I’m a huge believer in Brisnet speed ratings. So much so, that four of my top five picks for the 2019 Kentucky Derby are horses with the highest Brisnet speed ratings in their last races. That means I’m leaving all three Bob Baffert horses, Game Winner, Improbable, and Roadster, out of my Top 5. I do include Omaha Beach, though. Check out my 2019 Kentucky Derby Top 5. I’m only switching things up if scratches force me to.
Maximum Security is My Derby Key Horse
Win – Maximum Security
I don’t see a lot of knocks against the Florida Derby winner. Maybe, I’m missing something, but to me, the fact he broke his maiden in a $16,000 claimer just means trainer Jason Servis wasn’t positive about how good he was.
Maximum Security has worked slow since starting his career. There’s nothing to worry about if you see slow works in the morning. Not only that, but Servis said he’s worked him at a mile while they’re only showing for 4 furlongs. Some horseplayers believe he’s a speedball. His Brisnet pace ratings totally go against that notion, though. Plus, he can either grab the lead in a race that doesn’t appear to have a ton of early foot or rate right behind Vekoma.
I think he’s the horse to put on top in all vertical and horizontal exotics.
Place – Vekoma
The funky stride bothers me, and I’m not sure he can carry his speed, but I really like how he laid far back in the Fountain of Youth, made a run, seemed to race green in the stretch, and still managed to turn it on at the last few jumps to get third. That impressed me. It also impressed me how he changed tactics in the Blue Grass Stakes by running near the front.
He can get the lead. Or, like Maximum Security, he can lay off. If the others allow Vekoma and Maximum Security to lope along on a 47 half-mile pace, forget it. They’re both too talented for any other horse to catch.
Show – Spinoff
So, he hung a bit versus an improving horse in a Grade 2 race. Not a big deal because trainer Todd Pletcher knows how to get them ready for the Derby. Spinoff is sired by Hard Spun and out of a Gone West mare. He should relish the 1 ¼ mile distance.
Not only that, but he’s also posted a couple of great works since the Louisiana Derby run while his Brisnet speed ratings have gone up with each and every race. The Pletcher horse has already gotten a nod from well-respected horseplayer Mike Shutty.
Like Mike, I’ve been high on this horse ever since the La Derby run. He should be closer to Vekoma and Maximum Security than most and deserves a ton of respect.
Fourth – Tacitus
The well-bred, Bill Mott trainee has looked fantastic in his two Derby preps this year. He beat Outshine and Win Win Win in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Then he took home the Wood Memorial over the Danny Gargan trained Tax.
There’s a good chance Tacitus ends up the favorite on May 4. All signs point to him running a huge race. I’m definitely using him, but Maximum Security, Vekoma, and Spinoff should offer more value because Tacitus will come from 8 to 10 lengths out of it. He got a great trip in the Wood Memorial. It’s hard to see any closer getting that kind of trip in the 20-horse field Kentucky Derby.
Tacitus could win on May 4. If my prediction is correct that Vekoma and Maximum Security control a measured pace, though, he might not be close enough to run by either one.
Fifth – Omaha Beach
The Richard Mandella trained and War Front sired Arkansas Derby winner looks like the real deal. Omaha Beach held off Game Winner in the Rebel Stakes. He then held off Improbable in the Arkansas Derby.
If you like Game Winner and Improbable, you must like Omaha Beach.
That’s the thing. I’m not sure how good Game Winner and Improbable are right now.
Justify, American Pharoah, Silver Charm, Warm Emblem, and Real Quiet entered the Kentucky Derby on the improve. Neither Game Winner nor Improbable have run as fast at three as they did at two. Omaha Beach is a good horse, but how would he have fared running against Maximum Security, Vekoma, or Tacitus?
There’s also the possibility he doesn’t improve enough to win the Kentucky Derby. Based on the Brisnet speed ratings, horses I’m using ahead of him all ran faster in their final preps than Omaha Beach did. Omaha Beach is a must use in the tri and super. I don’t believe he’s a must use in the exacta or is the horse to put in the win slot.
I’m also using Tax in my trifecta and superfecta. He’s bred to run all day while he kept fighting Tacitus in the Wood Memorial stretch and has never run a bad race.
One more thing, don’t take anybody else’s word for it. Make sure to handicap the Kentucky Derby yourself, make your wagers, sit back, and enjoy the greatest two minutes in sports!