04/25/2010 3:32PM

Starting Over


The last Sunday of April in 2010 began just like the first Saturday of May in 2009: Waking up to find that the solid favorite for the Kentucky Derby is out of the race. It was I Want Revenge a year ago and Eskenderaya today.

At least we've got six days instead of six hours to rethink the race this time, but this one feels worse. I liked Eskendereya's Fountain of Youth and Wood even more than I Want Revenge's Gotham and Wood last year, and thought Eskendereya had simply separated himself from the rest of the crop with those two performances. He seemed to have all the goods not only to win the Derby but also to make a serious Triple Crown bid..

Even if you weren't an Eskendereya fan and were committed to trying to beat him on Saturday, you can't be happy about his absence: The prices on whoever you liked to beat him just came crashing down. If you liked the second and third choices, Lookin at Lucky and Sidney's Candy, you were probably getting 6-1 and 8-1 with Eskendereya in the field at 9-5; now they're the favorites at something like 4-1 and 5-1. And that 20-1 shot you liked? He's now more like 14-1. The chart below illustrates how Eskendreya's defection affects the other prices:

I just took a 10-minute look at the remaining field, imagining an Eskendereya-less Derby for the first time, and was struck by how close together the rest of them are on form and figures.It now looks like a Derby where you can make credible cases for a lot of them: I count 13 candidates with a career-best Beyer between 97 and 101.

I guess that makes it a more entertaining betting race, but it's going to take me a day or two to  get over the disappointment of Eskendereya and warm up to it.

gorgon More than 1 year ago
Who cares about esky bein gone. he was going to end up another overated favorite being beaten. His FOY and Wood were ridiculously slow paced races run more like low level allowance races from a pace standpoint and he greatly benefitted from that and the fact he was not running against any really good horses - Jacksons bend??? Cmon
Ray Gordon More than 1 year ago
Last September, in this very blog, I predicted that Stately Victor would win the 2010 Triple Crown. What I can't figure out now is if he's going to pay 9-2 or 50-1 when he wins on Saturday. Is the public really that BLIND to what makes him the obvious favorite? I suspect a few big-money boys are not, and will crush his price.
azpete More than 1 year ago
If it Rains,I'll bets on the Groans.
Bill Conklin More than 1 year ago
Everybody noticed Esky's new fronts, but how many noticed the knees were shaved too, which means they've been in there. I am decimated that he's out because I wanted to bet against him! And I want to bet against Lucky and Candy too, picking a closer. Right now, I lean to Stately victor, with his dynamite last b3/8 in th BG. Players will throw him out because it was done on plastic. Better be carefull with that!
chicagoray More than 1 year ago
Most of the money that would have gone to Esk will now go to either Lucky or Sid. Chalk players will remain chalk players. My price on the other hand just went UP. I liked Jackson Bend and any price is better than the zero if he doesn't get in.
Sue More than 1 year ago
I believe Pletcher was very upset over the loss of his best horse, however I wouldn't overlook Super Saver, the name says it all.
KY Crusader 75 More than 1 year ago
This really shakes things up. I think the key issue until Eskendereya scratched was whether he would win by 5 lengths or by 10. He towered over the field. Well, we still have the same pace scenario and it still sets up for someone who can close. Lucky, Ice Box, Endorsement are looking better. Also hearing that Rule and Ineteractif are OUT....
wilson More than 1 year ago
All the people who bet the Field in pool one have to feel good now. Now they really only have to play a backup ticket on Lookin' At Lucky and maybe light coverage on some bombers and they'll be okay. I am not one of the Field bettors in pool one so I still have work to do. I was all set to play Lucky and Sidney in an unbalanced exacta box, but now I may have to work some strategy out to fill out the trifecta. I still like the horses I like, but their odds just got decimated.
92LNeck More than 1 year ago
Steve or anyone else: There were firm willpays on the future Exacta bets. What happens to the willpays now for all the money that had Exacta combos with Eksy in them? Does that money readjust the Exacta (futures) payouts? [The willpays stay the same. Any bets that had Esky finishing first or second are losers because Esky will not run first or second. -SC]
Marc at DRF More than 1 year ago
On the flood of complaints about Esky scratching: 1) As a big hype horse who had run really impressively, um, twice, we really want to see if he is The One. But let's get this straight: Esky is NOT the "best horse of his generation," as the media will have it, over and over again today. He's just another horse who couldn't even frickin' make it to the Derby. The best horse of his generation? We'll know that at year's end, or next year's end. Esky is merely, at this point, a flash in the pan. A horse who ran a couple of sub-110 Beyers. Big deal. Quality Road was better at this point last year. Remember, Quality Road, who got repeatedly dusted by Summer Bird. 2) The race is more exciting to bet with a big hype horse in the field. It makes for a bigger story going into the race. Sure, fine, true. OK, that said... -If you are a skeptic who is bummed because you wanted to bet against Esky, well, boo hoo. You were sooooooo sure he was going to lose, huh? Puh-leaze. So sure of yourself, huh? Remember Big Brown? You may be very lucky that a healthy Esky didn't show up and ruin your bets on Derby Day. -If you are bummed because you wanted to bet ON Esky, c'mon. Remember Point Given? Neither camp will ever know if they were right about their opinion, and I suggest we start figuring out how we're going to CRUSH THIS DERBY. It's a great, great betting race this year. I personally LIKE IT when heavy faves drop out of races with HUGE fields because heavy faves are such difficult horses to figure in fields of this size. If you hit the Derby tri or super in a wide-open field of this size, it's of course going to pay HUGE. You're telling me to be upset because, like, Dublin, is going to be 14-1 instead of 19-1? I also disagree that these horses are going to somehow all suddenly be 8-1 (not Steve's sentiment, but it's out there). Rather, this is a Derby with one 3-1 shot, one 6-1 shot, perhaps a 9-1 shot, and a sea of horses in the 10 to 15-1 range. Do yourself a favor and stop worrying about price. The super is going to pay $10,000. At least.