• TCI weekend wrap up: lovin' the winners

    POSTED Apr 17, 2012
    The TCI boys were suitably impressed with this weekend's Grade 1 winners to move both up in their poll with Bodemeister now second following his Arkansas Derby win and Dullahan sixth following his Blue Grass Stakes win.

    MY TAKE: I was bullheaded rather than bullish regarding Dullahan's chances in the Blue Grass, and although I'm trying to learn from that mistake, I just can't be on board in the Kentucky Derby at a suppressed price following a dazzling win on synthetic considering he is 3-0-0-1 on dirt, 3-0-2-1 on turf, and 2-2-0-0 on Polytrack. The latter is a nice way to pick up a pair of Grade 1 wins, but as someone who offered 30-to-1 on this horse to win the Derby I have to hope that a combination of the surface and his running style is too much to overcome on Derby day.

    All that is not to say that I was not impressed with Dullahan's Blue Grass effort. I was plan wrong about him in that race (saying he wasn't fast enough, etc.). He came running like a freight train at the end and caught a good horse. Remember, Union Rags made a similar run at Hansen in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and couldn't get by, so the champion is a game horse and Dullahan got him easily.

    Bodemeister, on the other hand, ran a similarly electrifying race in winning the Arkansas Derby, and is far more proven on dirt than is Dullahan and has a better running style for 1 1/4 miles at Churchill. Barring getting stuck on the rail or the 20, I think he'll be the favorite to win the roses.

    Of course, there are some intangibles working against him. The biggest thing we'll read/head about via the media is that no horse who did not race at two has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882. But in terms of a wagering proposition, I'm more concerned with how his gaudy speed figure/rating will affect his price. He received a 105 BRIS Speed Rating and a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. As much as I prefer the former and rely on it more, it'd be naive of me to think that the latter isn't what will contribute to the steam on this horse, and I'm willing to go against it based on the flame outs we've seen from such big-figure favorites as Bellamy Road and Sweetnorthernsaint.

    He's the type of horse I'll make a "B" selection. I don't want him to beat me--especially if other horses I like run well--but he's a certain underlay so I'll want to make sure I'm as invested as possible in the value, which is a topic I hope to address in the coming weeks since that value can shift dramatically pool to pool. Animal Kingdom was 20.9-to-1 in the win pool, but the exotic payouts indicate a price more in the 15- or 18-to-1 range. Certainly the casual money that bets whomever Borel or Rosie is riding is more likely to be in the win pool than other pools.
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