Kentucky Derby 2001

As far as a useful betting opinion goes, I don't think I have anything to say about this year's Derby. Point Given is a reasonable
favorite, but at 9-5 from post 17 against several horses who have a 5-10% chance to run 2 or better he certainly doesn't like
any value to me. As for those with the 5-10% chance to run, they are listed at 15-1 or less and don't appear to be of any value
either. Unless PG is 3-1 or one of the other "real" contenders is 30-1 or better, I can't see any play that would interest me. Here
is the rundown in reverse order (within each grouping):

Horses who are slow going in and don't look likely to jump up:

Talk is Money: slow horse trying for 3rd effort in a month. very likely to regress, candidate to finish last.

Startac: forward move three back was at TUP without live ground or hand times and therefore can't be relied on. subsequent
efforts are weak and give no reason to expect better on Sat.

Arctic Boy: pair of 8s look like end of the line jump up at least for the short term. no reason to expect better in the Derby.

A P Valentine: positive is ability shown at 2, negative is the flat line and fractionally worse numbers at 3. win at Hia looks much
better than it was and A P will be one of the biggest underlays off his 2yo rep and his trainer's record in the Derby.

Fifty Stars: the only positive horse in this grouping is unfortunately too slow going in to be much of a threat. nice solid forging line that could easily produce a move to the 6"-7" range, but that doesn't figure to threaten even for an underneath position in the
exotics. i'd look for him somewhere down the line.

Horses off peak effort that are much more likely than not to bounce:

Keats: only two weeks rest off jump up move in last. even the trainer's best four leaf clover is not likely to forstall significant
backward reaction in Derby.

Jamaican Rum: nice development line although has already moved 8 point from 2yo level. very likely to regress at least a couple of points from top in last which probably moves him out of contention. a two point backward move in Derby and five weeks rest to the Belmont might make him interesting there.

Songandaprayer: made the forward move in last off strong condition line only to run into the "wind". On 3 weeks would expect a significant reaction to 5 or worse, although 4-6 weeks from now he might well be a live play to come back to the 2" since he did show ability at 2yo that indicates that his 2" top is probably not a knockout number.

Millenium Wind: very lightly raced off a six point jump up in last. with only 3 weeks would expect a substantial bounce is much more likely than not. maybe 5-10% to repeat and another 10% to go back ~2 points, but these %s don't translate to positive value at 6-1.

Congaree: even more lightly raced off 4 point jump up in last. my feeling has always been that if you bet against every horse who
improves 2 or more points to a number under 2, you'll end up way ahead. the BB magic notwithstanding I'd play for a
bounce--although 2-4 points backward doesn't put him out of the picture particularly for the exotics. As 5-1 2nd choice he's
neither a play against nor of positive value to me.

Horse who might be coming back to prior top effort:

Invisible Ink: has a seductive looking line that I lean to reading negatively. Even with 2 1/2 months and only one intervening
effort he was unable to get back to his 4+ top in the BG. his 2yo efforts lean to the read that the 4+ top was more likely than
not to be an end of the line development at least for the short term and I don't think that anything he has done since contradicts
that read. Horses often hang on 2-4 points off their top for a while without that indicating anything positive. on 3 weeks off what
I would read as an effort I'd expect a backward reaction in the Derby.

Horses off top efforts that are hard to read:

Thunder Blitz: has nice 4 weeks rest from top effort in last. very hard to gauge 2yo form as all races on grass or in the slop. still he seems to have developed a long way. 3 point move in last was off a nice 1/4 point move and I think it figures to set him back at least in the short run. as a healthy looking 3yo with nice timing I'd give him ~20% to pair up, but that number doesn't figure to be good enough to win and even the 30-1 ml doesn't seem sufficient odds to finish on top, but he seems to be sufficient value to consider using in exotics.

Dollar Bill: nice overall line although he has moved almost 6 points from his 2yo top. strong positive indication that he came right back to his top and I'd give him 10-20% to move forward and another 10-20% to repeat. at his 10-1 ml I'd rate him a little better than TB--not much value on top, but a definite use in the exotics.

Espress Tour: another lightly raced horse off substantial forward move in last. has nice 6 weeks rest since his ~4 top in Dubai
and certainly has a decent shot to repeat that effort and some chance to go forward. difficulty is evaluating which was he is going off only one race at 3. his 2yo pattern is encouraging, but it's a hard read as to how far he figures to develop. at 15-1 ml from a good post he might be marginal value in the win pool although there are too many question marks for me to jump in. at the very least a definite use in the exotics.

Horses off "0-2" patterns:

Balto Star: two 6 point jumpups led to 1 top in next to last. only a 2 point reaction in last might look like an encouraging sign,
but I would read it the other way. two big efforts is even more likely to have knocked him out and I would play him for a bigger
backward move in the Derby. at 8-1 ml I'd lean to making him a play against.

Monarchos: much more solid line than BS, although shares the negative of weak 2yo numbers. while there is no reason to view
him as forward moving, he hasn't really done anything wrong yet. Has nice 8 weeks from his top at GP and certainly has a
decent shot to run in the 2-5 range. from post 16 at 6-1 ml doesn't look like any value on top, but he's another that I think must
be used in exotics.

Only horse left:

Point Given: best level and pattern at 2 and a solid pair up of 2 point forward move at 3. nice four weeks into race gives very
decent shot for a forward move in Derby. only negatives to me are the 17 post and 9-5 ml odds. I wouldn't take the short price
to win, but I can't see making a play that doesn't feature PG in a major way.

As I said at the beginning, value seems to be in short supply in this year's Derby. The favorite is strong and the main contenders
for use in exotics are mostly short also. We can always hope for some juicy overlay on the undercard! Good luck to all.

Len Friedman