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Kentucky Derby 2021. Picks, analysis and open discussion.

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  • Kentucky Derby 2021. Picks, analysis and open discussion.

    Handicappers and casual horse racing fans rejoice! The Kentucky Derby is finally upon us. Returning to its proper place on the 1st Saturday in May, the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is set to go to post at 6:57pm on May 1, 2021. This full 20 horse field of Contenders and Pretenders is the most wide open field in a decade. The worldwide pandemic's effect on the Run to the Roses is unprecedented, with the 20th horse in the field getting in with just 10 points and no Also-eligibles. All the traditional Derby betting angles need to be thrown out. There's really no historical precedent, in my opinion, to draw from to get an angle this year.

    The weather for Saturday is setting up perfectly. Louisville should see some rain Wednesday into Thursday. A warming, partly cloudy Friday should dry things out. Saturday should be an absolute stunner with temps in the 70's and tons of sun. The track should set up and be running fairly on Saturday with no speed bias, which is critically important this year. Why is that? Nearly half of the field needs a front running pace to have any chance to hit the board.

    Let's take a deeper dive into the field....

    Likely Winners
    • (1) Known Agenda - Has the stamina in his pedigree to win this. Still improving colt with the highest ceiling in the field, not to mention Irad in the saddle. His stalking style will set him up well from the 1 hole.
    • (8) Medina Spirit - Has a bit of seconditis, but also a ton of heart. I think the extra distance helps and his stalking style will have him ready to pounce when the front runners falter.
    • (9) Hot Rod Charlie - One of the many front runners. Has shown his ability to handle a route with speed with his win in the Louisiana Derby. He'll be fighting down the stretch.
    • (11) Dynamic One - Patiently brought along by Todd Pletcher. This colt is fresh and ready to fire. He will be closing hard, and with a clean trip, could win by open lengths running past tiring horses.
    • (15) Rock Your World - Will fire on all cylinders right to the front. Has tons of speed. Could wire this field with the right race set up. Still a very green, inexperienced colt and could burn up before hitting the stretch. Joel Rosario has his hands full.
    • (5) Sainthood - Still improving. Has handled traffic before. This year's "Good Vibes" horse. He'll be rallying late.
    • (6) O Besos - The other buzz horse this year. Will be closing late. Needs a hot pace to set him up.
    • (7) Mandaloun - The Louisiana Derby was fast and he bounced. I'm tossing that race. He'll go to the lead, he'll be tiring... still gotta have him in your exotics.
    • (14) Essential Quality - Very nice Colt. M/L favorite and deservedly so. 5 runs, 5 wins. Will be making noise all summer. Needs a dream trip to get the distance. Won't get it Saturday.
    • (17) Highly Motivated - Another going to the front. Just missed beating Essential Quality in the Blue Grass, will finish ahead of him in the Derby. Still improving.
    This Years "Bad Beats"
    • (10) Midnight Bourbon, (12) Helium, (16) King Fury - Every year, there's a horse that wrecks your dreams by sneaking into your exotics. Any one of these 3 is probably it. The probable front running pace will set up the closers. Could add some value to the payout if included underneath in your exotics.
    So, what about the 7 horses I didn't mention? Toss them. I can't see any reason for them to be running here, other than their owners need to take selfies on Millionaires Row, Mint Julep in hand.

    All that being said, how do I see things playing out? (8) Medina Spirit stalks a hot pace with a clean, ground saving trip. Digs down in the stretch and holds off a hard charging (1) Known Agenda to win the Kentucky Derby. (7) Mandaloun fades from the lead and holds on to Show, with (5) Sainthood rallying hard and winning a group photo to place 4th.
    Calling it cold... 8-1-7-5

    Realistically, to have a shot at cashing a ticket from the Derby, you're gonna have to dig deep in your pockets this year. From Exacta to Superfecta my tickets will look something like this,,,
    1,8,9,11,15 / 1,8,9,11,15 / 1,5,6,7,8,9,11,14,15,17 / 1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,15,16,17
    Which equates to a $5 EX BX ($100), and a $.50 TRI KEY ($80).
    I'm still up in the air on my Superfecta, due to cost. Not sure how many of my Bad Beats to include, if any. Right now my $.50 SPR is anywhere from $560 to $800, which doesn't provide enough value with my selections. I probably won't even place my SPR bet until the post parade, where I'd like to get it down to $400-$500.

