Picking the Winner of the Ohio Derby And a Morning Line Contest

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Ed DeRosa

June 23rd, 2017

Even before the start of the Ohio Derby, someone will find themselves $2,500 richer, as prominent owner and horseplayer Ron Paolucci has put his money where the morning line is with a Twitter contest awarding $2,500 to the person who correctly identifies the off odds of his three-horse entry.

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One of the key elements to Loooch’s contest is in his title. Yes, he owns all three parts of the entry, but more to wit, he’s a horseplayer. What will his action do to the pools?

On the other hand, there are some known names in the field, and familiarity attracts more money than not—especially on the big day in a market where anything associated with the Kentucky Derby attracts attention, and two of those Kentucky Derby Starters have jockeys who attract money too in Mike Smith (Girvin) and Irap (Julien Leparoux).

Indeed, those two will undoubtedly be the favorite, but I think we’ll get shorter than their 2- and 3-to-1 morning line odds indicate. My range for Girvin is even money to 3-to-2 and it’s 2-to-1 and 5-to-2 for Irap.

As for the entry, I don’t think any one of the horses would take money, but even if they were 20-, 30-, and 50-to-1 each, that’s a 9-to-1 chance that one wins, and I think it’ll be even longer than that, but not much so.

My entry in the Lo0och $2,500 guess the morning line odds give away is 10.8-to-1.

As for my answer to who will win the race, it’s hard for me to look past the two Kentucky Derby prep winners (on dirt) in Louisiana Derby winner Girvin and Blue Grass Stakes winner Irap.

The Louisiana Derby hasn’t come back great, but Girvin didn’t get to run his best race in the Derby given the missed training. He did little wrong on the Kentucky Derby trail and just seems the better of these. I would gladly play him at his morning line price.

Irap I think isn’t quite to Girvin’s talent level, but he has a tactical advantage given his style, and the rail and Leparoux don’t hurt either. Again, 3-to-1 fair on him, and I wouldn’t even mind dutching the pair if those prices actually hold.

Hinton merits a mention given he has the best last-out Speed Rating (by 4 points, no less!). He’s a liberal use for me with the top two, as is the entry. Beating the other Derby starters (Untrapped & Fat And Accurate) as well as the other Racing Hall of Fame jockey (Kent Desormeaux on Sorry Erik) could open up the verticals.