Shapiro's Approach to the Oaks/Derby Double
The two biggest races of the year at make up a Daily Double sequence that commences with the one-million dollar Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday and concludes with the world-famous Kentucky Derby sponsored by Woodford Reserve on Saturday evening.
This year’s Oaks is led by 2-1-morning line favorite #14 Monomoy Girl and 5-2-second choice #10 Midnight Bisou. The pair of three-year-old fillies bring by far the strongest resumes into the mile and an eighth event over the main track and are the only two listed below 10-1 on odds maker Mike Battaglia’s morning line.
Both young gals have a significant chance of capturing the lilies for the fillies, but I prefer the chances of Midnight Bisou. The $80,000 OBS April 2017 purchase could easily enter Friday a perfect 5 for 5 if not for a pair of tough luck nose defeats to Bob Baffert conditioned Dream Tree to start her career.
Since the consecutive runner-up efforts for veteran trainer Bill Spawr, this daughter of Midnight Lute has easily handled three graded stakes fields, including a three and a half length score in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks last month. Spawr gives the leg up to one of the best big race riders in the game in Mike Smith. If Smith gets an honest pace to run into he is extremely likely to win his second consecutive Oaks and third of his career.
The aforementioned Monomoy Girl will get the jump on her main rival and comes into the race in great form for trainer Brad Cox, but the far outside draw and the presence of #3 Classy Act have me slightly concerned. With a much quicker run into the first turn than in the Derby, it will be key for jockey Florent Geroux to angle in and avoid significant ground loss. I respect her chances, but as a gambler I will opt to try to beat the probable chalk despite a 5 for 6-record coming into the biggest race of her life.
If you are looking for a price horse to include I will turn to either #2 Coach Rocks or #13 Eskimo Kisses.
Coach Rocks brings a pair of 90+ BRIS speed ratings into Friday, including a length and a half victory in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 31st. She has been training extremely well coming into the race. With a career best effort she can potentially sit the right trip and spring the upset.
Eskimo Kisses drew the 13-hole for trainer Ken McPeek, but that should not be an issue given her late running style. Look for veteran Corey Lanerie to angle in and save ground early and come with one run late. I am not sure she can outkick Midnight Bisou, but the price is right to include with my top horses in the Derby.
The 2018 “Run for the Roses” makes up the second leg of the sequence.
For my complete thoughts on this year’s Derby see my “Final Verdict” article here,
Justify and Midnight Bisou may be the likeliest winner in the Grade 1 events this weekend in Louisville, but unless you are going “all in” on a cold double that combination is not worth playing. The price will just be too short. Otherwise my plan is simple. I will rely on either Midnight Bisou to win the Oaks or for one of my top three horses to capture the Derby.
Here are my recommended wagers in the Oaks/Derby Double:
$20 Double 10 with 5+6 = $40
$5 Double 10 with 9+19 = $10
$5 Double 2+13 with 6= $10
$10 Double 2+13 with 5+7 =$40
Total Budget= $100