6:50pm ET (race 12) at Churchill Downs on Saturday May 4
TVG Expert: Matt Carothers
My first Derby write-up… It only took 20 years, so, boy, am I going to deliver! This is the race where you are inundated with more meaningless nuggets, tidbits, numbers, and stats than any other. I always try to approach the Derby from a handicapping standpoint like I would any other race, so, here we go...
First off, I feel terrible for Richard Mandella and the connections of Omaha Beach for having to scratch three days prior due to an entrapped epiglottis. With the favorite out of contention, now a maiden in Bodexpress draws in. Once again, in all likelihood, we are going to have an off track with rain scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, with the heaviest amounts expected Derby Day. I’m thinking the track is going to be sloppy so with that in mind, I’m leaning speed.
My pick will be the speed of the speed, and that horse is Maximum Security. The departure of Omaha Beach probably helps him more than anyone else. There wasn’t much speed to begin with and now, maybe things could get “Florida Derby facile” from a pace standpoint. Many were surprised, including yours truly, that he was able to get such an easy lead March 30th at Gulfstream Park, but he can go faster if necessary but maybe, against this group, he won’t have to. He’s undefeated, coming off two huge efforts, and should get the lead against a field which appears to lack a superstar the likes of Justify or American Pharoah.
I will go with Game Winner as my runner-up. Toughness is a critical trait to have in this race and that could be his biggest asset. He’s also pretty talented, with a record of 4 wins and 2 seconds from 6 starts, and had legitimate excuses for both losses. He was an easy winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, and the 10 furlongs should help based on pedigree and that grinding style he possesses.
Spinoff is my bomb. I like his tactical speed and the vast improvement he made in finishing 2nd in the Louisiana Derby. The Kentucky Derby will be his 5th start and third off over a six-month layoff. His father, Hard Spun, finished 2nd in the Derby to Street Sense twelve years ago, 5-3/4 lengths ahead of the third place finisher – a horse named Curlin.
Derby pick- Maximum Security
Oaks pick- Restless Rider
Take advantage of our Money Back Special offer. Here are my picks:
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