How to bet the Ohio Derby: both the card and the race Saturday, June 25, at Jack Thistledown

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Ed DeRosa

June 25th, 2016

After welcoming home the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, Northeast Ohio welcomes another set of elite athletes on Saturday, June 25, when Jack Thistledown plays host to the $500,000 Ohio Derby, which is the co-richest race of the weekend (along with the Santa Anita Gold Cup). Dan Gilbert owns both the basketball team and racetrack in question. Click the Ohio Derby link for FREE Ultimate Past Performances for the race.

Any of the Ohio Derby's ten entrants has a long way to go to win a championship this year, but just as the Cavs became the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, anything is possible. Of course, it's more possible for some than others, and Mo Tom looks to have the best chance to make some noise in the second half of the year following a promising start to a three-year-old campaign now known more for hard luck and rough trips than cashing checks.

Still, Mo Tom was the beaten favorite in the Louisiana Derby before finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. Louisiana Derby winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Gun Runner returned to the races last week and won the Matt Winn Stakes to become the fourth Kentucky Derby starter to win his next race. The others were Exaggerator (Preakness), Creator (Belmont), and Tom's Ready (Woody Stephens). Interestingly, Tom's Ready finished second to Gun Runner in the Louisiana Derby, and Exaggerator won the Delta Jackpot, so the Louisiana form has been strong.

And ultimately, it is those class lines that got me to land on Mo Tom as my pick to win the Ohio Derby along with the intangible thought that owner Gayle Benson and her husband, New Orleans Saints & Pelicans owner Tom Benson, didn't come to Cleveland for the Piergoies (as good as they are). Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano is in for the mount as well, and while it's not a banner day at Belmont Park, it's still a big sign of confidence for him to ship to the Buckeye State in lieu of staying home in the Big Apple.

Picking Mo Tom is one thing, but can I bet him? As a straight win proposition I'd need at least 8-to-5, which isn't impossible given his 5-to-2 morning line but unlikely just the same. The most likely win bet for me is #10 Decorated Soldier, who finished worst of the three Peter Pan starters in this race, but has a similar intangible as Mo Tom: What is Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez doing here to ride this one? For that reason alone I don't think we'll see the 12-to-1 the morning line suggestions, but I'd actually be OK with 8-to-1 on him given the potential for him to be near the pace.

The other two Peter Pan starters--Wild About Deb and Adventist-- are the only other two horses I'm interested in on the win end, and I prefer the former even if there morning lines reversed (i.e., Wild About Deb is 3-to-1, and Adventist if 5-to-1).

Here is my exotic wagering strategy for the Ohio Derby:

$1 exacta box 1, 7, 10 ($6)

$1 exacta part wheel 3, 6, 8 with 1, 7, 10 ($9)

$1 exacta part wheel 1, 7, 10 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 ($15)

$1 exacta key box 10 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 ($10)

$5 exacta key box 10 with 6, 8 ($20)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 6, 8 with 1, 7, 10 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 ($18)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 6, 8 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 with 1, 7, 10 ($18)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 6, 8 with 10 with ALL ($12)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 6, 8 with ALL with 10 ($12)

$0.50 trifecta 6, 8 with 1, 6, 7, 8, 10 with ALL ($32)

$0.50 trifecta 6, 8 with ALL with 1, 6, 7, 8, 10 ($32)

$0.50 trifecta 1, 7, 10 with 6, 8 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 ($12)

$0.50 trifecta 1, 7, 10 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 with 6, 8 ($12)

$208 total

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the multi-race wagering slate on Ohio Derby and beyond at Jack Thistledown, which reduced takeout on its Pick 4 & Pick 5 wagers from 22.5% to 15%. That's not insignificant considering a bet that once paid $775 now pays $850. Pick 4s are on races 1-4 & 5-8, and the pick 5 is on races 4-8. Kudos to Thistledown for ending its marquee multi-race sequences with its marquee races (Ohio Derby is race 8).

Here are my Pick 5 tickets

Race 4, $0.50 Pick 5 part wheel: 1, 3 with 1, 3, 5 with 1, 3, 7 with 3, 5 with 6, 8 ($36)

Race 4, $0.50 Pick 5 part wheel: 3 with 1, 3, 5 with 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 with 1, 3, 5, 6 with 6, 8, 10 ($90)

Good luck to those playing. Follow me on Twitter @EJXD2 as well as @Twinspires for updates from Jack Thistledown all throughout Ohio Derby day, including a sampling of the Mr. Z martini!