Mucciolo: Taking a swing at Derby Day Late Pick 4
Churchill Downs has a sensational, 14-race card for Kentucky Derby day, led by the Run for the Roses. I love a horse in the race following the big one, so the late Pick 4 is the most enticing multi-race play to me on the card.
Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) attracted some heavy hitters. The impeccably bred #1 DEAUVILLE is a Grade-1 hero on U. S. soil and is a must use for Aidan O'Brien. #10 BEACH PATROL, a monstrous second in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) in the fall, is also one that has to be on the ticket. Five-year-old was second in this race in 2017 and is the best U.S. turf horse in training.
But each of the pair prefers more ground to work with, so it might be worth trying to beat them. #7 SYNCHRONY has never been better and #9 YOSHIDA is highly touted from the Bill Mott camp. I go four-deep here.
I am using an octet in one of the top Kentucky Derby (G1) fields that I have witnessed. In all honesty, I am having a difficult time separating the following eight.
#5 AUDIBLE, #6 GOOD MAGIC, #7 JUSTIFY, #9 HOFBURG, #11 BOLT D'ORO, #14 MENDELSSOHN, #16 MAGNUM MOON and #18 VINO ROSSO are the ones.
Steve Asmussen's recent maiden grad #5 LIONITE is a runner that I have watched since his debut in the summer at Saratoga. Son of Quality Road has encountered a pair of 'off' ovals from two races in 2018 and I think he peaks today.
Lukewarm morning-line choice has good gate presence and will likely sit a fine trip tracking the pace from the break beneath Ricardo Santana Jr. Lionite draws into a winnable field and will be my single.
I don't have a very strong opinion in the finale. One-mile maiden special weight event can go to a number of runners in the field, and I will spread to conclude the sequence.
#4 COROT is logical, Mott's #5 LOCOMOTION will move forward removing blinkers, #6 LIMATION ran third to my single last time out, #7 MO ZONE has intrigue, #8 ELUSIVE HERO makes a ton of sense and #10 MAKING A MARC has been second in three straight. I feel good capping my wager with six.
The 50-cent ticket:
1,7,9,10 with 5,6,7,9,11,12,16,18 with 5 with 4,5,6,7,8,10 = $96
Happy Derby Day!
(Yoshida photo: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)