Betting Ride On Curlin's Number To Come Up in Kentucky Derby Roulette Plus Full-Card Picks

I’ve compared this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands to two things: a roulette wheel and the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament.

A roulette wheel because most horses can win (i.e. have some chance of winning), and it’s up to the handicapper to determine which odds are better than the horse’s chance of winning. That doesn’t work in roulette where you get 35-to-1 no matter which number comes up but does in racing where you can get 15-to-1 on a horse who should be 10-to-1.

That horse for me is #19 Ride On Curlin, who in addition to helping my roulette analogy is also the reason I’m comparing this year’s Derby to March Madness.

I liken Ride On Curlin’s Triple Crown trail to this past season’s University of Kentucky basketball team: Well-regarded early (jockey Calvin Borel said last summer that this was his Derby horse) then kind of sputtered before finding his best stride in the Derby version of the tournament’s early rounds: the Kentucky Derby Championship Series (i.e. the points races).

Ride On Curlin’s second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby behind legit Derby threat Danza has him ready for another step forward in the Kentucky Derby—a step that UK took in this year’s tournament to validate its early season ranking.

I’ll stick with the Arkansas Derby as a key race and use #4 Danza liberally as well with #1 Vicar’s In Trouble and #6 Samraat rounding out my “A” selections.

On the opposite end, these are the most “X” horses I can ever remember having for the Derby, but I’d rather focus on the horses I think have a good chance rather than those that have little chance.

Speaking of that, make sure to play our Derby Eliminator game. Tell us who won’t hit the board for a chance at a $500 first prize!

And if you need some help playing along throughout the day, my ABC grid for all 13 races is below:


Leave a Comment:


ROC is definitely a threat to win and probably will win if the pace is crazy but if the fractions are average I don't think he will have enough for CC at the end. I could definitely see him in the top 3 however.

03 May 2014 10:00 AM
Pedigree Ann

The Arkansas Derby? Really? The Arkansas-trained group was among the weakest this year; only those who ran the Tampa Bay races were weaker. Shippers won both of the majors, the Rebel and Arky Derby, and neither had made much of a splash on their own circuits previously. I am tossing all the Arky-trained lot this year.

03 May 2014 11:49 AM
Linda in Texas

MIKE - Go to NBCSPORTS.COM and they are showing the Kentucky Derby. I have it on my computer right now.

I know you have to have a computer. Linda

03 May 2014 5:46 PM
Rusty Weisner

To the author of this post:

Bad picks, terrible picks.

Someone at bloodhorse needs to show some attention to these blogs.  They are constantly bumping Keelerman's threads, which get all the traffic.  Keelerman is also a good handicapper.

If you read those Derby threads you would have seen that most of us threw out Vicar's in Trouble as a pedigree-deficient horse forced to go from the 1-hole and Samraat as a cut below.  Ok, Samraat missed the super by a nose.  I don't usually ridicule people's picks (especially after a long losing day) but bloodhorse bumped Keelerman for these awful ones?

The disrespect for the readers is really something.

04 May 2014 7:45 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

Nice call.

04 May 2014 7:46 AM
Rusty Weisner

This is really disappointing.  About twenty people, regular commenters, made picks on the bumped other thread and I wanted to see how they did.  I don't even think the bloodhorse contributors other than Keelerman even read the threads; I've certainly never seen one respond to a comment.

04 May 2014 8:53 AM

Rusty Weisner;

I'm sorry to hear that you had a losing day, but at least you were on the right track in handicapping the Derby! Did you notice the payoffs on the Oaks/Woodford/Derby pick three? A $17 payoff for $2! Definitely a far cry from the $1,044.40 payoff brought about last year by Princess of Sylmar, Wise Dan, and Orb.

Here's the link to my last blog post:

You can also find it in the archives on the side of the blog, below the lists of "Recent Posts" and "Other Blogs." If you click on May 2014, it will bring up all of the posts from this month, and mine is at the bottom of the list.

04 May 2014 11:39 AM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks for the condolences.

It was the easiest tri I'll ever have.  Just box my top, pick, CC, with the second, third and fourth favorites, who all seemed legitimate (only one who wasn't), along with my six other eligible to hit the board; I kept Commanding Curve as one till the end.  Those tickets would have been a mere $144.  I could have played the same tickets with CC as a single on top.

I didn't make the bet.

The other less likely alternative was to swap Danza in for Hoppertunity in my super tickets.  That would have worked.  But I was a little bit on the fence about Danza.  

The undercard was a horror.  I've had singles get beat, but having three or four practically eased and walked off the track, that was something.  I invested a lot in the late P4, too.  That one really ran up the track.

I had just the top four favorites on all horizontal wagers.  Just got Wise Dan, CC P3's (Wise Dan!).

I did go a little light on Sahara Sky and Judy the Beauty after I thought the track wasn't playing fair.  I had a "single" on some tickets of your Midnight Lucky (good pick!) with Judy.  I actually ended up spending the most on Storming Inti.

All that work for nothing!

Did you hit the tri, super?

04 May 2014 1:21 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

I slept on the "shrimp" comment.  I get it: loudmouth at the party.

Lapidary wit.  I like it.

I'm going to venture a guess that you actually had Commanding Curve:  it seems he was facing an uphill climb in the La Derby.

04 May 2014 1:22 PM

Rusty Weisner;

I'm afraid not. I took a stand against Commanding Curve, my thinking being that if the pace was as slow as I expected it to be (around :46 2/5 for the half-mile, 1:10 4/5 for three-quarters), he wouldn't be able to rally as well as Golden Soul did last year. In the end, the pace was a full second slower than I anticipated, yet Commanding Curve rallied just as well if not better than Golden Soul to finish second. It really didn't matter, though, because even if I had included Commanding Curve, I wouldn't have used him for second place.

Do you have any thoughts on what happened to Party Time in the final race of the card? I haven't seen the replay, but I was shocked when I looked at the chart and saw how badly he was beaten. If there was one horse on the card that I thought was an almost certain winner -- excluding Wise Dan -- it was Party Time.

04 May 2014 10:57 PM
Rusty Weisner


My theory on Party Time?  I bet him.

There was another horse that was basically eased when I bet on - that "Chas" horse in R2.  I saw he was dead on the board and had a bad feeling, remembering PBP's comment about She's a Tiger: too much time; ran the same way.  Intense Holiday had no excuse.  This was the only one of the favorites that I had reservations about; he had the air of mediocrity.  

I've come down with an illness as bad as chalkoholism: trying to beat legitimate favorites.  I played for/against with Untapable, Wise Dan, and almost with CC (bet several singles with him).

The time for the Derby was slow.  So what?  It's not like he was ever threatened.  And losing a half furlong is not going to hurt him.  A lot of people are going to try to beat him with Danza, because, as was the risk, he got shuffled back, then had trouble later (KY VET had the second straight tough-luck pick after NI last year).  I don't know about that, though; that seems too cute.  I don't think the other CC or Wicked Strong will run in the Preakness, nor should they.  

05 May 2014 10:36 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'll remember your comment on ROC/Borel.  He is a good angle with inside post.  I don't like that jazz of running right to the rail in the Derby, like Java's War did last year.

05 May 2014 11:30 AM

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