© Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Kentucky Derby Picks, Exactas & Trifectas

Horse handicapping guru Frank Taddeo is ON POINT with his Kentucky Derby Picks. We could see HUGE payoffs in this year's Derby similar to what we saw with Giacomo in 2005 where the winner paid $102.50, and we saw a $2 exacta worth $9,914 and $2 Trifecta pay $133,134.00. Let's get a repeat!

When: Saturday, May 6, 2017
Where: Churchill Downs
Time: 6:34 p.m. EST post time

Top Choices

  • #17 Irish War Cry (6-1)
  • #15 McCracken (5-1)
  • #8 Hence (15-1)
  • #16 Tapwrit (15-1)
  • #10 Gunnevera (15-1)

Favorite Longshots

  • #2 Thunder Snow (20-1)
  • #19 Practical Joke (20-1)

As of publication, the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby looks like it will be run on a sloppy off track. As we often see on these types of track conditions---handicapping formulas fly out the window. With expected inclement weather, I see value in tossing both the morning line favorite #14 Classic Empire & the 2nd choice #5 Always Dreaming from any top exotic tickets. I know this could come back to haunt me as we have seen the post time favorite win the Derby for four straight years. I just can't honestly look myself in the mirror if I allow these two to burn my money at short prices on such an unpredictable surface.

My top choices

#17 Irish War Cry: Fresh off his Wood Memorial victory looks to be in prime form for trainer Graham Motion who sent out 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

#15 McCracken: 4-for-5 lifetime, only missing the winner's circle in the Blue Grass finishing 3rd behind one of my favorite longshots #19 Practical Joke. I think we can toss that effort as it was his first coming off the shelf with an ankle injury. His morning workouts have been stellar & it wouldn't shock me at all to see him go off as the post-time favorite.

#8 Hence: May be a huge sneaky play a big price as he has won on a wet track and comes in fresh off his Sunland Derby victory. This guy has been lights out in his morning works, and his inclusion here screams value.

#16 Tapwrit: A horse who gets no respect as he often is in the shadow of his stablemate, #5 Always Dreaming who receives all the accolades. If we toss his 5th place finish in the Blue Grass we see a horse who's mom Tapit loved wet tracks. At most likely 20-1 or higher, this horse could fill exotics nicely if he hits the board.

#10 Gunnevera: A deep closer who could be able to pick up the pieces if we see a huge speed meltdown on the front end. Javier Castellano could have this boy---who has hit the board in 7 out of 9 career starts-- flying late if he can find a lane and the pieces up top fall apart.

My two favorite longshot plays

  • #2 Thunder Snow
  • #19 Practical Joke

#2 Thunder Snow: Won the U.A.E Derby in the mud, do we need we say more? Now at odds of 20-1, this could finally be the 1st time we see Dubai find the winners circle in the Derby.

#19 Practical Joke: Has been no less than 3rd in 6 straight races and comes in solid off his 2nd place finish in the Bluegrass. Many will question if he has distance limitations, but I have faith in trainer Chad Brown having this consistent colt in top form even from the bad post position. I envision seeing upwards of 40-1 as too much value for me to pass up on.

My $$$ Plays

WIN/PLACE/SHOW PLAYS: #2 Thunder Snow & #19 Practical Joke

EXACTA BOX: 2-8-15-16-17

$$$ Exacta P/W: 15,17/8,10,15,16,17,19

SMALLER Exacta P/W: 15,17/2,5,8,10,15,6,17,19

SMALLER Exacta P/W: 2,19/2,5,8,10,15,16,17,19

$$$ Trifecta P/W: 15,17 /15,17/ 2,5,8,10,14,15,16,17,18,19

SMALLER Trifecta P/W: 2,19/2,19/5,8,10,14,15,16,17,18


Wheel to Save $ 

1st - 17
2nd - 15
3rd - 8, 10, 2, 19
4th - 8, 10, 2, 19

Or Box all 6 and go big!

Box - 2, 8, 10, 15, 17, 19

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