Cutting Humor Odds to Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions
The Sunland Derby is not exactly a major Kentucky Derby prep race, but it has had its moments. In 2015 Firing Line won the race and then led the Kentucky Derby in the stretch before being passed by American Pharoah, who was on his way to a Triple Crown. By far the most notable Sunland moment came from a horse that didn't even look good in the race, though. Mine That Bird was a flat fourth while using the Sunland Derby as his final prep race, but then he won the Derby as a massive long shot in one of the most shocking outcomes in Derby history. Cutting Humor wouldn't be an upset quite as shocking as Mine That Bird if he were to win in Kentucky, but it would be close. Is it going to happen? (The answer is obviously no, but let's look at what the colt brings to the table anyway.)
Last race: I guess I spoiled this already, but Cutting Humor won the Sunland Derby last time out. Going off as one of the top contenders at 2/1, he settled off the pace early, found himself running wide around the turns, took the lead in a hard charge entering the stretch, and then just barely held on for the win. As an effort it was fine, but it wasn't particularly eye-opening. It was not the kind of race that grabs the imagination and makes a horse stand out as a top contender.
Prior experience: What stands out with this horse is that his six races have come at six different tracks. He knows the inside of a trailer very well. He made his debut in September at Belmont, finishing a well-beaten third in a maiden race. The track was sloppy that day, and the race was a sprint, so the horse had clear excuses. Next time out, a month later at Keeneland, he stretched out to a mile and a sixteenth and wound up second, trailing Plus Que Parfait , who he will face again in the Derby. The third time was the charm, and he broke his maiden at a mile in November at Gulfstream Park West. He was off for two months, and as a three-year-old he returned in an allowance race at Gulfstream, finishing second behind Bourbon War, a colt who fell short of Derby qualification. Next it was off to Oaklawn Park, where he was favored in the Southwest Stakes. It went badly for him, finishing a disappointing seventh. That led his connections to seek an easier path, which is how he wound up at Sunland.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher has entered an incredible, unprecedented, 52 horses in the Derby over the years. No trainer has ever been better than Pletcher at getting horses into this race - often in bulk. But from those 52 horses - most of them blue bloods bought for extravagant prices - he has won the race only twice. And he has had far more than two crushing defeats along the way. Pletcher is one of the best trainers alive, but he underachieves in this race. Badly. And with better horses than this one. My general approach is to toss Pletcher horses in the Derby, and I don't plan to change that this year.
Jockey: It's telling that at this point, when most of the riding assignments have been sorted out Cutting Humor still doesn't have a rider for the Derby. John Velazquez, Pletcher's first-call rider, has been aboard for the last three starts as well as the debut. But Velazquez also rode Spinoff and Code of Honor and made the no-brainer decision to ride the latter in the Derby. When Velazquez has his choice of two Pletcher horses in a race and opts to ride another trainer's horse it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Breeding: Cutting Humor is a son of First Samurai, a multiple Graded stakes winner who was injured in the Blue Grass in 2006 and never ran again. He has been a decent enough sire, with four millionaires among his progeny but no superstars. Cutting Humor is his best current runner. First Samurai is a son of Giant's Causeway, who was the top sire in North America four times. Cutting Humor's damsire is Pulpit, who finished fourth in the 1997 Derby. A son of Belmont winner A.P. Indy, Pulpit was a successful sire, with the most relevant offspring for our purposes being mega-sire Tapit, who has sired three Belmont winners.
Odds: This colt went off at 50/1 in Kentucky Derby futures betting, which is the second longest price among horses currently in the Derby field ahead of only Plus Que Parfait. It's worth noting, though, that Master Fencer, the Japanese disaster, was not listed in that pool. Cutting Humor is at a much less attractive +2500 in early action on BetOnline.
Can Cutting Humor Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby?: No. Pletcher struggles in this race, and this is a long way from the best horse he has brought to Kentucky. I guess things could come together if everything turned out exactly right, but it is very hard to imagine that happening. This is among the easiest horses to toss in the field.
Doc's Sports wants you to try out our expert horse racing handicappers free of charge and is offering new clients $60 worth of free picks that can be used for any Triple Crown race. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Kentucky Derby Handicapping
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Long Shots: Expert Advice and Betting Tips for Finding Value
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Predictions
- 2020 Kentucky Oaks Predictions and Race Analysis
- Kentucky Derby Field - The Lineup and Morning Line Odds
- Best Trifecta Bets for the 2020 Kentucky Derby
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Horse Numbers: Post Positions and Expert Analysis
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Wagering Strategies
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Betting Trends
- Kentucky Derby Odds - Betting the 2020 Kentucky Derby
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Trivia Questions and Answers