Kentucky Derby Picks – 2011 Kentucky Derby Preview
The 2011 Kentucky Derby odds have been released, and here at Bang the Book, we have analyzed all of the lines and are ready to make our picks for the race!
We’ll start with a big time underdog in this race, No. 9 Derby Kitten (30/1). It’s hard not to love the name of this horse, and it’s certainly just as hard to not love the way that it is coming into this race. Derby Kitten came from the parking lot to win at Keeneland Race Track at the G3 Lexington, and though that wasn’t the greatest of fields, it certainly was a very impressive showing. He is a turf horse by nature, and running in the wet weather is certainly going to help him if the weather is really as bad as it could be on Saturday. Derby Kitten is a huge closer by nature, and we tend to believe that he could be one to make a move right at the end to get on the board in the superfecta.
We know that the horse of the hour is going to be No. 18 Uncle Mo (9/2). However, we are incredibly leery over the idea of this horse running in the slop, as the weather at the Derby is expected to be questionable at best. Still, we know that pound for pound, this is the horse with the most potential in the field. Trainer Todd Pletcher is one of the best in the business, and he has finally broken his maiden as a trainer here at Churchill Downs. He won’t run Uncle Mo if he doesn’t feel like he is at full strength, and after seeing him get nipped at the wire at the Wood Memorial, a race which looked like he had full control over just a month ago at Aqueduct, there has to be cause for concern. Still, Uncle Mo ended up rolling all over a tremendous field at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile last fall, winning the G1 race by 4 1/4 lengths with a whopping 108 Beyer speed rating. The race at Belmont Racetrack at the G1 Champagne was impressive as well, as he won that one mile jaunt in an impressive 1:10 and two with some amazing fractions. Uncle Mo took the win by 4 3/4 lengths and certainly looked incredibly dominating.
The horse lining up right next to Uncle Mo in the starting gate is No. 17 Soldat. Alan Garcia had a choice to ride a few horses, but this is the one that he picked, and that’s good news for those of us betting on the Kentucky Derby betting lines. Soldat had a terrible showing at the Florida Derby, finishing in fifth place and over 10 lengths off of the pace. Still, if he had a strong showing there, he would’ve been one of the favorites here at the Run for the Roses. He won the Fountain of Youth with a 96 speed rating. However, the race that we are most impressed with was the one that he had at Gulfstream Park in the slop in his first run on the dirt. Soldat posted a 103 speed rating, the best of his career, and he ran away from the field by 10 3/4 lengths. This was a turf horse before this, which also bodes well for the wet weather. He ran on the turf here at Churchill Downs once before, finishing just one length out at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf race. Distance certainly isn’t an issue for Soldat either, having run three times at 1 1/8 miles, and save for that last run at the Florida Derby, he has been able to hold on and improve his position down the stretch. Still, we don’t tend to think that he is going to be able to finish the job.
Instead, the horse that we are going to go with is the trendy favorite, No. 8 Dialed In (4/1). It’s really hard to fall in love with a horse that has only run four times in his career, but those four races were really, really impressive. Dialed In has a great trainer in Nick Zito, and this is the only horse that the Hall of Fame trainer has in this field. Jockey Julian Leparoux has never won the Run for the Roses, but this is clearly his best shot. We know that we aren’t going to see Dialed In on the board until the very end of this race, but after getting a favorable post position draw, he should still be in good enough shape to make a big time move at the end. At the Florida Derby, he was as many as 10 lengths back, but at the end of the day, he was able to close almost four total lengths in the last furlong to steal the race. It’s looked like he has had a ton of gas left in the tank, so we aren’t questioning the distance factor either. Dialed In is the horse to beat.
Kentucky Derby Superfecta Picks: 8-17-18-9