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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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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