Hanson: Handicapping the Oaks/Derby Pick 6
Bettors that miss the days of higher multi-race minimums should have a gander at the Oaks/Derby Pick 6, a $2 wager that incorporates six graded stakes over the two days of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby programs at Churchill Downs.
With a mandatory payout and a 15% takeout, here's a look at how we'll attack the sequence.
Leg 1 Friday -- Alysheba (G2) -- 4:15 p.m. ET
With victories in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and Oaklawn H. (G2), plus seconds to superior rivals in the Stephen Foster (G2) and Whitney (G1), #6 BY MY STANDARDS (7-5) has done little wrong this year. #3 OWENDALE (6-1), a good second over this track and distance in the Clark (G1) last fall, is undoubtedly better than what he showed in the Foster and is a preferred backup to defending titlist #2 McKinzie, who seems to have regressed some since last year.
Leg 2 Friday -- La Troienne (G1) -- 4:50 p.m. ET
#2 Vexatious has come on this year and, after upsetting reigning champion Midnight Bisou last out, poses a real threat here to #8 MONOMOY GIRL (4-5). But the latter has crossed the wire first in 12 of 13 starts with a neck loss being her only setback. She'll be one of the more popular singles in this sequence and is ours.
Leg 3 Friday -- Kentucky Oaks (G1) -- 5:45 p.m. ET
#5 Gamine will be another popular single for some and appears the swiftest of this year's sophomore fillies, but her brilliance has really been on display at a mile or less. We have to take chances at knocking out some heavy favorites and will do so here with #1 SWISS SKYDIVER (8-5), whose record over her past five starts speaks for itself. #4 SPEECH (5-1) is the only one so far to have given Gamine a scare, and that over 1 1/16 miles. At a pace disadvantage against Swiss Skydiver in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2), she rebounded with a track-record performance in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland.
Leg 4 Saturday -- Derby City Distaff (G1) -- 5:17 p.m. ET
Return to sprinting did morning line-favorite #8 Serengeti Empress good last out, but she didn't dazzle and the pressure might be more intense here. We'll stake our claim instead on several stalker/closer types with proven credentials here and/or at the top level. That would be defending titlist #1 MIA MISCHIEF (6-1), #4 BELL'S THE ONE (10-1), and #10 CE CE (3-1).
Leg 5 Saturday -- Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) -- 5:50 p.m. ET
Arguably the toughest race in the sequence, where a case can be made for about two-thirds of the field. However, with a $2 minimum, throwing on a blanket is not an option. #1 FACTOR THIS (3-1) has never been better and might find a way to pull out another heart-stopper, though #10 SPECTACULAR GEM (10-1) a potentially underrated contender who likes this course and figures to be three times the price. Of the Chad Brown trio, #8 SACRED LIFE (6-1) possesses credible form at this level and has not been the disappointment to win bettors thus far as #3 Rockemperor.
Leg 6 Saturday -- Kentucky Derby (G1) -- 7:01 p.m. ET
As we've opined elsewhere, this belated edition of America's most famous race has two serious contenders who should take all the beating. #16 HONOR A. P. (5-1) and #17 TIZ THE LAW (3-5) appear the best of this group on paper.
The $2 ticket:
- 3,6 with 8 with 1,4 with 1,4,10 with 1,8,10 with 16,17 = $144.