Moore: Talk Derby To Me–My 2018 Picks

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It’s time again. This Saturday features the two most exciting minutes in sports–The 144th renewal of The Kentucky Derby. It’s not the year’s richest race. It’s not the most important. But it is the most prestigious race of the year–the first Jewel of The Triple Crown. 

So why should anyone trust my picks to win a difficult horse race? Well, I guaranteed the winner, on GoLocal Live last year, for starters. (See video below.)

 

Also, in 2011, I bet a healthy sum on Animal Kingdom, ($10 to win, place, and show) who captured the victory at 20-1 odds. I’ve been betting horses in the Kentucky Derby since I was about 10 years old. So I’ve had 2 winners in the last 25 years. Not bad, right?

So without further ado, here’s what I’m thinking about for this year’s race. 

Unlike last year, I cannot make any guarantees. This year’s Derby Field looks talented and deep.

The favorite this year is a handsome, talented, and fast colt named Justify. Despite all those positives, and being trained by Bob Baffert, he is also the least experienced horse to be bet as heavily as he will be. He’s never raced against a contested pace before. He’s also never been up against such a big field either. 

There’s also something called “The Curse of Apollo”. It refers to the fact that no horse that didn’t run as a two year old has won The Kentucky Derby since 1882.

Legendary handicapper Harvey Pack once said “never ask a horse to do something he’s never done before at a short price.” When Harvey talks, I listen. And who am I to go against a 135-year-old curse?

So I’ll pass on Justify this year. 

Instead, I’ll look to Audible to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. I’ve had my eye on Audible since he destroyed the field in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He followed that up with an equally impressive victory in The Florida Derby. Last year’s winner, Always Dreaming, won The Fla. Derby before the Kentucky Derby. The year prior, Nyquist won the Florida Derby before winning the Kentucky Derby.

Do you noticed a pattern here?

Audible is not without flaws, however. He doesn’t have much distance in his pedigree, particularly on his dam (mom’s) side. Furthermore, he is ridden by jockey Javier Castellano–an excellent jockey by anyone’s estimation. However, he’s trained by Todd Pletcher–again, one of the best in the game. 

So what’s the problem? Well, normally, John Velazquez gets to pick which of Pletcher’s horses he wants to ride. (That’s called “first call.”) Velazquez, however, is riding Vino Rosso, the winner of The Wood Memorial. That might suggest the jockey thinks Vino Rosso is the faster horse. 

To that end, I will be also wagering on Vino Rosso as well. 

Let’s not forget Bolt D’Oro. This horse was all the rage last year during his 2-year-old campaign. He got a terrible break in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, allowing Good Magic to capture the race instead of him. 

This year, he has had some tough racing luck, most recently in the Santa Anita Derby where Justify was allowed to have the lead all to himself, and therefore extra energy at the end of the race. 

Don’t expect that same scenario in The Kentucky Derby. A more honest, contested pace could allow Bolt to turn the tables on Justify and capture the race. So I’ll be using Bolt in my bets as well. 

And then there’s My Boy Jack. A closer, which means he comes from way back, he most recently won The Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. This horse is the model of consistency. He’s been in the money in 8 of his last 9 races. He’ll be huge odds, but I have a feeling he’ll be coming late. (It also doesn’t hurt that my late grandfather, who also doubled as my best friend for the first 30 years of my life, who introduced me to horse racing, was named “Jack”.) 

So to recap, I like Audible to win the race. But I’ll be backing up my bet with insurance bets on Vino Rosso, Bolt D’Oro, and My Boy Jack. 

Best of luck to everyone. And to quote Harvey Pack “may the horse be with you!” 

Post, horse, trainer, jockey, odds 

1. Firenze Fire, Jason Servis, Paco Lopez, 50-1

2. Free Drop Billy, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 30-1

3. Promises Fulfilled, Dale Romans, Corey Lanerie, 30-1

4. Flameaway, Mark Casse, Jose Lezcano, 30-1

5. Audible, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 8-1

6. Good Magic, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 12-1

7. Justify, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 3-1

8. Lone Sailor, Tom Amoss, James Graham, 50-1

9. Hofburg, Bill Mott, Irad Ortiz Jr., 20-1

10. My Boy Jack, Keith Desormeaux, Kent Desormeaux, 30-1

11. Bolt d’Oro, Mick Ruis, Victor Espinoza, 8-1

12. Enticed, Kiaran McLaughlin, Junior Alvarado, 30-1

13. Bravazo, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Contreras, 50-1

14. Mendelssohn, Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore, 5-1

15. Instilled Regard, Jerry Hollendorfer, Drayden Van Dyke, 50-1

16. Magnum Moon, Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez, 6-1

17. Solomini, Bob Baffert, Flavien Prat, 30-1

18. Vino Rosso, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 12-1

19. Noble Indy, Todd Pletcher, Florent Geroux, 30-1

20. Combatant, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 50-1

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of rirelevant.com. He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to russmoore713@gmail.com
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