04/08/2015 11:48AM

Jerardi: Reserving a super with Dortmund and a party of three

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Benoit & Associates
Dortmund has the same look coming into the Kentucky Derby as California Chrome did last year.

Let’s make this an annual event. I am sitting on press row at the Final Four. The Santa Anita Derby appears on my laptop during the first half of the first game of semifinals. The horse I have been touting for a month is favored. And nearly runs off my screen.

Last year, it was California Chrome; this year, Dortmund.

Unless American Pharoah runs so fast in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby that I have to re-evaluate, I am all in on Dortmund and starting my search for superfecta keys or, in this case, "trifecta’’ keys (in the second, third, and fourth spots), with the free space atop the super in Dortmund.

Last year’s search went until the day before the Derby. I went to Louisville with an open mind, looking for horses with a certain profile. Given that I knew California Chrome was going to be with the early pace and, if I was right, would, at some point, discourage all the speed horses, I was trying to identify live closers at a decent price that preferably were having a good week at Churchill Downs.

I quickly came up with two of my key horses -- Medal Count and Intense Holiday. I was really having trouble with the third horse. I ended up at a party Thursday night in downtown Louisville hosted by Terry Finley for all of his West Point partnership people. Finley emphatically explained how he was absolutely certain Commanding Curve was going to win the Derby. Being a guest, I was not going to say I knew, with zero doubt, that California Chrome was going to win the Derby.

Commanding Curve was on my super list with a few other horses. I was more thinking fourth as a best-case scenario when all the chasers hit the wall in the stretch. In the end, I settled on the other CC as my third key horse because of running style and price (37-1).

I watched the Derby from the grandstand with the DRF’s Jay Privman. Once I gently reminded Victor Espinoza to get California Chrome outside the other speed in the first few hundred yards, I stopped watching the front of the pack. I knew that race was over.

I don’t know about you, but trying to watch the Derby is an exercise in frustration for me -- too many horses, too much happening, too fast. So I try to find a few horses and stay with them. I could see fairly quickly Medal Count and Intense Holiday were going nowhere. I picked up Commanding Curve for the first time when he came by us -- with maybe 300 yards to run. The horse was flying. It was obvious he was going to be second. This was a good thing, but how good a thing would be determined by which horses finished third and fourth.

Without going into all the details, I needed another longshot. Two would have been even nicer. Jay, who saw way more than I did, quickly told me Danza was third and it was really close for fourth between Wicked Strong and Samraat.

What had been a best-case scenario one second had quickly turned into potentially a worst-case scenario. If it was Wicked Strong, it would be California Chrome with the second and third favorites, Wicked Strong and Danza, respectively. I knew that a lot of players would have boxed the three favorites with the field. Or taken Chrome on top with the next two favorites and the field. The price on that super was going to be deflated, even with a 37-1 running second.

I saw the replay before the photo for fourth was posted. I was certain 16-1 Samraat had held fourth. The photo told another story. At the wire in the still picture, Wicked Strong was striding out while Samraat was in between strides.

I will never know what that super would have paid for a $1. The real super paid $7,691.90, nice but hardly a windfall, especially considering what my partners and I had invested, more than $1 and less than $5,000.

As I was leaving that night, I stopped by Churchill communications director Darren Rogers’s office to ask if there was a way to know what the super would have paid with Samraat, just so I could torture myself a little more. He did not think so, but he did e-mail me that photo for fourth a few days later. I just looked at it the other day. Nothing changed.

