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The $1000 Derby Bankroll:
Week 1 Bets

Roger LeBlanc

It’s Monday, February 15th. Several Kentucky Derby hopefuls line up today for the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita and the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Time for lazy bettors to pay at least a little attention to the proceedings.

Let’s start the Derby betting season by finding value in the preps. Assuming a $1000 bankroll and prime bets of around 6% of that, here are today’s plays.

San Vicente Stakes

At Santa Anita, Doug O’Neill sets loose his undefeated BC Juvenile winner Nyquist. Although my projected times show Nyquist with only a razor-thin edge over Keith Desormaux’s Exaggerator and Wesley Ward’s Sheik of Sheiks, the favored Nyquist deserves respect.

With a short campaign planned for this multiple Grade 1 winner, O’Neill likely has him close to 100%. The others might not be as forwardly trained for this 7-furlong sprint.

BET: None

Southwest Stakes

Bob Baffert invades Oaklawn every year. He sends a shock-and-awe squadron of top 3-year-olds there to capture nearly all of Arkansas’ Derby preps. But he sends a weak-looking warplane to this clash in the Midwest.

Collected owns 2 wins and 3 lifetime starts, including a victory in the Grade 3 Sham. But that win came in slow time built on slow fractions. He’s very vulnerable as the 5-2 favorite.

The bet here is on the 2nd choice, Whitmore, who is also 2 for 3 lifetime despite running greenly and encountering significant trouble in his wins. He put up dazzling clocking in sprint wins at Churchill and Oaklawn and enters this race off two sharp 5-furlong works. Mike Smith climbs aboard a horse who looks to have a lot more upside.

NONPRIME BET: $20 Win and $20 PlaceĀ on Whitemore