When I started handicapping this race I figured that I'd probably end up picking Code West or Palace Malice or Golden Soul, one of the logical horses in the field. But as I kept pouring through the running lines I repeatedly came back to two colts time and time again: Departing and Ground Transport.
On paper, the Louisiana Derby appears to be a wide-open race containing a number of horses that have a real, legitimate shot to win. As a result, I'm looking for a couple different things in the winner: A colt that's improving and that's run well over the surface in the past. Departing fits both of those requirements to a "T" and he's a nice 8/1 on the morning line (although I expect him to get bet down to the 5/1 range come post time).
I don't like the post position for Ground Transport but I think he's good enough to run a competitive race at big odds. I think Departing is the more likely winner between the two so I'll put most of my win bets on Departing and then play an exacta with Departing above Ground Transport and Code West.
TFTribe's Pick: I started on Palace Malice, and I still do like him. But the value in Departing is undeniable. That's where I'm settling. But I wouldn't be surprised if the longest shot on the board roars to the front and steals 100 points here.
Assuming Itsmyluckyday has maintained his form since his last race over two months ago, it's difficult to pick against him in this race. His tactical speed should allow him to sit right off of Shanghai Bobby and Merit Man through the first three-quarters to mile of the race, which will give him every opportunity to run down the leaders in the stretch drive. Perhaps the biggest question with Itsmyluckyday is the layoff; if you look back at the last time he entered a race off of a two-month break, he flopped badly in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot.
If he's right, it should be another lucky day for Itsmyluckday.
TFTribe's Pick: I said it before and I'll say it again, I only see this playing out two ways:
- Itsmyluckyday just cruises just off the lead and uses his high cruising speed to put the field away as they are in the stretch.
- The pace is a touch too hot with Shanghai Bobby, Merit Man, and Itsmyluckyday vying for the lead and Orb catches the speed
But Itsmyluckyday’s cruising speed can carry 12s over 9 panels, so it’s going to have to be lightning fast through 3/4 to really drain him. Should be alot of fun.
So I'm playing Lucky and Orb. Should be a great race.