Shapiro: How to play the Old Forester Turf Classic/Kentucky Derby Double
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
The wagering menu is as strong as ever in 2018 with the low-takeout Pick 5 added to the plethora of options available to racing fans leading up to the world-famous Kentucky Derby (G1).
With a slew of multi-race bets available it is easy to forget about Daily Doubles, but a couple of them interest me heavily, including the two-race sequence that commences in Race 11 and concludes with the 2018 "Run for the Roses."
The $500,000 Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) drew a field of 10 led by 2017 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) runner-up #10 Beach Patrol and European invader #1 Deauville.
Of the two I prefer Beach Patrol, who makes his first start off the bench for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Lemon Drop Kid struggled to win races during the early part of 2017 despite being as honest as they come, but he really turned the corner last summer with a pair of Grade 1 victories in the Arlington Million and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park.
Despite failing to hit the wire first in two tries over the Churchill Downs lawn, there is little concern that the five-year-old will take to the turf course since he finished second in both efforts, including a half-length defeat to Divisdero in last year's rendition. Normally, I would be concerned that Beach Patrol may need a race off the bench, but not with Brown who thrives with horses returning off 180-day plus layoffs. The outside draw in a field of 10 is not ideal, but I expect Joel Rosario to find a nice stalking spot early, which will make him the one to run down late.
From a wagering perspective I will use Beach Patrol with three of my four top horses in the Kentucky Derby, but playing a Double with him to Justify makes little sense given the probable payout.
The runner that I am most intrigued with outside of the top two choices on the morning line in the Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes is Pin Oak Stable's #7 Synchrony.
The son of Tapit enters Saturday's nine-furlong event in the best form of his life for trainer Michael Stidham. After a late rally to win the Fair Grounds H (G3) in February, Synchrony showed more tactical speed and won going away in the Muniz Memorial H. (G2). If Beach Patrol is not at his best off the bench or he loses significant ground from his outside post, I expect veteran jockey Joe Bravo to run this group down in the lane.
The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby completes the all-Grade 1 Double on Saturday. The most prestigious race in North America is as competitive as ever, but I will be leaning on four colts in horizontal wagers in 2018.
#5 Audible is my top choice based on his versatility and the fact he has continued to progress in each start for trainer Todd Pletcher. Most years the New York-bred would have the resume to be the favorite or second choice in the Derby, but in this year's loaded field he should offer solid value. He is my top pick.
#7 Justify may be the most likely winner of the 2018 Kentucky Derby, but that does not mean he is the best horse to wager on or even include if spreading in horizontals. I will use him to Synchrony, but if you plan to spread deeper than just a couple in the big race it probably means you are not high enough on Justify to include at his expected value.
#6 Good Magic is the third horse I give a big look to in the Derby. The two-year-old champ did not impress at the start of his three-year-old campaign, but he has thrived since arriving at Churchill Downs for Chad Brown. I am not sold that his best will be good enough on Saturday, but I do expect him to run a big race.
Of the colts expected to be 20-1 or higher on the tote board I like the chances best of #19 Noble Indy. The son of Take Charge Indy showed a lot of guts in winning the Louisiana Derby (G2). At 30-1 on the line the value is there to include him.
Here is how I will wager on the Old Forester Turf Classic/Kentucky Derby Double:
$10 Double 7+10 with 5 = $20
$10 Double 7 with 5+6+19 = $30
$30 Double 7 with 7 = $30
$10 Double 10 with 5+19 = $20
Total Budget = $100
(Beach Patrol photo: Four Footed Fotos)