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Derby mind reading: Who will be the favorite?

Derby mind reading: Who will be the favorite?

by Gary Roedeiemeier

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 22 at 8:54 PM

I know, you want me to tell you who will win the Derby?

With two weeks to go, let's settle for who will be the favorite. Let's do a little Louisville mind reading. The local bettors, who traditionally skew the odds on Oaks Day, are more perceptive than a guy with two bucks in some distant OTB.

The local guys, who really wish they were at Trackside, know that Revolutionary has won two tough Derby prep races by dodging and weaving his way through big fields.

Then came the brief marketing campaign to choose a jockey after Javier Castellano decided to ride Normandy Invasion. Enter Calvin Borel, who has won the Derby three times. They don't call the farm WINStar for nothing.

Local bettors think riding against Calvin at Churchill is like playing Kentucky at Rupp Arena. This is the home court advantage plus he has a horse that will duck down the rail, split rivals or pass them all six wide. 
And I know what you're thinking.  Throw in some mud and we have Super Saver or Mine That Bird redux. I'll bet you that by the time the sun comes up on Derby Day that Louisville bettors will be jumping on the Revolutionary bandwagon like it was May of 1776.

But wait. Wasn't Verrazano the betting favorite in the second and third Derby future wager? Yes, and Verrazano looked terrific in winning the Wood Memorial and the Tampa Bay Derby. Bettors with a sense of history will note that he didn't run as a two-year-old. He would have to overcome that old jinx but he did run Jan. 1. And while East Coast money will pound Verrazano at the windows, the Louisville bettors will be highly suspicious of his More Than Ready pedigree. I don't see him as the favorite by the time I arrive at Churchill on May 4.

Lost in all of this, is the winner of the long ago Florida Derby. Trainer Shug McGaughey has been raving about Orb for months. Louisville bettors know that Shug is not one to brag. He also seldom brings a horse to the Derby. The son of Malibu Moon is a powerful closer and he is reunited with jockey Joel Rosario, currently the hottest rider on the planet. But, as third favorite, you could get a better price on a horse that might be "my favorite."

Next is the "wise guy" horse that's going to attract that late money. Everybody on the backside knows that Normandy Invasion was gaining on Verrazano in the stretch at Aqueduct. As the saying goes, "give him another eighth of a mile….." And to add to the intrigue, Javier Castellano dumps Revolutionary to ride this horse. Derby Day he's around 10-1 and he's in every exotic bet in town.
And now the fun begins. We have come to the "Live Long Shot" portion of our program and who doesn't like a little free money.

If you have a winning ticket on Will Take Charge, you can pay for dinner, for everyone in your family.  This colt has a wonderful pedigree and D. Wayne Lukas to coach him on Derby Day. He's been off almost two months, but he will be fresh.
If you can win a Derby on looks then Mylute is your guy. He'll draw some betting dollars for local favorite Tom Amoss and Rosie Napravnik comes over to ride. The Midnight Lute pedigree does not indicate distance but if Mylute wins nobody will care.

Vyjack should be somewhere around 20-1 and he comes into the Derby as a good long shot. His Wood Memorial finish my have been compromised by a lung infection, and if he's healed, he might surprise.

And finally, the other Lukas horse, Oxbow, would be such a picture on May 4.
D. Wayne dressed perfectly, Gary Stevens back from retirement, and iconic Calumet Farm all in the winners circle at the same time.

And one other thing; all of these colts should be glad they aren't running against a filly like Dreaming of Julia.  She won the Gulfstream Park Oaks by almost 22 lengths in her last race. And there are several other fillies that might really challenge her in the Oaks on Friday.

But Louisville will also be betting the Derby that day. And the world will be watching because the local handicappers are very good at their craft, and very crafty with their bets

Thanks for reading.