Speed Figures

Our pick for this year's Derby: BOLT D'ORO

We'll cut to the chase right away. So which of the horses this year are fast enough to win the Derby? In our opinion there are only 4 horses in the 20 horse field that are fast enough to win: BOLT D'ORO, JUSTIFY, AUDIBLE, MENDELSSOHN. The winner and even the exacta/trifecta will involve those 4 heavily on our tickets.

For our pick to win the Derby we think BOLT D'ORO will offer the best value of the top 4 win contenders. The Santa Anita Derby may figure prominently as the strongest Derby prep race this year and we think BOLT has an excellent chance to turn the tables on his rival JUSTIFY from that race. He has good tactical speed that can put him in good early position in the large field but he can also close ground successfully if he finds himself a bit further back in case the pace is faster than predicted. We are guessing the pace fractions of the Derby will looks something like 46 4/5 and 111 2/5 and BOLT has proven he can settle and stalk behind similar fractions and win. He gets hooked up with Victor Espinoza who has won more than 1 Derby, and BOLT has more racing experience than JUSTIFY and seems to have fewer questions as to whether he can handle the chaos of such a large 20 horse field. JUSTIFY has a short but brilliant resume, but has never been behind horses or felt dirt hitting him in the face before.. He may be simply better than any other 3 year old this year and show it, but we think the Derby chaos and intensity will cause him to fall short as the favorite. That's why BOLT D'ORO emerges as the top pick this year.

Win Contenders: (Winner of the Derby should come from this group): BOLT D'ORO, JUSTIFY, AUDIBLE, MENDELSSOHN

2nd Tier Contenders: (On our tickets these are simply matches for exacta/trifecta type of tickets mostly as underside to the top picks): VINO ROSSO, GOOD MAGIC, MAGNUM MOON

Longshot Chances: For true 20-1 to 50-1 longshots to put some value in the bottom slots of exacta/ trifecta / superfectas we are using LONE SAILOR (50-1), ENTICED (30-1), SOLOMINI (30-1) and INSTILLED REGARD (50-1).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Matt Matuska, SpeedFigures.com