Race of the Week- September 5th, 2020: Kentucky Derby

Perceived Derby contenders at the beginning of the year would’ve been Charlatan, Nadal, Dennis’ Moment, Maxfield, Eight Rings and Independence Hall. After a crazy year none of those horses will be running in the derby, but Tiz the Law, Authentic and Honor A.P. still would’ve appeared on that list too and they will be running.

For the first time ever, the Kentucky Derby will be run on the first Saturday in September. The 2020 Kentucky Derby will be Race 14 on September 5th at Churchill Downs. Post time is set for 6:01 PM CT. This Grade I Race is one and one fourth miles on dirt and has a purse of $3,000,000. The race is for three-year olds. Last year’s winner was Country House. There will be 17 horses in the field this year after it was announced King Guillermo will miss with a fever and Art Collector will miss with a minor foot issue. Add those to the list of really promising three-year olds like Charlatan and Nadal who will miss out on the Derby with injuries.

In my algorithm, there are several factors I take into consideration including the horse’s past performances, workouts, winnings as well as the jockey’s performances and winnings. Horse’s rank values are calculated based off of the other horses in the field. Let’s check out the rankings for the 17 horses entered in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

This ranking includes King Guillermo (he’s been scratched).

Tiz the Law is the horse everybody’s talking about. He won the Belmont and the Travers. He’s likely to be the heavy favorite here, but there are plenty of other contenders to take a look at too. Clearly the best horse in the field; Tiz the Law is the horse to be beat.

Authentic is my second choice. He won the TVG.com Haskell Stakes in his last and finished second in the Santa Anita Derby to Honor A.P. before that. He will try to get to the lead early which could be tough given his post position of 18.

Honor A.P. is the third choice here. He won the Santa Anita Derby two starts ago, but finished second in his last on August 1st to Thousand Words in the Shared Belief Stakes.

In both the Belmont and the Travers I bet a Tiz the Law-Max Player exacta. Both times Tiz the Law has won and Max Player has finished third. Do I dare do it again? Third times the charm, right? Max Player is the fourth choice here. He’s a deeper closer so I do have some concerns about his ability to close with so many speed heavy favorites, but I he should still be in consideration.

Other horses to consider

Ny Traffic- Almost beat Authentic in the Haskell Stakes, but that was more due to Authentic than to Ny Traffic I think.

Thousand Words- Beat Honor A.P in the Shared Belief Stakes.

Sole Volante- Hasn’t raced since a terrible showing at the Belmont after being my third choice there, but he had won 2 of 3 going into it and was looking good. He’s a deep closer and could be flying late, he’s had a long layoff to try to bounce back.

Money Moves- If you like a horse no one knows about, look here. He only has two career starts (2 Wins) and has faced no one in this field before.

South Bend- Late addition to the Derby, finished 4th in the Travers behind Tiz the Law, Caracaro and Max Player.

Storm the Court- Won the 2019 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile at 45-1, but hasn’t won a race since.

I have run the 2020 Kentucky Derby 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 17 Tiz the Law (3/5)

My Bet: 17-2 Exacta, 17-12 Exacta

Longer Shots I Like: Max Player (30-1), Authentic (8-1), Sole Volante (30-1)

Superfecta: 17-18-16-2

As much as I want to try to beat Tiz the Law with him at 3/5, I’m just not sure anyone here can really do it. I think second place could be really interesting and could make for a decent exacta payout. With so many horses, there’s a higher chance someone runs their best race and I should note Tiz the Law did lose his only race ever at Churchill Downs, but that was over a year ago. No Art Collector in this race only makes Tiz the Law an even heavier favorite here.

2020 Belmont Stakes
Authentic holds off Ny Traffic in the Haskell Stakes
Honor AP wins Santa Anita Derby
Storm the Court wins 2019 Breeders Cup Juvenile
Sole Volante’s last win leading up to the Belmont
Thousand Words wins Shared Belief Stakes over Honor A.P.

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