Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kentucky Derby Tri Is Worth A Try

In less than three weeks, twenty horses will enter the starting gate to contest the 2011 Kentucky Derby. In recent years, I have looked forward to watching the performances of top horses such as Big Brown (winner), Curlin (third) and Lookin at Lucky (sixth) on the First Saturday In May. However, this year there is no standout and the part of the Derby I'm most looking forward to are the mutuel payouts.

Jaycito is out of the Lexington...but will he make the Kentucky Derby gate?

Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos

In recent weeks, we have seen horses exit the Kentucky Derby picture due to injury such as Premier Pegasus, To Honor and Serve and Arthur's Tale.

Many of the top contenders put in poorer than expected efforts in their last start. The Factor wasn't one in the Arkansas Derby; Uncle Mo had no momentum in the Wood; and Mucho Macho Man threw a shoe as his latest excuse in the Louisiana Derby.

As Bill Finley noted in a recent column for ESPN:

The last five Derby preps have been won by horses that have paid $52.40, $40.20, $19.40, $12.60 and $29.80, and not one of those horses was on anyone's Top Ten list before their surprising wins.

As such, only two horses will enter the Kentucky Derby with check marks for recency and the slightest bit of hype: Dialed In (winner of the Florida Derby) and Archarcharch (winner of the Arkansas Derby). There is a little bit of Twitter buzz for Nehro and Brilliant Speed, but for the most part this is a wide-open affair.

Mo (graded stakes earnings) money, Mo Problems...

(Matt Wooley/EquiSport photos)

With only this weekend's six-horse field of the Lexington and
eight-horse field of the Jerome left as (barely) viable Kentucky Derby prep races, we've got a pretty good idea of the field and absolutely no clear favourite for the big race.

You can click here to take a look at the 2011 Kentucky Derby Graded Earnings List.

Quite frankly, the race has me seeing dollar signs for two main reasons:

1. It's going to cost me a lot of money to construct a Triactor and Superfecta with local $1 minimums.

2. Despite the cost of the ticket, the payout on both the Tri and the Super will be worth the added investment.

Let's take a quick peek back at the last five Kentucky Derby Payouts via that incontrovertible source of information that is Wikipedia.

2006 Kentucky Derby:

Post Horse Win Place Show
8 Barbaro $ 14.20 8.00 6.00
13 Bluegrass Cat 28.40 15.40
2 Steppenwolfer 7.80

* $2 Exacta: (8-13) Paid $587.00
* $2 Trifecta: (8-13-2) Paid $ 11,418.40
* $2 Superfecta: (8-13-2-1) Paid $84,860.40
* $1 Superfecta: (8-13-2-18) Paid $59,839.00
* $1 Superfecta: (8-13-2-1) Paid $84,860.40
* 1 Jazil & 18 Brother Derek was a Dead Heat.

2007 Kentucky Derby

Post Horse Win Place Show
7 Street Sense 11.80 6.40 4.60
8 Hard Spun 9.80 7.00
2 Curlin 5.60

$2 Exacta (7-8) Paid $101.80, $2 Trifecta (7-8-2) Paid $440.00, $2 Superfecta (7-8-2-5) Paid $29,046.40

2008 Kentucky Derby

Post Horse Win Place Show
20 Big Brown $ 6.80 5.00 4.80
5 Eight Belles 10.60 6.40
16 Denis of Cork 11.60

* $2 Exacta (20-5) Paid $141.60
* $2 Trifecta (20-5-16) Paid $3,445.60
* $2 Superfecta (20-5-16-2) Paid $58,737.80

2009 Kentucky Derby:

Post Horse Win Place Show
8 Mine That Bird $ 103.20 54.00 25.80
16 Pioneerof The Nile 8.40 6.40
2 Musket Man 12.00

* $1 Exacta: (8-16) Paid $1,037.30
* $1 Trifecta: (8-16-2) Paid $20,750.30
* $1 Superfecta: (8-16-2-7) Paid $278,503.20

2010 Kentucky Derby

Program# Horse Win Place Show
4 Super Saver $18.00 8.80 6.00
2 Ice Box 11.20 8.00
10 Paddy O'Prado 7.40

* $2 Exacta: 4–2 paid $152.40[1]
* $1 Trifecta: 4–2–10 paid $1,168.70[1]
* $1 Superfecta: 4–2–10–9 paid $101,284.60

It's not exactly illuminating to suggest that the superfecta payout in a twenty horse field is going to be large, I know. Even worse, it is surely a mathematical nightmare trying to build an affordable ticket with a chance in the best of circumstances and this year is murky at best.

Will 2011 payouts reflect those of Barbaro's triumphant Derby run?

However, looking back I was impressed with the triactor payouts over the past five years. The lowest triactor payout came in 2007 when two favourites (Street Sense and Curlin) sandwiched 10-1 Hard Spun. Even for a lousy dollar, that ticket was worth $220 and I think sets the bar for lowered expectations in this wide-open field.

Over the past few weeks I've daydreamed of how to make my triactor play come Derby Day and the fantastical formula seems to fall on a single, the ALL button and my ten most likely. (1 X ALL X 10 OR 1 X 10 X ALL)

I expect that the 2011 Kentucky Derby toteboard is going to look a lot like the year Barbaro won when five horses went to post at 10-1 and under - - Barbaro [6-1], Brother Derek [7-1], Sweetnorthernsaint [5-1], Point Determined [9-1) and Sinister Minister [9-1] - - and then a gate full of 25-1 and over bombs waiting to hit your ticket a la Bluegrass Cat at 30-1.

