Monday, March 31, 2008

What Can Big Brown Do For You?

Saturday was the Florida Derby, the final derby prep for the Florida circuit. The rest of the final major derby preps are this weekend and next weekend. Anyhow...

Before Saturday the 2 main favorites were WAR PASS and PYRO, with PYRO assuming the favorite mantle in everyone's rankings after WAR PASS completely ate it in his last race and came in last. Each will have one more chance to show what they are capable of before the Derby. Anyhow II...

Before Saturday, a relative unknown newcomer named BIG BROWN was getting alot of attention: he was extremely lightly raced, with only 2 career starts, but in each one he completely romped by more than 10 lengths. The caveat was that it was against lesser competition, so the Florida Derby would be a significant step up in class and tell if Big Brown was legit or a flash in the pan fluke.

BIG BROWN is legit.

What can BIG BROWN do for you?

Saddled with the far outside post of 12, things did not look good for BIG BROWN. In fact, in the 3 years since Gulfstream Park was resurfaced, only three horses have won any race of any kind from the 10, 11, or 12 post at the track {one of them being BARBARO in the 2006 Florida Derby}.

Forced to either gun it for the lead or lay way back to save ground, Desormeaux gunned BIG BROWN out of the gate and went for the lead, which he eventually got. Still he was 3 to 4 wide around the first turn, and by the 2nd turn he found himself on the front of a furious pace, :22 for the first 1/4 mile. Follow that with a half mile in :45 and in 99 out of 100 horse races the horse on the lead of such a blistering pace is going to get cooked and falter. But amazingly BIG BROWN wired the field and drew off easily to win under a hand ride. I don't know that I have ever seen a horse win from the outside post in wire to wire fashion off such a blistering pace.

See for yourself:

This is not something you see every day,or even once
in a while {outside post, sizzling pace, easy win from the front}

So BIG BROWN is for real. His next race will be the Derby, another massive step up in class. But there are some who think the horse is a superfreak and nothing else matters, including the fact that no horse with only 3 career starts has won the Derby in 93 years, not even CURLIN, who came close last year in the Derby after only 3 career starts, went on to win horse of the year, and Saturday won the Dubai World Cup to cement his standing as the best horse in the world.

We'll see in 5 weeks. Either way BIG BROWN has thrown down the gauntlet to PYRO, WAR PASS and everyone else that he will be a factor to be dealt with at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

With the Florida Derby in the books, the remaining final Derby preps are:

Saturday April 5
Santa Anita Derby {California}
Wood Memorial {New York}
Illinois Derby

Saturday April 12
Arkansas Derby
Blue Grass Stakes {Kentucky}

WAR PASS is starting in this weekend's Wood Memorial, and PYRO is starting in next weekend's Bluegrass Stakes. Right now those two and BIG BROWN are most everybody's top 3.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this update.
An idea for your next derby breakdown. Perhaps a breakdown of the different wagers. Win/Place/Show are easy enough.

But when is it smart to bet the the field? Is betting a supafecta worth the risk?

Kanu said...


Writing about wagering is tough because 1) wagering on the Derby is unique and totally different than wagering on any other horse race in the world and 2) wagering advice all depends on each individuals risk strategy, and whether they are conservative or willing to go for broke, or something in between.

FYI the Derby got rid of field betting about 6 years ago, and now every entrant is a seperate betting interest. This has been great for some longshots who came in at huge odds tha otherwise would have been part of a field bet at much lower odds. Giacomo winning at 50-1, Closing Argument finishing second the same year at I think 71-1, and several other extreme longshots hitting the board in recent years would have all been part of the field in the olden days at somewhere between 12-1 and 24-1. This has been good for Derby betting and getting a big score.

Superfecta betting in my opinion is always a waste of money, but in the Derby, with so many entrants and all seperate betting interests, why not throw down $20 in a Superfecta box? Hell, sometimes it his for five figures, and the year Giacomo won it hit for $864,000!

Anyhow, there is a GREAT book that focuses only on wagering strategies for the 3 triple crown races, it is called the Triple Crown Handicapper and is written by Jim Mazur. If you are ever going to bet any significant amount on the Derby or other Triple Crown races, it is definitely $30 well spent to get it and read it. This year's 2008 Triple Crown Handicapper is available on but they charge $8 for UPS Ground shipping; better to by it directly from Mazur's Progressive Handicapping as they charge $5 for shipping and get it to you in 2 days. Let me find you the link:

If that doesn't work, then and search for 2008 Triple Crown Handicapper.

Also, DRF has a new book out which focuses exclusively on betting for the Derby, but I have not read it and have no idea if it is good or crap:

Either way, those can probably help you more than I can. I can only say that Mazur's book is OUTSTANDING, and I have been using some of his strategies since I first found him in 2004; he's kind of like a Phil Steele guy for racing/wagering, but also pretty easy to understand.

Good luck, man.

Anonymous said...


You are going this year, correct? If so, I may send you some of my excess cash to lose for me.

Kanu said...


Yes, Sir. After missing last year, I am locked and loaded for my 10th Derby.

No problem man, I'll be happy to put in bets for you.