2024 Overall — 466 466 / 131-144-191
Win % of Top Pick 28.11%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 33.33%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 269-467 57.60%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ HI — 14-22 63.64%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ KEE — 19-26 73.08%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ TP — 224-400 56.00%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ FG — 12-18 66.67%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ HI — 5-22 22.73%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ KEE — 8/26 30.77%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ TP — 110-400 27.50%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ FG — 8-18 44.44%
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ HI — 4/2-2-0 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ KEE — 2/2-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP  39/ 13-10-6 33.33% Win / 74.36% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 1 / 0-0-0 00.00% Win / 00.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 46/ 17-12-6 36.96% Win / 76.09% ITM

(Stats to be updated with this week’s results)

We have made it. We have arrived.

It’s Kentucky Derby 150.

Hip.

Hip.

Hooray.

Time to celebrate.

Time to cheer.

Time to win some bets and money, too.

Here’s our looks at today’s massive and amazing card:

1st: 2-1/7-3/5-6…Pure Force (2) gets the nod in the ole’ lid-lifter at the big oval in Louis-Town on this most festive of all days — the First Saturday in May and the day for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. This 3YO son of Constitution will make the debut in this 6.5-furlong test for MSW company. Has been training lights out for a world-class barn operation and looks to have all things pointing in the right direction. Dam has a winner from one starter and the sire throws .17% winners on first ask. Lot to like here. I bet the 2 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 2-1 in the exactas. I will key the 2 over/under the 1-7-3-5-6 in two smaller units. 

2nd: 6/8/10/1/3-2-4-11…The first Key Play of the Day comes here in the second tilt. Scylla (6) is the 6-5 ML favorite and will get the tack from HOF trainer Bill Mott. Comes in off a 3rd in the G3 Doubledogdare Stakes at KEE and was favorite in that one. Gets Lasix back on and the barn wins with .16% of beaten favorites. Should appreciate this class drop here. I bet the 6 to win/place and double down on the win wager. I will key the 6 over/under the 8-10-1-3-2-4-11 in the exactas. More with the 8-10 than the rest. 

3rd: 1-11-2/9-5-3-4/7-10/6…This is a 11/16-mile test over the main track and I line up with the railbird — Cartucho (1). This 3YO son of Run Runner won the debut by over 6 lengths and looked impressive in doing it. Trainer has gone 4-5-1 in the last 12 starts and gets a HOF rider for this occasion. Trainer wins with .29% when asking the mate to go a route for the first time. Mindframe (11) is a son of Constitution who won the debut by over 13 at Gulfstream Park. Has the look of a superstar in the making. Sharp work on April 26 here. Rider has gone 6-1-2 in the last 17. Lots to like with this ML favorite. Cornishman (2) could surprise them all. Broke the MSW last time out and that was at two turns. Out of a Stakes-winning Bernardini mare. Look out. I bet the 1-11 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. 

4th: 6/11/1/2/3-7-8-9…Knicks Go Stakes…Let’s the Stakes begin. Nine in a row. Eight of them Graded. And, we have a Key Play of the Day to kick start the Stakes parade. We love Best Actor (6) in this spot. Has raced here twice before. Both of those were wins. Has raced this distance 4 times. Has won 3 of them. Likes an off going, too. Rider fits this one perfectly. Look for this speedster to go early and dominate. I bet the 6 to win/place and double down on the win wager. I will key the 6 over/under the 11-1-2-3-7-8-9 in the exactas. More with the 11-1-2 than the rest. 

5th: 8-4/10/12-(16)-5/3-7-13-(14)-(17)…G2 Twin Spires Stakes…This is the 5.5-furlong turf sprint specialty race and I will lean into the #8 — Mischief Magic (8). This is an Irish-bred and the Euros dominate the Americans every chance they get, and this is a chance. Ran 2nd in first race in over a year at KEE on April 6. Came with a rush to be 2nd by a length. Had to need that race. If gets a clean trip? Who is going to be 2nd? Notorious (4) could be 2nd. Ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November in last outing. Lost by less than 2 that day. Catches a different turf course here. Will be interesting to see if this one adapts. I bet the 8 across the board and double/triple down on the win wager. I box the 8-4 in one exacta and then key the 8 over/under the 4-10-12-16-5-3-7-13 in two smaller units. 

