Curlin 7-2 future-book favorite

Curlin 7-2 future-book favorite

Curlin 7-2 future-book favorite
By DAVE TULEY

The Kentucky Derby Draw is an interesting little reality TV show on ESPN2 the Wednesday before the first Saturday in May.

The connections of the 20 3-year-olds pick their post positions and viewers get to second-guess along with the selections. It's even good for a little comic relief, with at least one owner or trainer doing the ole fake "I'm going down here, oh, but wait, I'm really going here" move, and the 20th and final person pretending like they have a big decision to make.

It's no NFL draft or NBA lottery, but it's the best horse racing's got.

My favorite part is when Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia releases his morning line. They try to make it look like he's making it up on the spot, but he obviously already has odds in mind for each horse with slight adjustments for particularly bad draws.

In case he doesn't, or if you want odds to compare to Battaglia's, here are the Derby future-book prices that were available at noon Monday at Wynn Las Vegas:

Curlin 7-2

Street Sense 9-2

Nobiz Like Shobiz 9-2

Scat Daddy 6-1

Circular Quay 8-1

Hard Spun 12-1

Any Given Saturday 12-1

Great Hunter 12-1

Cowtown Cat 18-1

Tiago 20-1

Dominican 22-1

Zanjero 25-1

Stormello 30-1

Sam P. 40-1

Liquidity 50-1

Cobalt Blue 50-1

Storm in May 75-1

Xchanger 75-1

Sedgefield 75-1

Bwana Bull 75-1

On the bubble

Teuflesberg 40-1

Imawildandcrazyguy 100-1

Those odds are made and adjusted by John Avello, director of race and sports book operations at Wynn. The odds have been up since last October and updated daily, based on not only on ontrack performances but more importantly on the amount of wagers the book takes in on each horse.

Since the last prep races, those odds have remained pretty steady with the only changes this past weekend being Hard Spun dropped from 15-1 to 12-1 and Bwana Bull being lowered from 100-1 to 75-1 after his connections announced he was going to run in the Derby. Teuflesberg and Imawildandcrazyguy would need defections to make the field.

Avello has Street Sense and Nobiz Like Showbiz as the co-second choices behind Curlin, but said he expects Street Sense to be a solid second choice and perhaps challenge Curlin for favoritism.

"Street Sense has been working great, and I'm just hearing a lot of buzz from people talking about him," Avello said.

Avello usually waits until after the draw to release his head-to-head matchups but he's already posted some. He opened Nobiz Like Shobiz -130 versus Curlin at even-money, and the public has made Curlin a -120 favorite as of Monday.

Great Hunter also has been taking action in his matchup versus Tiago, being bet from -140 to -150. Dominican opened at +105 versus Cowtown Cat but has been bet to -105. The other matchups have Scat Daddy -140 versus Circular Quay +110, Street Sense -150 versus Any Given Saturday +120, Hard Spun -125 versus Zanjero -105, and Liquidity -125 versus Stormello -105. Avello will match up the rest of the field after the draw.

Avello also has several proposition wagers posted. The Derby is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports, but he has set the over/under for the running of the race at 2:02, with the over favored at

-115 and the under offered at -105. Another prop asks if the winner will have an odd or even number. Both were -110 but will be adjusted if more contenders fall into one of the categories. The win mutuel payoff has an over/under of $18.50, while you can also bet if Todd Pletcher, who is expected to have five starters, will be the winning trainer. The "no" is -270 with the "yes" at +230.

But, as everyone knows, the Derby is just the first leg of the Triple Crown and the Wynn also has odds on whether this will be the year someone sweeps the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. The "no" is -850 with the "yes" at +650.

Obviously, if you bet the "yes," you'll be stuck with the Derby winner as he'll be the only one with a shot after Saturday. But if you want to lock in a better price on a specific horse, you have to bet before the race. Avello has Curlin at 12-1 to win the Triple Crown, with Street Sense at 18-1 (down from 20-1 over the weekend, which could be another indicator why Avello think he'll be the wise guy horse), Nobiz Like Showbiz at 22-1, Scat Daddy at 35-1, and Hard Spun and Great Hunter both at 40-1. Hard Spun also has seen money in this pool as he was 50-1 prior to the weekend.

The odds to win the Triple Crown for the rest of the anticipated Derby field are Any Given Saturday at 45-1; Circular Quay at 50-1; Tiago at 75-1; Cowtown Cat, Dominican, and Zanjero at 100-1; Stormello and Liquidity at 150-1; Sam P. at 200-1; Cobalt Blue at 250-1; and Teuflesberg, Sedgefield, Storm in May, and Bwana Bull at 300-1.

