• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 6 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 6 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 6 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 9 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 12 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 12 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 12 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 12 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 12 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 13 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

2014 Kentucky Derby: Try the Trifecta

We all know how hard it is for a trainer, jockey, or horse to win the Kentucky Derby, but we bettors can sympathize, because we know how hard it is to cash a bet on Derby Day.
To be honest in the past, I have stayed in the shallow end of the Derby betting pools. The task of handicapping 20 horses is daunting and the chances of cashing a winner are dependent on your horse getting a good trip.
This year, however, I feel ready to head out into deeper waters. I will put my faith in the research that I have done the past two years. First, I firmly believe that success in the Derby is linked to the fact that since the year 2000, only once has a front-runner won and that was War Emblem in 2002. Thus, I will confidently select horses that will be making a closing run at the end of the 10 furlongs. Below is my chart, which you may have seen before, of the Derby winners' running lines.
The second consideration is that if I am going to make a vertical wager I want to have the opportunity to make a nice profit. Even though the Churchill Downs organizational increased the takeout rate this year from .19 to .22 on most of the vertical wagers, we the bettors, have no other recourse. My bet of choice will be the trifecta, which can be played in increments of 50¢.
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Since 2000, the lowest payout for a $2 trifecta was $435. In that year, Fusaichi Pegasus was the shortest favorite to win the Derby in this century. In 2007 when Street Sense won as the favorite and three out of the four top choices were in the triple, that $2 bet paid $440. In all the other years the $2 payout was an IRS signer of over $600. Three other times when the favorite was in the trifecta it paid four figures with the highest coming last year when Orb’s triple paid just under $7,000.
At this point my top four closers are: Wicked Strong, Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, and Candy Boy. I will also use California Chrome even though it appears that he prefers to be on or very close to the lead. Wicked Strong will be my KEY trifecta horse in three tickets that look like this:
1) WICKED STRONG with Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, Danza, Ride On Curlin, and Medal Count with Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, Danza, Ride On Curlin, and Medal Count = $21 for 50¢
2) Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, and Danza with WICKED STRONG with Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, Danza, Ride On Curlin, and Medal Count = $15 for 50¢
3) Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, and Danza with Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, California Chrome, Danza, Ride On Curlin, and Medal Count with WICKED STRONG = $15 for 50¢
If you want another point of view on how to bet the trifecta, then be sure to consult Horse Racing Nation co-founder Mike Shutty’s Kentucky Derby Super Screener


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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby: Try the Trifecta...

That's okay, Exterminator. ;)
Goblin, the Eight Belles is a 7f race. I guess I'm going blind, I thought it said 8 1/2f.
Starlight Racing just purchased General Arod.....Maker to remain trainer
I keep replaying that rainy day battle between Tapiture and Hoppertunity. I know Tapiture isn't a popular pick for the so-called experts, especially at 10 furlongs. But I'm predicting a rematch of the Rebel Stakes down the stretch between Hoppertunity and Tapiture....of course they may be battling for 2nd and 3rd....with Chrome firmly in the lead.
Derby is certainly the hardest to handicap! I’m boxing California Chrome/Samraat/Ride On Curlin but I also like Danza/Chitu/Wicked Strong
Exterminator, Yes, I think she probably wasn't as fit as she could have been for the FG Oaks. As for the Eight Belles, both HRN's stakes tracker and BH show it at 7f.--unless something has changed.
I thought she wasn't nearly as fit for the FG Oaks as she was for last year's Debutante. And isn't the Eight Belles 8.5f?
I don't know what went into their decision-making process, but it may be a good/safe choice for her third start after coming back from the fracture. It's 7f. as opposed to 9f.; still has some good fillies such as She's A Tiger entered. She has time to learn to stretch out later in the year if that's what the connections want.
goblin, on a side note, what do you think of Fifty in the Eight Belles?
This is absolutely the wrong way to go about picking a Derby trifecta. Sure most winners are from the back of the pack but that doesn't mean 2nd or 3rd place is from the back of the pack too. With this strategy you miss out on the Bodemeisters, Peace Rules, Hard Spuns, Lion Hearts, etc. This strategy may be condusive to picking the winner though
The distance may be a problem for him on Derby day, but DRF observed his work this A.M. before the track was closed due to bad weather. Tapiture worked in a "deluge" with lightning strikes all around and stayed "cool" and calm to work an "efficient" 4f. in 50.00. B. Livingston posted a great photo. https://twitter.com/DRFLivingston
Don't like him, never did. He doesn't want to go 1 1/4 miles. Of course, I could be completely wrong. We'll find out in 5 days.
I don't hear anyone talking about Tapiture. what are your thoughts on this colt?
Rumor has it since shoes aren't working Chitu will run in sneakers.
Trifecta especial: Chitu - California Chrome - Hoppertunity...these 3 Cali horses will fight it out from the 1 mile post until the finish line. If you need a 4th place finish, just box Candy Boy, Dance with Fate and Medal Count to your superfecta. Good luck to all.
R.O.C is hitting the board
On a race like this with all the unknows it is best to take about three KEYS and hook many secondary as well as randoms to them. BIG slush fund of a handle to jump into. Realize the widespread distribution of monies in a twenty horse field: you could easily Dutch 6 and still have 30% of the pool outstanding.
Chrome/ROC/Wicked Strong. Not sure in what order though. It depends on how Chrome ships and what the track conditions are.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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