The Locksmith Finds The Key to The Derby

Mark Blaudschun

The last time we heard from our friend Tom Luicci, AKA The Locksmith, he was chortling about his college football handicapping skills.

But with Saturday's 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, we figured it was time to check in with The Locksmith.

A little background.

The Locksmith is one of the more astute handicappers in racing.Few people anywhere can break down the charts in the Daily Racing Form, better than The Locksmith.

It is how he wagers where problems develop.

Naturally, there are always stories to tell. The Locksmith's track of preference is Woodbine in Canada and his favorite wagering opportunity is 20 second Pick 4s--in which you are required to pick the winners of four consecutive races.

There was this time earlier this spring, when The Locksmith called, again bemoaning the racing Gods. It seemed that he had the first 3 legs of a Pick 4 at Woodbine, which included a few long shot big payoff horses, and had 5 of the 7 horses in the final leg,. including one of the favorites.

A mortal lock for a Pick 4 win right?

Not exactly.

The longest shot on the board--of the two horses The Locksmith had eliminated--won.

The Locksmith's main problem has never been in handicapping. If he gives you for or five horses, the winner will be among them 80 percent of the time.

Putting that knowledge into actual wagers is the difficult part, especially when you enter the world of P

Nor is he afraid to share his knowledge. On Saturday, The Locksmith, who is also the Public relations director at Monmouth Park, gave opening Day patrons some tips on the first race of the day, picking a horse which paid $57.50 (on a $2 dollar bet).

Which brings us to Saturday's wild 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, which was "won'' by a 65-1 shot named Country House, after the actually race winner Maximum Security was disqualified by the track stewards for mildly, but clearly, intruding the path of War of Will.

The change in results created seismic payoffs.

Which brings us back to The Locksmith, who made a number of bets, which included what is known as a "cover'' bet, where you make wagers against your real choice which cover you if there is an upset.

This is what The Locksmith did.

He made a $1 exacta (first and second place finishers) bet using All (18 horses on top) with a selection of a couple of his top choices, which on Saturday, included No. 13 Code of Honor and No. 8 Tactius.

Immediately after the race, Luicci shrugged about an opportunity, lost since Code of Honor and Tactius had finished 3rd and fourth.

But then the Inquiry sign started flashing--a stomach churning event for betters who back both favorites and long shots.

The Locksmith looked at his exacta tickets,knowing if Maximum Security was taken down, Country House would be the winner AND Code of Honor and Tactius would move from 3rd and fourth to second and third.

Now came the waiting.

Clearly Maximum Security had made a move which infringed on the other horses routes. But Country House was not directly affected and this was the Kentucky Derby, not a claiming race in March, which is akin to officials in basketball calling fouls in regular season games that they would ignore in post season games.

Five minutes. Still no word. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Finally after nearly 20 minutes, the lights on the toteboard flashed again--posting Country House as the winner at a whopping price of $132.40 on a two dollar ticket, followed by Code of Honor and Tactitus.

The payouts were staggering, starting with the two dollar exacta which $3009.60. The Locksmith's $1 ticket paid slightly more than $1,500.

The other wagering results were also mind boggling. A 50 cent trifecta (the first three horses) paid more than $5,700, a $1 Superfecta (first four horses) paid more than $57,000.

Was The Locksmith satisfied?

Of course.

"Now I have some money to make some Pick 4's at Woodbine,'' he said.


Mark Blaudschun