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HORSE RACING

Kentucky Derby Expert Picks and Odds: 4 Horses With 4 Racing Styles

We are less than two days away from the Kentucky Derby and a lot has changed with the late scratch of Omaha Beach. This has affected the odds of the other runners, and took out a legitimate potential Derby winner.

No reason to fret, this just made cashing a superfecta bet even easier (okay, it really didn’t). Here is a look at four runners each with different racing styles that might be sitting on big efforts on the first Saturday of May.

Vekoma at 15-1
Best Bet for Speed Horse – Front Running Horse

Out of the front running horses, #6 Vekoma has a good chance at pulling off the big upset. I think all connections are on high alert of what could happen leaving Maximum Security uncontested on the front end, and there will be a contested pace upfront.

Vekoma is a runner that wants to be close to the lead, but does not need to secure the front end. Last time out he was victorious in the Blue Grass Stakes and enters sharp. Although his racing gate and style of running is unorthodox to say the least, he covers a lot of ground and does seem to be maturing nicely. At 15-1 he is worth a shot.

Game Winner at 9-2
Best Bet for Stalker/Presser

These types of horses are usually between one and three lengths off the speed. In the Kentucky Derby in particular, these runners make up the “first group.” These horses often work out some of the best trips, as they usually have clear running room to navigate in the stretch.

Improbable should work out the ideal stalking trip especially due to drawing a super favorable post with most of the speed drawing just inside of him. However, I find myself thinking out of horses getting similar trips, #16 Game Winner benefits a little more.

Pending a good break he will almost surely be forwardly placed. There has been a lot of talk about Maximum Security entered as a rabbit for the other horse owned by Gary and Mary West Horse (Game Winner). The term “rabbit” it refers to a horse who breaks out fast and ensures a quick pace upfront. They tire out the other front runners by pushing a fast pace. A faster pace would really benefit Game Runner, and out of horses attempting to work out a stalking trip, he may be in prime position to pull off the minor upset.

Tacitus at 8-1
Best Bet for Off the Pace

Horses racing from off the pace settle into the middle of the pack. Although it is a preferred racing style for a lot, horses that do not get a good break usually end up in the group by default.

#8 Tacitus is a runner that should settle in nicely, unhurried, and wait for his opportunity to make a run in deep stretch.

Tacitus has gone on to win three straight since his first ever career start and seems to be progressing nicely. Having troubled trips, like the two most recent with bumps at the start and a slow break, should prep him nicely for what a standard Kentucky Derby trip looks like for horses trying to win from off the pace.

Country House at 30-1
Best Bet for Closer/Deep Closer

These horses benefit the most from faster early fractions, and really need a lot of racing luck and things to go right to pull off the victory. Luckily for a lot of deep closers this year, there should be enough pace to at least given them a legitimate shot.

While deep closers are the horses that come from super far back and look the freshest entering the final turn, they are often spotting the front runners as many as 10-15 lengths.

The most likely deeper closer to potentially have an impact in the Derby finishing order is #20 Country House.

This horse has steadily been improving from each race and should prefer the added furlongs. He receives a new jockey in Flavien Prat and is not hindered like some of the others by drawing an outside post.

Look for him to be closing late, and at HUGE odds might be able to round out your trifecta and superfecta wagers.

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