04/07/2010 1:59PM



There's a lot of loose talk about how Eskendereya's going to be a "heavy," or "prohibitive" or "odds-on" favorite in the 136th Kentucky Derby May 1. Even putting aside that there's still an Arkansas Derby and a Blue Grass to be run, and 3 1/2 weeks of unforeseeable twists and turns ahead, I think people may be overestimating how strongly he'll be bet. The following chart, listing the last 25 Derby favorites in order of their odds, may provide some context:

Some nuggets:

--Only two of the last 25 Derby favorites have been less than even money, none since Arazi in 1992.

--Only five of the last 25 Derby favorites have gone off at less than 2-1.

 --Since the parimutuel lineup was increased from 14 to 20 separate betting interests, no one has been shorter than Big Brown's 2.40-1 in 2008.

--All eight Derby favorites in this span who were 2.20-1 or less lost. The last Derby favorite to win at less than 2-1 was Spectacular Bid at 3-5 in 1979.

I happen to like Eskendereya, and think his Fountain of Youth and Wood are the two best performances we've seen from a 3-year-old this year. Everything else being equal, though, the more I stare at the chart above, I just can't see him being much less than 2-1 on Derby Day. And of course it's a long 24 days to go: It was about a year ago today that we were all wondering whether I Want Revenge or Quality Road was going to be the Derby favorite and neither made it to the gate.

Walt P. More than 1 year ago
And speaking of Zenyatta in the Foster: If they do go in the Foster, if I'm at Churchill, I work to have a deal in place with NBC that would even if it meant having the Foster program at night putting the race between the second and third periods of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals (scheduled for Saturday 6/12 as of now and with another race between the first two periods) on NBC, with the Foster (plus one additional race) airing as an hour-long telecast from 10-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT on NBC that night should the Stanley Cup Finals end in a four-game sweep or because of scheduling conflicts there is no game that night.
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Given Zenyatatta's connections have said the Stephen Foster could be her next start: If I'm at Disney, I'm looking at asking NYRA to move the Met Mile from Memorial Day to the Belmont Stakes card (which this year is only five days later because of the calendar), perhaps have Disney Parks sponsor the race and offer to make the Met Mile a $4 million race if Zenyatta and Quality Road show up, and it probably would get Rachel out of the woodwork too (with it $3 million if it's Rachel vs. Zenyatta, $4 million for all three). Getting those three to meet in the race directly in front of The Belmont would assure of it being on ABC's Belmont telecast and I think would bring a ton of viewers.
Jeff T. More than 1 year ago
toones says: I would like some insight on a possible hedge bet. As I previously stated, I have over $4,500 on Eskendereya in the KY Derby Future Polls 2 & 3. Would the hedge here be a big place bet? Or should it be hedged differently? Also, I would just point out to people who think Eskendereya will be over 2-1 that he was 5-1 in the future pool before he won the Wood Memorial by 9 and 3/4 with a Beyer of 109. Toones... By my calculations, you're looking at 27K if Big E wins the Derby, correct? It only costs $1026.00 ($342.00 per Trifecta position) to wheel him as well. This is the only economical way to take approx. 20% of your current wager to be used as a hedge where being beat (2nd or 3rd) will produce the payoff of your originally risked amount.
James Mc. More than 1 year ago
Re beerbelly's post about hedging, hopefully it won't be too long before the US joins the 21st Century with respect to gambling regulation. Then we can arbitrage all we want, legally, on a site like Betfair.
tony More than 1 year ago
how about those races yesterday ? YIKES Looks to me like none of these horses are any good except Esky , LOL and Sidneys candy . Gonna be tough to figure who comes 2nd with this crew
C More than 1 year ago
I'll go out on a limb here and say that Eskendereya is not even going to be the favorite. From what I've been hearing, Lookin At Lucky is your favorite.
luresdouble More than 1 year ago
Very soft early paces and outside in the clear in his 2 recent wins, sorry Esky hypesters, the first 6 panels in the Derby will be 10 lengths faster and Esky will have to run considerably faster to be in that up front position. I'll guess he gets fried Derby day or shuffled back and will be hugely overbet. Sorry drug man Pletcher, this horse won't win Derby day despite the beyers hyepsters. 49 opening half in the Wood and a 48 opening half in the FOY made this horse look much more dominant than he is. I just hope he gets pounded at the windows to create real value out there for the late runners like Stately Warrior. The competition in both this race and the FOY were not much either.
jcp More than 1 year ago
After thoses messes on Saturday, Esky will be odds-on if she gets to the gate...
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Evan: I wrote what I did before NYRA announced dropping the overnight stakes in favor of boosting the overnight purses, something obviously NYRA needs to be doing not just to combat Monmouth, but also Philadelphia Park (where except for a few $5,000 claiming races, every race now carries at least a $20,000 purse, and actually now has a higher maiden bottom than NYRA ($10.5-12,500) with Aqueduct running a $10,000 Maiden Claimer on Wednesday (even in the early '80s I don't ever remember NYRA going as low as $10,000 with maidens). If anything, if I were running Philly Park, I would be cutting some of the claiming purses and add the monies to allowance races (think $50/$53,000 for maidens going short/long, $53/56,000 for NW1x Allowance $56/$60,000 for NW2x Allowance, etc.) to try and get more of the "better" races to go and in the process pick up some clearly disgruntled New York patrons. For more than a year, all I've been hearing is griping about NYRA's lack of running higher class races like they used to, and so by adding money to get more allowance races to go at Philly, it would be a way for those disgruntled patrons to "put up or shut up" in that regard. That said, I do agree Campo has done the best he could with a severely depleted stock and NYRA's financial condition. What I think is really needed is for NYRA to be able to race a real season like the old days: Start nine Saturdays before the Derby with the Bay Shore (on the main track, where the current inner track surface would be moved to) the opening day feature, with the Gotham (back to being a one-turn mile) three weeks later (six Saturdays before the Derby) and Wood Memorial back to being three weeks before the Derby. On the other end, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with the Cigar Mile, Remsen, Demoiselle and Gazelle can be the final card of the year in New York. While some might gripe being closed for three months, I think it would be a psychological boost for many, while those who absolutely need to run in the winter could ship to Philly Park or Penn National (which offer decent purse structures), which in turn would benefit them.
beerbelly More than 1 year ago
Toones. On Wall Street the following process is called arbitraging: Offer 7 to 2 on Derby day to a prospective investor. If Eskendereya wins you made a profit of $6750. If Eskendereya loses you break even. Or offer 7 to 2 on half your wager:$2250. If ESK wins you made a profit of $9000. If he loses you lost $2250. If Eskendereya last workout gets glowing reviews no need to hedge. Enjoy the dopamine surge.