For those of you who read my Kentucky Derby selection column, you experienced the same raw emotions as I did. I picked Maximum Security to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.
If you read my column and saw the race, you know that Maximum Security did exactly what I thought he would and could do. He was quick from the gate. He got the lead well within himself.
Maximum Security set reasonable fractions. Then, at the head of the stretch, the dream became a nightmare.
After the horse crossed the finish line first, I was euphoric. Then there was a claim of foul by Flavien Prat, the rider of Country House (and later, we learned, from Jon Court, rider of Long Range Toddy). My first thoughts were this. This is the Kentucky Derby; the stewards don’t take horses down.
Then there was the obvious visual that Country House was far out in the middle of the racetrack.
He was not bothered one iota by Maximum Security.
Well, long story short. Maximum Security was disqualified. And our thrill of victory lasted 22 minutes.
I am bound and determined to win back the money that I lost in the Kentucky Derby on this Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
The horse I like in the Preakness is Improbable (5-2). He will be the race favorite. But that doesn’t bother me at all. You see, year after year the Preakness is the most formful leg of the Triple Crown.
One of the reasons for that is the Kentucky Derby horses that run in the Preakness are usually better than the new shooters. With that being said, I’m fairly certain that Improbable is the best of the four Derby horses that shipped to Pimlico.
Bob Baffert, the trainer of Improbable, has won the Preakness seven times. He always comes loaded to Baltimore.
As far as some underneath horses to use in my vertical wagers? I will offer a trio of horses, all new shooters, that I think can run big. They are Alwaysmining (8-1), Anothertwistafate (6-1), and Bourbon War (12-1).
Not only are they all solid prices, but they are all coming into this race with improving form. Alwaysmining and Anothertwistafate both have high cruising speed so I expect them to be forwardly placed.
The big sleeper to me is Bourbon War. He faced a gauntlet of good 3-year-olds in the Xpressbet Florida Derby and Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes. Against the likes of Maximum Security, Code of Honor, and Vekoma, he more than held his own. He is a dedicated late closer who should see a lively pace.
I am going to key Improbable to run either first or second. Then I’ll be using the other horses underneath him.
Richard Eng is the author of “Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies," an introductory book for newcomers to the sport of horse racing. For two decades, he was the turf editor and handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He still handicaps the Southern California tracks and his picks are for sale at www.racedaylasvegas.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @richeng4propick and on Facebook.com.