First draft KY Oaks chart loaded. Many things will change but top to bottom sort is pretty solid
FINAL DERBY THOUGHT AFTER FORTE SCRATCHED
Verifying now sitting on top of chart with C+. Wide open race with no A horses (bummer because I was fading Forte). Note my VALUE column uses an adjusted morning line which accounts for scratches. My top 4 in order are Two Phil's, Derma Sotogake, Verifying and Angel of Empire. Underneath I like Mage, Disarm & Mandarin Hero. Confidence Game is working well but don't like the 10 week break. Tapit Trice has to work too hard and will get a tough trip. You could use both of them defensively in 3rd/4th.
KENTUCKY OAKS ANALYSIS
Scratched out 15-17 for now and will update chart on Friday AM. Don't follow the Oaks qualification races closely and usually do last minute analysis. Will try to hit a winner and be alive in an Oaks/Derby double.
Wonder Wheel hasn't accomplished anything this year but her back class has on top of the chart and she's an overlay at 12-1. Wet Paint is the deserving favorite but will try and beat the chalk. Flying Connection shipping in for Fincher from Sunland has legit early speed. Only see Pretty Mischievous (blinkers on) trying to keep up with her early. Mimi Kakushi (saving ground), Dorth Vader & Promiseher America will be following closely.
Might be rain in the forecast which could help the speed even more. My Oaks/Derby double is looking like Wonder Wheel, Flying Connection with Two Phil's, Derma Sotogake, Practical Move & Verifying.
KY DERBY POST POSITION DRAW & MORNING LINE COMMENTARY:
A. The draw on paper is fine for everyone. Now what happens with trip on Saturday is anyone's guess but my comments below are still accurate.
B. Forte is very strong on the chart with PFDS Odds of 1.9. Never seen that before but not surprised. With that said, BEST Odds declines to 7.8 which is probably a better estimate. In my opinion that makes Forte an underlay but the chart math has horse as a spot play K+ which is very strong. Not a toss.
C. Top 6 horses early are Verifying, Practical Move and Cyclone Mischief (still not drawn in). After that I am predicting Derma Sotogake, Jace's Road, Reincarnate, Kingsbarns and/or Two Phils. But not all of them will break clean and get position. And a horse or two will surprise us by being forwardly positioned. BOLD TAKE: A horse from the Top 6 early positions will win the KY Derby. Hard to discount anyone based on the post position from that list of horses above.
D. Don't take much stock in the work-out reports but have heard good things about Mage, Disarm, Two Phil's, Practical Move, Angel of Empire & Confidence Game. But everyone seems to be doing just fine except Continuaar. Do not like the layoff on Confidence Game.
E. This Derby is wide open. Look for at least 10-1 odds on any win bet candidate.
F. Right now my pick is Two Phil's. But I also like Derma, Practical Move (SCR) & Verifying. I plan to use those over Disarm & Mage in Exactas. Hope to beat Forte. Upgrade MANDARIN HERO after drawing in.
EARLY KENTUCKY DERBY THOUGHTS:
1) Reminder the new starting gate holds 20 horses. The rail draw has been moved out 2 positions. This post position is much more viable now.
2) The pace this year looks unusually soft and unpredictable. Outside of Practical Move, Verifying & Cyclone Mischief (not drawn in yet) it's very hard to predict what other horses will be in Top 6 early. Having tactical speed is an advantage any year but especially so this year.
3) The slower the pace, the more important post position is. But in general, I wouldn't disqualify anyone based on that alone. Could be a tie breaker.
4) Forte position in PFDS Odds is unusually strong for a Derby. Best Odds does take a decline though. Leaning against on a horse that likely will have a tough trip. With a good draw, this horse "could" be in a pretty good early position.
5) Horses I like from top to bottom...
Verifying - Tactical speed, Cox trained, barely lost to Tapit Trice, blew away rest of Bluegrass field, will get a good Derby trip, 2nd on my chart.
Derma Sotogake - 3rd on chart, looked brilliant in Dubai, Japanese class is strong, might be well placed early
Mage (under) - Might have too much to do in stretch but figures to improve in 4th career start, big move in FL Derby.
Angel of Empire (under) - Big move & win in Arkansas. Might have too much to do in stretch
Practical Move - Tactical speed, maturity to move up the rail, was getting caught late in Santa Anita. Yakteen is question mark.
Two Phil's - Best Beyer, pulled away from field in Jeff Ruby, win at Churchill.
Disarm (under) - Big price, Asmussen horses run well in Derby, working out well
Mandarin Hero - Almost beat Practical Move, Japanese 2nd string
6) You'll have to decide what to do with Forte & Tapit Trice. I would leave them off exactas but they could be used defensively in 3rd/4th. Saez has to work too hard with Tapit Trice. Prefer Forte of the two.
7) Other: Skinner is getting a ton of buzz. I think he's over rated and would fade if drawn in. Also studying Reincarnate who may be tactically placed and be a good long-shot candidate underneath. But he did get beat pretty convincingly by Angel of Empire.
8) Let me know via e-mail or DM if you have any questions.