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Post Time: Derby tools, tricks and techniques

By Gene Kershner

With two weeks between now and the Run for the Roses on May 5, it’s time to make sure that you’re fully equipped to be in tune with all things Derby. The Derby trail will be quiet this weekend and only one horse in this weekend’s Lexington can produce a Derby runner based on the current graded earnings list.

Reveron’s connections have decided to skip this weekend’s Lexington Stakes, which only has $200,000 of graded earnings available, thus rendering the race a non-factor with respect to a possible late Derby starter, other than Castaway.  Castaway will make the gate with a victory in the Lexington and could temporarily bump Reveron off the list.

This week the connections of Wrote (IRE), the third place finisher in the Dubai World Cup and Drill, from the west coast decided to skip the Derby, and Trinniberg’s connections appear to be opting for next weekend’s Grade 3 Derby Trial Stakes.  Thus opening up spots in the gate for Rousing Sermon, Mark Valeski and Todd Pletcher’s El Padrino. When Secret Circle was given a rest by trainer Bob Baffert on Thursday, it put Reveron in the 20th and final slot. He could still get in with a potential defection by Alpha, who has yet to ship to Churchill, a decision that will most likely be coming down the pipe in the coming days. Don’t be surprised if there is more shake ups in the final two weeks leading up to the big day.

One place to find the latest Derby information is from Darren Rogers’ twitter feed (@DerbyMedia). The Senior Director of Communications and Media Services for Churchill Downs constantly tweets Derby contenders’ workout times, pictures, ticket information and general updates from the iconic Louisville track. It’s an account you should follow for breaking information in the days that lead up to the most exciting two minutes in sport.

On Wednesday, the latest Kentucky Derby mobile application was released at the official website. The app includes event information, a live toteboard, videos and information on the Derby contenders, a betting calculator and general ticket information.

Another app to consider is the Equibase Racing Yearbook 2012, a place where you can watch replays of all of the graded stakes races that the Derby horses have run in leading up to the Derby. It’s worthwhile to look back and watch the most recent prep races to see how the horses you favor raced in the lead up to the Derby.

One of the best features during Derby week at the Daily Racing Form website, is clocker Mike Welsch’s Derby workout report videos, where he recaps the crucial final training workouts over the Churchill Downs track. He has a keen eye for sharp workouts and his workout analysis can be a key to handicapping success.

The post position draw will be televised on NBC Sports Network on Wednesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. and will play an important role for horseplayers who understand the significance that a bad post can have on a horse’s chances.

We’ve already started to map out some tendencies in the top 24 horses. For the past four years I’ve used a spreadsheet approach to analyze the Derby field and try and isolate the horses I plan on keying in on with my betting come Derby day. The sheet includes post position results from the past 42 years, pedigree information, speed figures from each horses prior three races and other statistical nuggets that I’ve tweaked over the years.

It’s a great betting race as there is a great deal of “crazy money” in the pools, with once-a-year bettors playing their favorite numbers, picking names they like best and the like. It’s a day where an educated consumer can make a nice score. It’s time to get to work, we have but two weeks to mine some Derby gold.

Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at and tweets @EquiSpace.

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