Wednesday, April 17, 2019
PAULIE PICKS -- A top five Derby Contender list to consider
SOME DERBY THOUGHTS
In a race where favorites have won each year since the Bush presidential administration, the logical picks would be to go with the favorite. That wasn't hard at all last year with Justify, although some of us out here believed Audible might get the nod.
That was yesterday (or last year), though, and yesterday's gone. (to paraphrase an old Herman's Hermits ditty).
I'm currently looking at the five horses below as having the best chance to dance in the winner's circle at Churchill on Saturday, May 4th. One of them will most likely be the favorite.
GAME WINNER Thinking maybe he goes off around 6-1. He was the Breeders Cup Juvenile Champion as a two-year old. Since then, he's 0-2 in 2019. He's been trying, he's been close and you have to think that if he gets a good trip on the first Saturday in May, he might just triumph down that long Churchill stretch. He likes running at Churchill, remember.
ROADSTER This guy could be your Derby favorite and I'll guess around 4-1. He beat Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby. He has throat surgery to clear up a breathing problem when he was two. He's trained by Bob Baffert (who has an army of them) and a big question is who will ride...Mike Smith or someone else?
OMAHA BEACH. He may not be the Derby betting odds favorite (I'm going to guess around 10-1) but he has big momentum after winning the Arkansas Derby and the Rebel. This one will run in any type of conditions and will shine. OMAHA BEACH IS MY PICK TO CAPTURE THE ROSES. Mike Smith has to decide whether he'll ride or not. If not, you can be assured trainer Richard Mandela will enlist someone else very capable.
IMPROBABLE. I expect he'll be a 10-1 or so choice on Derby Day. He was fractious at the gate in Arkansas. He's lost two in a row now, but ran well in each. He picks up Irad Ortiz, Jr in the saddle, since brother Jose is going with Tacitus. He loved Churchill as a two-year old and that could be a huge factor. The question is, how will he respond when he's eye-to-eye with one or more of them in the stretch?
TACITUS. Bettors will probably send him off around 8-1 or so. He's gone a different route than most of the contenders, getting wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and in the Wood at Aqueduct. We've mentioned Jose Ortiz staying on board for trainer Billy Mott. I wonder how he'll hold up against the other four listed here, though. He's never run at Churchill, either.
I'll be back in a few days with some Oaks ideas. Until then, good racing luck and wager responsibly. After all, you're betting against me and the guy in the corner -- not the track.