04/29/2009 5:05PM

Draws & Lines


The official morning line for the Kentucky Derby separates the 20 entrants into four distinct tiers, and it's hard to argue with them: four favorites in the 3-1 to 5-1 range; the six most plausible alternatives, all tabbed at 15-1 or 20-1; four slightly less plausible 30-1 shots; and six 50-1 no-hopers, an unusually large assortment of pacesetters and vanity entries.

Here's the field that was officially drawn at noon today, with both the morning-line odds and version 1.01 of the line first listed here Monday:

As mentioned on Monday, the track's morning line adds up to more than 100 percent of the pool because the prices are not meant to be precise dollar-odds forecast, i.e. a 20-1 shot on the ML is a horse who the linemaker expects to go off at anywhere between 20.0-1 and 29.9-1.

Also, a longstanding (and perhaps misguided) sense of propriety prevents track linemakers from making horses more than 50-1, even though the bottom six in this year's race are all eligible to go off much higher. If nothing else, the prices on these horses illustrates just how much money is bet literally at random. Thereis simply no way for a rational person to believe that Atomic Rain, Join in the Dance or Mine That Bird can win the race. I mean, have you looked at Mine That Bird's past performances? The much-maligned Giacomo, on his pre-Derby form, looks like a 1-9 shot against him.

The adjustments I've made to the Cristblog line since Monday reflect the changes to the field -- Square Eddie and Win Willy out, Atomic Rain, Join in the Dance and Nowhere to Hide in -- as well as some of your more persuasive arguments. (Thanks to all for the feedback.) I've made General Quarters and Musket Man the same price instead of being 10 points apart, dropped Dunkirk from 6-1 to 5-1 and Friesan Fire from 8-1 to 6-1. I'm a little uncomfortable assigning 60 percent of the pool to just four horses, but that does seem the way it's going to shake out.

As for picks, I ended up going: 1. I Want Revenge 2. Dunkirk 3. General Quarters 4. Papa Clem. I realize the latter two may not be as likely winners as Friesan Fire and Pioneerof the Nile, but they'll be much better prices and at least are proven commodities on fast dirt.

--Friday's Oaks Day card was drawn Tuesday, and even with heavy odds-on favorites Zenyatta in the Louisville Distaff and Rachel Alexandra in the Oaks, it looks like a good betting card, including an all-stakes pick-6 and three pick-4's:

Here's the 13-race Derby Day lineup, for which the full betting menu is not yet available; I'll fill in the pick-4's when it is.

The Oaks Card pp's have been up since last night, and Saturday's card will be up this evening. My annual advice: Stop obsessing about who can or can't run fourth in the Derby already, and get to work on all the other races. 

--PS: In response to a few comments on the last post regarding betting options, here's my understanding:

1. No dime supers Oaks or Derby Day.

2. The pick-4's will be available at a 50-cent minimum but only if they usually are where you bet. In some jurisdictions, 50-cent tri's and pick-4's are not offered and you'll have to bet at a $1 minimum.

3. I don't know which races Churchill's "Matrix" bet is offered on, nor in good conscience can I recommend that anyone ever play it. The bet is supposed to be some kind of newcomer's E-Z bet, where you pick three horses and get 15 bets automatically made for you -- three win bets, six exactas (a box of your three horses) and six trifectas (a cold box of your three horses.) I guess the appeal is supposed to be a 60-cent minimum for a total cost as low as $9. However, betting three different horses to win in a race, or making three-horse trifecta boxes, are about as dopey a way to play the races as I can think of.

