The Iowa Derby (Grade III)

You can often find value in these late season three-year-old stakes races, often simply by betting against horses that ran in the Triple Crown.  The public recognizes the name and overbets on this reason alone.  This strategy, however, still requires finding either a late developing three-year old.  Often, you can find them in horses that may have missed the Triple Crown due to injury, but usually you can find them in stamina horses that are now beginning to fully develop.  I like to demand recent form and speed, however.  Betting simply on the hope of improvement is a recipe for losses.


  • Vicar’s in Trouble (#8, 3/1) is certainly the most accomplished of the field, but will be overbet, given the Derby experience and past speed.   Will try to do it on the front end.  Needs to be sharp off the layoff.
  • Charge Now (#5, 8-1) emerged out of a Belmont allowance that I previewed and recapped.  He was much the best on paper in that race, but didn’t have to do too much.  The speed figure came back low, and even if that wasn’t a top effort, he’d still have to improve to win here.
  • Embellishing Bob (#1, 7-2) is my pick.  He’s been plenty fast sprinting and beat (by legitimate DQ) hot horse Bayern in the Derby Trial before being trounced by him in the Woody Stephens.  I like the stretch out and the mile work.
  • Russelin (#2, 10/1) goes for conditioner Chris Hartman.  Old Fashioned is an emerging sire and this one has nice speed and style. Still seems like a bit much to find his way to the top.
  • Six Spot (#3, 5-1) should be moved up if the track is wet – a possibility with thunderstorms likely tomorrow — but not otherwise


What I’m thinking of betting:

I like Embellishing Bob at anywhere over 3-1.  I expect that you’ll get this price on the likely second choice as Vicar’s in Trouble will likely get tons of action.  Six Spot deserves a look if the track is wet.   I haven’t seen enough speed from Charge Now to support him here.  I’ve heard Travers for him, but I’ll wait to see more.

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