if he stays 20-1 (though I won’t be surprised if those odds drop considerably by post time.) Rounding out my exotic field are 2 Max Player at 30-1. He’s lost to Tiz The Law twice, but puts up some impressive speed figures recently, and the works tell me his new trainer has him running faster than before. He’s also a closer – could be the kind of horse who sits in the middle for a chunk of the race and then runs into a money position down the stretch. I also would give some chance to 6 King Guillermo, another 20-1 dark horse who shows improving works and the potential to come out ahead in a race-inside-the-race type dynamic of horses competing for 3rd or 4th despite Tiz The Law clearly in the lead.

So it’s looking like a 17/15,16,18 exacta ticket and a 17,18/2,6,15,16,17,18/2,6,15,16,17,18 trifecta, maybe. I might prune depending on odds changes, or if I decide to go all-in on Tiz winning regardless of my combos. But since I’m still playing with house money in my eyes from my long-ago pick 6 win, maybe I’ll get extravagant.

Haven’t bet the horses in a while. One day of betting Del Mar earlier this summer scared me away when I watched twenty bucks go down the toilet when Del Mar did what Del Mar does and NOTHING seemed predictable. And this was after some nice wins at Santa Anita.

Ah well… Santa Anita returns on September 19 for a month or so… I’ll wait til then.

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