And the Winner of the 134th Kentucky Derby Is...

David CohenSenior Analyst IMay 1, 2008

Number 10, Colonel John. His style is great for this race. To me he looks like the reincarnation of Barbaro. He's proven he can win in several fashions, from taking over a race halfway to going at it right before the stretch to closing the deal halfway down the final turn. His spectacular move from inside to outside in the Santa Anita derby, and to then kick it into high gear was a perfect demonstration of what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby. You must be able to shift into another gear to last 1 1/4 miles. His jockey is one of the best in the business and seems to only ride quality horses. He has proven he knows how to get the best out of this horse. And historically the Santa Anita Derby is one of the best measuring sticks for the "Run for the Roses".

The horse that most experts like to win the race and the morning line favorite is Big Brown, who is looking to win the Kentucky Derby as an undefeated horse for the first time since Barbaro. He is hoping to accomplish what Smarty Jones couldn't in 2004: win the triple crown with a perfect career. As far as this race is concerned he has the holy trinity of Kentucky Derby curses. He is starting from the 20th post, which has never yielded a winner. He is a front-runner. In recent history there is a 9 out of 10 chance a horse in the top 3 during the 1st half-mile will lose the derby. And he is the favorite. The morning line favorite has won just once since 1998 (Fusaichi Pegasus). From what this horse has shown he will go from the 20th post all the way into the rail in an attempt to gain the lead. This effort will cost him the race at the stretch. He won't have enough in the tank for the final stretch and will fall away. If he is far from the lead at the start he will be in an unfamiliar position and then he's probably never in contention.

Exotics Contenders
-you can't break the bank straight up on a 4-1 horse unless you're a major high roller

#1 - Cool Coal Man - likes to go to the front early but with Big Brown in front he will have to settle a couple lengths back, which could help him sneak into the top 3.

#2 - Tale of Ekati - not a great horse but had enough in him to catch War Pass in the Wood Memorial so he can't be ignored.

#4 - Court Vision - a must play for exacta, trifecta, and/or superfecta wagering. Has never finished outside the top 3. Will make up a ton of ground after the final turn. If Pyro starts his run too late he's a good long shot for 2nd.

#6 - Z Fortune - one of those horses who could be there at the stretch and just barely hold on for 3rd or 4th. Has lost ground after the stretch in his last 3 races.

#9 - Pyro - if for some reason Colonel John doesn't fire, he wins. Came from dead last in 11th place at the top of the stretch to win the Risen Star in one of the greatest recovery efforts in recent memory. Has a great closing burst but can start it too far back, which is why he's more likely to place 2nd or 3rd.

#13 - Bob Black Jack - the front-running horse that may set Big Brown up for the collapse late. If other closers don't fire he could find himself finishing 3rd.

#16 - Dennis of Cork - any horse that comes from 18 lengths back to win a race can't be ignored. Somewhat of a wild card since his last race was his only one longer than a mile and he didn't show up. This race will determine whether that was just a warm-up run or reality. If you're one of those people who likes this race to ride out a long shot for the win, this is your horse. I would have more faith in him but the competition he faced is very suspect and the big comeback was against slugs.

The Winning Bets

I always back two horses in this race so I'm taking Pyro as my backup plan.

Exacta Wheel: #9 over the field, #10 over the field (if you don't want to shell out a lot then play them only over the horses mentioned in the last section)

Trifecta: #10-#4-#9, #10-#9-#4

Good luck to all.