Before the race started, my betting strategy for the Kentucky Derby was toast.
Last week, on Twitter, I picked California Chrome as the eventual winner hoping, at that time, that a lot of money would go toward Hopportunity which would allow me to get in on my pick at somewhere around 3 or 4 to one. However, on Friday, it was announced that Hopportunity would be scratching due to a foot bruise which meant that my entire strategy was out and I needed to rethink how I was going to approach the race.
My second thought was to find a price and beat the favorite. Sure enough, California Chrome hovered around 2-1 all day (and eventually went off at that price) so I went with the following:
$10 (win) - Intense Holiday - I loved this horse's workouts leading into the race.
$5 (win) - Danza - I thought, after the Hopportunity scratch, that this was the second best horse in the race.
$2 (win) - Ride on Curlin - The Calvin Borel factor at a price.
$2 (win) - Medal Count - Thought the horse had good form coming in.
As we saw on Saturday, none of this logic played out, California Chrome had a good start, got a perfect Derby trip and won going away.
Cue the Triple Crown discussion.
There's a lot of talk about how slow the race was (at 2:03 and change it was very slow) and a lot of talk about traveling, the tight turns, etc. The one thing you haven't heard too much about is that the Preakness field will likely be much more difficult a beat than was the field in KY.
If healthy, Hopportunity will be there, and he might be the best 3 yr old male in the world right now. Also likely to race is Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable, which has won her last three races by an combined 23 lengths. Add to this at least two horses that were lying in wait for this race and you could have a full-field 2nd leg of the Triple Crown that's even tougher than the first.
At least, in the Preakness, there's a chance that California Chrome can be had for a price.