It’s only February, but Saturday features a trio of races on the road to the Kentucky Derby. At Gulfstream Park, a field of seven 3-year-olds will take center stage in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, which goes as the 11th of 12 races on the Saturday program.
Of the three Derby preps, it’s likely that this one possesses the shortest-priced favorite. It’s true that this one will be very, very tough to beat, but I still think there may be a way to extract a few bucks from the betting pools. Let’s take a look!
Tiz the Chalk
#3 TIZ THE LAW makes his 2020 debut, and anything close to his 2-year-old form will make him incredibly formidable. The Grade 1 winner’s lone losing effort came in the slop at Churchill Downs, and much of that was likely caused by a very unlucky trip.
There’s simply not much to knock about this horse. His past form is miles better than that of his opponents. If you’re playing multi-race exotics, I think you single and move on. If you’re playing vertical wagers like exactas and trifectas, I think you single him on top and figure out which horse(s) to use underneath.
Contenders for Minor Awards
#1 TOLEDO is the likely second choice, and for good reason. The Chad Brown trainee is bred up and down for success and has taken steps forward in all three of his career starts. He was second behind #4 ETE INDIEN in an allowance last time out, but he had an adventurous trip in that race and it may have cost him a victory. He seems well-meant, and if Irad Ortiz, Jr., can negotiate a trip from the rail, he’ll have every chance to pick up a check and some Derby points.
The other horse I’m using is going to be a price. However, #2 UNCORK THE BOTTLE isn’t just a hunch play by an author named Champagne. He’s won all three of his career starts and showed he could get two turns in a win on turf at Tampa Bay Downs a few weeks ago. He’ll need to take a step forward, for sure, but the Saffie Joseph barn is firing on all cylinders at this meet and he exits a big five-furlong work where he was clocked in :59 and change. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hit the board and drove up exacta or trifecta payoffs.
How I’ll Play It
I won’t try to beat Tiz the Law. Instead, I’ll look to get Toledo and Uncork the Bottle home underneath in exotics bets. This seems like the way to get some value out of a horse that will almost certainly be odds-on.
2 units: Exacta key, 3 w/1,2
2 units: Trifecta key, 3 w/1,2