Triple Crown Winners And The Markets

May 05, 2012 4:32 PM ET4 Comments
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Long/Short Equity

Contributor Since 2011

I'm a proprietary trader focusing primarily on the Standard and Poor's 500 Index futures and its top 10 components. I have over 20 years of proprietary trading experience specializing in momentum contrarian and technical and fundamental trading.

One would think with NBC and its parent networks providing coverage of the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races that CNBC commentators would be a little better informed. Or at the least not make comments that are inaccurate.

For instance, Joe Kernen discussed the poor market performance in years when there was a Triple Crown Winner, citing Big Brown winning the Triple Crown in 2008. Sorry Joe, the market was down 37% in 2008, but Big Brown did not win the Triple Crown. He did win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but finished up the track in Belmont Stakes. Furthermore, the market was only down for two of the previous three years of a Triple Crown winner, with the biggest decline being in 1973 after Secretariat's romp (the market was down 14.7%). In fact, in 1978 when Affirmed duplicated Seattle Slew's achievement in 1977, the market was actually up 6.6%.

Since traders often like to wager a dollar or two on other things besides the markets, I thought I'd provide my outlook for the Kentucky Derby.

First of all, it is going to be a great betting race. With Bodemeister being the favorite after his impressive win in the Arkansas Derby, one has to keep in mind that very few favorites have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. In fact, only four favorites have won the race over the past 32 years. Also, no unraced two-year old has won the Run for the Roses since the late 1800's. Since I rarely bet the favorite to win, I will only include him in some perfectas and trifectas.

If you do not bet the favorite, then certainly you have to focus on the winners of the primary Derby Prep races. Besides the Arkansas Derby winner, Bodemeister, we should handicap the winners of the Wood Memorial, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby.

Undefeated Gemologist, the winner of Wood Memorial deserves some consideration at 6-1. However, he was victorious over a soft field in a not so impressive time of 1:50 4/5. Dullahan, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes established himself as a contender with a come from behind victory over Hansen in a blazing 1:47 4/5. There is no doubt I will be using this horse in most of my perfecta and trifecta wagers. The winner of the Florida Derby has produced 22 Derby winners in the past 60 years, and 55 Triple Crown Race winners over the same period of time. Therefore, Take Charge Indy, with top jockey Calvin Borel aboard and a morning line of 15-1 could pull the upset with a perfect trip, something that rarely happens in the Derby.

Enough of the hedging (back to the market talk). Where I am putting my money? Honestly, I was leaning towards Creative Cause until Joe Kernen picked him. After finishing second by a nose in a brisk Santa Anita Derby he deserves to be included in all of your combinations. However, I am going to go with I'll Have Another (which I certainly will if he wins), the winner of the Santa Anita Derby with a strong come from behind victory. Unfortunately, he has drawn the 19th post position, but I think that will suit him well. Keep in mind, very often the Kentucky Derby winner is the horse that comes off the pace and makes a valiant run in the stretch, which he did in the Santa Anita Derby.

It would be great to have a Triple Crown Winner (can you tell I grew up the son of horse owner) regardless of the possible implications for the markets. And the way the market is acting today, it appears some market strategists are bracing for a repeat of Secetariat's historic feat in 1973 (the market was down 14.7%) more than the one completed by Affirmed in 1978 (the market was up 6.6%).

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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