6th: 10-7-9/1/4-3/2/5…G2 Derby City Distaff…This is a 7-furlong test over the main strip and I go with Vahva (10). This 4YO Gun Runner filly has been on a roll of late, finishing in the money in each of the last 6 outings. Has run here twice before. Two wins. Best rider up. Lots to like. Alva Starr (7) won the G1 Madison in the last outing, but was aided by a speed-crazy strip. Has won two in a row and 4 of the last 5. Only miss was a 2nd to our top pick, by a 1/2-length. Close. Red Carpet Ride (9) has speed, too. May get burned up early here. I bet the 10 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 10 over/under the 7-9-1-4-3-2 in two smaller units. 

7th: 11-5/8-6/12-3-7-2/1/9…G2 Distaff Turf…This is a 1-mile turf experience and I go outside, again, to line up with turf guru Chad Brown and his 4YO Kingman filly Coppice (11). This one has not raced since October of 2023. But is a G1 Stakes winner in England. Trainer wins with .28% of the last 47 to ship to the U.S. to run and with .25% of the last 53 to make the first start for this barn. Talent. Cairo Consort (5) is a favorite of mine. Won with her last out at Gulfstream Park. Maybe a touch below in class to the top pick, but a consistent one. Has hit the board in 10 of 14 turf tries. Will be coming late. I bet the 11 across the board and then double down on the win wager. I will box the 11-5 in one exacta and then key the 11 over/under the 5-8-6-12-3-7-2-1-9 in two smaller units. 

8th: 12-8-1/4-3-5/2-7/11//9-10…G2 Pat Day Mile…Love this race, which has taken over for the old Derby Trial. I go with Nash (12), who is coming in off an impressive win in the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Maybe gets a tad short the longer you go, but should be a forward factor at the 1-mile distance. Vunerable at times, especially is another horse hooks this one early. Upset can happen here. Top Conor (8) was the rabbit for Sierra Leone in the G1 Blue Grass last time out. Set all the fractions, but nobody pressed, either. Wavered in the stretch, but the cutback here should help. Speed dual could knock off front-runners here. Carbone (1) is a horse that has to go a bit too early here to avoid the gap, but may be a sneaky pick, too. Otto the Conqueror (4) is a perfect 2-for-2 here and one of those races came over a sloppy 7 furlongs. Don’t like the last two races. Spit it in both. But a local favorite. Seize the Grey (5) is the best closer, IMO. I bet the 12-5 across the board and then box the 12-8-1-5 in one exacta. I will key the 12-5 over/under the 8-1-4-3-2-7 in two smaller units. 

9th: 5-14/11-12-3-1/2-6/9/13/4-7-10…G2 American Turf…The turf stretches out to the 11/16 distance here and I go with Legend of Time (5), another Euro. This one is GB-bred and is also trained by Appleby. Wow the last three times out in Dubai and has a win in the homeland, as well. Looks powerful on the track and comes from a Stakes-winning mare who has thrown 3 Stakes winners inn the first 6 starters. Nice. Agate Road (14) switches back to the turf here after taking a swing at the Derby preps. Should appreciate the return to the green. Has 4 grass starts to date with 2 wins and a 2nd. Coming late, late, late. I bet the 5 across the board and double/triple down on the win wager. I will box the 5-14 in one exacta and then key the 5 over/under the 14-11-12-3-1-2-6-9 in two smaller units. 

10th: 6-2/9-11/3-4-8-7/10//5…G1 Churchill Downs Stakes…A 7-furlong dirt test for the older horses and I go with Zozos (6), who has run here 3 times with 2 wins. Only miss? A 10th in the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Has speed. Will travel. Looks the part, too. Tejano Twist (2) has a couple of wins here, as well. Took him 10 starts to do it, though. Should like the new rider and will come late. I bet the 6 across the board and double/triple down on the win wager. I will box the 6-2 in one exacta and then key the 6 over/under the 2-9-11-3-4-8-7 in two smaller units. 

