Florida Derby and Huge Mandatory Payout at Gulfstream

29 Mar

By Lucky Kalanges

I’ll get on to the Florida Derby in a bit, but figured I might as well take a small victory lap having tabbed my first winner of the blog last Sunday in Sunland Derby winner Cutting Humor. It was one of those races that unfolded exactly how I imagined it would with the winner tracking the three-wide speed duel early, overtaking the leaders and just having enough to hold off the ultra-game Anothertwistafate to round out a $17 Exacta for a buck, which I had also tabbed.

Unfortunately, when the winner got pounded from his morning-line of 8/1 to 2/1 as the horses loaded into the gate, I got turned off and passed the race. It will be interesting to see if Anothertwistafate has enough points to make the Derby field, as he was probably best considering he backed out of the middle of the three-wide speed duel around the first turn, had to wait a bit coming around the second turn before swinging out four-wide to get running room in the stretch, came running and nearly nailed the winner on the wire.

He could offer big value on Derby day if he makes the field.

Florida Derby Day and the Rainbow Mandatory Payout

In case you weren’t away Gulfstream Park will be forcing out it’s $2.66 million Rainbow 6 Jackpot on Saturday’s Florida Derby card, which makes it almost a must-play day of racing if you’ve got the time. Time is actually a bigger obstacle for me now than money when it comes to betting the races. If I don’t handicap in advance, I don’t play. While I was hoping to get an advance look at the Rainbow 6 races, 9-13 on the card, I don’t feel like I’ve done enough homework to comment extensively on any of them except the Florida Derby.

I might play a very small Rainbow 6 ticket nonetheless. When there’s that much dead money being forced out, it’s almost a no-brainer to put in a small ticket.

As for the Florida Derby, I think I am going to take the same tack I did last time with John Velazquez in a stalking position behind an expected speed duel between #1 – Hidden Scroll (5/2) and #7 – Maximum Security (9/2). Desperate for Derby points, Hidden Scroll is stuck either having to gun for the lead or rating behind Maximum Security. I think doing the latter would be a mistake, as his best chance is to use his best asset, his gate speed, to get early position.

The problem is, he could be compromised again by pace pressure, which proved to be his undoing last time out. As for Maximum Security, the Jason Servis-trained freak has won by open lengths each time out, but now stretches out from seven to nine furlongs, trying two turns for the first time, which isn’t an easy task.

This leaves me looking at a trio of horses coming from off the pace: #9 – Code of Honor (3/1), #4 – Bourbon War (7/2) and #3 – Harvey Wallbanger (15/1). The first two ran down Hidden Scroll last time with Bourbon War having to rally six-wide while Code of Honor skimmed the rail. Like last time, I think Velazquez will be in a prime position to make first run on the leaders as they turn for home and it comes down again to who gets the better trip.

I also like the fact that Irad Ortiz jumps off Maximum Security to ride Bourbon War. I think I will end up playing the board on this one, backing the one of these two that goes off at higher odds. With heavy money expected on Hidden Scroll, I think 4/1 or 5/1 isn’t impossible on either of these two contenders.

For the Exacta, I am going to bank on the Jason Servis colt playing like the Energizer Bunny, to keep “going and going” to hang on for second. To me, all the value is trying to get Hidden Scroll out of the Exacta.

I’ll try to do that by playing #4 – Bourbon War and #9 – Code of Honor over #7 Maximum Security. I’ll also play a smaller ticket reversed, with Maximum Security on top in case he keeps on running through the wire.  It’s quite possible that, if he and Hidden Scroll don’t hook up on the lead early, that one of the two survives for the win, as I don’t see too many with the talent in here to make them run faster.

As for horses that could round out the Trifecta, #3 – Harvey Wallbanger (15/1) has an attractive morning line and proved he could win from off the pace two-turning over this track last time out in the Holy Bull. He’s done very little wrong have either won or finished second in his five starts, and the more I think about it, the more I can see tossing him into my Exactas at a decent price. For some reason, the Holy Bull isn’t getting the respect that the Fountain of Youth is and it could just all come down to recency bias.

Another longshot is #8 – Bodexpress (30/1) out of Bodemeister. He was left in the wake of Hidden Scroll’s impressive debut, finishing fourth in a field of 14. He then returned to nearly break his maiden at seven furlongs, earning a 91 Beyer figure in the process. He should be up close early and could move forward if he gets a clean trip.

It’s past midnight here at the OTB, so I’ve got to close up shop. Best of luck with in the Florida Derby and Rainbow 6 if you’re playing.


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