2021 Kentucky Derby Preview, Part 4: The Bombs to Use in Exotics

by Al McMordie

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place later this evening.  We've been previewing it throughout the week, as we covered the top contenders on Wednesday, the value plays on Thursday, and the over-bet pretenders yesterday.  Today, we'll conclude our four-part series with a look at the bombs to use in exotic wagers.

In many ways the 2021 Kentucky Derby could be subtitled "back to normal".  After going way off course in 2020, the Derby will look like the Derby again this coming weekend.  It will be run on the first Saturday in May; it will likely top the headlines for the weekend; and there will be real fans in the stands.  But one thing will yet again be different.  For the first time in a long time, Bob Baffert will not have a strong favorite in the race (and he will only have one horse entered as well).  In fact, the California-based trainer's Medina Spirit will likely be no better than the fourth-favorite when the gates open at about 6:55 pm ET this Saturday. 
   
So does this mean that the 2021 version is a wide open Derby that could yield a winner such as Mine that Bird or Giacomo?  Not likely, but you could still get a decent price (as was the case last year when Baffert's Authentic won at odds of 8-1).  So who are the most likely winners?  Where will the value lie?  Who will be over-bet?  And what longshots are the ones to include in your exotics (exactas, trifectas, etc).  We now present Part 4 of our preview of the 2021 Run for the Roses: 

Bombs to Use in Exotics:

O Besos (Greg Foley, Marcelino Pedroza) 
   
Here is a son of Orb, who won this race eight years ago, who looks like he’s going to relish the 10-furlong distance.  In the Louisiana Derby, O Besos was charging hard at the end of the race at odds of almost 30-1.  When you look at his speed figures, you have to like the fact that he’s improved with every race.  And with anther improvement on Saturday, he could be right there.  His #6 post position is perfect for his stalking style of running.  Just be careful and watch his odds as there has been quite a bit of buzz about O Besos being a live longshot.  You will need 20-1 or higher to have value here. 
   
 Helium/Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux/Tyler Gaffalione) 
   
There are two lightly-raced Casse runners in the Derby, and both offer intriguing longshot possibilities for the exotics.  Soup and Sandwich is by the hottest sire in the country, Into Mischief, out of a Tapit mare named Souper Scoop, so the breeding for the classic distance is not in question.  He put in a strong run to finish second to Known Agenda in the Florida Derby, at odds of 12-1.  Meanwhile, Helium is a son of up-and-coming sire Ironicus and he switched from the artificial to the dirt in winning the March 21 Tampa Bay Derby.  Like his stable mate, Helium has only raced three times but has improved his figures in each race, which indicates he might be peaking now.  A victory for either one of these is unlikely but if you’re looking for horses to fill out a juicy exacta or trifecta this is a pair to consider.

Super Stock (Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana)
   
When was the last time you saw the Arkansas Derby winner priced at 30-1 on the first Saturday in May?  The prestigious race held at Oaklawn Park every April has been one of the most successful stepping stones for the Triple Crown races the last couple of decades.  American Pharoah used the Arkansas Derby as a springboard to his Derby, Preakness, and Belmont wins in 2015 (all as the favorite).  And yet the Asmussen-trained son of Dialed In named Super Stock is sitting at 30-1 on the morning line after a convincing score less than a month ago in that popular prep race.  Asmussen will have his go-to rider aboard Super Stock in Ricardo Santana.  The outside position (Super Stock breaks from #18 which is the same Program Number that Authentic had last year when he won) should help Super Stock stay out of trouble as he makes his run to the first turn.  He is a "horse for the course" having finished second and third in his only two previous races here at Churchill.  Finally, Super Stock is the only horse in the field with as many as eight previous starts coming in, and experience never hurts when you're about to run in the biggest race there is.

Good luck, as always...Al McMordie

And don't miss my Kentucky Derby Longshot Winner, as I've cashed 9 of the last 20 Triple Crown races, including Tiz The Law in the first leg of the Triple Crown last season.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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