Mike Shutty is a co-founder of Horse Racing Nation and the author of the Super Screener Kentucky Derby handicapping system.
This year’s Kentucky Derby is being billed as one of the most wide-open events in years. In fact, whoever goes off as the favorite in this race — be it Omaha Beach, Roadster or Game Winner — should have odds of around 5-1, with the top contenders’ prices then ranging up to 10-1.
We know that in years in which the favorite goes off at odds around 5-1, huge payoffs can follow because so much parity opens up the door for hard-to-have longshots to complete the exotic wagers, as evidenced here:
This year, it is anticipated that 13 of the 20 horses entered in the Kentucky Derby will go off at odds of 20-1 or higher. Because you can’t include them all on your exacta, trifecta and superfecta tickets, it is critical to efficient ticket building that you isolate the longshot bombers that have the best chance to outrun their odds. That’s exactly what the Super Screener does and why it was created.
The 2019 Kentucky Derby field has been analyzed, and we are down to four longshots that have emerged from 13 candidates that have the best shot to hit the board at a huge price. One horse in that group of four that will go off at odds of 30-1 or higher that you can’t leave off your tickets is Spinoff, out of the Todd Pletcher barn.
While Todd Pletcher has only won the Kentucky Derby twice (with Super Saver and Always Dreaming), he typically comes to this race with several highly regarded colts and he has hit the board with some of those charges as well. Most memorable were Invisible Ink finishing second at 55-1 behind the winner Monarchos in the 2001 Kentucky Derby. In 2006, Bluegrass Cat triggered huge returns when finishing second at 33-1. Those two horses were not on anyone’s radar, and Pletcher in those years was clearly flying under the radar just as he is this time.
Spinoff was considered one of Pletcher’s best 2 year-old prospects last year.
“We’ve always had high hopes for him,” the trainer said before the son of Hard Spun stepped up from an allowance optional claiming win to the Louisiana Derby (G2). “He had a little setback after the Saratoga Special, and we felt the two-turn race at Tampa was the best starting point to the path moving forward. He was so much the best in that race. He’s trained like we had hoped since the Tampa race, and the timing of the Louisiana Derby is good for him.”
Spinoff was idle from August until January when he resumed training before scoring in that two-turn comeback race at Tampa Bay. But it was his Louisiana Derby effort that was more impressive, as he was wide throughout, staying close to a pace that quickened as the race progressed. Spinoff finished strong through the wire, losing narrowly to By My Standards, who had the ground-saving trip advantage. Off this race, we can make a strong case for Spinoff to be included on the bottom of your Exotics tickets at a big price:
1. In the Louisiana Derby, Spinoff nearly registered triple-digit numbers in each of the Brisnet Second Call (99), Late Pace (100) and Speed Rating (102) figures. This is a powerful signal historically that has helped isolate the best of the many longshots in this race — and even in find the best win contenders.
2. By My Standards submitted similar figures, but Spinoff broke outwardly from post 10, so he really earned his ratings while traveling over more ground than the winner. Also, this was By My Standards’ fifth consecutive race in a form cycle since debuting; he was in prime condition, while Spinoff was making just his second start off a six-month layoff, making for more upside potential.
Watch Spinoff (#10) run extremely wide from his outside post.
3. From a form cycle perspective, Spinoff is primed for another move forward given the Kentucky Derby will mark just his third race since August. We would like to see the gap between races at something less than six weeks, but Pletcher prefers to give his horses plenty of time between races, and it has worked. Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby with five weeks after the Florida Derby. Destin finished well enough off a seven-week layoff from the Tampa Bay Derby. So Spinoff shouldn’t be penalized too much for timing. Let’s see how he works leading up to the race, too.
4. The Louisiana Derby gets no respect, and that is because it has been a long time since it has produced a Kentucky Derby Winner (Funny Cide in 2003). However, this race has produced four board hitters in the last six years, including the venerable Gun Runner (third, 2016) and Revolutionary (third, 2013). Also, you can’t forget Super Screener Top Longshot picks Golden Soul (second, 2013) and Commanding Curve (second, 2014) who lit up the board at odds of 34-1 and 37-1, respectively. Will Spinoff add his name to this list?
5. Finally, fellow Derby contender Country House offers clues as to how good Spinoff’s race may have been in the Louisiana Derby. Country House has basically run the same race in his past three starts, posting nearly identical speed figures. In the Arkansas Derby he was defeated by the likely Kentucky Derby favorite, Omaha Beach, by 6 3/4 lengths. Country House competed in the Louisiana Derby as well, and guest what? He finished 5 1/2 lengths behind Spinoff, and 6 1/4 behind By My Standards). While it is dangerous to put too much stock in “this horse defeated that horse,” it does put Spinoff in the same relative category as the Derby favorite.
Spinoff is just one horse with great odds that the Super Screener will be leveraging in building trifecta and superfecta tickets going after the big payoffs in the Kentucky Derby.
To learn more about how the Super Screener uses historical pace, speed, cycle and trends to separate the Derby field, get your copy now!
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Super Screener longshot success
In 2017, the Super Screener added to its greatest Kentucky Derby scores by listing 33-1 Lookin At Lee as its top longshot. Super Screener also had 37-1 Commanding Curve as a top longshot in 2014 and 34-1 Golden Soul in 2013.
Prior Super Screener readers have done well and sent in many testimonials of their wins.
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