Caveat Emptor. Well, heck, you're not buying anything so heck with the caveat.
I have not been following horse racing this year with my usual vigor. I can't help but be enthused about the Derby, though. I can't think of a single day sporting event I'd rather watch. So here's my thoughts on each of the horses with post position, my odds, the morning odds and finally, my potential wagers.
The horses from worst to first:
20: Mine That Bird, PP8, 99-1, 50-1
Hasn't won since David Cotey stopped training him. Slow front runner who will get eaten up in this race.
19: Join in the Dance PP9, 99-1, 50-1
Another front runner whose performance in the Tampa Derby rightfully did nothing to convince bettors in Blue Grass.
18: Hold Me Back PP5, 75-1, 15-1
Hard closer who has looked good in 2009 with a victory in the Lanes End and a place in the Blue Grass. One of my favorites, Kent Desormeaux, on the mount. I just think the maturation is too much too soon and I can't foresee another step forward. The pros think otherwise, apparently.
17: Advice PP4, 71-1, 30-1
Came out of nowhere to win the Lexington Stakes and earn enough to qualify for the Derby. Not going to happen again.
16: Summer Bird PP17, 57-1, 50-1
Took an incredibly tough route to take third in the Arkansas Derby, probably a winning effort most days. Looks to be an Oaklawn horse, though, as the only outing off of the track was a brutal six furlong training session at Churchill Downs last week. Really brutal. Like low-level claiming brutal.
15: Flying Private PP20, 56-1, 50-1
Horse with no heart. Four second places since his only victory in August, 2008. Also coming from way outside.
14: Nowhere to Hide PP18, 55-1, 50-1
Solid horse. Not Derby caliber.
13: Mr. Hot Stuff PP3, 48-1, 30-1
Don't know whether his connections can get Corey Nakatani on him since Square Eddie is out of the Derby picture. If Corey is on him, I'll include him at the back end of some exotics. Otherwise, pass.
12: Atomic Rain PP14, 44-1, 50-1
Only win was a maiden special race almost a year ago. Ugh.
11: Chocolate Candy PP11, 33-1, 20-1
Here is where the pretenders start. The nine horses above shouldn't even be in this race. The numbers on Chocolate Candy aren't Derby caliber but everything looks like a potential sleeper performance. Interesting potential. I like Mike Smith as a jockey, too.
10: Pioneerof the Nile PP16, 22-1, 4-1
Another one where I'm not on board with the pros. I, of course, like the Baffert horse. Would like to have seen him be successful somewhere other than Santa Anita.
9: Papa Clem PP7 21-1, 20-1
Lots of talent. Just think he's expended too much to get here.
8: Friesan Fire PP6, 17-1, 5-1
I'd like to see Larry Jones get his Derby victory. The pros like Friesan much more than I do. I'm really leery of the month and a half layoff. Running style bodes well. Possible but I won't like the odds. Seems like an underlay to me.
7: General Quarters PP12, 16-1, 20-1
Good horse. Due for a bounce, though.
6: Musket Man PP2, 13-1, 20-1
I'll have money on Musket Man somehow. Big time sleeper.
5: West Side Bernie PP1, 11-1, 30-1
I don't get this one at all. Six stakes races which is more stakes races than some of these horses have run, period. Stewart Elliott of Smarty Jones fame gets the mount. Closer who will be able to save ground from the pole. Again, money will be here.
4: Desert Party PP19, 10-1, 15-1
One of two shippers from overseas. I may be overvaluing them. I don't think I am. Godolphin shelled out two million dollars for this horse for this reason.
3: Regal Ransom PP10, 9-1, 30-1
Godolphin's cheap horse (only cost them $675,000). I know shippers don't fare well and the UAE Derby participants always seems to suffer. Look at the workout times for Regal and Desert Party and tell me they're suffering. Even though I think Regal is the better horse, I think he'll set the pace for Desert Party to stalk and finish strong.
2: I Want Revenge PP13, 8-1, 3-1
Trainer Jeff Mullins never comes up big in these races. Plus I won't be getting anything close to good odds. Staying away.
1: Dunkirk PP15, 5-1, 4-1
Show me when this horse has had a bad day. His March 14th workout wasn't awesome. Otherwise, the lightly raced Dunkirk has shown lots of speed. He's a grey horse, so I love him automatically. He's a Pletcher horse, so I like that, too (none of that factors into my odds, though). Would love to get better odds but that ain't going to happen. Without a doubt, the top horse.
I'll have money on the Godolphin horses in all likelihood. They seem like the best bet for overlays. I likely won't include I Want Revenge or Pioneerof the Nile in any bets.
Probably go with the Godolphins on top with Dunkirk, West Side Bernie, Musket Man, General Quarters and Chocolate Rain underneath in some sort of combination. That's the third of the field that seems to have good wagering potential.
Of course, being broke, I might steer clear and just root for Dunkirk.