Kentucky Derby 2012: Sabercat's Long-Shot Status Must Give Bettors Pause

Trae ThompsonSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2012

If you were watching the NBC Sports Network earlier, your jaw probably dropped, too, when you heard what Michael Beychock threw out.

Beychock, who won $1 million at the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in January, said he was going with Sabercat to win today's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Yes, the same horse that is a 33-to-1 underdog.

A crazy pick? At first glance, absolutely.

When you step back and look at the horse's resume, though, this may not be too far off.

Sabercat has already run a couple of times at this track as a two-year-old, and he placed third last July. He also comes from a good lineage, having been sired by Bluegrass Cat, which finished second to Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

A Sabercat victory could be a possibility, too, when you consider that he's trained by Steve Asmussen, who's trained a slew of horses, including Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, both of which have won horse of the year honors.

Sabercat's jockey will also be Corey Nakatani, who has over 3,400 victories in his career but has yet to win a Kentucky Derby.

Sherman Cain of the Journal Inquirer pointed out that while the 18th post is complicated, Asmussen mentioned that he wants to be outside, which would allow for a better chance to negotiate the field.

One glaring issue is Sabercat's two starts this year at Oaklawn Park, where he lost by a total of 16 lengths. Some have also speculated about his lack of speed and whether he can keep up.

However, Sabercat's speed out of the gate could also play a huge part in his performance.

What's it mean?

Beychock's pick may not be crazy after all.