Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 7:01 pm EDT.
In our earlier posts on handicapping the Kentucky Derby, we’ve looked at the field and identified the horses that to us are win contenders. Now for the big question: which one will actually win the race? To figure that out, we need to look at how we expect the race to be run.
We will start with pace. Historically, the Derby has with some regularity been a race with a collapsing pace, and a winner coming from far back. In fact, in many years, the pace has been so suicidally fast that not only does it cook the horses setting it, but it cooks the stalkers, the horses in the group just behind those in front. This scenario has happened so many times that people who watch one horse race a year think this is the way horse races are run, when the reality is that it is relatively rare in dirt racing.
This kind of pace meltdown will not happen this year. In fact, one of our first thoughts going through the past performances is the absence of speed types in the field: the kind of no-hope speedballs that have been a regular presence in past Derby fields are not present. This is partly due to a change in how horses qualify for the Derby, but is also due to the race being in September, rather than in May.
We think the pacesetter will be 18-Authentic. He has been in front in just about every race, and we think he will be in front today as well. We see him about a length in front after a quarter mile, with 4-Storm the Court, 7-Money Moves, and 10-Thousand Words, just behind him. Just behind that group will be 16-Honor A.P. and 17-Tiz the Law, with the others farther back. The early pace should be moderate. The horses will stay in this grouping for about a mile, around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch, when things will start to change.
Authentic will crack, and start backing up, as will the horses in the stalking group. Honor A.P. and Tiz the Law will start moving forward. The closers will be making up ground, but slowly.
As the field turns for home, Honor A.P. and Tiz the Law will move to the front, with the former on the inside, and the latter on the outside. They will be close for a few hundred yards, but Tiz the Law is too good: He will put away Honor A.P., and move to the front, striding strongly. Tiz wins the race by three lengths, never seriously threatened late, with huge long shot 8-South Bend closing for second. Honor A.P. holds on for third, and 2-Max Player, another big price and another closer, clunking up for fourth.
Tiz the Law has had a terrific career, and a sensational 2020 campaign, and it is not going to hit a speed bump today. He will win the Kentucky Derby, impressively, early this evening, and have every racing fan looking forward to a potential Triple Crown in Baltimore in a few weeks.
We think that Tiz the Law will have value in the win pools, as once-a-year bettors will do what they always do, which is overbet no-hope long shots, and ignore logical contenders. We may even get even money on Tiz, which is extraordinary value. We will bet him to win, aggressively, and will also throw in a couple of exotic bets in case our projected finish pans out exactly. The bets: Churchill Downs, Race 14, $100 to win on 17-Tiz the Law; $2 Trifecta, 17-8-16 (Tiz the Law-South Bend-Honor A.P.), $2 Superfecta, 17-8-16-2 (Tiz the Law-South Bend-Honor A.P.-Max Player).
Enjoy the Derby.