yuwipi More than 1 year ago
dan mackenzie: Those were wonderful and bittersweet comments about Chris Antley. I was always so fond of him as a rider. Have never seen a jockey with a better "seat" on a horse. I was not aware of the book, and will make a point of getting it. Thanks.
Raps07 More than 1 year ago
Hopefully weather will not ruin the weekend as I see the track is sloppy today, (Thursday). Steve it really looks like very few can win this year. Looking foward to the Friday Pick 4's. In one of the Picks I know Rachel will be a key for most, and I commend the owners for running in the correct race. All was right again in the world yesterday,,, Belmont was running, Durkin had a couple great strech calls, and the turf was firm
dunkirkwantsrevenge More than 1 year ago
Great news from Mike Welsch's workout report this morning regarding Dunkirk. He really seems to be sitting on another top effort. I'm OK with the 15 post. Would prefer a fast track, but won't complain if it's raining. Dunkirk to win. Exacta box with I Want Revenge. Go Dunkirk!
Tim More than 1 year ago
The condition of nw2x needs to be written into the Derby. The 6 who have only one win have no business in this race. Perhaps that would lead to reduced field size in the future.
Robert Slifer More than 1 year ago
After lots of work and twikking last night I have come up with my derby list. I may make some slight adjustments based on track biaz derby day. My picks will show the order I like them on my A list A horses Friesan Fire Like you and I talked about last night he is in line for a pefect trip right behind the speed with the ability to save all the ground he should be flying by the tire leaders at the 6 furlong mark I just hope from there he can hold off the closing kickers. Dunkirk Should get the most out of his last race should be flying late but I think to late wish he had one more race. PON Earned a very nice figure last out in what I call a workmen effort if he improves on dirt like all the CA horse have and you add 10 points to his last number thats a 106 beyer and that can win this race the other factor is he won't have to do the "dirty"work like he has in the last 2 races there is plenty of pace to set up his one big move. how will he react to having dirt in the face for the first time which is a real question mark? I Want Revenge there is no knock since coming east other then those were bad fields he beat he makes a mistake this time he will lose I can't bet him to win at a short price thou he will be on all my exoctic plays. B horses General Quarters has shown improvement he has a figure over 100 and his last race was solid the light bulb may have gone off Desert Party Can't play the sheiks horse on top but there is way to much here to put a X on him 2 solid works since arriving and the clokers have loved the way he moves. Hold Me Back hoping he isn't a poly track horse watched the reply last time and when GQ took off at the top of the lane he got left but as they kept running down the lane he began to get to him which tells me he wil love the extra ground in the derby may have bounced just a tad 2nd back off the long layoff I will probally make a small win bet on him at 30-1 Muskett Man I know he hasn't beat much but he has looked good doing it won't be on top but will be in my pick 3's and 4 as a flyer. B- Choclate Candy another unknown factor from CA has improved since coming back down to SA and ran a good race last out from dead last don't think he is fast enough to win but could get a piece. C horses swinging for the fence will be on the bottom of all my tri's Summer Bird Only his 4th start and did the light go off in his last he was 6 wide on a speed biaz track and was getting to the leaders in the lane earned a huge number any move forward from that should have him near the 3rd spot I just can't play this kind on top due to traffic issues. Regal Ransom proved that as the distance get futher he can keep carring his speed last out favorite the speed biaz but he beat a really good horse and another the clokers have loved since arriving. Atomic Rain I know you probally have a huge X on him but he got even a worse trip then IWR last out I watched 4 times and I suggest you do too if you get a chance he is stuck on the rail when 4 horses stop right in face he grabs then checks then goes for a hole which IWR beats him to then checks again finally with about 100 yars to go after having the life chocked out him a hole opens which he understandably has nothing left to go through the comment "boxed in turn" is a understandment. Papa Clem will probally get a X from me derby day but for now he is here ran nice race last out but not as impressive as it looks went by a horse who can't run that far has been terrible since getting to Churchill and the works show the same I really have no faith here and if he wins I'm all wet and mauled. The rest look hopeless thou a few will help put some needed pace into the race. One thing I will say is if they go slower then expected several of these are going to be hampered this is why I think Friesen Fire has a huge advantage from a tactical standpoint and thats why he will be on top for me and is my pick.
Stable Girl More than 1 year ago
Can't agree more about the no hopers. What are the connections of Atomic Rain thinking? Obviously not of the horse, poor guy. I'm using the avg. BSF of the last three races to determine my picks. I'll likely bet the 5 highest with a bit of tweaking in the order if the track is sloppy. This gives me IWR, FF, GQ, PC, & DP. (I subtracted 15 from the timeform rating to give DP a BSF) all of these guys have dirt experience, and 3 of them have performed well on an off track with the other 2 having good tomlinson ratings to do so. I'll be calling the bets in to my Mom in Fl. so she can make them for me. I live in the baptist nanny state of SC, which prevents me from wagering online, or by phone. GRRRRRRRRR Good luck all.
Willow Hour More than 1 year ago
My fear is that I've fallen in love with IWR for the same reason that I fell in love with Pyro last year -- he put in an astonishingly eye-catching performance against what turned out to be a fairly weak field. In what looks like a relatively pace-free race, Papa Clem scares me, since he has the tactical speed to be in the midst of things early, a decent post position, a 101 Beyer on dirt and a proven ability to run with the top ones. Awful hard to ignore if he goes off at more than 10-1.
Pete from the Thumb More than 1 year ago
Finally, the Colonel chimes in. This, from kfc_colonel - KFC's official Twitter feed: "The Colonel's Derby picks: General Quarters (he outranks me) and Flying Private (needs a promotion). Summer Bird also of interest." http://twitter.com/kfc_colonel/status/1658758077
pattyDaleure More than 1 year ago
Your sure were right on Monday in saying there'd be four fairly short priced runners and big odds on the rest. Good job. The weather here in Louisville is and will be absolutely miserable. Rain, rain and more rain. At least it's fairly warm, though Derby Day promises cooler temp and more--you guessed it! RAIN! Liked your suggestion to try to earn money on the undercard, where the dumb money will flow, and casual fans just pick at random.
derbysailor More than 1 year ago
Surprise, it's West Side Bernie just getting there at the wire.