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An early look at some plays for Saturday's Kentucky Derby

California Chrome will be the betting favorite on Saturday.
California Chrome will be the betting favorite on Saturday.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Note: I will be at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday for the Derby, on the second floor near the Jockey Club. Please come by and say hello. I will be live tweeting on the undercard. Follow me @fredfaour for updates and wager changes.

Saturday's Kentucky Derby offers several opportunities to get a big score. California Chrome is a deserving favorite and a potential monster. But he has never raced outside California, will face the toughest pace pressure of his life and is worth taking a stab against.

I will use him in several plays, most notably in trifecta boxes.

I will center on five horses: Ride on Curlin, Intense Holiday, Wicked Strong, Danza and California Chrome. They are worth boxing on at least one ticket.

I will also key Ride on Curlin in all three spots in the trifectas. I will use him with several other horses, including Tapiture, We Miss Artie, Dance With Fate, Chitu, Samraat and Commanding Curve. If you just want a monster long shot to bet across the board, go with Commanding Curve.

The official picks: 19-16-5-20

Keep in mind a 30-1 or longer has been in the superfecta each of the last 10 years.

Here is the analysis I did for Sam Houston Race Park's tip sheet. Good luck!

The scratch of HOPPERTUNITY changes the complexion of the race. It allows No. 21 PABLO DEL MONTE in, which basically adds to the early pace and helps three of our top four selections in that they will get a solid early pace to run at.

19-RIDE ON CURLIN is the choice at a price; you Derby master jockey Calvin Borel, a solid, improving closer, and a horse that should get the distance.

16-INTENSE HOLIDAY is the wise guy horse; he has been training like a champ at Churchill and that usually bodes well.

5-CALIFORNIA CHROME has done nothing wrong and might be a super horse. But he will be bet heavily and this is his first venture outside California, so it is easy to take a stand against him.

20-WICKED STRONG comes off an very strong win and should be in the mix, but his best races have come in New York.

Others to use:

Arkansas Derby winner DANZA will be very tough if he can repeat that race, but he might also bounce off that huge effort. Worth including in exotic wagers.

TAPTITURE has seemed to get less effective as the distances get longer, but if you can toss out the Arkansas Derby effort, he belongs with the best of these.

COMMANDING CURVE will be a giant price but he has a win at Churchill and should be picking up horses late.

DANCE WITH FATE, CHITU, WE MISS ARTIE and the gritty SAMRAAT should be used in deeper exotics as well.

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