How to make money with Essential Quality in the Kentucky Derby
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Analysis and explanation of How to play Essential Quality
A total of 19 horses will challenge unbeaten champion #14 Essential Quality (2-1) for the top prize in Saturday’s $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. The sterling son of Tapit has done nothing wrong from five lifetime outings, and his last pair of efforts rank among his best ones to date. The Brad Cox pupil will be heavily backed in the win pool, and deservedly so, but there is certain value to be had in the vertical exotics in such a sizable field. I will tab a handful of runners that I feel are worth including in the gimmicks.
#19 Soup and Sandwich (30-1) rates as my top upset contender for Mark Casse. The rapidly developing colt was a smart runner-up in the Florida Derby (G1) in his third career try and has trained forwardly since. Flashy gray has posted triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace figures in two straight, hinting that the move to 10 furlongs will be fine for the colt. He should also have a clear voyage throughout while forwardly placed under Gaffalione.
#10 Midnight Bourbon (20-1) is giving every indication that he is coming up to a peak performance for Asmussen. The Grade 3 winner has been ultra-consistent this campaign, and his recent works on the surface indicate that he is thriving beneath the Twin Spires, as well. The fleet son of Tiznow could sit a fine trip forcing the tempo from second or third from the start.
Expected pacesetter #8 Medina Spirit (15-1) will be set for his best on Saturday for Derby maestro Baffert. The Florida-bred has been first or second in each of his lifetime showings to date, and he might get brave if he clears early under Johnny V. I can easily envision the son of Protonico holding on for a minor award at a price.
Stablemate #7 Mandaloun (15-1) is a hard read but worth the investment at a number. Much-hyped colt threw in a clunker in the recent Louisiana Derby (G2), but his form was superb prior to that event, and he has impressed many in the mornings at Churchill Downs as of late, too. The tactical sort figures to receive a really good trip tucked in behind the pace under Geroux.
I am not high on the post slot for #20 Bourbonic (30-1), but his Wood Memorial S. (G2) win left a fine impression on me and I have to use him nonetheless. The Bernardini colt beat a field at Aqueduct that had a lot of quality in it, in my opinion, and his 109 Late Pace figure tells me 1 1/4 miles will be easy for the sophomore to endure. If Carmouche can somehow navigate a sensible trip from the far outside, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see this one passing numerous runners inside the final furlong.