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Kentucky Derby – Updated Betting Odds and Wet Track Trifecta

Colts(130-12) @ Geldings(9-133)

  • Where: Churchill Downs. Louisville, KY
  • When: May 6, 2017 6:34 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Classic Empire (+425), Always Dreaming (+450), Irish War Cry (+600), McCracken (+600), Gunnevera (+1000), Girvin (+1600), Hence (+1600), Thundersnow (+1800), Tapwrit (+2800)

You don’t think meteorologists would be part of an old-fashioned, 1920’s-style swindle do you?

Just think of it. With days to go in betting action on the Kentucky Derby, the weathermen and women of America secretly conspire to inaccurately predict Derby Day rain in Louisville. Bookies and cash players scramble to pick out new winners, leaving the fibbing weather scientists to clean up by wagering on the best dry-track horses.

Eh, probably not. The internet era has made such large-scale hoaxes pretty much obsolete. But even if the National Weather Service is as competent and earnest as reputation has it, they’re not making it easy to bet on the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Classic Empire, for instance, has been a popular 4/1 wager at times leading up to this weekend. But the colt’s wet-track ability could be surpassed by less-heralded horses in the field.

As (literally) muddy as the picture could become, the gloomy forecast also presents an opportunity. Despite the relatively low Tomlinson (wet track efficiency) scores of several favorites, online odds are changing slowly if at all. Tapwrit, a extremely talented mudder, is still at 28/1 at Bovada Sportsbook.

MSB is seeing the Highball glass half-full. Read ahead for a pair of Kentucky Derby value bets to hurry up and make…before online book-makers check The Weather Channel.

His mother was a mudder

Rain is already falling in Kentucky, with precipitation expected to linger into the weekend. The question is no longer whether conditions will be wet, but rather how wet – and how they will affect the outcome.

A Tomlinson score combines wet track speeds with pedigree to rank which horses are most likely to plow through a sloppy surface and handle traffic in the mud. 6/1 entry Irish War Cry leads all entries in the Derby field with a 443 Tomlinson tally.

So is the winning wager that simple? The son of 2007 Run for the Roses show Curlin is already among the three or four fastest racehorses in the field, and could potentially leave other favorites behind in the mud. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming, another sub-5/1 odds colt, each fall short of the top ten in Tomlinson score among the 20 competing stallions.

Irish War Cry comes with a major blemish on his record in 2017, a miserable sixth-place finish at the Fountain of Youth Stakes. But considering the colt recently won the Holy Bull on the same track in similar conditions, the one bad race could be an anomaly.

McCracken is the other short-odds horse with a pedigree for wet conditions. His Tomlinson score is third-best in the field and his sire, Ghostzapper, performed well in the mud. But keep in mind that the colt’s fastest performance ever was his worst result, a mere show finish in the 2017 Blue Grass Stakes. If a personal-best time can’t win a warm-up race, why all the fuss?

As for the favorites, Classic Empire’s very first win didn’t come in the mud, but it did come on a rough off-track. The two year-old ran very fast in winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile race in 2016 and the 2017 Arkansas Derby, but his money line odds have begun to reflect skepticism as the rainy weekend approaches.

Meanwhile, Always Dreaming has a beneficial post position and the fastest statistical record in the field. But the horse and his bloodline are both completely unproven on damp surfaces, making his 9/2 odds empty of value.

Irish War Cry is the play. Yes, he had one awful race, but with six-fold payout odds lingering on the board as slow-moving clouds encircle Louisville, there is no better value bet in the offing.

Click here to pick Irish War Cry as your money line winner at the 143rd Kentucky Derby.

Trifecta – Seeing through the mist

A common trifecta (or parlay) betting mistake involves the gambler trying to envision many scenarios in which she could win. In reality, the odds of two or three things happening in concert dictate a more direct approach – don’t imagine scenarios, imagine the scenario.

Sure, the rain could taper off in time to allow Churchill Downs employees to work magic, and create a reasonably dry running surface by post time. But if it’s still pouring on Saturday morning, a potential sweet-as-nectar trifecta comes sharply into focus.

Barring another fluky letdown, Irish War Cry is capable of winning easily on a muddy track. McCracken would be a reflex-pick to place, but MSB recommends Tapwrit instead, an expert slopper who won the 2017 Tampa Bay Derby. The colt’s long odds will drive up the potential jackpot, and he can out-muscle a horse like McCracken in soggy conditions.

The exciting closer Gunnevera is our recommendation to show, wrapping up a beautiful wet-track trifecta wager of Irish War Cry (1), Tapwrit (2), and Gunnevera (3). But check the forecast one final time – this bet will not carry as much value on a dry surface.

Best seat in the house

The late Hunter S. Thompson described the Churchill Downs infield as a collection of rich, drunk dandies “fighting with broken whiskey bottles.”

But this Saturday, they might be fighting for umbrellas instead.

Enjoy the Kentucky Derby in big-screen indoor comfort and place units on Irish War Cry to prevail in rainy Louisville.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.


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