05/05/2012 12:32PM

2012 Derby Day


12:30 pm: Churchill Downs was muddy for the first, good for the 2nd and 3rd, and fast for off-the-turf 4th. Weather and track condition should not be an issue for the rest of the day.

Preliminary Beyer Speed figures for yesterday: Successful Dan 110 in the Alysheba; Contested 101 in the Eight Belles; Believe You Can 100 in the Oaks; Juanita 92 in the La Troienne.

Oaks Day all-sources betting was a record $39.9 million, according to Chuirchill Downs, up 6.5 percent from last year's $37.5 million, despite a 3.5 percent dip in on-track betting from $12 million to $11.6 million.

The stakes racing, and an all-stakes pick-6 with a $268k carryover from yesterday, starts in 49 minutes with the CD Turf Sprint at 1:19 pm. And in about six hours, we'll finally know the name of the only horse who could be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.


1:10 pm: Here's the pick-6 play, which reflects my feeling that most of today's stakes are closely-matched contests between pretty obvious favorites, without many tempting bombs. I still thought it was worth a mild play given the size of the pool and the carryover.

As for the Derby, I used my 1-2 picks (Bodemeister and Union Rags) as A's, and my 3-5 longshots (Alpha and El Padrino) as C's.



1:30 pm: Huge late run by Great Attack ($10.80) to whoosh past Bridgetown at the wire in the Turf Sprint. The running time of 56.61 suggests the turf course is close to normal -- the last two running of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, over the same course and distance, were timed in 56.48 (course labelled "good") and 56.53 (course labelled "firm.")


2:15 pm: Shackleford won his first race since the 2011 Preakness with style, turning back champion sprinter Amazombie to win the Churchill Downs in 1:21.06.

The result reflects well on not only the top two but also on Jackson Bend and Caleb's Posse, who outfinished Shackleford in a terrific Carter Handicap April 7.

Wonder if the track is slowing down a little -- you'd think these world-class sprinters would have run more than 0.57 seconds faster than Macho Macho, who won a N1x allowance in 1:21.63 in the 5th.


3:30 pm: Hungry Island at $13.80 in the Distaff Turf Mile and a $91.80 exacta with Tapitsfly were unexpectedly generous -- a $91.80 exacta for two 5-1 shots? -- and apparently the result of Marketing Mix's being slammed to 3-to-2 and Daisy Devine getting unexpected support at 7-2.

Time to slow yourself down: It's going to take three hours to run the next three races, all Grade 1's.


3:45 pm: Here's the Derby win betting as of 3:45 pm. I'll keep periodically updating this chart up until post time. A dash indicates no change in the odds since the previous quote.

4:00 pm: Groupie Doll just turned in a spectacular performance winning the G1 Humana Distaff, walloping reigning Eclipse champ Musical Romance in a sizzling 1:20.44 -- 0.62 seconds faster than Shackleford's winning time in the Chuchill Downs two races ago. Sassy Image and Switch just didn't fire at all.


5:00 pm: Little Mike ($26.40) is a neat horse but I never thought he'd get loose on the lead in the Turf Classic -- wasn't Turbo Compressor supposed to go with him, with Get Stormy not far behind? Guess not. Little Mike took the race from wire to wire, giving Dale Roman (Shackleford) his second stakes score on the card.

Very little movement on the oddsboard since 3 pm. Union Rags just floated from 9/2 to 5/1 favorite, and everyone else is within a point of where they were two hours ago.

I'll post the willpays page for those of you still aive in anything if it ever comes up, and unless something fascinating happens in the next hour, I'll be back after the race. Good luck and safe trips to all.


5:20 pm: Here are the willpays for the pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6. Looks like 12 of the 20 Derby horses are covered in the pick-6, with a $1.3 million carryover if Daddy Long Legs, Optimizer, Take Charge Indy, Rousing Sermon, Trinniberg, Prospective, Done Talking or Liaison wins.

Note that Bodemeister is favored in the pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6, with Union Rags favored in the win pool and double.

7:15 pm: Quick thoughts:

* As Derbies go, that was a pretty satisfying one. I'll Have Another was a thoroughly deserving winner under a masterful ride from Mario Gutierrez. But I think the Preakness favorite might be...

*Bodemeister, who could not have been more brilliant in defeat -- throwing down the gauntlet, carving out some of the fastest fractions in Derby history, and only succumbing in the final yards. And that was some late hit he took at the windows, going from 6-1 to 4-1 in the biggest win pool of the year.

*The Southern California road to the Derby produced four of the first six finishers -- I'll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause (5th) and Liaison (6th) -- ran in the San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby or both.

*There are five Grade 1 Derby preps and the winners of all five were in the race. Box them and you hit the $1.532.80 trifecta of I'll Have Another (SA Derby), Bodemeister (Arkansas Derby) and Dullahan (Blue Grass). The other two were Wood Memorial winner Gemologist (16th) and FLorida Derby winner Take Charge Indy (19th).

*Union Rags had traffic problems at the start and down the backstretch and actually ran pretty well to move up from 19th to 7th, beaten 7 1/2 lengths. Don't count him out of things just yet.