FALCON POINTS

Strangest Kentucky Derby in years will take some creative betting

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The Kentucky Derby, usually a staple on the first Saturday in May, will instead be run on the first Saturday in September due to the Rona outbreak. There will be no fans in the stands, and the favorite, Tiz the Law, enters having already won the Belmont and Travers Stakes. Traditionally, the race is the first test in the Triple Crown. This year, it will be the second, with the Preakness closing things out.

Looking a little ahead, if Tiz the Law wins this, he could be going for the Covid Triple Crown in three weeks at Pimlico, possibly facing off with brilliant filly Gamine if she wins the Oaks on Friday. It would be an incredible matchup that would bring a lot of attention to the race.

But first things first. Tiz the Law has to win the Derby first. He will go into the gate as the shortest price favorite in years, probably lower than his 3-5 morning line. He is proven at the distance, has won six of his seven starts including five in a row and towers above a field that frankly isn't very good. If you are taking a shot against him, your one selling point is his only loss came as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs, site of the Derby.

Art Collector was going to take a lot of money, but he is sitting out with a minor injury, which leaves really only Honor A.P. (4-1) and Authentic (8-1) as viable options. But Authentic does not seem to want any part of a mile and a quarter, and Honor A.P. just might not be good enough. He was second in his last start in a four-horse field, and his win in the Santa Anita Derby was against six other horses, with only Authentic a real threat in that one.

So making money on the race is going to take some creativity. A long shot to watch is Max Player, who was third twice behind Tiz the Law. He seems to want more distance, has been working well at Churchill and switches to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen. He is 30-1 in the morning line and should be every bit of that. While it is hard to see anyone beating Tiz the Law, there is no reason Max Player can't out finish the rest of the field.

Some ways to approach the race might include a Tiz the Law with Max Player will ALL trifecta, and a Tiz the Law with ALL with Max Player. If Tiz wins and Max his the board, it could produce a decent payout. I would also consider playing Max Player across the board, weighted heavier toward third and second than first, a strong exacta box with Tiz the Law, and smaller exacta boxes keying Max Player with as many horses as possible first and second just in case something goes wrong with Tiz the Law. That would include horses like the 1-3-5-7-8-9-12-15-16-17-18.

Stay tuned; premium plays (including undercard plays) will be up on pregame later this week. If you need a place to bet, check out BUSR or mybookie. And check back to this article later in the week as things may get adjusted or added based on scratches or news.

As of now, the weather forecast looks good, so it should be a fast track, but keep an eye out for updates.

Good luck on your wagers.

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

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With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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