For value: Every horse in the race should be decent value as long as the favorite stays near her morning line odds of 4-5. Dyna Waltz has the most early speed and may try to steal it. Worth a look, particularly since she will likely go off at 7-1 or higher.
What to bet: Shared Account at 4-5 is worth betting around in the single-race exotics. Take No Explaining to win. Box No Explaining, Shared Account, Desert Sage and Dyna Waltzin exacta and trifecta bets.
Analysis: Apart ships in from Fairgrounds where he finished just behind former Derby runner Mission Impazible. He has found much success in Louisiana, including winning last year's Super Derby (Grade II). When he is at his best, he is definitely the one to beat, but he was been beaten as a 4-5 favorite three races back. Eighttofasttocatch has been racing more locally, and comes in off back to back wins at Laurel. Recent efforts indicate that the distance should be no problem. No Advantage got has strong local connections but otherwise looks to be in over his head.
For value: Researcher struggled against very similar company last time out at Keeneland. But he has raced well at this level before. Back-to-back fourth place efforts at the same or lesser company should tamp down his odds sufficiently. But if he races back to his potential, certainly belongs here.
What to bet: This race is fairly wide open, and the favorite is far from dominant. I recommend boxing your wagers and pulling in some value horses. Box Researcher, Apart, Eighttofasttocatch and No Advantage in exacta and trifecta wagers.
Analysis: Paddy O'Prado finished 2010 on a somewhat down note, finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic. But even in that, he ran ahead of seven really good horses and did so at 33-1 odds. Not a bad effort. His races on turf last year were stronger than those on dirt. Starting the year on turf is a return to where he has dazzled. He has been training well and if ready to go will not be caught today. Grand Rapport is the next most classy horse in the race and he is nowhere near Paddy O'Prado, even on his best day. Slews Answer is interesting because he is so lightly raced. He is making a rapid class climb, but has yet to take a step back.
For value: Eighttofasttocatch looks to have a speed advantage over the rest of the field. He held on well last time out at this distance, but takes a big jump up today. If he can get daylight on the field could hold for a piece.
What to bet: I do not recommend betting around Paddy O'Prado. He is head and shoulders better than the rest of the field. If he is at 80 percent it should be enough to win. Key Paddy O'Prado over Eighttofasttocatch, Grand Rapport, Slews Answer and Pocket Patch in exacta and trifecta wagers.
Race 12 Preakness
Analysis: As is the case every year, the Derby results can tell us a lot about what to expect in the Preakness. The biggest surprise in the Derby was the pedestrian pace. As expected, Shackleford and Comma To The Top set the fractions, but they did so in no particular hurry. After the 48:3 half mile, the race seemed to be playing out exactly like the pace setters would have liked. One of them would surely have enough gas left to dash to the wire before the late runners could catch up. Shackleford's ability to hold on for fourth place in the Derby was no doubt a product of the soft pace. With the faster pace expected in the Preakness, his chances are dimmer, even with the slightly shorter distance to cover. Dance City and Flashpoint will likely apply more pressure on the lead than he saw in the Derby.
Another important Derby-to-Preakness observation is that a well-bet horse in the Derby that disappoints can be very dangerous coming back in the Preakness. Examples of this include some really great horses like Point Given, Afleet Alex, Lookin At Lucky and Curlin. This observation would point to Dialed In. As a tepid Derby favorite, Dialed In was pinched back at the start and did very little until passing eight horses in the stretch. Closing on any horses after such soft fractions is nice, but I would have liked to have seen more from him to predict similar redemption stories as these other former Preakness winners.
Mucho Macho Man ran a strong race in the Derby, and if he can repeat will be dangerous again today. He should lay off the faster pace and stalk from fifth or sixth position. If I could find a reason to throw out the favorite, I could see him winning.