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Tuesday will kick off Derby week at Churchill Downs.

RACE 1:  1-2-6

David Vance — a talented trainer — has been cold as a mint julep on Derby Day, with only three wins in 57 starts this year. But he could grab one here with a bug boy rider.  The 2 will be the toughest competition, while the 6 could add some value to the exotics.
RACE 2: 1-6-9-5-8

The 1 is my reluctant choice, due to the fact that the trainer has been ice cold all year — with only three wins in 66 starts.  But this OK-bred could be salty at 6-1 in this spot.  Maker’s 6-horse will be huge favorite to romp here, and she may.  She has lost two in a row to Vendetta, who has been on my HTW list.
RACE 3: 6-3-4-5

The 6 should be ready to roll after just missing at Keeneland on April 9.  Runner-up in start two back came back to win, too.  She should be ready to win here.  The 3 won this condition last fall at CD, but was disqualified from the purse money.  That was a huge improvement, so one has to wonder if that was unusual or what.  If she runs that race, they all will be watching.
RACE 4: 3-2-4-7

The 3 has been working very well for trainer Steve Asmussen and comes off a useful 2nd in first race of the year…any improvement here and she finds the circle.  The 2 was claimed in her last start, which she won by 121/4 lengths.  Have to use. French Geroux is starting to wake up in the saddle a bit and that won’t hurt the 4.
RACE 5: 3-7-5-4-1-6

… dot on the 7 and the 1…The 3 has tried maidens for 15 starts and has hit the board six — still without a win.  Drops to Maiden-Claiming today, though, and gets a rider switch to the modern day Pat Day — Corey Lanerie.  Pick here.  The 7 will be very tough if her runs the same race back he did at Keeneland on April 7 and was steadied into the first turn that day.  Gets the dot here.  I look for big improvement from the 5 in his start for Al Stall.  Gets the blinkers and that should sharpen him up some.  If you are looking for a longer price, throw in the 1.  Will run better today and the horse that finished 3rd in last out came back to win.  Watch out for this one.
RACE 6: 7-8-4-3-1-2

A wide open race, but edge goes to the 7 with a massive drop in class for trainer Steve Margolis.  Trainer doesn’t exceed with switch in races surfaces, but if this one likes the dirt, watch out at 8-1 ML. Brad Cox is hotter than any trainer in the world these days and is dropping from 50,000 claiming to 16,000 today.  Will be tough.  I throw the 4 in third.  Gets the blinkers after two dull performances in a row.  Needs to pick it up, but does drop in class, too.
RACE 7: 2-3-9-10-4

Another wide open race, but I give the edge to the 2, who has won 2 in a row and goes for the hat trick today.  Likes to stalk the pace and should get a good trip in this one from Gabriel Saez.  The 3 is ultra consistent and has a win in only start over Churchill grass.  I look for big race today with third start off the layoff.  Maker tries to overcome a soft Keeneland meet and will try a small bump up with the 9.  Looks like last race may have this daughter of Kitten’s Joy ready now.
RACE 8: 4-1-5-6-2/3

Tough field to pick just one, but I give the edge to the 4.  First time out since last November, but appears ready after a bullet work at Keeneland, and he loves this track.  I give the second spot edge to Mott’s 1 horse.  Will go to the front and hope to last.  I give a dot to the 5, though.  Throw out the stakes races and this Indiana-bred mare fits here.
RACE 9: 9-11-10-5-2

Kenny McPeek’s horses have been firing on all cylinders lately, and although this one has had 8 tries at breaking his maiden before, the trainer may have picked the right spot here with another drop.  Gets a top rider, too, and if he runs the same race, should graduate.  Have to use the 11,10, but I think you should include the 2 at 12-1 ML.  The son of Ice Box gets blinkers, loses his manhood for the first time and gets a drop from a good barn.  If you get 12-1 here, try under and over the ones above.