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September 18, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Kentucky Derby

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Garry Jones / AP

Dance With Fate owner Joseph Ciaglia takes a panoramic photo of the Kentucky Derby post position draw with his phone at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Dance With Fate drew post position No. 12.

I’m not sure that betting on horse racing is even permitted in our Play of the Day, which features odds from the South Point and a $10,000 starting bankroll, contest.

It is now. I’ll attack the biggest race of the year Vegas-style with one of the many head-to-head proposition wagers available around town.

Dance With Fate plus-135 over Danza: $300 to win $405

My favorite way to attack the voluminous Kentucky Derby matchup props every year is to find an overvalued horse and fire against him.

Sorry Tony Danza, but there’s no tap-dancing around this one: Your namesake brings this year’s opportunity. And he just happens to be matched up against my favorite horse in the race.

The “Who’s The Boss” star is one reason Danza is inexplicably the third favorite in this year’s race. Having the nation’s most well known trainer Todd Pletcher, who’s notably just 1-for-36 lifetime in the Derby, also helps as does the colt’s prodigious performance in a victory at the Arkansas Derby last month.

People on Danza’s own team described the horse as “mediocre” before the Arkansas Derby, however, where he was a 40-to-1 longshot. Now he’s four times lower than that at 10-to-1 in a race featuring the best accumulation of 3-year-old talent?

Doesn’t add up. Likewise, Dance With Fate could be lower than 20-to-1.

In a race dominated by early speed this year, Dance With Fate is one of the few contenders who looks like he won’t get drawn into trying to keep pace early. As long as Dance With Fate can stay in the middle of the pack, he projects to save his best for last and fly past fatigued opponents in the final stretch.

Dance With Fate won a stakes race at Keeneland on the same day Danza prevailed at Oaklawn Park. He’s got two other wins and four places in eight career races, and one of the strongest pedigrees in the field.

No one ever muttered mediocre when it came to Dance With Fate.

Standings: Bern (21-16-1, $10,600), Keefer (19-21, $9,168), Brewer (15-20-3, $6,595)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer

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