Derby Day!

Finally its Derby Day! For some reason it seems like this spring Derby prep schedule took forever to get through, but we re finally here.  All year long we have been waiting for a 3yr old to leave his mark, run a huge race, or do something that tells us he is the clear number 1.  It hasn’t happened (in my opinion) yet but lets hope that the derby can clear this division up for us.  That being said, it leaves this Derby as one of the most wide open in recent history, which makes for an exciting betting race.  Truth is, the entire day has great betting opportunities so lets dive in and look at the card.

Race 1  3-5-1

Race 2   3-1-8

Race 3   1-3-10

Race 4  11-10-1

Race 5   10-12-2

Race 6  9-1-5   In the Distaff Mile Tepin will be a huge favorite and a deserving one at that.  If you want to try to beat her, Rainha Da Bateria first time for Chad Brown might be the choice to pull the upset.  Might get some pace to run into, Bureau de Change also looks interesting at 30-1

Race 7  3-1-5 The Churchill Downs Stakes.  I’m leaning towards Calculator here to turn the tables on Salutos Amigos, who doesn’t run as well away from Aqueduct.  I think this 7f to a mile distance is his best trip, should get some pace to run into but if not can be a little closer then my second choice Kobe’s Back who needs a meltdown upfront to get to the wire first.  Limousine Liberal should hang on late after setting the pace.

Race 8  10-9-8 The Humana Distaff looks like it sets up perfectly for Wavell Avenue.  Probably needed the race in the Madison and still didn’t run bad.  Gets Rosario back on her whos had great success with her.  Should be coming late. Birdatthewire goes back to Romans who did great work with her and should also be coming late.

Race 9   10-3-4 The American Turf Going with a longshot here at 15-1, American Patriot has a devastating turn of foot, might not get a hot pace to run at, but has shown he can close into a slower one, getting red hot Geroux to ride is also a bonus.  Converge had a bad trip last out when getting beat by Shakhimat at Keeneland, with a clean trip he will be tough in the stretch

Bonus, all stakes pick 4   3-4-8-10/9-11-13/3-12/15-16-17

Race 10  13-11-9 The Pat Day Mile Lots of interesting plays in this race.  Looks like there will be some speed here so I’m going to play a few horses that have shown they can come from behind.  I land on Star Hill who had an eye catching maiden score at Gulf, and ran a good race against the grain in the Bluegrass.  American Freedom coulnt have looked any better breaking his maiden at Santa Anita on Derby day and should be tough as well.  Fellowship always runs his race and should get up for minor awards.

Race 11 3-12-11  The Woodford Reserve  Bolo has always been a better grass horse then dirt horse.  After they moved him back to the green he has rarely run a bad race.  His race 2 back was a beautiful race and was to far back in his last.  Should get a nice stalking trip and Mike Smith knows him well.  Big Blue Kitten is dangerous as always, because he just doesn’t run a bad race.  Only flaw is the layoff.

Race 12 16-15-17-19-5 The Kentucky Derby  The big daddy is finally here.  As of early wagering I am shocked that my top choice Shagaf is 74-1, but I am not swaying.  Ive liked him all year and his last 2 works over this track have been great.  Hes been galloping beautifully over the track all week.  I don’t think h liked the Mud in the Wood and had some trouble.  Love the move to Rosario here.  Should sit close and make a move on the turn.  Outwork, who won the Wood should get a nice stalking trip as well right behind Danzing Candy, just don’t know if hes good enough to hold them all off.  Mor Spirit has never been worse then second in his career so you know he will run his race.  Seems like a plodder to me without a huge turn of foot, should be around at the end.  Of all the closers, I’m leaning towards Brodys Cause to be running late.

Good Luck everyone!


Derby Day!

Oaks thoughts….

Quick recap of the Oaks from earlier today. Not much to really say other then Cathryn Sophia ran her eyeballs out and no one really stood a chance. She sat a great stalking trip off Rachels Valentina, then as they aproached the stretch swung out and pit the race away as she blew by Lewis Bay who had a dream trip up the rail. Speaking of Lewis, she sat the identical trip as Cathryn but snuck through on the rail and looked to have the race wom before Cathryn revved up outside of her. She tired down the lane and got nipped by Land Over Sea who methodically chugged down the lane to get second by a nose. 

