Anyone can bet on either American Pharoah or Dortmund and potentially look like a genius on Saturday at the Kentucky Derby. However, when you look further down the field, you'll find some colts who could have some huge value that could give you massive paydays if they run the best races of their lives.
At +2255, there isn't a lot of belief right now that International Star can carry his success over from Louisiana to Kentucky.
Granted, there isn't a lot of history for colts who won the Louisiana Derby here at Churchill Downs, and it isn't hard to see that the ponies who went up against him in his prep races weren't the best in the world. Still, any horse who sweeps his series is worth watching, and International Star did just that by winning the LeComte Stakes, the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby.
This time of year, we tend to question whether colts can make the distance of 1 1/4 miles, a length which no one in this field has even come close to trying. International Star though, has turf breeding, and generally speaking, that means that he has the distance to run a long ways. He could also be a colt to put some coin down on if it turns out to be a sloppy day at the track at Churchill Downs. Rain isn't in the forecast right now, but a late bet on International Star could be warranted if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.
We're not all that much for the strategy which Stanford is probably going to use in this race. If trainer Todd Pletcher had it his way, Stanford would run out to the lead by running the first quarter mile in 22 seconds or so to try to tire out the two Bob Baffert-trained monsters, American Pharoah and Dortmund. If Stanford doesn't make it to the finish line, so be it.
But what if Stanford can actually stay in there for the full mile and a quarter?
We admit that that isn't a likely scenario, knowing that he didn't really look good at the end of either the Islamorada Handicap or the Louisiana Derby, both of which were run at 1 1/8 miles, but we still see some value here. Getting a colt like Stanford at +5250, one which you know is going to be out of the blocks in a hurry, can't be passed up.
Colts out of New York haven't done much in the Kentucky Derby of late, and we're not even all that sure that El Kabeir is the best of the three-year olds to come out of the Empire State this year.
Here's what we do know about El Kabeir though, that we like. He was the favorite in the Jerome Stakes, the Withers Stakes, the Gotham Stakes and the Wood Memorial, and though he didn't win all those races, the fact that the oddsmakers kept installing him as the favorite has to be worth something.
We also know that he was amongst the favorites at the Kentucky Jockey's Club last November on this track, a race which he won against a really good field at 1 1/16 miles. His jockey that day? Calvin Borel, who has won two Kentucky Derby's in the past.
Borel loves this track, and we think that trainer John Terranova made the right choice by giving his top colt Borel to ride on his back.
If Borel can win the Derby aboard Mine That Bird, he can surely do so with El Kabeir as well at a strong price of +2750.
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