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Steve Klein: Box Kentucky Derby Future Wager value horses in the exacta
By Steve Klein
Is it possible to pick a $46.20 winner and feel absolutely miserable about it? It is. That happened to me last year in Pool 2 of Churchill’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
I recommended win bets on two longshots, I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister, in that order. Now here is where the fun begins, and by fun I mean excruciating pain. I also advised bets on two exacta combinations. Unfortunately, neither of them was I’ll Have Another over Bodemeister, which paid $1,661 for $2. I believed that Bodemeister was more likely to finish off the board than he was to be second if he tired down the stretch, so I didn’t box them. It was an expensive mistake.
It only took about 51 weeks for me to get over that disappointment, so I’m ready to again tackle Kentucky Derby Pool 2, which ends at 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, followed by the close of the Oaks futures pool a half-hour later.
The closing odds on my horses in Pool 1 were not what I hoped for. They were Normandy Invasion at 15-1, lower than his 20-1 morning line, Itsmyluckyday at 13-1, down from 15-1, and Revolutionary at 13-1, well below his anticipated 20-1. I advised passing on Verrazano at 11-1 or lower, so there was no bet on him.
Consider those horses if their odds are higher this time. I’ll be searching for value in other runners in this pool.
I was a fan of Shakin It Up prior to his win in the seven-furlong San Vicente, at a time when it was possible to get triple-digit odds in Las Vegas. Horses like this are a great example of why Churchill Downs should make the change next year to offering odds on every individual horse nominated to the Triple Crown. He wasn’t one of the 23 individual betting options offered in Pool 1, and the idea of settling for something close to his 15-1 morning line now, after a victory I foresaw at 2-1 in the San Vicente, is particularly irritating to me.
Shakin It Up wasn’t ready for a top try in the San Vicente while returning from a layoff and after missing a few days of training, so I believe his courage was on display, rather than his speed. I know he’s capable of running a faster race in his next start, and he’ll be a Kentucky Derby contender if he does.
Super Ninety Nine looked very good winning the Southwest at Oaklawn Park by 11 1/4 lengths with speed to spare, but some handicappers are reluctant to endorse him since that race was run on a sloppy track. I understand their reasoning, but I don’t agree with it. He wasn’t a 50-1 longshot who suddenly ran an unexpected big race. He was the even-money favorite, and the 101 Beyer he earned in the Southwest is only one point higher than the 100 he earned on a fast track going a mile at Santa Anita in his previous start. The only reason for hesitation is his 10-1 morning line.
Delhomme has a 50-1 morning line, and he closed at 55-1 in Pool 1. It bothers me that he lost ground down the stretch going a mile at Belmont in his maiden win, and then gave up a half-length lead with a furlong to go and finished third, beaten by three-quarters of a length by Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion, in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen. The thing that interests me is that he hasn’t raced since that start on Nov. 24, so there is a possibility that he has improved enough to be a serious threat at 1 1/4 miles.
Here is my theory about betting on exactas in these futures pools. The field option has enjoyed good success over the years because it isn’t unusual for a late-blooming horse who isn’t among the 23 individual betting interests to win the Kentucky Derby. When I choose a horse from the group of 23 individual runners it’s because I like his chances, and hopefully his overlaid odds, versus those of the other individual runners. I don’t want to put myself in the position of having to beat every possible potential late bloomer, in addition to all of the other individual runners. So my automatic exacta play is to bet the individual runners I like, if their odds are acceptable, for second in the exacta with the field on top. That way all my horse has to do is beat the other 22 individual horses. If one of my selections finishes second beneath a good late-developing rival who is part of the field, I win my exacta bet.
I’ll bet on Super Ninety Nine to win at 12-1 and up, Shakin It Up at 20-1 and higher, and Delhomme at 40-1 or better. I will also bet the field on top in the exacta over any of these horses who meet my odds requirements.
And if more than one of these horses meets my odds requirements, you might want to box them in the exacta for a minimum-size bet. It could save you a lot of grief. Trust me, I know.
One money management note, your exacta bets should be much smaller than your win bets.
As a member of the racing website Wire To Wire, it is amazing how dumb race savvy people are about the value of future book betting on the Kentucky Derby. One of the best bets in all of racing.
This early in the game its advised to use a three horse Derby box for a buck. Insurance against an off the trail happening or.filed to qualify for one of your selections. Liked Vyjack's run in the Gotham Stakes? Well, Chapagne Stakes Place horse behind Eclipse award winning juvenile Shanghai Bobby, and subsequrnt Cash Call and Sham Stakes winner, Goldencents, in last year's Derby-Preakness winner's trainer's hands, Doug O'Neil, has been working great out in California. Goldencents is overlaid odds at his current 27-1 this day, and he and Vyjack share the same AP Indy genes in the sires bloodline through his quick son, Into Mischief. Just sayin'.
Vyjack @ 49/1 in Pool 1 ........... Got It !!
Get $10 and buy 5 $2 exacta boxes. Last year this is how I got it and at this point, anyone can win. Have the Quick Pick button do the selecting. At this point nobody knows anything.
Steve - I know exactly how you feel. That's why I am picking several of the longshots that I like at a price and making a $4 exacta box with them. This costs me $8 per bet. In the end, after betting pools 1,2, and 3, it does add up in cost, however, the rewards are worth it with the sweet payoffs. Last year I cashed a $919 ticket Derby Day on IHA/Bodemeister Exacta box. I finished ahead $352 for Derby Day. Had I played that same ticket for future wager at 2x the payout, instead of 3x payout on derby day, the payout would have been $3232! Assuming I would have bet $100 more to make my bets on pools 1,2, and 3, I still would have finished ahead by at least $2500, instead of $352. Getting excited about my picks this year. Great article steve, and great insights.
your logic of bodemeister fading if he got involved in a duel or winning if he did not was also pondered by myself and yes I liked ill have another from pool 1.unfortunately I threw out bodemeister and added dulahan in the 2nd spot along with went the day well,gemoligist,creative cause in the exactas.but as everybody nose(pun intended) bodemeister nosed out a fast closing dulahan for 2nd the exactas in one of the pools whas 3600 and I had it 3x and the same exacta in the other 2 pools .the win bet on ill have another got me even for the day,but I wont forget the pain bodemeister caused me I also had triples on the day with him 3rd behind dulahan and others.
Next year they should offer wagers in blocks of 5 horses.
The payoffs being offered are miniscule when you really think about the chance you are taking in wagering 2 months ahead of the time. Churchill must really rake in on these wagers.
I always liked to front wheel and backwheel with my horses just to have something going at the derby and a cheap bet. That $1661 mistake is a big oops. Hard enough to get them to the gate, but a misplay always haunts me.
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