Kilroy: Betting the Kentucky Derby Pick 6

May 6th, 2022

Saturday's mandatory-payout, all-stakes, 20-cent Pick 6 that ends with the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs is as enticing to bet as it is to watch. With three races where you can single or fade the likely single, there are opportunities to grab some equity from this pool. 

I have two strong opinions here which I will single, both coming out of the Steve Asmussen barn (details below). And I have one strong fade: the return of #5 Jack Christopher (2-1). Anyone considering the chances last fall of Jack Christopher running on Kentucky Derby day would have assumed he would be in the Derby. He is not. Two-year-olds like this, who struggle to return to the track, should be not trusted. Given our other short-priced singles, we want to beat a horse who could be heavily leaned on by other bettors.

  As Bs Cs
Race 7 8,9,11 10 1,3
Race 8 3,5,7 1,2  
Race 9 2,5,11 6  
Race 10 3    
Race 11 7,8,10    
Race 12 3    


Race 7: Pat Day Mile (G2)

As: #8 Kavod (20-1) has been in deep waters on the lead recently and is dangerous in here at a nice price. #9 Trafalgar (20-1) went up against possibly the toughest Kentucky Derby preps at Fair Grounds and could show a strong late move against a potentially hot pace. #11 My Prankster (4-1) worked well with Kentucky Derby entrant Mo Donegal the other day and has the speed figures to make a ton of sense. 

B: A recent addition to the barn of Tim Yakteen, #10 Doppelganger (6-1) has the talent and could very well step forward on the first Saturday in May to win this.

Cs: #1 Major General (9-2) put blinkers on and figured it out last race; one step forward and he is live. #3 Pappacap (6-1) has been chasing fast fractions in his last three starts; maybe he can get a better pace scenario or possibly relax and show us a late move that wins this.

Race 8: Derby City Distaff (G1)

As: If you excuse the last for #3 Center Aisle (15-1) after she lost all chance out of the gate, we have a price play which could be essential to a big payoff in this sequence. She has the speed figures, the jockey, and just needs the trip. #5 Obligatory (7-2) has a ferocious late run and trainer Bill Mott has been targeting this race with a filly who seems poised for a huge four-year-old campaign. #7 Edgeway (4-1) has done little wrong facing some of the best sprinters and always fires, so she is a must-use contender.

Bs: #1 Lady Rocket (5-1) ran against the pace dynamic last time and though this could be a repeat, she has the speed figures and could offer value. #2 Just One Time (3-1) is 6-for-7, but scored her last win by closing into a pace meltdown. Can’t let this one get by us entirely, though she will be a short price.

Race 9: American Turf S. (G2)

As: #2 Main Event (5-1) enters for trainer George Weaver looking dangerous on the front end and ready to step up another level. I love an import who has immediate success, and #5 Balnikhov (5-1) could prove formidable off that near-win last time. #11 Dowagiac Chief (10-1) ran a solid fourth in the Lexington S. (G3) and you know trainer Tom Amoss thinks highly of this turf specialist three-year-old to take a swing on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with him.

Bs:  #6 Portfolio Company (9-2) feels like a Chad Brown rerun—seen this one, know the score, can’t fade, though I like the form of others better. Undefeated #7 Sy Dog (7-2) has done no wrong, and though a short price, I can find no reason to fade.

Race 10: Churchill Downs S. (G1)

A: Eclipse Champion #3 Jackie’s Warrior (5-2) has shown so much speed and grit. Many in the field he is facing have form and figures, so I am confident there will be enough tickets fading him or using several others that if I am going to use him, I need to single and move on.  

Race 11: Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic S. (G1)

As: #7 Cavalry Charge (12-1) is training well and I have no doubt after the Fair Grounds run (where Cavalry Charge conceded the lead to savvy Two Emmys) that jockey Brian Hernandez will go all-out to get the lead. Gritty win going through scorching fractions when he did this last time.

A nose short in his North American debut, #8 Adhamo (9-2) showed the late move that keeps front-running horses up at night.

Compromised by a questionable trip sitting in second behind Two Emmy last time, #10 Santin (6-1) is highly thought of by trainer Brendan Walsh, and the addition of blinkers could be what Santin needs to finish what he’s started.

Race 12: Kentucky Derby (G1)

A: #3 Epicenter (7-2) has yet to empty his tanks. Passing key company in the Risen Star S. (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) with ease and then gearing down, he will no doubt unleash a memorable late run in the Kentucky Derby. Likely used by the majority of tickets, the key is to lean on prices in other legs and not get caught with a string of favorites and logicals when putting this ticket together, so we’ll spread some in our As elsewhere.