For bettors who wish to find a better price on their Kentucky Derby horse now instead of later, Churchill Downs offers Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool 6 this week with 39 individual wagering options. With the division leader and expected favorite Forte set to attract money again, perhaps the real value lies elsewhere.
The Kentucky Derby falls on May 6 this year. Not only does form matter, but a horse’s ability to stay healthy and avoid injury until then counts as another obstacle since the wager does not allow refunds.
There are two horses at 20-1 on the morning line to consider: Kingsbarns and Hit Show. The former option might not hold at 20-1, as his popularity has been rising after his sharp Louisiana Derby (G2) win.
If Kingsbarns somehow does go off at 20-1 in pool 6, then he deserves a look because his fair odds are probably lower given his form shown.
Kingsbarns will carry an undefeated streak into the Kentucky Derby with three wins for trainer Todd Pletcher. In his graded-stakes debut, Kingsbarns won the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds Saturday by 3 1/2 lengths after securing an easy lead and opening up late.
Granted, Kingsbarns took advantage of soft fractions before drawing clear. But he arguably makes his own good trip because of his tactical speed. Kingsbarns took the lead because no else wanted it, but he also can adjust to a fast pace as shown by his Feb. 12 effort in an optional-claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs.
In the Tampa Bay optional claimer, the pace went fast with the run-off long-shot leader Sentir Zuliano clicking off fractions of 22.79 and 46.33 seconds for the one mile, 40 yard race. Those fractions translated into 153 and 140 TimeformUS Pace Figures, with the 153 signaling an extremely fast pace.
Kingsbarns chased the leader in third while posting 143 and 127 pace figures. On the TimeformUS scale, anything above 140 signals that the horse is running too fast and will need the ability to endure the pace.
He did handle the pace and showed off even more in the stretch. Kingsbarns took over the lead on the far turn and finished strongly to win the optional claimer by an impressive 7 3/4 lengths while not trying his best.
The point is that Kingsbarns knows how to win through a fast-paced scenario, which is an experience that might help him at Churchill Downs. If Kingsbarns stays at his 20-1 morning line odds, he will offer value in pool 6.
Hit Show also knows how to endure a fast pace and finish strong.
When Hit Show competed in the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, the pacesetter Arctic Arrogance clicked off initial fractions of 23.53 and 48.09 seconds while under pressure from Prove Right for the nine-furlong distance. Those burning fractions in the cold New York weather translated into matching 151 TimeformUS Pace Figures.
To Hit Show’s credit, he settled in fifth and only 3 1/2 lengths off the leader in the first quarter and two lengths off the leader at the half-mile fraction. Because Hit Show laid close to the pace, he posted 140 and 145 TimeformUS Pace Figures, which meant Hit Show felt nearly the full effects of the pace.
Hit Show took over the lead in the early stretch and then pulled clear for a 5 1/2-length win over a tired Arctic Arrogance in second. Clearly, the fast pace did not affect Hit Show, and the stretchout to nine furlongs also helped. He will not mind pace and a longer distance in May.
The public is more likely to ignore Hit Show in pool 6 as well. Generally, most analysts consider the Aqueduct path to the Kentucky Derby weaker because the good horses tend in the winter months to leave for warm-weather racetracks, such as Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Park.
Hit Show might buck the trend as a successful horse who took the New York path to the Kentucky Derby. Horses who know how to handle a fast pace in prep races usually handle the Derby pace scenario better. If Hit Show starts floating upward off his 20-1 odds, then give him heavy consideration in pool 6.
Both Kingsbarns and Hit Show could end up starting at lower odds in the Kentucky Derby, which means 20-1 or higher now translates into good value. In the case of Hit Show, bettors might find a great value in choosing him.