* The Derby festivities here in Vegas start Wednesday with the Pick the Ponies handicapping tournament at the Las Vegas Hilton. The field for the event is sold out, as all 200 registered before the early-bird deadline and had to pay only $400, which is $100 less than the regular entry fee. The total purse is $100,000 and the winner will receive $38,000. Contestants make 10 mythical $100 across-the-board bets each day of the three-day tourney, which ends Friday.

www.drf.com

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Re: Curlin 7-2 future-book favorite

2007 Kentucky Derby Works
by T.O. Whenham - 04/30/2007

The prep races are all long since over, the field is basically set and all that is left for those of us who are completely obsessed with the Kentucky Derby are the morning works that fill the couple of weeks leading up to the biggest of days in the horse racing world. Horses work every day all across the country, and most of them do it in complete obscurity. For these two weeks, though, the tiniest detail of every work for each Derby horse is filmed, reviewed and speculated on by the hundreds of pairs of eyes that see them live, and the thousands more that wish they did.

It's never completely clear what impact the works will have on the race itself, but is sure is fun to speculate. If your new to looking at Derby works, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind. First, they are never as good or as bad as they appear. It is easy to get overexcited or depressed over a work, but the race is won on Saturday afternoon, not Monday morning. Think of the works as the NFL Combine - the numbers are impressive and seductive, but they mean nothing if a receiver can't catch the ball. Additionally, never believe a word a trainer says. He is paid a lot of money by owners to be optimistic, so every work is perfect and every horse is so fit that it can't possibly lose. A lot of money is lost every year when people buy into trainer hype. With those tips in mind, here are some of the highlights that have emerged in the last few days:

Hard Spun - No single work has been more confusing, or has split opinion more decidedly, that the one that the Lanes End Stakes winner posted on Monday morning. He was sent out with the goal of covering five furlongs in 59 seconds, which is reasonably ambitious. He blew that mark out of the water, going in a scorching 57 3/5 seconds, and proving that it didn't burn him out by galloping out six furlongs in an impressive 1:11 2/5. On one hand, this work shows that the horse, which hasn't run since March 24, is in shape despite the long layoff. It also erases concern over the very slow (1:42 2/5) mile he posted last week on the Polytrack at Keeneland. Obviously the horse doesn't like the synthetic surface. On the other hand, critics argue that this work is way too fast this close to the Derby, and that it leaves the horse both too keyed up and too spent with less than a week to go. One of two things will happen - either Hard Spun will disappoint in the race and this work will be pointed at as the problem, or he'll win easily and every trainer out there will be sprinting like mad in the week before the 2008 Derby.

Curlin - This horse is making it harder and harder, despite his shocking inexperience, for me to avoid betting a good portion of my Derby bankroll on him. Not only is he a freak on a racetrack, but he has shown over the last week that he is also a freak in the morning. The times for his last two works have been respectable, though not earth shattering - a five furlong breeze in 1:00.4 on April 23 at Keeneland, and four furlongs in 48.2 just a couple of hours before Hard Spun at Churchill on Monday. What the works have done, though, is make it perfectly clear how big and strong and fast and impressive this horse is. Virtually everyone who saw the works commented on how easy he made it look. The horse galloped out the mile on the 23rd in 1:41, despite the fact that his rider was standing in the stirrups attempting to slow him down from the 5/8 mark on. He's ready and he'll at least make it interesting.

Any Given Saturday - Though this isn't the highest profile of Todd Pletcher's massive stable of Derby horses, his work on Sunday is the one from the trainer that most caught my eye. With the great Angel Cordero Jr. on board, the horse was sent out to go five furlongs in 1:01. He did it in 1:01 1/5. Though impressive, that time's not spectacular and it clearly wasn't an all out run. What was so striking about the work, though, is that Cordero did not move a muscle the whole time. He sat completely still and the horse took care of business on his own. This horse has shown that he has talent, and this work demonstrated that he has the professionalism and maturity that could serve him well on Saturday.

Scat Daddy - While I was most impressed by Any Given Saturday's Sunday work, Cordero thought that Scat Daddy has the best work of the Pletcher group. He covered five furlongs in 59 2/5 seconds, and he reportedly came off the track afterwards barely breathing hard at all. Circular Quay also worked that morning, covering five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 in the company of the incredible filly Rags to Riches, the likely heavy favorite in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. Some observers say that Circular Quay has never looked better. If Pletcher doesn't win the Derby this year with the group he has and the works they have been posting then maybe he should just pack it in.

Street Sense - Determined to break the Breeders' Cup Juvenile jinx, Street Sense fired a bullet at Churchill on April 24, posting the fastest time of 36 horses at the five-furlong distance. He went in 59 seconds, including an attention grabbing 22 3/5 seconds for the last quarter mile. Trainer Carl Nafzger's methods are a bit odd to say the least, but he has proven that he can win the big one, and he was thrilled with the work. The horse is clearly ready, and is yet another solid contender in a field full of horses that refuse to distinguish themselves from each other.

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Re: Curlin 7-2 future-book favorite

Horse Racing: Cobalt Blue and Xchanger have both been withdrawn from the Kentucky Derby, paving the way for Teuflesberg and Imawildandcrazyguy to get into the field.

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