11th: 11-5-6/1-7/4/9-10/8-2/3…G1 Old Forester Stakes…The big turf race of the day will be contested at 11/8-miles. Love this one. Tough, perusal. I go back to the Euros and Appleby — again. This is another Brit-bred — Naval Power (11). Has a nice 2nd over a yielding track at KEE last out in the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile. Lost to another nice Euro in Master of the Seas, that day. Has a G1 and a G1 win in Europe. Looks the best on paper here. Program Trading (5) goes for the best American turf trainer. Has 4 wins and a 2nd in 5 career starts. Won the G1 Hollywood Derby to finish up the 2023 season. Chance. A Brit-bred, too. I’m Very Busy (6) is another from the barn of Chad Brown. Has hit board in 7 of 9 grass starts. Chance. II. I bet the 11 across the board and then double/triple down on the win wager. I box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the 11 over/under the 5-6-1-7-4-9-10 in two smaller units. 

12th: 2-17-15/18-4-19-8-7/9-11/(21)/6-12-14…G1 150th Kentucky Derby…Well, well, well. Here it is. The 150th landmark Kentucky Derby. And, it sure looks like it could be, will be a great one to remember into the future days, months and years ahead. There’s plenty of reasons to like plenty of horses. But I will try to narrow my focus on two of the main favorites — Sierra Leone (2), and Fierceness (17) — and then some of the long shots — Domestic Product (15), Stronghold (18), Resilience (19) and Catching Freedom (4). Here’s why…I think Sierra Leone (2) is the best horse in the race. Love his looks. Love his style. Love his burst of energy. No doubt he should get the distance here. But he drew poorly (not terribly) and he will have to come in, around, or over 17-18 horses to get there. That’s a tough assignment. No matter who you are. Fierceness (12) can be, at times, the most spectacular horse of his generation, and, perhaps, of many generations past and to come. He was brilliant in winning the Florida Derby. But there are, er, cracks here, too. He looks like a horse that runs great, and then so-so. Great. And, then, so-so. If that pattern holds? He is due for a so-so and that won’t get it done here. If he is spectacular, like he can be. He will get it done and then some. The thing that bothers me the most, though, is that he ran in the Florida Derby with farrier-designed patches on all four feet. What’s up with that? Preventive? Or troublesome? I’m leery. Domestic Product (15) is listed at 30-1 in the ML. He finished ahead of Fierceness in the G3 Holy Bull. Since dropping the blinkers, he’s been a different horse. Could shock here with the world’s best rider up. Resilience (19) is my “karma horse.” Owned by Emily Wygod Bushnell, in part. Her dad, Martin, gave her ownership rights, and just recently passed away. This horse improved greatly in the Wood Memorial with the addition of blinkers. Big number and improving. A huge chance here. Stronghold (18) won the Santa Anita Derby after Muth was shipped to Arkansas. Has never been worse than 2nd in 6 starts. Great sire in Ghostzapper. Would not be a shock, except at the windows. Chasing Freedom (4) is owned by the Albaugh Family, and these folks are some of the best to ever try this game. I root for them every time, because of their style and grace. Horse is pretty darn good, too. Just won the Louisiana Derby, after all. I will play the 2 to win/place/show and double/triple down on the win wager. I will box the 2-17-15 in one exacta. I will key the 2-17 over/under the 15-18-4-19-8-7-9-11-21 in two smaller units. I will also box the 15-18-4-19-8-7 in a much smaller unit.

13th: 9-(13)/2-7/10-1/4/3-11-(14)/12/8-6-5…General Partner (9) looks the best here for trainer Chad Brown, who will add the Lasix for the first time. Has quality speed and should benefit from the anti-bleeder. Class of the race, I think. Lost to Fierceness in the last start, just to note. I bet the 9 across the board and then key the 9 over/under the 13-2-7-10-1-4 in the exactas. 

14th: 3-1/6/12-11-4/8//2-7-9…The day’s finale and I go with Gun Party (3). This son of Curlin has run two 2nds in a row to start the career. Gets a huge rider switch for this one and should be coming late. If the jockey doesn’t get this one in traffic issues? Look out. Dive Bomber (1) is the ML favorite and gets Lasix for the first time. Barn wins with .34% of the last 233 to get the meds. I bet the 3-1 across the board and then box these two in the exactas. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene