55°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Curlin likely to be Kentucky Derby favorite

Who will be the Kentucky Derby favorite? The results of last week’s Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby races answered that question for me.

I expect Curlin, the undefeated winner of the Arkansas Derby, to be favored. His three clear-cut wins in fast times will attract the wiseguys who make speed figures, plus the casual fans seduced by his perfect record. I’d make Curlin the favorite at 4-1 odds.

Street Sense ran fine when second in an oddly run Blue Grass. Slow early fractions led to a feeble six-furlong time of 1:16.65. The horses ran slow early, then very fast late. Thus, the final result is nearly meaningless in regards to handicapping the Derby. Street Sense will probably be the second choice at about 9-2.

The next few horses in the morning line could be tricky. Circular Quay, Nobiz Like Shobiz and Scat Daddy could be randomly placed in any order. The rest of the Derby field will be double-digit odds and higher.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has secured jockeys on his powerful five-horse Derby contingent. John Velazquez, who had first option, chose Circular Quay. Garrett Gomez then picked up Any Given Saturday joining Edgar Prado (Scat Daddy), Fernando Jara (Cowtown Cat) and Ramon Dominguez (Sam P) as the riders for Team Pletcher.

COAST — The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 handicapping contest has returned on Thursdays. You can play at the Gold Coast, The Orleans, Sam’s Town or Suncoast race books.

NO ATMS — I was shocked to learn that Gulfstream Park, and the other Florida tracks that were awarded a slot machine license, is forbidden to offer ATM or check-cashing services on its premises. Could you imagine Las Vegas casinos handcuffed by such an arcane rule?

• TOURNAMENTS — Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook announced the upcoming Pick the Ponies is sold out. The popular tournament is held the weeks of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup.

Here’s a reminder that the inaugural South Point Open will be May 24 to 26.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Irish War Cry due for good race, pick to win Belmont

With Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness champion Cloud Computing skipping the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, the Triple Crown races will produce three different winners for the second consecutive year.

This weekend is filled with festival-style horse racing

Today the trend is for racetracks to cluster their stakes in a festival-style program. Thus, the Met Mile will be among nine graded stakes on the Belmont Stakes card June 10.

Always Dreaming’s Preakness run proves ‘horses are human’

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming by various accounts came bouncing out of Churchill Downs in good order. His Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher felt good about his preparation.

Kentucky Derby offers clues for Preakness winner

Always Dreaming is the horse the racing industry will be rooting for. A win in the Preakness sets up another Triple Crown chance in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Preakness questions immediately face Always Dreaming

After Always Dreaming crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby, the first question was, “Is he good enough to win the Triple Crown.”

McCraken gets nod to win Kentucky Derby

Many experts are calling this the most wide-open Kentucky Derby in years. When I hear that, I get cynical. Wide open was in 2009 when Mine That Bird destroyed the field at 50-1 odds.

Kentucky Derby week means betting seminars in Las Vegas

The Kentucky Derby attracts the most novice and casual bettors of any race in our sport. With that in mind, there are all kinds of free Derby seminars next week.

Patience is necessary for future bets in horse racing

I love making future bets, not only in horse racing but also other sports. That’s because horseplayers learn a basic tenet early on. Our goal is to bet a little to win a lot.

‘Super Saturday’ should solidify Kentucky Derby field for many horses

When the folks at Churchill Downs dreamed up the Kentucky Derby points system, I was skeptical at first. Not anymore. It has worked by producing fields of in-form horses that, for the most part, are also bred to race two turns.