Little Things That Matter

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 10, 2024 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, | Comments Off on Little Things That Matter

Horseplayer friends always have the same chatter going on these days. “Who do you like for the Derby?” – Most have an idea or three, and others can run the list in their head pretty quick. For me, I always have the same answer and it never changes from year to year. Not yet, too early for me.

I’m guessing for at least two defections between now and the Derby in 25 days. Sometimes they matter and others don’t impact the picture much. – For me, they all mean something to complete the picture. Patience.

Take a look at how your horse came out of their last race. If it were a month or more, make sure you see a couple of works, especially one over the track. If it was last weekend, read all reports as if the winner depends on it, as they actually do.

Make sure the rider stays in the saddle. If they jump around and play moving mounts, there is a degree of uncertainty. If a rider stays put, there has been plenty of talk between, the trainer, agent, and rider. I like the teamwork approach.

When do they ship into Churchill Downs? – Biggie here, and most overlook. Nothing like arriving early and setting up home for a month. Horses settle and get used to the surroundings versus runners who ship in days prior and never catch a breath. Pay close attention to who ships in early. This is a sign trainers have been targeting Louisville.

Stay away from late equipment changes. If they add something, they are still trying to figure out what the horse needs. Even a new tongue tie or a set of shorter blinkers make me toss this runner. The only exception is if they had blistering work since their last race will I consider them again.

Only play a runner who was in the top three spots in Grade I-II-III races. This is no time to swing wildly with a runner who had a bad gate trip or finished up the track. Good outfits target this race and know just when to ask their best. – I love to see a sweet middle move where they finished up nicely in the money and galloped out strong past the wire. Last year, I saw this with Two Phil’s in the Jeff Ruby at Turfway. It was the gallop out that caught my eye. Even though he finished a super second in the Derby, he ran his heart out. The last time I saw this over synthetic was many moons ago with Animal Kingdom who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Keep your eyes peeled.

Spread exotic wagers. Exactas offer big value in the Derby. – Don’t be afraid to spread out to four or five or more horses in the exotic. It pays better than you think. – Another hidden gem is the place price. I have seen more $9.80 to win and $6.20 to place payoffs than you think. Don’t leave money on the table.

What’s the plan? – Patience. Take your time, read all you can, and take it all in. Don’t be afraid of a big price and don’t be afraid of the “all-button.” -I would grab a few like-minded gambling pals and go after the pick-four leading into the Derby. It will be a big ticket, but this is where the big fish swim. – Best of luck and be sure and check back as we draw closer. I’ll start a few horses to watch lists, and hopefully, they can help you find the big winner!