weather icon Mostly Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Patience is necessary for future bets in horse racing

Updated April 20, 2017 - 5:47 pm

Last year at this time I was sitting on Kentucky Derby future book bets on Exaggerator (125-1) and Creator (150-1). I had a good shot to make up for the Derby futures I had lost in the past.

Exaggerator ran heroically to place second behind Nyquist, but Creator had a horrible trip and finished 13th. Somehow I must have upset the racing gods, because Exaggerator won the Preakness two weeks later and Creator got a dream trip to win the Belmont Stakes.

Thus, there is nothing like having karma rub it in my face.

This year, I bought only two Derby futures in Not This Time (150-1) and One Liner (100-1). Unfortunately for me, neither horse is in training right now.

Still, 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.

That makes us different from sports bettors, who learn the grind early on of 11-10 odds on single-game bets.

I am in the black with futures because of two NBA winners — the Golden State Warriors (18-1, 2015) and the Dallas Mavericks (30-1, 2011).

To borrow a phrase from fellow horse handicapper Patrick McQuiggan, you need to “project” what a horse or team will do versus what they already have done. Plus, you need the luck of avoiding injury and having everything go your way.

I know some of you are sitting on Derby future bets at high odds on horses with a big shot to win. I have been asked how do you “save” in these scenarios.

My suggestion is simple. The Kentucky Derby and its undercard races offer enormous opportunities even if your key horse or horses do not win. Obviously, you want your key horse to win. But vertical bets such as the exacta, trifecta and superfecta offer chances to be almost right and cash.

I remember a story Jon White, the morning line maker at Santa Anita, wrote about his Derby future bet on Pioneerofthenile in 2009.

White had a solid position on Pioneerofthenile but wanted to back himself up. He considered a place bet but finally decided to wheel his horse in the exacta in the place spot.

As luck would have it, Mine That Bird at 50-1 odds rolled up along the rail to beat White’s horse. So he still cashed big, even though his horse lost.

Charles Town Classic

The $1.25 million Charles Town Classic is the feature race of the weekend. Stanford (8-5) is the defending champion out of trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn. Stanford drew the rail post, has controlling early speed and is my choice to win.

Behind Stanford, I like Sunny Ridge (6-1), War Story (5-1) and Imperative (3-1). Eight stakes races will be run on the Charles Town card Saturday.

Tom Durkin’s Derby

Retired track announcer Tom Durkin has called many Kentucky Derbies for national TV. This year, he will be at Churchill Downs in a different role, as a new minority owner of Derby hopeful Always Dreaming. West Point Thoroughbreds CEO Terry Finley heads the syndicate that owns the Florida Derby winner.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You can buy his Santa Anita Park picks at racedaylasvegas.com. You can email him at rich_eng@hotmail.com and follow @richeng4propick on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
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.

‘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.