Seems like we did this last fall, didn’t we? Back on its regular schedule for 2021, and your humble prognosticator has some picks. I hit my exotics last September, so maybe I’ll continue my hot streak.
And as a bonus, I’ll be betting the Pick 6 and Pick 4 sequences culminating with the Derby, and also offer my picks on those races as well. Feel free to bet along with me if you also enjoy losing money.
In the Derby, the current favorite is 14 Essential Quality, whose numbers are somewhat better than the nearest competitors, but this is FAR from a slam-dunk. The horse he nosed out in the Bluegrass a month ago, 17 Highly Motivated, well, will be highly motivated to win this time, and looks to be in somewhat better form from the works. I’d look for those two to be dueling down the stretch, and a strong late closer who might outrun ’em both at that point could be 15 Rock Your World. Any one of those three, I’d figure, is the best bet to win.
Filling out my exotics will be 9 Hot Rod Charlie, sort of a question mark since he ran his best (and most recent) race with a different trainer. Doug O’Neil has won big races & the Derby before, but his record lately isn’t as strong. But I still like the odds of this one finishing third or fourth, and I’d include him in trifectas and supers. I also think 8 Medina Spirit is another horse in this category – not quite fast enough to win, but fast enough to sneak in there at third or fourth. Normally I would have rated 1 Known Agenda higher, but I really think the rail position will screw him. There are a bunch of slower horses in positions 2 through whatever who start faster than he does, and I could easily see him getting boxed out of position for most of the race. Normally he might have made my cut for possible winner, but I can only see him maneuvering out of traffic to possibly only come in third or fourth. So another one for the exotics.
We have a twenty cent Pick 6 sequence of all stakes races leading up to the big race, so here goes:
Race 7: In the Derby City Distaff, the overwhelming favorite is 4 Gamine, and I can’t see a good argument for anyone else. If there’s any reason he gets scratched, I’ll go with 3 Bell’s The One, but I’ll single Gamine here.
Race 8: In the Pat Day Mile, I like the 3 Jackie’s Warrior and the 8 Dream Shake.
Race 9: Also the start of a Pick 4, the American Turf Stakes, and I like the 4 Annex and the 13 Scarlett Sky. The 1 Excellent Timing, intrigues me a bit and I’ll include him on the Pick 4 and not my Pick 6. He’s fast and undefeated (good), but he’s never been at this class level or on turf (iffy).
Race 10: In the Churchill Downs Stakes, I like 9 Whitmore and 4 Flagstaff, along with 3 Basin as my longshot to add to the Pick 4.
Race 11: The Turf Classic gave me the most grief. A lot of horses can win this one, I kept going over it and going over it again and kept coming up with different groups, so I keep wondering if this is a race that’ll kill all my tickets…. but in any case, I think I’ll go with the 5 Domestic Spending and the 7 Smooth Like Strait in my Pick 6 and throw in the 9 Ride A Comet, the 3 Colonel Liam and possibly last fall’s winner of this race, the 6 Digital Age, in the Pick 4. All the horses have very similar numbers. The 5 and 7 are slightly better and came in 1 and 2 by a neck at Del Mar, so here’s looking at a rematch, I guess. But this one might need some editing.
I might edit the tickets Saturday… the pick 4 looks a little fat and the pick 6 a little thin, but whatever.
Your mileage may vary.