Piassek’s Plays: Kentucky Derby Day Selections

Gambling
Fans get a close look at racehorses on the track at Churchill Downs April 28. (Eclipse Sportswire)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.


Saturday, May 1

Churchill Downs, Race 4, 12:04 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Friday, April 30: 12 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; 12 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET and 8:30 p.m.-9 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, May 1:
12 p.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN; 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, May 2:
1 p.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#1 Invader: As a 3-year-old last year, Invader showed plenty of promise. He won the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park, then finished second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. After that race, he went to the sidelines and did not return for more than a year. He ran a huge race in his comeback, a second-level allowance at Keeneland on April 8. He went right to the lead and set very fast fractions. Despite the blistering pace, he still led turning for home and hung on until the last eighth, when he was overtaken by a rival who sat a perfect trip just off the lead.

In this spot, Invader will encounter some pressure on the lead, but he looks like the fastest one early on and has the advantageous rail position. He has a race under his belt and should improve in his second start off the layoff. If he does, he could take them gate-to-wire.

STRATEGY ON A $10 BUDGET

$6 to win on 1

$2 exacta: 1 with 4,8

STRATEGY ON A $25 BUDGET

$13 to win on 1

$3 exacta key box: 1 with 4,8 ($12 total)

STRATEGY ON A $50 BUDGET

$18 to win on 1

$5 exacta key box: 1 with 4,8 ($20 total)

$2 trifecta: 1 with 4,6,8 with 4,6,8 ($12 total)

Churchill Downs, Race 8, Pat Day Mile Stakes Presented by LG&E and KU, 2:48 p.m. ET

#12 Joe Frazier: It’s no secret that trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux are a dangerous combination everywhere, especially at Churchill Downs. Speed horses also tend to do well at Churchill. When you get a speedy Cox-Geroux horse who is 12-1 on the morning line, like Joe Frazier, it’s an excellent betting opportunity.

Joe Frazier is coming off a win in a first-level allowance race at Keeneland last out, where he battled on the lead, then wrested control as they entered the stretch. He held off a charge of opponents late for a nose victory. It won’t be easy for him to get to the lead from the outside post, but he is one of the fastest horses early and Geroux knows the track and the horse well. The price will be right.

STRATEGY ON A $10 BUDGET

$4 to win on 12

$1 exacta box: 3,8,12 ($6 total)

STRATEGY ON A $25 BUDGET

$7 to win on 12

$2 exacta box: 3,8,12 ($12 total)

50-cent trifecta: 12 with 3,8 with 2,3,4,6,8,10,11 ($6 total)

STRATEGY ON A $50 BUDGET

$14 to win on 12

$4 exacta box: 3,8,12 ($24 total)

$1 trifecta: 12 with 3,8 with 2,3,4,6,8,10,11 ($12 total)

Churchill Downs, Race 12, Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, 6:57 p.m. ET

#15 Rock Your World: Rock Your World comes into the race off a very impressive win in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. Making his dirt debut, he set the early pace and never tired despite fast fractions. He drew off to a 4 ¼-length win with a notably strong gallop out. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 lifetime, is one of the fastest horses early on, and doesn’t look like he’ll be bothered by the extra distance. It looks like he could be sitting on a career-best race, and that would be more than enough to get the job done here.

STRATEGY ON A $10 BUDGET

$4 to win on 15

$3 exacta: 15 with 14,17 ($6 total)

STRATEGY ON A $25 BUDGET

$10 to win on 15

$5 exacta: 15 with 11,14,17 ($15 total)

STRATEGY ON A $50 BUDGET

$7 to win on 15

$5 exacta: 15 with 11,14,17 ($15 total)

50-cent trifecta key: 15 with 1,7,8,9,11,14,17,19 ($28 total)

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