Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Krause's Kentucky Derby Picks for 2015

I’m back again for the fifth year with my Kentucky Derby picks. The 141st 'Run for the Roses' has a deep crop of 3-year-olds. The 20 horse field has many promising thoroughbreds – unlike last year’s weak field. So this should be an exciting race.

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Best of the Field:  #18 American Pharoah (5-2 odds)  
Last year I successfully picked the Derby winner: California Chrome, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza. This year I believe that American Pharoah, a bay colt trained by Bob Baffert, will be taken to victory lane by Espinoza. This horse has had four impressive wins while posting remarkable speed figures – and to top it off, he has had strong workouts since arriving in Louisville.  Victor Espinoza has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes twice, riding War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome in 2014. Bob Baffert is the top trainer in the business having won three Kentucky Derbies, five Preakness Stakes, one Belmont Stakes and two Kentucky Oaks. Even with the 18th draw this horse will likely be the betting favorite on Saturday - so the odds will not provide a big payout, but if you include American Pharoah in your exotics you can have a good payday. (I think Baffert has another winner here).

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Value Horse: #2 Carpe Diem (8-1 odds).   Trainer Todd Pletcher has four Derby entries this year, but Blue Grass winner Carpe Diem, who has won four of five career starts by nearly 20 lengths, is his best horse this year. Carpe Diem’s only race loss came in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, when he came in second. This horse is very capable of giving Pletcher his second career win in the Derby. Jockey John Velazquez is the all-time leading money-earning jockey – and this jockey/trainer combination has won four of five lifetime events together. The #2 post isn't a good draw, but Carpe Diem should be in the picture as the horses come down the stretch on Saturday.

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Long Shots: #15 Frosted (15:1 odds) and # 3 Materiality  (12:1 odds). Winner of the Wood Memorial, Frosted, jockeyed by Joel Rosario, rallied down the stretch to earn a 2 ½ length victory. In 2013 Rosario won the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup and in the same year won the Kentucky Derby aboard the colt Orb. The post position is not bad and this stalker could be a horse to contend with given that Rosario knows how to win the big races.

Starting in the 3rd position, Materiality, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano could also be a surprise. Not much is known about this horse because he did not race last year; however, this year he is undefeated in three races (and with huge speed figures). With plenty of speed to burn, a top trainer and a favorable post position, this could be a wire-to-wire winner – especially if the rest of the horses decide to engage in a demolition derby.

Betting: Pairing up the horses above into an Exacta box could be a nice play or keying American Pharoah with the other three horses in a Trifecta bet could provide an attractive ROI. A Carpe Diem WPS bet might be a nice payout, especially if the line remains at 8:1. In any case, bet responsibly and enjoy the
Kentucky Derby!

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