ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY
One Liner hits 117 speed figure to become Derby flavour of the month
Not many saw that coming. One Liner, the winner of Monday’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn wasn’t even included in the last Kentucky Derby future pool. But, by posting the biggest Equibase speed figure of any Derby prep horse—a giant 117—he suddenly becomes the flavour of the month on the countdown to the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.
Even-money favourite Uncontested set a blazing pace in the 1 1/16-mile test, with early fractions of 22.93, 46.55 and 1:10.98, setting it up for the son of Into Mischief to put away Petrov (a 99/1 future pool horse) to win by three lengths and pay $8.80.
Until the Southwest, Classic Empire’s 116 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Gormley's similar figure in the Sham Stakes had been the highest E speed of any Derby hopeful.
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He was right, we were wrong
"UNCONTESTED WON'T HIT THE BOARD" -- MCKELLAR: A few players, including me, were smarting after the Southwest Stakes Saturday because we had to pay off last month’s Player’s Choice tournament winner, Brian McKellar, who had declared with great conviction “Uncontested won’t hit the board” and we bet him that he was wrong. He was right, of course, and it cost me $50 and others lesser amounts.
He had said it with the same authority that he had predicted McCraken would cream the field in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa and we should have learned from that. But we hadn’t.
It seems his expertise in breeding is serving him well along with keen observing skills. He certainly will be the go-to guy in predicting future prep race winners. Let’s see how successful he is in the “Countdown to the Derby” contest.
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50-point Championship Series begins
It's the Risen Star at Fair Grounds Saturday; enter contest
Note the colour change in the accompanying Countdown to the Kentucky Derby chart: the races in green begin the Championship Series where winners get 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (runners up in those races get 20-10-5).
There are eight 50-pointers in all followed by the biggest preps of all, the 100-pointers, shown in maroon on the Countdown chart.
Remember to enter the “Countdown to the Derby” contest on each of the 15 Championship Series races to earn a $100 win/place wager on the Kentucky Derby and get into a draw for a Derby travel mug and pint glass after every prep race.
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Synthetic track produces a 48/1 winner in El Camino Real Derby
It doesn’t matter how good a horse looks on a dirt track, you don’t know what horses will do on a synthetic surface until they race on it. Bettors who took this into account for the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Saturday were profiting nicely.
The longest shot on the board, Zakaroff at 43/1, with experience on Golden Gate’s Tapeta, won the race while the even-money favourite from Santa Anita dirt, Ann Arbor Eddie, was disqualified from second and was placed fourth after being found to have interfered with the horse that finished third.
The 20-cent superfecta in the seven-horse field paid a monster $536. Betting against dirt horses on synthetic tracks obviously represent huge value plays.