Steve Matthews’ 2020 Kentucky Derby analysis

William Arsn

  • Profit Line represents Steve Matthews’ judgment of the horse’s chances of winning based on post time odds. Horses should only be played to win or used in exotic wagers if they meet or exceed their profit line.

1. Finnick the Fierce

A 50-1 long shot that’s slow on final numbers and has to overcome the rail and a 56-day layoff. On the plus side, he’s fired two 5-furlong bullets at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington. Everything in horse racing is about price; even at 100-1, Finnick the Fierce would still be too short.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 150-1.

2. Max Player

Max Player makes his first start since moving to the Steve Asmussen barn after making a big forward move on the numbers when third in the Travers last time. The son of Honor Code has drilled three times since that effort, can handle the 10-furlong distance and he’s a juicy 30-1 on the morning line.  A must-use in all exotic plays if he’s 25-1 or greater.

Morning Line: 30-1. Profit Line: 25-1.

3. Enforceable

This son of Tapit has been sidelined for two months, but he delivered his best effort when returning from a similar layoff to win a Grade 3 stakes at the Fair Grounds in January. His running style and pedigree suggest the distance is within his scope and if he’s anywhere near his 30-1 morning-line odds at post time, put him on all your gimmick tickets.

Morning Line: 30-1. Profit Line: 30-1.

4. Storm the Court

Was a $93.80 upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, but he’s failed to make any noise as a 3-year-old and the distance appears well beyond his capabilities. The positives are a string of strong workouts at his Del Mar base. He’s 50-1 on the morning line but his chances of impacting the outcome appear much longer than that. Toss him regardless of price.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 200-1.

5. Major Fed

A son of Ghostzapper who has only a maiden victory to his credit. But don’t be so quick to ignore Major Fed. He’s 50-1 on the morning line and he’s training impressively at Churchill Downs. From this handicapper’s looking glass, he’s worth putting on exotic tickets at 35-1 or better.

Morning Line 50-1. Profit Line: 35-1.

6. King Guillermo

King Guillermo lit up the tote board to pay $100.40 when logging a fast late-pace figure to win the Tampa Bay Derby in March, and he followed that with a clear-cut second in the Arkansas Derby on the first Saturday in May. The biggest knock is that the son of Uncle Mo has been sidelined since that effort (126 days), but his recent workouts at Churchill Downs have been eye-catching. Price is the equalizer and if he’s even close to his 20-1 morning line, he’s a must-use.

Morning Line: 20-1. Profit Line: 10-1.

7. Money Moves

This lightly raced and rapidly developing son of Candy Ride was bought for $975,000 in April of last year and didn’t make it to the races until his 3-year-old season. He certainly hasn’t faced anything of this caliber, but Money Moves owns two wins and a second from three starts and he’s yet to take a backward step on the numbers. He’s a beefy 30-1 on the morning line and has a world of upside potential. Must use if 25-1 or better.

Morning Line: 30-1. Profit Line: 25-1.

8. South Bend

The most heavily raced member of the field with 12 starts was a non-threatening fourth at 32-1 in the Travers and would need a complete pace meltdown — which appears highly unlikely in a Derby field that’s light on front-runners — to impact. South Bend would have to be twice his 50-1 morning line to get this handicapper to bite.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 100-1.

9. Mr. Big News

It would be earth-shattering news if this son of Giant’s Causeway could pull this off. He’s slow on final figures and is another that appears to be at the mercy of the early fractions. Give Mr. Big News the heave-ho.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 200-1.

10. Thousand Words

Here are two words: No chance. His best effort was when he took advantage of moderate splits to win a minor stakes at Del Mar last time.

Morning Line: 15-1. Profit Line: 100-1.

11: Necker Island

This son of Hard Spun has raced 10 times and has yet to earn a final number that makes him competitive, and the distance looks well beyond his reach. Two things of interest: Both of Necker Island’s victories were notched at Churchill Downs and he was claimed for $100,000 in June.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 100-1.

12. Sole Volante

This gelding showed promise early in his career when winning three of his first four starts. Sole Volante’s victory in the Sam F Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in February was particularly impressive as he tallied a very fast late-pace figure. I like his sit-and-pounce style and his ability to win after a short layoff. Big price with a big chance.

Morning Line: 30-1. Profit Line: 12-1.

13. Attachment Rate

Don’t get attached to Attachment Rate. His only victory was in the slop against maidens at Gulfstream, and he would have to make monumental improvement on the numbers to threaten.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 200-1.

14. Winning Impression

Will make a losing impression. This gelding is thoroughly outclassed and is actually the slowest horse in the field, based on final figures.

Morning Line: 50-1. Profit Line: 500-1.

15: Ny Traffic

Trained by the high-octane, Florida-based Saffie Joseph Jr., this colt has hit the board in seven of his nine starts. Ny Traffic owns a favorable stalker’s style that should help him avoid traffic. Plus, he logged a string of impressive 5-furlong workouts leading up to this. Earned a swift final number when second by a nose in the Haskell last time. Must use if we get our price.

Morning Line: 20-1. Profit Line: 10-1.

16. Honor A.P.

A razor-sharp SoCal invader that owns two wins and three thirds from five starts. Failed to get the job done when a puny 20 cents on the dollar in minor Del Mar stakes last time, but Honor A.P. impressed when rating kindly to win the Santa Anita Derby with a fast final figure two back. The presence of Mike Smith in the saddle only serves to depress the odds from an already short 5-1 morning line. A contender but very price dependent.

Morning Line: 5-1. Profit Line: 10-1.

17. Tiz the Law

Tiz the Law has rattled off a string of four straight wins in his 3-year-old season that culminated with an ultra-impressive score in the Travers on Aug. 8. He holds an edge on late-pace and final figures and looks almost unbeatable on paper. But with a paltry 3/5 morning line, it forces the value-seeking player to find cracks in the armor. The biggest question facing the son of Constitution is whether he’ll regress after his lifetime top figure in the Travers. That question only becomes relevant based on price. Certainly, he’s the most likely winner, but he’ll be a massive underlay. Best advice: Use him only in the minor positions if he’s less than his profit line.

Morning Line: 3/5. Profit Line: 8/5.

18. Authentic

This colt’s potential to play out as the controlling speed from his cozy outside post in a field that’s light on front-runners makes him a very attractive proposition, provided he meets his minimum odds requirements. He has trained impressively since a front-running score in the Haskell and he has plenty of time to get to the top before the field hits the first turn. The negatives: The distance could be testing his limits and Bob Baffert-trained runners simply take more money than their true chances of winning. Make a post-time decision based on his odds.

Morning Line: 8-1 Profit Line: 6-1.


1. King Guillermo

2. Sole Volante

3. Tiz the Law

4. Authentic


Andrew Gross

1. Tiz the Law

2. Authentic

3. King Guillermo

4. Ny Traffic

Todd Sommers

1. Honor A.P.

2. Ny Traffic

3. Tiz the Law

4. King Guillermo

Craig Bustin

1. Authentic

2. Attachment Rate

3. Sole Volante

4. King Guillermo

Source Article

Next Post

Beijing to Build Pilot Free Trade Zone to Further Open Up Services Industry

China’s central government will support Beijing in setting up a pilot free trade zone characterizing scientific and technological innovation, opening up of the services sector and the digital economy. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: The decision was announced at the opening of the 2020 […]