|Raging Bull (Fr): Photo by Benoit|
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog, now in our 12th year of providing handicapping advice and betting strategy to an audience that never really asked for it.
Today's the big day, the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. To this handicapper, older turf runners are my specialty and focus, so while the rest of the world is enthralled with three year old's breaking in a massive field over dirt at a distance only two have ever raced at, I'm the odd ball who just prefers the older horses. I like the data, the performance history and pacing of turf racing. I'm not anti three year old dirt runners, it's just not what I'm caught up in. I handicapped quite a few races this spring but not one prep, so don't bother reading my advice on that race, there are plenty of bright minds you can tune into for all things Triple Crown.
Now I do have a gamblers pulse and there is something about a big field with wide open odds, so after i indulge my turf racing passion I share my thoughts about tote board handicapping as it relates to the Kentucky Derby.
Your find scratches/changes and track condition via this link to the Churchill Downs website. The hour by hour weather forecast is looking pretty bleak, especially after 2 PM. The Turf is Listed as Fast and the Dirt Firm right now but its such a wildcard I think we need to assume sloppy/sealed and Good.
A couple of key races to consider:
12 April 19 Kee Makers Mile G1 Good.
23 March 2019 FG Muniz Memorial G2 Firm 1 1/8
Chad Brown has three runners here with Raging Bull, Ticonderoga and Bricks and Mortar. I suspect Bricks and Mortar will be a post time chalk and I think he's got a legitimate shot at winning.His good early speed will be critical as he breaks from post 12 and his late turn of foot is very good. 9 of 9 lifetime in the money, 7 wins in 9 turf starts, 1 win in 3 starts at the distance. Lots to like in the 5 YO son of son Giant's Causeway. Three straight wins including Pegasus World Turf .
I have Qurbaan as my top overlay. 1 win in 10 turf starts, no wins at the distance, blinkers go on for Trainer McLaughlin who hits 17% of those. good early speed good late speed, just needs focus and Mike Smith is up to help in that regard.
Raging Bull and Breaking the Rules are in my next tier. Raging Bull (Fr) has 5 wins in 8 turf starts and came close in the Makers Mark Mile. Solid late speed and a good post draw. Breaking the Rules is stepping up in class but carries 6 fewer pounds than most of contenders. 7 of 9 lifetime in the money with 4 wins. Nice solid work for Trainer Shug McGaughey leading up to this.
Synchrony also goes with blinkers on for Trainer Stidham. Big late speed I'm not sure he'll get the pace scenario needed but can easily be going forward still at the end. 5 of 5 in the money at the distance and 12 of 13 in the money over grass. Same sort of running style in the horse one gate over, Ticonderoga. A TimeForm 126 late, a big step up in class. We'll see if he has the targets and the room to unleash at the end.
I'm not sure what I'll be playing, but most likely some low risk $2 exacta with 12 OVER 1-2-8-9-10 for $10 total.
Regarding the 12 Race, The G1 Kentucky Derby, I'm just tote board handicapping it. Its a bit of a misnomer, I'm Tote Board-Bet Constructing. It can get too hectic as the odds shift near post time so I like to have a spread sheet built that I can quickly make adjustments to leading up to bet placement time. While I typically do all my work within TwinSpires TV, here you will find a link to Churchill Downs webpage live odds.
I'm not going to get to in depth with the handicapping. Using the past performances and the tote board I am identifying horses that I think will Win/Place or be tossed from that discussion. As the rewards most likely will be high, covering a few more potential finishers looking to maximize values. As you can see, the highest odds on the board right now are maximum security at 18% and the top 4 colts have odds that total 66%. If I was assembling bets right now i'd have:
$1 Bet Box 9 horses (5-6-7-8-10-13-16-17-20) for $81. That's a bit too much so I'll whittle it down a bit before post time.
Have fun friends, Turk out!