Differing opinions drive Thoroughbred racing, or at least betting on it, but there was not much debate regarding the results of this past weekend's Kentucky Derby prep races and what the means for the Triple Crown trail going forward.
Joel Cunningham and Jon Siegel with Triple Crown Insider called the San Felipe Stakes "the best prep so far this season" and called Take Charge Indy's scratch from the Tampa Bay Derby "disappointing." It's pretty telling what they thought of the Tampa Bay Derby as run when their main talking point dealt with who scratched rather than who ran.
MY TAKE: Well, I agree with almost everything they said. Take Charge Indy's scratch is puzzling, Creative Cause reasserted himself as among the West Coast's best (I have I'll Have Another ranked slightly higher, but those two plus Bodemeister are clearly beyond any others), and the Sam F. Davis Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby are both in serious danger of downgrading.
On a macro level, one of the more consistent ideas on the Derby trail each year is that changing course is almost always a bad thing. Take Charge Indy's scratch for a race three weeks later makes no sense to me unless something is wrong. Facing Union Rags, El Padrino, and Alpha is preferred to the Tampa Bay Derby field from the ten hole (although the top two finishers were post positions 1 & 2!)?
And Bodemeister, for as good as he ran, was an 11th-hour replacement for Fed Biz, who is now off the trail completely. As Joel and Jon discussed in the video above, trainer Bob Baffert himself said that racing Bodemeister a week earlier than originally planned may have hurt. This colt is an obvious talent, however, and that Baffert was willing to race him a week earlier rather than delay his start is a big mark in his corner.
As the horses were going to the gate for the Tampa Bay Derby I asked on Twitter what fair odds would be of any starter in the race winning the Kentucky Derby. Answers ranged from 50- to 300-to-1. Given that Prospective is almost certain for a spot in the gate, I wouldn't want to go any lower than 75-to-1, but the true odds are probably in the 150- to 200-to-1 range given the slowness of the competitors.
As for the San Felipe, I wouldn't want to offer any more than 5-to-1 on that group, which puts Creative Cause at around 10-to-1 for the roses, Bodemeister at 12-to-1, and the field at 100-to-1 with a 6.5% takeout.
Welcome to the TwinSpires Blog. Our contributors will be continually updating posts to offer commentary, insight, advice and expert opinions on horse racing and wagering. The goal is to help you win more and become a better all around horse player.
TwinSpires' horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon of Denver, Colo. offers his insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial take on the horse racing industry. He even publishes the ROI on the picks he gives out.
TwinSpires' harness racing expert, Frank Cotolo follows all of the big North American circuits throughout the year, providing the best value picks and latest news from the sulky.
The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.