2016 Kentucky Derby Picks – Churchill Downs Race 12 Predictions

2016 Kentucky Derby Picks and Analysis


Nyquist still the best bet at an overlay price in 142nd Kentucky Derby


2016 Kentucky Derby-G1, Race 12, Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 7, 2016
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4-miles, Dirt, Purse: $2 million


Kentucky Derby Picks

1. Nyquist
2. Exaggerator
3. Creator
4. Gun Runner
5. Mo Tom - Bet your Kentucky Derby picks using your credit card and get a 50% bonus up to $250 in FREE cash at Bovada Racebook!

Kentucky Derby Analysis

We rarely like to bet favorites but Nyquist will be too tough to resist in the 2016 Kentucky Derby if he goes to post at anything close to his 3-1 morning line odds.

The only undefeated runner in this year’s Kentucky Derby field, Nyquist always seems to be getting knocked for something. They say he’s not fast enough. They say he won’t get the distance. We’re not buying either.

The undefeated Uncle Mo colt simply does what he has to do to win, and while there may be faster horses on numbers in the 142nd Kentucky Derby, none of them can say they know how to win. Nyquist is a perfect 7-for-7, and he’s not some cheap speed horse that needs the lead. He’s likely to get the exact same trip outside/wide trip he got in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 last year, move to the lead somewhere from early to mid stretch and then dig in to hold off the ralliers.

Nyquist will have to be a little careful, as the long stretch at Churchill Downs can be very unkind to horses that move to the lead too early. While he may be a better horse than tough-as-nails competitor Gun Runner, who won the Risen Star-G2 and Louisiana Derby-G2 in his last two starts from just off the pace, Nyquist does not want to battle with that horse too early on the turn for home. That would set the race up for one of the out-of-the-clouds closers.

The race sets up with Danzing Candy and Outwork trying for the early lead followed closely by Gun Runner, Destin, Mohaymen, Nyquist and possibly Shagaf in the second flight. Oscar Nominated, Whitmore, Tom’s Ready, Mor Spirit and Majesto make up the third flight, and then it’s back to the deep closers, some of whom could make up the Kentucky Derby Superfecta at nice prices, and maybe even win if the pace collapses.

The deep closers in the race probably have the best shot to upset Nyquist if they can work out decent trips, which is always tough in a 20-horse field. This group includes Trojan Nation, Suddenbreakingnews, Creator, Mo Tom, My Man Sam, Exaggerator, and Brody’s Cause.

Of the deep closers we like Exaggerator best, despite the fact that he had everything in his favor when he won the muddy Santa Anita Derby-G1 after the front runners wilted. We like Exaggerator not just because of that race, but because in the race before that, the San Felipe-G2, he made a big move and flattened out late. The trick with Exaggerator is to time his move perfectly so he’s in full gear in deep stretch. If Desormeaux can do that he has a shot to win, and he should get an okay outside trip from post 11.

We liked Creator in the Rebel Stakes two starts ago when he finished a wide third, and he did come back to win the Arkansas Derby-G1 in his last start. He has no choice but to drop well back early from post three and try to find his way through traffic late to get into the Kentucky Derby Superfecta. Suddenbreakingnews is in the exact same boat from post two. He should rally late, likely on the outside, and could make it into the superfecta.

Brody’s Cause won the Blue Grass-G1 in his last start but our guess is that he’ll be a little overrated in here. He should be able to stay out of trouble from post 19, but he’ll have to improve. My Man Sam is a fresh horse for sharp trainer Chad Brown and gets top rider Irad Ortiz Jr. so he could also rally late for a small share of the superfecta at huge odds.

The trip-horse jackpot sleeper is Mo Tom, who comes off absolutely brutal trips in both the Risen Star-G2 and the Louisiana Derby-G2 under jockey Corey Lanerie, who will again be aboard in the Derby, and this time from terrible post four. It’s impossible to tell how good Mo Tom is after being stopped cold twice in a row the stretch, but he was definitely making good moves. He also has top trainer Tom Amoss in his corner. If he were to get a perfect trip inside and finally get through this time, we could see him slipping into the exactor, but that’s why it’s called gambling. At 20-1 on the morning line, you’re betting that he finally gets a clean trip and also that he’s good enough.

We’ll stick with the proven commodities and bet Nyquist to win and place if we can get 3-1 on him. We’ll also take him top and bottom in our exactas with Exaggerator, Creator, Gun Runner and Mo Tom. We’ll add a few more horses for our triactors and include Suddenbreakingnews, Trojan Nation, My Man Sam, Whitmore, Shagaf, Mohaymen, Mor Spirit, Majesto and Brody’s Cause.

We’ll also be playing Nyquist first and second in our trifectas and superfectas with our second and third choices and alternating them with ALL in the third and fourth spots just in case something crazy happens.

And it always does in the Kentucky Derby.