Thursday, May 3, 2012

Krause's Kentucky Derby Picks 2012 (Updated)

It is Kentucky Derby weekend and here again are my picks!  I see strong similarities to handicapping horses and selecting individual common stocks – quantitative evaluation of past performance, assessment of management, and peer comparison. And like the stock market, the outcome of a horse race is often times greatly influenced by unexpected events.

So be forewarned that, like stock picking, the Derby is a tough race to handicap because of the large field and the lack of a clear favorite. Also, the weather for Saturday afternoon is somewhat uncertain with a 40% chance of thunderstorms.... nevertheless, here goes.

Value Pick: #14 Hansen (10:1). What I like most about this pick is the jockey, Ramon Dominguez. He is the 2010 and 2011 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey and has twice led the nation in number of victories. He has two Breeders' Cup wins – including the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (aboard Hansen). While he can go the distance and likes to lead, he did fade to second in the Blue Grass. He is coming off a four week layout and should be sharp for the Derby. I also love the Secretariat bloodline via Storm Cat. The 14 post was a good draw and I see Hansen as a nice value pick at 10:1. And, yes, he'll be an easy horse to follow during the race! WPS bet on #10.

Long-shot: #13 Went the Day Well (20:1). Here's a speed horse that could surprise if the big field groups together. Went the Day Well is ridden by John Velazquez, trained by Graham Motion, and owned by Team Valor - the same combination that won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom.  He has a good post position and also has a distant Secretariat bloodline. He has not run against many strong horses and is coming off a six week layoff, but could be this year’s Giacomo or Mine That Bird. Might be a good horse to include in some of the exotics especially since he could go off at more than 20:1 at post time. 

Best Horse: #4 Union Rags (9:2). Union Rags was an unbeaten two year old who lost the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall by a nose to Hansen. This could be ‘the’ horse in 2012 – and maybe one with a good shot to win the Triple Crown. The unfortunate draw of the 4 post along with a third in the Florida Derby will likely keep the odds high enough on race day to make for a good payout. Excellent jockey, Julien Leparoux, and a winning trainer, Michael Matz, make this a very strong entry in the run for the roses. If he can survive the rodeo-like start of the Derby from an inside post position, he might be wearing the roses. Win bet on #4.    

Horse with Best Investment Name: #11 Alpha (12:1). You’d think the 11 post would be a great draw for a speed horse, but Alpha is a very nervous and volatile horse who will be loaded first. While Alpha is lightning fast, he is known for being fractious in the gate. He’s been able to get out of early race troubles before, but this time he won’t be able to make up for a poor start in a twenty horse field with a grueling and demanding pace. If you are seeking investment alpha, you won’t likely get excess return from Alpha.  

Good luck and bet responsibly.