Editor’s Note: Malcom Bamford picks the top three finishers in this year’s Belmont Stakes and cashed big! It’s worth your time to read his picks for Kentucky Derby.
Saturday September 5 sees the 146th renewal of the Kentucky Derby. This time around it’s the second leg of the Triple Crown. Unlike the Belmont, this is a full-field with a real classic feel about it. These are true Kentucky Derby Odds.
The 2019 running ended in mayhem. An awful decision by the race stewards, taking victory away from Maximum Security who had slogged down the muddy straight to pass the post first, and giving the race to Country House on some nefarious interference charge. Hopefully we’ll get no such silliness this year.
As the summer has gone on, the Derby contenders have showed their hand, with a series of prep races giving us key pieces of form to pick through. All we have to do is find the clues.
Tiz The Law 4/6
2020 has been no ordinary year, and Tiz The Law is no ordinary horse. A genuine triple-crown contender, Tiz The Law dotted up in the Belmont, and has since completed a hat-trick of Grade 1 wins in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, looking as though it would have won pulling a cart. Everything about this horse oozes class, and he looks incredibly straightforward.
This group of horses comprises those that didn’t take in the Belmont, but have since laid claim in other events.
Honor AP (11/2)
The second-favorite won the Santa Anita Derby, beating Authentic. However, he looked workmanlike rather than spectacular, and had no excuses when going down in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
This Bob Baffert-trained horse ticks a lot of boxes. He won the Haskell Stakes and looked in peak form.
Thousand Words (14/1)
He beat Honor A.P. in a small field at Shared Belief Stakes with a very honest performance. He’s another Baffert inmate but looks second best of that stable.
NY Traffic (18/1)
NY Traffic has been knocking on the door in some good races, and looks incredibly genuine. Solid second places in the Haskell and the Matt Winn at Churchill. Put this horse in with a chance of reaching the frame.
Max Player (20/1)
After finishing a closing third in the Belmont, Max Player has moved barns and joined Steve Asmussen. He chased home Tiz The Law again in the Travers. Although there is lots to like about him, minor honors look like his best hope.
The odds reflect the chances. There’s not much down here that blows my skirt up.
King Guillermo (20/1) looks outclassed and Sole Volante (33/1) exposed. Finnick the Fierce (33/1) has performed admirably without looking this class.
Tiz The Law has a very simple running style. He doesn’t need too much to go right for him, and will settle behind the early pace ready to pounce. The pace horses appear to be some of those at the top of the market, Art Collector and Authentic should both be well forward. If they try to run the finish out of Tiz The Law, they could fall in a hole down the stretch and allow the closers to hit the frame.
So you’re not going to fall off your chair, but Tiz The Law wins. He was impeccable in the Belmont, then somehow better in the Travers. NY Traffic has impressed me with his attitude and can chase him home. My third selection is going to be Max Player. He has been running on his races and the Belmont run still looks the standout piece of form.
Draw Update 9/1/20
Tiz The Law has been given post position 17. At first glance this might appears worrisome, and that stall has never provided the winner of this race, but Tiz The Law has such a straightforward running style that I can see him drifting across behind the leaders and tucking in ready to pounce. Also he has pace horses either side of him in Honor AP and Authentic meaning he should get a nice tow into the race. NY Traffic is out there too, in post 15, so it might just be that this is the place to be.