As I mentioned in comments in a previous post, I will be going to Las Vegas this weekend for a couple days of football and horses. Of the 60 or so hours that I'm in Sin City, probably 50 of them will be spent in various casino sportsbooks--hopefully making some money.
Whenever I go to Vegas I like to place future wagers, and since the serendipitous timing of this trip falls in late September I will be able to bet both the Breeders' Cup races and the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Since the Breeders' Cup is six weeks away, you have to look hard to find any value there. The Derby, as we all know, is a crapshoot. The value is everywhere, but getting your horses to the starting gate, let alone to win the race, is a shot in the dark.
Either way, I'm in Vegas, so it's fun to take a few shots. What do I have to lose, expect my hard earned money?
Recently, a blogger (thanks tcc) turned me onto a web site where you can access all the current Breeders' Cup and Derby future odds from Wynn. Below, I will link to each odds page and give my thoughts on a few horses I am considering, mainly for the Derby. If you have any strong opinions, let me know.
2011 Derby Odds:
There are more than 150 horses on this list, but Wynn will give you odds on any 2-year-old out there, even if it is not listed. All you have to do is ask and they will take the bet. As I've stated before, I like betting Derby futures in the fall much better than the spring when the official Derby pools open. Not only are the odds much bigger, but you can bet any horse that you want--not just the 24 that the pool offers. In 2006, a co-worker was in Vegas a couple days after Big Brown broke his maiden on the turf. He put $20 on him at 150-1 and found himself a nice little windfall. Of course, those stories are rare, but they are the ones that keep us future players going.
I have one rule when playing Derby futures this far out: Do not bet any horse under 40-1. There are way too many things that go wrong eight months from the first Saturday in May and I am not playing big money here, so if I do hit, I want it to be a big score with little invested. I am obviously intrigued by Uncle Mo since I wrote about him a couple blogs back, but he is currently the future book favorite at 28-1. Too low for me.
The following are a five 2-year-olds that am considering putting a few dollars on, thanks in part to some bloggers that have brought them to my attention. Again, I know it's a crapshoot and the chances that they will even make it to the starting gate are slim. But I'm not talking big money here--maybe $10-20 apiece.
Boys At Tosconova-40-1: The odds are right on my cutoff point and by the time I get to Vegas he might be even lower. We'll see. But to me he is best 2-year-old out there right now and Dutrow said something to the effect that he is more talented than Big Brown at this point in his career. Worth a stab if he is still around 40-1.
Elite Alex-200-1: Son of Afleet Alex out of an Unbridled mare was a $300,000 yearling. Broke his maiden July 3 going five furlongs at Delaware for Tim Ritchey in a professional manner. This is mainly a pedigree play.
Smash-100-1: By Smart Strike out of a Dixieland Band mare. A $400,000 yearling owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Bob Baffert. Broke his maiden July 18 first out at Hollywood by 2 1/2 lengths going five furlongs.
Soldat-150-1: Broke his maiden in his first start on turf in the two-turn With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT) on Sept. 3. Not sure if Kiaran McLaughlin will try him back on dirt this year, but if he keeps winning I'm betting he will at some point next year. He's by War Front, out of a Coronado's Quest mare.
Wine Police-150-1: He's a notch below Boys At Tosconova and Stay Thirsty right now, but I think he has a big upside and the price is right. Asmussen lost Kantharos to injury, so this one is probably his top remaining juvenile.
Breeders' Cup Classic Odds:
No real value here. Zenyatta is 3-1, Quality Road 4-1, Blame 5-1. That will likely be pretty close to their odds on race day, assuming all remain healthy. I don't like anyone else enough to take a shot right now.
Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic Odds:
Nothing I like here either. Blind Luck is 2-1, Devil May Care 7-2. Both close to what you will get on race day. Rachel is the 4-1 third choice, which is interesting.
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Odds:
I really think Vineyard Haven is a play here. I still think he is a beast despite his dull last effort and will be favored when all is said and done. He'll likely go to the Kelso next month as a prep and if he wins he'll be the horse to beat at Churchill's one-turn mile. He is 10-1 right now.
Gayego at 15-1 intrigues me too. He looked awfully good in his race at Presque Isle.
Nothing else really caught my eye in the other divisions, but here are odds for some other races just in case you want to take a look.
Filly & Mare Turf
I probably wont be back with another blog until next week, but I do like Exhi to win the Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. Feel free to throw out any picks for any of the weekend races.
Vegas, baby. Vegas. Wish me luck, I'll need it!