DERBY DAY

Fred Faour: Picks and plays for Saturday's Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is Saturday. Kentuckyderby.com

Saturday’s Derby should be a highly entertaining, competitive race. Justify is the 3-1 favorite, and he has a lot of promise. However, there are a lot of reasons to bet against him. No horse has won the Derby without starting as a 2-year-old since 1882. He has not raced outside of California. And he has raced against small fields. Now, he is fast enough that he won’t know there are 15 or so horses behind him. But he will also face serious pace pressure for the first time in his life.

I think the winner comes from nine horses: the 5-6-7-9-11-12-14-16-18-20. Of those, I like Bolt D’Oro the best and will be betting him across the board, in exactas with the other contenders and will also attack the trifecta in three different ways.

The picks:

No. 11 Bolt D’oro -- Battle tested, should love the distance and could turn the tables on Justify.

No. 12 Enticed -- A troubled second in the Wood, he is also bred to love the distance and could be in the mix at a price.

No. 20 Combatant -- Can’t win, but should clunk up for a piece late at a monster price.

No. 7 Justify -- Could win this, but plenty of reasons to play against.

The other contenders: No. 14 Mendelssohn, No. 9 Hofburg, No. 5 Audible.

The contenders who could struggle or surprise: No. 16 Magnum Moon, No. 18 Vino Rossi.

We will have two trifecta plays. One will key Bolt D’Oro first and second. The other will key Combatant second and third. We can conceivably hit them both. They are available in .50 increments. If you can only afford one, go with the first one:

First tri:

11 with 5-7-9-12-14 with 5-6-7-9-10-12-14-16-18-20

5-7-9-12-14 with 11 with 5-6-7-9-10-12-14-16-18-20

In .50 increments, that will be $45.

Second tri:

5-7-9-11-12-14 with 20 with 5-6-7-9-10-11-12-14-16-18

5-7-9-11-12-14 with 5-6-7-9-10-11-12-14-16-18 with 20

This will cost $54 in .50 increments.

For Friday's Oaks, we will do an exacta box with the 5-10-13-14.

You can find breakdowns on every horse here.

Last year, we went 1-for-3 on Triple Crown trifectas, ending a nice stretch of 9 out of 12. On a confidence level of 1-10, I would say this is a 6. If you are at Sam Houston Race Park, swing by the ESPN VIP area and say hello. Good luck on your wagers!

 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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