Fred Faour's analysis

Free plays for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby

Game Winner. Getty Images.

Saturday will be the Kentucky Derby, and we are hoping to get back on track with our plays this year. If you want a look at every horse, please read this. For my premium plays, please go to pregame.com. That will give you precise trifecta and exacta plays.

The scratch of favorite Omaha Beach does hurt our plays a little, because it means Game Winner will likely be the favorite. We were hoping to get the 5-1 morning line, but that will not be the case now. Here are three plays I will be making on the Derby and Friday's Kentucky Oaks:

1) Kentucky Oaks

I like three horses here, the 1, 4 and 14. The 4 will be a heavy favorite and looks tough. I will do an exacta box with these three horses, and also play the 14 in weighted win/place/show bets (more to place and show than to win). So depending on your bankroll, a minimum play would be $2 to win, $4 to place and $8. Whatever your base win bet is, double it to place and then double again to show.

2) The Derby

I have it narrowed down to Tacitus and Game Winner to be first or second. So you can key them first and second in the exactas and tris with the logical contenders, but throw in long shots War of Will and Win Win Win. I also believe Tacitus is worth a win/place/show bet. My specific plays are on pregame,

Game Winner has been second in both starts this year after being 2-year-old champ. In his first start, he just missed against Omaha Beach despite a wide trip, coming off a layoff and losing training time because of the issues with the Santa Anita surface. In his second start, his stablemate Roadster needed a win to guarantee a spot in the Derby. Game Winner ran second to Roadster. Conspiracy theories aside, he will be 100 percent cranked up for this and we should see his best effort yet.

Tacitus has not faced the top 3 year olds, but he is bred out the ears to get a mile and a quarter, and his two starts this year were solid. He grinned out a win on the rail in the Tampa Bay Derby, then overcame tons of trouble to win the Wood Memorial. Traffic happens in the Derby, and the fact that he has already overcome it is a good thing.

Other legit contenders include Roadster, Maximum Security, Improbable. Potential long shots include War of Will and Win Win Win.

3) The pick 4

We will be playing a pick four, starting with the ninth race. It will be a .50 cent ticket. The horses to use: 1-9-10-12 with 4-10 with 2-6-9-12 with 5-7-8-16-17.

Good luck with all your wagers. Hopefully we will all be cashing tickets.


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These next six games will be very telling. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Houston has six games left in the 2022 regular season, two three-game series in which they need just one more win, or a Yankees loss, to secure the top seed for the AL side of the postseason bracket. They've accomplished what they set out to do over the 162-game drudge that is the regular season, so you're likely to see them use the opportunity to get some players off their feet in the remaining games.

Even so, having one of the best teams means that while putting out a lineup with some starters missing, they can still beat most teams on any given day. So then, what could that mean for the teams still vying for postseason spots or positioning in the remaining games?

Affecting the NL playoffs

It's a relatively sure bet that if they haven't locked up that top seed by the time they enter the final three games, they will before that last series is over. That means that when the Phillies come to Minute Maid Park to close out the season next week, Philadelphia will have much higher stakes in those games than Houston.

Under the expanded playoff format starting this season, the two best teams in each league receive a bye, while the remaining four teams square off in a Wild Card series, with all those games taking place at the better seed's stadium. That means teams will be very motivated to secure their best Wild Card positioning.

As of now, the Phillies hold just a half-game lead over the Brewers for the third and final Wild Card spot for the National League. Things could change this weekend, but whether they still lead or have fallen back and have ground to makeup, the games will matter to them against the Astros.

They also sit 2.5 games behind the Padres, meaning that Philadelphia could potentially be looking at a chance to jump into the second Wild Card spot. However, it's questionable if that's an envious position or not. With the juggernaut battle between the Mets and Braves coming down to the wire, with one team winning the NL East and a first-round bye and the other starting with home-field advantage in a Wild Card series, whoever gets the second Wild Card spot is going to be heading to face a really tough, and potentially angry, team on the road.

It will make things interesting for the Phillies when they face the Astros. They could be playing for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. Either way, the games will be meaningful.

Affecting the AL playoffs

There's a similar scenario at play for the American League side of things with the Astros' three-game series against the Rays this weekend. Just like the Phillies, the Rays enter the weekend holding on to the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay is only 0.5 games back of the Mariners for the second spot and two games back of the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot. Farther behind, the Orioles still have a chance for something crazy to happen, sitting five games behind.

So based on the result of their series with the Astros and how the other teams fare this weekend and in the final stretch of games, the Rays have a range of outcomes that could cause havoc in the AL bracket. They could end up taking the top Wild Card spot and hosting a series, traveling to face the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Guardians, or, less likely, missing the playoffs altogether.

This variance in positioning could have ramifications for the Astros directly in the ALDS round as well. The Astros are likely to be favored regardless of the three potential teams they face; however, some matchups would make things easier.

Houston went 2-4 against the Blue Jays this year and are currently up 3-0 on the Rays with the three games remaining in the season series. And while the Astros took the season series 12-7 against division-rival Seattle, that could give the Mariners all the more reason to be ultra-motivated for the ALDS if they faced the Astros.

So, while the Astros may not have any direct milestones to play for other than locking up their top seed, these remaining six games will have plenty of storylines and drama to follow for them and their opponent.

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