‘Derby Bill’ Watson’s Virginia Derby picks
“Derby Bill” Watson was the official handicapper at Colonial Downs for 6 years and has been a professional handicapper for 21. Hear him, Nick Hahn, Frank Vespe, Mike Barone and Darrell Wood on “Off to the Races Radio” Saturdays from 10-11 a.m. on 950. Watson’s Virginia Derby superfecta: No. 6 Tracksmith, No. 8 English Bee, No. 9 Chilly in Charge, and No. 5 Shootin the Breeze.
1. Changi (20-1): Longshot odds may drift up to 41-1 level. He did hang on for a piece of the Monmouth superfecta after a less menacing trip at Colonial on Aug. 9.
2. Solidify (10-1): Only Graded Stakes winner in the race was impressive as a 2-year-old, but, a warning, is coming off the longest layoff in the field — 56 days.
3. Jais’s Solitude (8-1): One of two in the field coming off a win. Has shown big late run after a switch back to turf that led to landing in the money in five of last six races.
4. Critical Data (15-1): Data says last two races not up to the level of the top two in the field. This is the fourth straight different track since crossing the pond — may be homesick.
5. Shootin the Breeze (8-1): Trainer Graham Motion wants to hit a trifecta by entering three of the Derby horses. This Breeze is blowing well; strong finishes in four of last five races.
6. Tracksmith (3-1): Trainer Joe Sharp has targeted this race for the son of Kentucky Derby champion Street Sense — is coming off two wins.
7. Credit Swap (4-1): Red-hot Trevor McCarthy may try to steal this one up front as Credit is good; best 3 finishes were in 5.5 furlong sprints.
8. English Bee (5-2): Virginia Derby champion bloodline via both English Channel and Kitten’s Joy makes Bee the wagering favorite and maybe the fan favorite.
9. Chilly in Charge (10-1): Jockey Horacio Karamanos has been a giant killer in Virginia Derby’s storied past, bringing a 50-1 horse to victory. He needs Chilly’s maiden turf trip to be red hot.