Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Future Wager - Pool #2

It must be a good year, none of my selections from Pool #1 are off the trail yet either through injury or the complete inability to run. By this time I'm usually reminded of why they call this a sucker's bet but I actually feel decent about my selections and I'm looking forward to finding a bargain or two in Pool #2.

Just to recap here is what I've got from Pool #1

Flying Pegasus - 28/1
Hello Broadway - 30/1
I Want Revenge - 54/1
Patena - 22/1

Pool #2 is a much tougher proposition. The whole idea with the Future Wager is that you want potential Derby winners at a better price than they would be on Derby day plus a few extra ticks to compensate for the risk of injury etc.... It's much harder to find unappreciated talent in mid-March plus eleven of the main contenders are in action while the pool is open. Winners will be bet down and those who finish out of the frame will skyrocket in price. It's easy to keep tabs on if you follow things in real time (which I highly recommend) but for a piece like this I obviously need to put down my thoughts before the races are run so I can react to neither the races themselves nor the prices that result from them.

With these disadvantages in mind I've decided not to bother trying to play any horse who is in action this weekend. I know it means I miss the chance to play that horse who runs a bang up unnoticed second place finish behind a horse with a bigger reputation but I'm willing to live with that. It's too difficult to imagine who that horse might be. I also want to steer clear of likely race winners. A horse like Friesan Fire is opening at 12/1 and would likely be 8/1 if he wins the Louisiana Derby. Yet if he turns around loses his final prep, a race like the Blue Grass, he'll be more than 8/1 on Derby day. It's poor value all around. I like playing those who are inactive while the pool is open. Sometimes they get ignored.

Here are some of the horses I would be interested in if the price was right.

Bear's Rocket
Does anyone think this is a potential Derby horse? I couldn't find one single mention of him in Top 10's or even Top 20's anywhere on the Internet and yet somehow he made it into the pool as a single wagering entity. I don't think anyone needs convincing that he can't win the Derby here are some reasons why he could be a contender. In his one and only dirt race which was also his only race as a 3yo he earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. For those counting that's the 8th highest two turn figure given out this term and he earned it in January. It's not a stretch to believe he could improve. A horse he beat by a long distance in his last (Beethoven) came back to run third in the Fountain of Youth and is 30/1 in this pool, Bear's Rocket is 50/1. He's got speed but he can also rate, he got a lot better when going two turns and he also improved a ton when trying dirt for the first time. Two starts back he was beaten by Patena and Hooh Why. Both of those horses have managed high profile finishes since then. His connections don't have a high profile but they are known for tossing their horses in. If this horse is healthy and has the earnings he will be in the Derby. His next start comes in the Florida Derby, we'll find out more about what he's made of when he faces those horses. I think 50/1 or more is called for with this horse. Despite the argument that can be made for him he's an oddball longshot who could still be 50/1 on Derby day.

Imperial Council
He continues to progress in a manner that suggests he's a contender. Not unlike Empire Maker his sire as a 3yo. He is simply one race further behind in his development. I guess I simply believe in this horse and if a good opportunity comes along to wager on him I have to take it. If he does not win the Wood Memorial he'll be double digit odds on Derby day, but I think he could win the Wood and you know bettors will pile on a Shug horse at the Derby. He is listed at 20/1 on the open, I think I need 25/1 or more to make a wager.

The more I watch his races the more I am convinced that this is a very good horse. If McPeek truly only had him at 80% for the Fountain of Youth then he's pretty special. I like him going longer and I think he could even turn the tables on Quality Road next time. If you pressed me to name one horse right now that would hit the frame in the Derby I would be the most confident about Theregoesjojo. His opening price of 15/1 seems a touch low to me. I want 20/1 or more to consider a wager.

West Side Bernie
Another horse who was beaten by Bear's Rocket but is 30/1 at the open. He is a bit of a forgotten horse but he's been pretty consistent his whole career. He could still wind up getting two more preps if he goes in the Lane's End next. One would have to fancy him winning a race like the Lane's End. I don't know if he is quite brilliant enough to compete at the highest level but plenty of eventual Derby winners didn't betray their brilliance until their last couple of prep races. 30/1 or more on him would seem like a good opportunity.

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