This year's five fickle favourites at 10-1 and under are likely: Uncle Mo, Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man, Archarcharch and Nehro - - and that's assuming Uncle Mo can stomach the start.

I can't imagine anyone in that group feeling too confident either given that Blue Grass champ Brilliant Speed and bruised foot, but-not-out-yet Jaycito will be looking to close on a Derby field with plenty of pace factor.

As we move closer to the race and have important information such as: the confirmed starters; post positions; jockey assignments; and weather reports I'll make a more determined stance on the Derby triactor. (I admit to having a mini-crush on Nehro as my top pick and nothing more!)

That said, it may not get any clearer than 1 X ALL X 10.

Given the plethora of early speed that might make the race, a ticket of DEEP CLOSERS + ALL + DEEP CLOSERS might be viable.

I'm sure many will consider the following ticket:

BOREL + ALL + SPEED? (Take the Borel winner over All over all horses who show early speed and hope you catch the fading speedster be it Uncle Mo or The Factor)

It's a pricey puzzle, but the $2 Triactor (8-13-2) payout of $11,418.40 in 1986 is a rich daydream.

* * *

Hastings Racecourse opened last weekend and the Vancouver area track is creating quite a buzz online via Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't already, add Hastings reps such as General Manager Raj Mutti, Director of Racing Paul Ryneveld and Marketing Manager and TV Host Kelly Grant to your Twitter feed.

Mutti recently penned a piece for the Thoroughbred Times which highlights his team's efforts to promote horse racing in Vancouver, to both returning patrons and new clientele, with a Friday Night Live program. The piece is entitled, New Perspectives: In with the new, in with the old:

Introducing new people to the racing game is no easy task as there are so many intricacies in horse racing that it can seem very intimidating, to say the least. After the introduction of the Friday Night Live series in the Vancouver marketplace, we had to advertise and promote to this different demographic. We launched several guerrilla marketing campaigns that spoke directly to these individuals, as well as having a major presence on Facebook and Twitter.

With a fairly young racing management team, it was easier for us to talk to this group as we know what experiences they are looking for, what their likes and dislikes are, and how they get their thrills. Our racing and marketing teams have Twitter feeds and are some of the most active folks in the industry with ongoing chatter on all items to do with the track.

It's clear that BC racing is taking a step in a positive direction. Their recent wagering efforts to lower takeout and addition of a new Pick 5 wager; along with an improved purse structure were rolled out with some fanfare in a Bill Finley ESPN piece that trumpeted, At Hastings, The Player Is King:

The good news for horseplayers actually began with an effort from the British Columbia government, which put something together called the British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, which was created to "help revitalize and restore financial strength to the province's horse racing industry." The committee decided to allocate additional funds to thoroughbred racing in British Columbia, which resulted in big purse increases. At the upcoming meet, overnight purses will be up by 19 percent and stakes purses will rise by 23 percent.

That was good news for Hastings and its horsemen, but did little for the fan. Mutti and his team decided to do something about that.

"We have had a lot of positives here of late and since we had the purse increases we wanted to do something for the players, too," Mutti said. "The players and the horse owners are the two most important parts of the business and without either one of them you do not have a business."

The good news from BC continues with the announcement that the British Columbia Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association and Hastings Racecoursewould support BC-based New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society with a new funding initiative:

The initiative enables Thoroughbred owners to redirect a portion of their winnings towards the care of retired racehorses. Owners can now transfer 0.5% (half of one percent) of their first, second, and third place earnings directly to New Stride.

Hastings Racecourse has dedicated their September 5th racing card to the Society. The feature events of the day are a pair of $30,000 stakes races for 2 year-old horses, named after New Stride. Hastings has also granted New Stride with their ‘Community Day at the Track’ program; an initiative that includes a direct donation of $5,000, exclusive use of the Marquee Tent for fundraising purposes, and a food and beverage donation of $1,500.

“We’re extremely grateful to BCTOBA and Hastings Racecourse for their very generous support of our cause,” said Marcy Emery, President of the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society. “These much-needed funds will expand our program two-fold and help us place more retired racehorses into adoptive homes.”

“The horsemen are taking responsibility for these majestic animals and are helping to protect the integrity of the racing industry,” said Leif Nordahl, Vice President and Treasurer of the British Columbia Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association. “Hastings is offering $10 million in purse money this year; so 0.5% of earnings has the potential to translate into significant funding for the horses when their careers are over.”

For more on the great efforts being taken to help the horses in BC, be sure to visit the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society website and follow New Stride's President Marcy Emery on Twitter.

* * *

As always, keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.


Ben Aitken (NTF) said...

Being in the UK the Kentucky Derby is not a race I generally bet in. Love watching the build-up and the race itself but as for having a serious punt, no not for me. However, I am intrigued by your trifecta talk above....I may consider having a little dabble!

Best of luck and I look forward to hearing of a monster pay-out hitting your pockets soon :)

Andrew said...

Hey Keith,

It's so funny but ever since Mo went down in the Wood I've been trying to figure out how to hit the tri myself. I'm starting to really like Mucho Macho Man but I think I'm going to with something along the lines of a 4 X 4 X all or 3 X 5 X all, both around the $300 dollar range. I can't see anyway the payout is under $300 on the tri this year.

Ernie said...

The great thing about Derby day and the BC is the guaranteed value. Even logical numbers pay very well - - or almost always.

The problem is picking the winner. Big problem for me. Keep up the great work, Keith.