Paul Aswad More than 1 year ago
this may be the coldest exacta box in the history of the derby. AP AND DORTMUND are light years ahead of anyone else. case closed. the love the exacta box I played last november
wayne haehner More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to see what delusional Beyer lover Jerardi says now after AP ran a big number
Raymond More than 1 year ago
Like you last year I had played a $60 Trifecta with five horses boxed. I had four out of the first five but did not have the other CC, That's how it goes!
Steve Gibson More than 1 year ago
AP beat nothing in Arkansas. Just like Firing Line beat nothing in Sunland, Carpe Diem beat nothing in the Blue Grass, and Mubtaahij beat nothing in the UAE Derby. The new points system has given the top Derby contenders incentive to avoid each other at all costs prior to the KD. Top contenders like AP, Dortmund, Carpe Diem, Firing Line, Upstart, Materiality, Mubtaahij, Frosted, El Kahbier, International Star, Dubai Sky, and some outliers like Stanford, etc..have for the most part avoided each other. Upstart, Itsanknockout, and Frosted in the Fountain of Youth, Upstart and Materiality in the Fl Derby, and Dortmund and Firing Line twice. Other than that none of the major players have faced each other,so no one knows how they measure up versus each other, particularly at 1 1/4. Lots of horses look like legends at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8th versus weak fields only to be exposed at Churchill that 1st Saturday in May.
Steve Gibson More than 1 year ago
Well, you could also add Carpe Diem versus Stanford in the Tampa Bay Derby too, but Stanford does not look like a serious player though he'll likely influence the front of the race on 5/2.
DD PR More than 1 year ago
Well said, I agree with you. So who are your picks?
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Too many times we see decent 2 year olds win a huge purse, and qualify for the derby months in advance only for that horse to avoid other top horses in the G1 preps at 3, because they had the earnings already. The point system is fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP is the real deal he humiliated as a 2 year old the breeders cup winner and others and no one is close to him this year. I love Dortmund but backers is so much higher on SO and SO is just getting his conditioning and should peak for Derbyshire and it a clean run race he should win fairly easy and is the best triple crown possibility in yearsssss
Rick Guior More than 1 year ago
Not a lot different from other professional sports where you have teams in divisions and conferences that largely don't play against the other teams in other conferences. The playoffs are then segregated that same way with the division/conference winners eventually meeting in later rounds. In racing, we have what seems to Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West Coast divisions. From a handicapping perspective, I would prefer if more of these horses had met each other along the way but from a spectator sport perspective, it sure is more dramatic having them all come together the way it has unfolded.
Jack Nichols More than 1 year ago
Tomorrow, April 11, will tell the tale. American Pharaoh is the real deal. He rides the jockey, while, from what I've seen so far, several of the top tier contenders must be ridden by the jockeys. When it comes to little to no urging verses urging, there's only one logical choice. If American romps on Saturday, he'll be the one to beat in the Derby.
Tim Sr. More than 1 year ago
Way to go out on a limb
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
been going through this field, and don't see anyone here who can beat dortmund, except Firing line. he came through a strong prep at sunland park. Did it easy. Took a break from Dortmund, now he goes back in kentucky for the rematch Stevens in the saddle which gives me confidence. Gotta watch him on the track to see how he likes it that week. If there is an upset it should come from Firing Line. Almost Beat Dortmund in the Bob Lewis, right now its firing line.
Mark Oleary More than 1 year ago
Dortmund looks like a standout in a race loaded with talent and Frosted put that strange anomoly behind him by winning the Wood, so that is my exacta box. My conondrum comes out of the Baffert barn because he also has American Pharoah and the lightly raced One Lucky Dane who ran a nice second to Dortmund last out. So do I just box Baffert and Frosted and cash out? Or do I get sensible and use the dominating son of Dubawi, one Mubtaahij , the winner of the UAE Derby, along with Carpe Diem and Firing Line. This Derby looks daunting on paper, but only one speed horse will win, while the others flounder, so closers will seize the day. Tough race!
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