    So, who are you backing? What are your thoughts?

  • And More Racing Stable
    Congratulations BC...nice cash. Nice when the winner is 12-1 and the place horse is 26-1...not entirely uncommon for the Derby but you still need to have them paired up so well done!
    Like I said in my previous post I rarely play exotics but I'm also not shy about my bets when I believe in the value of a bet so I only played the win bet and cashed a little better than half what you did. A pretty nice ROI none the less.

    I will admit I was a little surprised when he went to the lead. I knew he had the speed to do so but I expected him to stalk the speed and tackle them in the stretch but Velasquez knows his horse and simply beat the rest at their own game. Guess that's why he's won 4 Derbys. This is one tough, game little colt with a huge heart.

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  • BC Racing
    Brag on your hits. I can't be the only one who cashed. $5 EX - $.50 TRI - $.50 PK5..... almost $5100 here. Only wound up playing $260 because I couldn't put together a SPR I liked at $1 min. Congrats to everyone who went to the window today!

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  • Digital Downs
    i still cant make my mind up...i just know 14, 15, 18, 19

    plus the Parx #20

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  • And More Racing Stable
    Let me say first that the analysis given here is pretty reasonable. Let me say second that I'm a "value" bettor. That means I look for the value in the race...the horse everyone is overlooking because the focus is on the "stars" of the field.

    So here we go...
    This Derby is a speed laden field. Unlikely anyone will get a comfortable lead and be able to settle to have much left for the stretch run. It's very possible none of the speed burners will be close at the finish. So does that set it up for a big closer?...not necessarily. I typically look for a key race leading up to the Derby and my key race this year is the Santa Anita Derby. Rock Your World set BLAZING fractions of :46 and 1:10.3 in route to cruising to a 4-1/4 length win. He should have his burners ignited again today but as I already mentioned I don't believe he will get a lead he will be comfortable with. So where's the value in the Derby today? Often the Derby is won by a horse who has yet to run his best race but jumps up to run it on Derby day. That's why my pick is Medina Spirit. Medina Spirit was actually the odds on favorite over Rock Your World in the SA Derby. He chased Rock Your World around the track that day to finish a solid second to a horse who had everything his own way that day. I believe Medina Spirit takes a step forward today and could well win the Derby. Why do I consider him a "value" play? Rock Your World is the 2nd favorite M/L at 5-1 while Medina Spirit is 15-1 M/L. That's what I consider a value bet. Medina Spirit's trainer is Bob him or hate him he does win Derby's and Medina Spirit is his only entry this year. can you not love it when the winner is a horse that sold for only $35k and his sire stands for only $ the underdogs!!!

    As I said before when I make bets it's on what I consider to be value horses and I don't bet small so I rarely play exotics because to play them successfully you usually need to include many horses so most people wind up cutting a few out to lower the ticket cost...and wouldn't you know it's always one of the ones you cut out that sneaks in to spoil your exotic ticket. But just for the fun of it here's my attempt at a stone cold trifecta pick...

    8 - Medina Spirit
    17 - Highly Motivated
    14 - Essential Quality

    Good luck to all and whether you bet or not enjoy the race!!!
    Last edited by And More Racing Stable; 05-01-2021, 04:42 PM.

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  • BC Racing
    Not sure why the formatting changed after posting... Can't figure out how to fix it. Anyway all the important stuff is there. You can read it cleanly here:

    Last edited by BC Racing; 04-30-2021, 10:58 PM.

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