Playing money on the Kentucky Derby future book is almost always a waste of money. We don't know enough about each horse yet and so many things can happen between now and May. Experienced players know it's a novelty more than anything, not a wise investment of money.
Knowing all of this, I usually find myself wagering a small amount around this time of year, mostly because it's fun, and if I do wind up with a future book play that progresses nicely in the early part of the year, I have something I can talk about and maybe, just maybe, can get a rush on Derby day. In reality, that's all I'm really looking for. I look at it as a donation to Vegas, because after all, the casinos really do need our charity.
Most years I find myself in Vegas around this time of year, so at the end of my trip I'll usually spread $100 around on about a half-dozen high-priced horses. Since I didn't make it out this year, I'll either give some money to a friend that is going or won't play at all.
For the sake of this blog, I'll pretend that I am playing. To make it fun, play along with me. We each have $100 to spend. Here's how I would waste it, I mean, spend it. The latest odds from Dec. 9 at Hilton are here. Here are others from Wynn from Dec 2. If you like a horse that isn't listed, they usually give it to you at about 150-1.
$25 on Sabercat (50-1)--I usually get suckered into playing the Delta Jackpot winner because he has already accumulated enough earnings to "make it to the gate." In reality, Z Humor is the only Jackpot winner to have even started in the Derby, finishing a thrilling 14th in 2008. Nevertheless, Sabercat made me some nice money in the Jackpot when scoring at 8-1, so I can afford to show a little support for him. He is by Bluegrass Cat and out of a Forty Niner mare, and trained by Asmussen. I could do worse.
$25 on Timely Tally (60-1)--I wrote about him in my last blog. He was third in the Kentucky Jockey Club after closing wide and making a strong stretch move. By Mr. Greeley, out of an A.P. Indy mare. I'll take Ian Wilkes' word and wager that this colt will keep improving. Maybe he'll even make it to the gate and I'll get Calvin on him.
$10 on A Boy Named Em (150-1)--I always play at least one Point Given 3-year-old and he's the one this year. Ironically, he's also out of an A.P. Indy mare. The gelding broke his maiden in his debut at Churchill Nov. 20, coming from the clouds, splitting horses in deep stretch, and somehow getting up when it looked like there was no way he would. Pretty impressive performance in a six-furlong race on the slop. Trained by Eddie Kenneally.
$10 on My Miss Aurelia (125-1)--She looked to me like the best juvenile at Churchill last month--male or female. Most likely she wind up in the Oaks, but you never know. Good price for a juvenile champion.
$10 on Sky Kingdom (150-1)--I need to have at least one Baffert horse on my list. This one is by Empire Maker, out of a Kingmambo mare. He broke his maiden in his third try last month at Hollywood, and seemed to relish two turns. He'll be in the CashCall Futurity this weekend, so I'm getting him now in case he wins.
$10 on Valediction (150-1): Another Asmussen trainee. I saw this one live in his debut at Keeneland; wired the field in a six-furlong Poly race. By Vindication, out of a Gulch mare. A homebred of Padua Stables, who breeds some nice horses.
$10 on Overdriven (100-1) Should be making his debut at Gulfstream in February after getting a few months rest. Sanford winner is unbeaten in two starts this year. Probably more of a miler type, but why not take a shot? Repole will need an excuse to take his crew to Louisville in May so he'll do everything in his power to get him there.