I agree with you Mark. The cool thing is it will be a great race to watch for sure. You have a great handle with your handicapping. Only thing I'd say to your conundrum is who ever you decide on, take a stand and don't spread too much. As always, this is just one race, ( albeit great), to an entire great day of racing. I can only speak for myself, but, I've had KD's I've crushed and I've had many KD's I lost.....my great KD entire day of racing goal is to win on the day. So, good luck on your picks. I truly hope you cash on the Derby, but if not, that's fine too, because I'm sure you'll enjoy the race and still have a positive ROI for the entire day.
Steve Gibson More than 1 year ago
What will be most interesting about the Derby is the 1st 1/4 mile IMO. In the past before the points system you usually had a good number of true sprinter types who could help spread the field out. Not now. Instead this year you have about 10 serious contenders who almost all have a very similiar type of desired running style - on the front or pressing the pace and virtually none of these want or have ever taken dirt in their faces except for Mubtaahij. It'll be very interesting to see how these horses fight for those desired front 4 or 5 spots given there are no sprinter types to thin the field out. You will have AP, Dortmund, CD, Upstart, Stanford, Materiality, Firing Line, Dubai Sky, and Mubtaahij all aiming for those forwardly placed sweet spots. That combined with 20 horses all trying to get over into the first 4 or 5 paths by the first turn may create chaos entering turn 1 and a huge log jam. Should be fun to watch and handicap.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
we all have sad bad beat stories i have a few doozies myself...I did hit the exactas the last two derbies..but but missed the triple when DANZA mugged MEDAL COUNT in the stretch..perhaps my worst derby beat was when I thought I could hit a straight triple with CAPTAIN BODIGIT x SILVER CHARM x FREE HOUSE of course SILVER beat the CAPTAIN by a nose and although I boxed the tri a few times I would have preferred my 100 straight tri...When ILL HAVE ANOTHER won the derby a friend of mine tried in vain to talk me into betting BODEMEISTER ,but I thought he would be cooked in the pace by triniberg or tuefelsberg I get the two mixed up. so I played ILL HAVE ANOTHER with DULAHAN for 2nd of course BODEMEISTER held on for 2nd by a nostril from a fast closing DULAHAN costing me 9000 + In futures exactas the trifecta and worst of all the hi 5 that I think paid 247 000..many years ago I hit a 19 000 pick 4 on breeders cup day by singling ISLINGTON and ACTION THIS DAY in the following race I went 2 deep with HIGH CHAPARAL and FALBRAV and in the last leg had half the field including my top pick PLEASENTLY PERFECT who won at 14/1 ACTION THIS DAY won at 25/1.unfortunately HIGH CHAPARAL dead heated with JOHAR in the longest photo ever about 20 minutes.so I had to split the pick 4 with those who had JOHAR my other horse FALBRAV was only a neck behind in 3rd why couldn't he dead heat with HIGH CHAPARAL .but the sad part was I decided not to play the pick 6 it paid 1.8 million and I bet both of the winners in the first 2 legs so there's a pretty good chance I would have hit the thing. But then again maybe not..i do know one thing had I stayed away from the first few races on the card or hit something earlier I would have played a decent sized pick 6.
Tim Sr. More than 1 year ago
Gee, do you have any more stories you can share
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Oh brother ! Now the columnists are redboarding what they didn't have :) I had Commanding Curve and he was everything a Beyer disciple looks for in a throw out :) What a fibber .
tommy More than 1 year ago
My father hit the superfecta for $4 and the exacta for $20 !! He didn't like California chrome, so he put him on top since I said he had highest vo2 max. Then he put the 17 for 2nd who was the worst horse !! My father said this horse will have the epo since he spoke with track owners at Churchill because he makes the. Kentucky derby hats!! And boom!! The 17 got 2nd and all other races was dead last since he didn't have the epo in him !!
tommy More than 1 year ago
It was a shame I didn't catch the trifecta or superfecta because I told my fisher he was crazy and it was impossible for the 17 to come 2nd!!
Steve Gibson More than 1 year ago
Lance Armstrong was on the trailer with the #17, FYI.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
So you bet the 5/2 favorite on top then keyed 3 horses in the 3 remaining superfecta spots presumably with all. That's a $2754 bet for $1. Had you just bet the same amount and had the guts to put CC on top in exactas with your three key horses you'd have got back $156,060. No way the super paid one-fifth that amount even with Saamrat 4th. And now you want to repeat the error by betting supers with the favorite again?