While a field of 20 will line up in the $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs at 6:34 ET, the race is just one of seven graded stakes on an outstanding 14-race marathon betting card.
First post is 10:30 ET with the final race going off 9 ½ hours later at 8:05 ET. It is days like this that I wish I got paid time and a half for overtime.
The undefeated Nyquist will be sent off as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby and with nearly $1 million wagered into the win pool on Friday in advanced wagering the colt has been bet down to 2-1, which I find surprising. I though his price is going to end up between 7-2 and 4-1.
At least in the early betting Nyquist is getting more respect than he seems to be getting among the public handicappers and writers, myself included.
If he ends up going off at 2-1 that makes it a pretty easy decision for me, as that price sure looks like a major underlay to me. But there is still a ton of money that is going to go through the windows.
There are plenty of stars coming out on Saturday and I am not talking about the rather annoying Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who came close to forcing me to jump out my office window after just several minutes of Derby fashion analysis on the NBC Sports Network on Friday.
There are six supporting graded stakes on Saturday’s card starting with the $300,000 Churchill Distaff (G2) for fillies and mares going a mile.
Tepin is going to be a puny price, coming into the race riding a five race winning streak that includes beating the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) last fall. She is the only morning line favorite I picked on top on the entire card.
The $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) at seven furlongs drew a solid group of sprinters including Salutos Amigos, Kobe’s Back, Calculator and Holy Boss.
Defending Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champ Wavell Avenue is the headliner in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) at seven furlongs. She came up short in a third place finish in the Madison (G1) last out at Keeneland.
The $300,000 American Turf (G2) drew 13 including Airoforce, who was beaten just a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last fall. He won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) beating four runners that have made it to the Kentucky Derby.
Airoforce did not fire in his two Derby preps on dirt and poly and he is going to appreciate the return to grass.
The $250,000 Pat Day Mile (G3) is one of the best wagering races on the card, drawing a full field of 14 three-year-olds with Florida Derby (G1) third place finisher Fellowship and Unbridled Outlaw sharing honors as the morning line favorite at 5-1.
Big Blue Kitten, last year’s Eclipse Award winner for top turf male is back in action in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1). The Chad Brown trainee makes his first start since running third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland last fall.
Brown will also saddle Slumber, who was fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, and Bill Mott will send out Tourist who was third in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland in his first start of the year.
The NBC Sports Network picks up the action at noon ET and NBC will pick up the action at 3:00 ET.
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Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Saturday’s featured betting race of the day:
CD Race 11 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic G1 (Post time 5:25 ET)
#10 Tourist 8-1
#12 Big Blue Kitten 5-2
#6 Slumber 3-1
#3 Bolo 8-1
Analysis: Tourist came off a 5 1/2 month layoff with a decent effort in a third place finish in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) last out at Keeneland, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. He only managed three starts last year wining the More Than Ready at Kentucky Downs and then a game third in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) where he was beaten just a head and a neck. he hit the bench after checking in eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). He should move forward her for the Mott barn that is 25% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day layoff.
Big Blue Kitten had a big year in ’15, landing in the exacta in 5 of 6 starts and winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and United Nations (G1). He makes his first start since his third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The Brown barn is 24% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.
Slumber is also sent out by Brown and has not been seen since a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. he only won 1 of 8 last year but it was the Manhattan (G1) at Belmont Park. It looks like there will be an honest pace which will benefit both of these Brown contenders.
WIN: #10 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 10,12 / 3,6,10,12
TRI: 10,12 / 3,6,10,12 / 3,6,7,10,12
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