I’ve already received several emails plotting strategy for Saturday’s big race, which usually leads to rewarding payoffs with the amount of money infused into the wagering pool from gamblers and social goers alike. "With the large, competitive fields that the Kentucky Derby draws and so many individual betting interests, the Derby is the greatest single wagering opportunity in horse racing," said Jeremy Clemons, senior director of marketing for Churchill Downs. There are several handicapping angles heading into this Derby.
While it is preferred to have your bets riding on a horse that is coming off a top two finish, sometimes good form resurfaces on the first Saturday in May. Giacomo was coming off a fourth place finish in the 2005 Santa Anita Derby and hadn’t shown much as a three year old when he shocked the world at Churchill Downs when the speed absolutely wilted in front of Mike Smith. And more recently another bomb long-shot, Mine That Bird, was a top choice of “mine” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a 2YO after running the table of stakes on the Canada circuit. But he was in terrible form in the two preps prior to Calvin Bo-rel threading the needle along the rail en route to his big upset in 2009. This theory would bode well for previously heralded horses such as Soldat, Santiva and Uncle Mo. I will end the discussion with my personal belief that you should select your choice from the pool of horses who have been performing at peak levels in key races lately. There are not all that many choices in this category, most notably Dialed In, Archarcharch, Toby’s Corner, Nehro and Midnight Interlude.
Today’s Profile features Archarcharch – no doubt as to the bloodlines with this guy! Arch is on quite a roll as of late, having also sired Blame to defeat the mighty Zenyatta on this same Churchill Downs track at this same 10 furlong distance. Arch3 actually reminded me a bit of Lil’ E Tee seeing him in the flesh, with his big frame and lanky legs. I love the fact that this battle tested warrior has raced each month going back to his maiden venture in November at Churchill Downs, increasing his distance and speed figures nearly every race. You won’t see a better race pattern in this or any year by a Derby contender. He seems to have that middle move that will suit this unique race perfectly, as nearly all Derby winners have the lead by the 1/8th pole. Jockey Jon Court knows him well, having been on his back in all six starts. Back in March he had the following to say of the lanky colt, estimated at 16-2 hands tall. "He's one of those horses that has the talent that stands out, and when you're sitting on his back you can feel it. You can tell it, just from his disposition to his physical skills… He's got that little extra that you know will take you to the bigger races, the more prestigious races."
I actually believe that he will be closer to the front than people think, perhaps towards the front of the second tier of horses on the backside. Consider that in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn he actually made the lead in the one mile event, which led to his 4th place finish. In the Rebel Stakes, Court moved him after four slow furlongs to get to the flank of The Factor, who was left alone on the front-end. While a smart riding tactic in that particular situation for “the good of the pack,” it took away his punch and resulted in Caleb’s Posse nipping him for the place spot. Obviously, the Arkansas Derby set up more ideal with the large field and quick pace that ensued, and Arch3 delivered with his most impressive race. A quick final 5f workout in :59.40 on Friday indicates that he may still be in top form, if not improving.