05/02/2011 2:37PM

Kentucky Derby: Will Borel's presence lower odds on Twice the Appeal?


Back when Hall Of Fame jockey Pat Day rode at Churchill Downs, his popularity could result in the odds on his mounts dropping, even in a race with a massive betting pool, such as the Kentucky Derby.

With Day now retired, the “Pat Day effect” no longer exists – though if any rider can still move the Churchill Downs tote board in the Derby, it would be Calvin Borel, who has won this race three of the last four years.

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Mike Battaglia, morning-line oddsmaker for Churchill Downs, said Monday he was inclined to make Sunland Derby winner Twice The Appeal, the longshot Borel rides in this year’s Kentucky Derby, a 20-1 shot, as opposed to 50-1, the price the horse would have been with another, less accomplished Derby rider up.

“I mean, how many jockeys can get on the front page of the Racing Form when they pick up a 50-1 shot?” he asked, referring to a story last week.

Battaglia said he saw the effect of Borel’s presence on the tote board last year when victorious Super Saver went off at 8-1 odds under the jockey, down from his 15-1 morning line.

“He had Calvin Borel, the race came up right for him, and he had a perfect draw, and Lookin At Lucky had the rail,” he said.

Super Saver also caught a sloppy track, a surface over which he had won over previously.

Borel’s other Derby victories came aboard favored Street Sense ($11.80) in 2007 and longshot bomb Mine That Bird ($103.20) in 2009.
Mike Watchmaker, national handicapper for Daily Racing Form, anticipates a higher price than Battaglia on Twice The Appeal, pegging him at 50-1, even with Borel aboard.

He said it was a “tough call” regarding how much Borel influenced the odds on Super Saver last year. He said a $100,000 win wager that was placed on Super Saver by a sweepstakes winner was a contributing factor to the price drop.

As for this year’s race, he sees Twice The Appeal’s résumé as too thin for him to be much lower than 50-1.

“If Borel were on a ‘liver’ horse than Twice The Appeal, I could see him getting knocked down,” Watchmaker said. “But I don’t know how much of an effect he is going to have on Twice the Appeal.”

Both oddsmakers agree Florida Derby winner Dialed In is the likely favorite, although if he were to draw the rail, a troublesome starting position that Lookin At Lucky drew last year, that could cause them to alter who they believe will be the public choice.