I have been thinking about my Derby betting the past couple of days. It is simply a must-bet event with large pools, a huge field and the opportunity to make a score. Conversely, let's face it, if you do not get your blood pumping watching this as a pure fan, you might as well call the paramedics for a pulse check.
For my pure fan bet, I would bet Friesan Fire. If you do not like and admire Larry Jones, I wonder who you would like and admire in our game. However, despite my wish to use him in exotics and I do think he is the most likely winner, I think he will be too low for me. I do not worry one bit about the time off. This is a completely different game today with modern techniques, breeding and vet care. We will see myths shattered about some of these rules, and have seen myths shattered for years now.
Right now, IWR is taking a lot of cash offshore. He is chalk, and will be chalk no question. He is minus 197 to beat FF heads up in match bets. He is minus 157 to beat Dunkirk. He is around 7-2 at Betfair. He will be overbet, in my opinion. I would doubt anyone who is super-serious and playing the game as a bettor, not a fan, would have him on their tickets. Many gamblers deduct some points for his trainer in this race as well as it is hard for some to believe Mullins will win a Derby. I am one of them and he is an easy pitch for me as a gambler. I know several people from across the pond who are fading this horse mightily. Remember, as a gambler it is not about being right, it is about getting value. Almost every year the chalk provides us with value from the fade side.
POTN is taking weird cash. I don't like him at all, and I think my fair odds would have him north of ten to one. He is 9-1 at betfair, but in some match up bets he is taking a little scratch. He is a favorite over Dunkirk, and he is a toss up against FF. He is underlaid in the ML and those are never good bets in a race like this. He is not going to be on my exotic tickets above the three slot. I am very interested to see what the public makes this horse at post time, as there are a ton of conflicting signals.
Dunkirk is my "what to do with" horse in exotics. I love the horse, hate the situation. He is 5-1 offshore, taking some cash. He is taking some smart money in match ups. I have trouble with the trainer having a horse at his best in this race and will reluctantly not use him on all tickets. But he is taking action and I will squeeze him in the number two slot on exotic tickets.
Square Eddie? Oh how I wish he was in this race, and sound. I had been salivating to make him my play after the Lexington. This was a year I was going to play him hard, and have not been this excited to play a horse since Closing Argument several years ago. I was very disappointed he was not in this race.
I have to move my play to a couple of others in exotics, and right now I am pretty sold on Desert Party. He is 20-1 offshore and right in the wheelhouse odds wise. I will definitely be constructing some tickets around him, but have much more due diligence to do. Another one that interests me is Musket Man, for some sort of exotics work-around.
As far as the winning mutuel goes, it is 7-5 that the payoff will be over $20.00. If that crept up a bit I think that is value, however I have not made a fair odds line yet.
My fan hat? Friesan Fire.
My gambler hat? Lord knows, but I hope I can hit something juicy and the chalk falters.
And as an added kicker? Track bias. Something to watch closely with the possible rainy skies. What a game! And what an event!