Pick is for Tiago to win the Kentucky Derby
Nevada Appeal Betting Columist
Saturday features the 133rd version of the most exciting two minutes in all of sports, the running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
A full field of 20 3-year-old horses are entered to go a mile and a quarter in order to determine the winner of racing’s most prestigious and heavily wagered event. The champion will earn $1.5 million of the $2.2 million purse, plus the opportunity to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978. The Sport of Kings is forever in need of a Triple Crown champ, as this 29-year drought is the longest in history.
The horse racing community’s anticipation of this race is matched only by the difficulty involved in trying to handicap it. The Kentucky Derby is the hardest race to win. The huge field multiplies the amount of possible outcomes as well as troubling traffic, and none of these horses has ever traveled the mile and a quarter distance.
Historically in the Kentucky Derby, front runners and late closers haven’t won very often, but two years ago Giacomo managed to come from way back in 11th at the turn for home, and in 2002 and 2003 War Emblem and Funny Cide went wire-to-wire. Most of the winners have been horses that stayed close to the lead throughout the race then finished strong, but lately everything possible has happened. The Derby field is wide open.
Predictions: As many as 12 different horses have a shot this year.
Win: Tiago. The same owner, trainer and jockey for Giacomo are with his half-brother Tiago, who is also bred for the distance.
With rain and the probability of a sloppy track, that would help Cowtown Cat, Hard Spun and Zanjero. Street Sense, Curlin and Nobiz Like Shobiz are strong, but they are the favorites. Great Hunter, Dominican and Any Given Saturday are starting from too far on the outside.
It’s not often lately that a prize fight captures the public’s attention, but tomorrow night there’s a good one as Oscar De La Hoya will risk his WBC junior middleweight title against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya (38-4, 30 knockouts) is also the promoter of the fight, and the “Golden Boy” is guaranteeing himself $25 million. Mayweather (37-0, 24 Kos) is guaranteed $10 million, and is widely considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Floyd Mayweather Sr., who is estranged from his son, had been De La Hoya’s trainer, but Freddie Roach has been hired to take over those duties.
Prediction: Fighting only once in the last 32 months and doing double duty as the promoter, De La Hoya cannot be expected to have his best fight. But he’ll probably need close to that to beat the undefeated Mayweather. Still, Oscar will put on a good show, with it being Cinco de Mayo and all, and Mayweather never having fought at a weight this high. The pick here is Mayweather by decision, although we all know how strange boxing can be and how a fight’s controversial result can lead to a rematch.
Note – When making your wager, it’s a good idea to use some arithmetic. For instance, betting a parlay on “Mayweather” at -175 and the “Will go 11 1/2 rounds” at -250 pays better than wagering on “Mayweather by decision” at odds of 21/20.
As of Wednesday evening, the first round of the NBA playoffs was still trudging along.
Today the bet is on New Jersey -6 1/2 to close out its series with Toronto.
In the two series that were already set, the picks are for San Antonio and Chicago to pull off upsets against Phoenix and Detroit.