Four Derby Longshots Worth Considering

By definition, a longshot is considered "a betting interest that is unlikely to win." But when you're playing exacta, trifectas, and superfectas in horse racing, a longshot doesn't have to win, he just needs to finish two through four to help you to cash your ticket.

For the Kentucky Derby especially, because the pools are so immense, all it takes is one longshot to finish "in the money" to cash a big ticket. Of course, you need to find the other correct horse(s) to go with your longshot, but we'll worry about that later. For now, let's focus on trying to find the ones that have the best chance at filling out a winning ticket.

My definition of a longshot for the Derby is anything over 10-1. Obviously, we won't know the final odds until post time, but I'm fairly certain that the four horses below will all be double-digit odds. Here are the ones I think have the best chance at hitting the board on Saturday.

Alpha—probable post time odds: 12-15/1

If you would have asked me a week ago, I probably would not have included him on this list. As stated previously, it's usually not a good sign when a horse has his training plans altered because of an infection and the connections have not named a rider so close to the race. But his sharp work on Saturday in :59 2/5 and strong gallop out signaled that he is healthy and ready to go. Whether or not he'll be fit enough or not, I don't know. But I do know he's one of the most consistent horses in the field, not only from a race record standpoint but also from a speed figure perspective. His Tomlinson Distance Rating is the best in the field too, which means he at least has the ability to get 10 furlongs, and he will be coming from off the pace—something that is probably a good thing considering how much pace we are expecting.

Daddy Nose Best—probable post time odds: 15/20-1

He's starting to become somewhat of a wise-guy horse over the past couple days. Apparently, he is giving a nice appearance on the track and Steve Asmussen is talking very confidently. I've liked him all along for reasons stated in my previous blog, so while his odds may take more of a hit on Saturday, I'm certainly not going to let his popularity keep me from playing him. Of all the reasons previously stated—his bottom, being the only horse with two wins at nine furlongs, his gameness in last two wins, his top trainer/jockey combo, more than anything I like that he has been training over the Churchill track almost all month. Sure, some horses can ship into Churchill Derby week without a work over the track and win on talent alone, but I still think having a familiarity with the track is a big plus. Is he classy enough to hit the board? I don't know, but if he gets the trip I know he'll be charging at the end.

Liaison—probable post time odds: 35-40/1

If you watch That Handicapping Show you know I've picked this horse three straight times and he's disappointed me in each one. I was finally ready to jump off his wagon, but Baffert talked me back onto it. Baffert is always confident in his horses (he told anyone who would listen that Midnight Interlude was going to run big in last year's Derby), so you can't take his word as gospel. But I really do think this horse has talent and for whatever reason has just not been able to put it all together. He seems to be training better at Churchill than he did at Santa Anita, and again, he's one of these off the pace horses that might benefit from the torrid early fractions that are expected. Baffert + 40-1 + Derby=worth using.

Sabercat—probable post time odds: 40-45/1

His speed numbers are too low, he hasn't been close in his two starts this year, and the only reason he is in this race is because he won a 2-year-old race with an inflated purse that has meant nothing in years past. What I'm saying is, there isn't a whole lot to like about this colt from a logical standpoint. He'll need to run the race of his life and for the race to fall apart to have a chance at hitting the board. I guess I've liked him for a while now and I'm stubbornly refusing to believe he has no shot, but I do think he'll be sharper in his third off a layoff and the added distance will benefit him. It's a reach, I know, but if he hits the board, it will light up like a Christmas tree.

Back on Thursday with final selections.

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