Give Us Your Derby Picks!


The good news for action junkies is that the fun doesn’t stop on Friday, as it usually does when the trading week ends.

Tomorrow you can play the ponies at the Kentucky Derby either in person, at your local OTB, among friends and even online (legally!).

Just like in finance, there’s no shortage of geeks bearing formulas — promising to help you pick the winners and to profitably bet all the various exotic derivative bets you can make.

We have a pretty bad track record in recent years, if only because of our addiction to betting on the longest of long shots. That’s usually a bad move because a) long shots are long shots for a reason and b) there are a lot of long shot addicts like us, so those horses are probably overvalued (the longshot bias).

That doesn’t mean we won’t bet that way again this year.

But what horses do you like?

Our favourite racehorsing blog Bob’s “Notes on a Program” offers up his analysis of the four favourites: “I Want Revenge (3-1), Dunkirk (4-1), Pioneerof the Nile (4-1) or Friesan Fire (5-1).”

I was all set to pick Dunkirk, believing he might be this year’s edition of Curlin—lightly raced but the most talented of the bunch. However, I’m hearing that the $3.7 million colt is not handling his Churchill Downs surroundings all that well. If you’re washing out in the morning and in a paddock schooling session, what happens on Saturday in front of 150,000 rabid rans? I still have to respect him, however. His three races have been too good (backed up by a big speed figure in the Florida Derby) to deny that this is one talented runner.

 I Want Revenge doesn’t have any holes. Everyone saw his monster effort in the Wood, he has trained forwardly and is great hands. My one concern is that young jockey Joe Talamo might get the jitters and make a mistake. However, with ‘Revenge’s tactical speed and outside post, I think he might get the “Big Brown trip”, stalking the leaders while outside in the clear. He’s fast and consistent, so he should run his race.

Pioneerof the Nile has not blown me away despite winning four straight in Southern California. However, my gut feeling is that we haven’t seen his best yet. He will get more pace at which to run, might move up on a traditional dirt track and is trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert. Whatever is he is capable of, he will show it on Saturday.

Finally, Friesan Fire. To me he’s a bit of an X-factor. The king of Louisiana swept the Fair Grounds series, topped off by a romping 7-length win over a muddy track in the Louisiana Derby. He has tactical speed, tries hard every time out, probably moves way up over a wet track and is trained by one of the best in the business, Larry Jones. How fitting would it be to see Jones win this year after all he endured last year with the breakdown of Eight Belles?

Ok, now tell us who you like.

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