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The Opening Quarter

The Belmont Stakes:
The Last Bastion of Racing’s Upper Crust

The Phipps family. The Whitneys. The Vances. The Vanderbilts. Racing’s wealthiest and oldest breeders and financiers. The Belmont Stakes winner’s circle has hosted them all.

But racing’s venerable stables saddle fewer classic stakes winners than they did in the past. Kentucky Derby winners and Breeders Cup champions spring from less esteemed barns and modest bloodlines more often than they did back in the black-and-white-replay era.

Stakes races are shorter. Surfaces are faster. Speed trumps stamina. Precociousness prevails over pedigree. Except in the Belmont, where money, staying power and nostalgia are still the best bets.

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Big Rewards Forecast for Belmont Stakes

Because of attrition among the 3-year-olds at the top of the earnings pool, the final leg of the Triple Crown holds great potential for a longshot winner. The gap in talent has narrowed to the point where the likely favorite Irish War Cry holds little or no edge over some of the longest shots in the race.

With Derby winner Always Dreaming, the Preakness champ Cloud Computing and the BC Juvenile/Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire all sidelined, the “Test of the Champion” becomes the “Search for a Champion.”

Check back later this week for the Belmont Stakes analysis to see who will likely fill the void. And at what price!

New-ish Handicapping Book!

Mark Cramer’s brilliant work, Thoroughbred Cycles: How the Form Factor Affects Handicapping, republished

Read a classic work by thoroughbred racing’s most innovative thinker. Treat yourself to a copy at

Always Dreaming, Always Cashing

The LazyBettor approach to betting the Kentucky Derby prevailed again. The 2017 Kentucky Derby Preview: An Embarrassment of Riches concluded with the following advice:

I recommend betting primarily on Always Dreaming, with Hence and Classic Empire as minor backups. In other words arrange your bets so that your largest potential payoff will be with an Always Dreaming victory.

That registers as the 4th consecutive top-pick Kentucky Derby winner since publication of The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby in November 2013. Congratulations to all who followed that advice.

As a bit of trivia to further confirm we’re all on the right track, consider the winning trainer, Todd Pletcher. Published far and wide prior to this year’s Kentucky Derby was Pletcher’s dismal Derby record. Just one winner out of 45 or so starters.

Not coincidentally and not published at all was the fact that Pletcher’s only winner was his sole Gold Standard qualifier out of those 45 starters. Super Saver rose to that esteemed level in 2010.

Pletcher is now 2 for 2 when fielding a Gold Standard horse in the Kentucky Derby. The only record more impressive than that belongs to readers, who now own a 4 for 4 record in that classic race.

Top Kentucky Derby Speed Figures
(2-turn races only)

LazyBettor prev..Always Dreaming, 1st in Ky Derby
Beyer speed figure (2 tied for top Beyer)
…….Classic Empire, 4th in Ky Derby
…….J Boys Echo, 15th in Ky Derby
BRIS speed fig…Classic Empire, 4th in Ky Derby

LazyBettor prev……Nyquist, 1st in Ky Derby
Beyer speed fig……Exaggerator, 2nd in Ky Derby
BRIS speed fig..Danzing Candy, 15th in Ky Derby

LazyBettor prev.American Pharoah, 1st in Ky Derby
Beyer speed fig…Materiality, 6th in Ky Derby
BRIS speed fig…..Frosted, 4th in Ky Derby

LazyBettor prev..California Chrome, 1st in Ky Derby
Beyer speed fig..California Chrome, 1st in Ky Derby
BRIS speed fig…California Chrome, 1st in Ky Derby

The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby: 3 Easy Angles $24.95

“Revolutionary.” Discoveries in this volume could become milestones.” from Foreword by Mark Cramer

The Lazy Bettor's Guide to the Kentucky Derby

Click book cover to purchase print version.


NFL Action. . .
Riding the Value Train

As an alternative to the official pointspread for NFL regular season games, the Lazy Line’s effectiveness has been questionable. In the playoffs over the past 3 years, however, the Lazy Line has been a value-grabbing bonanza.

Most relevant this week is the 2 for 3 success rate in Super Bowls. The Lazy Line flipped the pointspread twice, painting a much truer picture of the eventual results.

With the Broncos favored heavily over the Seahawks, the Lazy Line boldly pegged the Seahawks as huge favorites. True to the Lazy Line, the Seahawks dominated the high-flying Broncos offense in a blowout victory that few experts predicted.

The next year, the Lazy Line found value in the Seahawks again, as they faced the New England Patriots. Alas, the Lazy Line fell one yard short of perfection, with Russell Wilson tossing an INT on the goal line in the final seconds.

Last year, the Lazy Line turned the dominant betting paradigm on its head once again. It correctly elevated the offense-less Broncos and the over-the-hill Peyton Manning to clear favoritism over the ballyhooed, 15-1 Carolina Panthers and their MVP QB Cam Newton.

Read on for this year’s LazyLine selection…

Lazy Line 2016 Super Bowl Bet

Assuming $100 units, the Lazy Line bets show a very slim profit of $310 for the year. This year’s Lazy Line Super Bowl analysis tells me it’s a good time to go all in.

Falcons vs. Patriots
Vegas Line: Patriots –3 points
Lazy Line: Patriots –10 points. Patriots are a 3-unit play.

Backing the better defense in recent Super Bowls has proven to be profitable. A debate raged through the playoffs this year about whether the Patriots deserved to be the #1 defense in points allowed (because of the weak QBs they had faced). This week accolades are pouring in for the young and improving Falcons defense that recently shut down both Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.

Are these defenses really rather even? Don’t you believe it.

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A Look Back at the 2015
NFL Lazy Line Super Bowl Pick

The Lazy Line 2015 Super Bowl Bet: Value and Defense

Roger LeBlanc

What a rough year for the Lazy Line! Nearly 6 units down with just one game left to get it back. Fortunately, value raises its razorlike beak for the NFL’s grand finale.

Panthers vs. Broncos
Vegas Line: Panthers -6 points
Lazy Line: Broncos -3 points. Broncos are an 8-unit play.

Analysis: All surface observations favor the Panthers. MVP quarterback. Blowout playoff victories. Best record in the NFL. Comparisons to the 1985 Bears, with a head coach who played for that swarming, smothering defensive squad.

And the popular view of the Broncos adds more fuel to the Panthers’ fire. Peyton Manning burned bettors who LOVED him in the Super Bowl two years ago. The Denver offense struggles to score. The Broncos barely escaped defeat in both AFC playoff contests this year.

Two factors point me toward betting the Broncos, though. Value and defense.

Read More>>

The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby: 3 Easy Angles $24.95

“Revolutionary.” “Discoveries in this volume could become milestones.” from Foreword by Mark Cramer

The Lazy Bettor's Guide to the Kentucky Derby

Click book cover to purchase print version.

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