Going forward Id personally love to see her, songbird and Cara Mia run together in the G1 Acorn on Belmont day. That would be an amazing race. Lets cross our fingers…

Oaks thoughts….

Kentucky Oaks Day Picks

lewis-bay-the-gazellejpg-1f6cff1bf9194ba3Finally its Oaks day and we have two days of amazing stakes and undercard races.  Its a long day of racing today so for non stakes races we wont be giving full summaries, just picks.  Good Luck today in all your bets!

Churchill Race 1  3-7-2

Race 2   9-2-1 CONQUEST SERENADE can it right off the pace from the outside and stalk, and her only loss was to one of the Oaks favorites Go Maggie Go.

Race 3   1-4-6

Race 4   5-7-4

Race 5   8-2-3 COMMEND just lost by a head to one of my picks in the grade 2 tomorrow American Patriot, a repeat of that race today makes him super tough.

Race 6   2-5-1 The Grade 1 La Troien has a short field but very long on competitive horses. I don’t see it being a very wide open race, I think Sheer Drama looms boldly over this group.  Curalina would be tough if she has a prep before this race.  Penwith could be dangerous if she gets a lone lead, but I think Sheer Drama will be sitting right off of her, and has a much better kick in the lane.

Race 7  8-5-7 Carina Mia looks like a solid favorite but I cant take her 8/5 in this race.  On the outside, NICKNAME looks tough.  Can sit right off the speed from the outside, is better at this one turn distance and with a few other speed horses to put pressure on the favorite, she could be the one to catch her late.

Race 8   2-1-12  If he didn’t draw the 1 hole, I would have chosen Power Alert on top, I just think the inside forces his hand to go early in a race full of speed. His two worst races have been when he drew the 1.  Also inside is Summation time, but with his style to sit off the pace, he should have a more favorable trip and come running late for Clement.

Race 9   4-7-5 I have been a fan of Eagle for a long time, I think hes been at the mercy of slower paces in small field all winter.  He finally gets some pace to run at, and this long stretch will only help his closing kick.  Also Top Billing has a devastating closing kick and should be rolling late. Noble Bird loves this track and is getting good again.

Race 10  1-3-10 Harmonize has a great turn of foot and where it looks like favorite catch a glimpse might get some pace pressure, Harmonize could be rolling late.  Will save ground and just needs to find a way out turning for home, to be dangerous.  Nodiac is a longshot closer who should also be coming late in the race. Numbers stack up well against these.

Race 11  3-13-8 The Kentucky Oaks lost its superstar when Songbird got sick and couldn’t make the field.  I am leaning towards Lewis Bay in this spot, can be placed wherever Irad Ortiz wants to put her and still come home strong.  Can envision a nice ground saving trip, midpack and then swinging out at the top of the stretch. Land over Sea kept banging her head against Songbird then finally got out from under her shadow and romped in the Fair Grounds Oaks. As a long shot I like Royal Obsession who finished just behind Lewis Bay at Aqueduct.

Good Luck and Check back tomorrow morning for our Derby Day picks!



Kentucky Oaks Day Picks

Kentucky Derby Analysis

Horses coming around the first turn at the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Post positions are drawn and major training is done.  The Kentucky Derby is finally days away and its time to dive into the past performances for this great day of racing.  I will blog picks for the day Saturday mornings but for now I wanted to just focus on the big race.

The years Derby is very perplexing in many ways, everyone says this isn’t a fast group and that is true, but that also means there’s about 15 horses all running high 80 beyers-mid 90 beyers.  How do you separate them all? Nyquist is undefeated and won the Florida Derby yet doesn’t get the respect any other undefeated favorite would get.  Maybe its American Pharaoh hangover, or maybe its his distance challenged pedigree? Its the latter to me as I don’t think he will relish this 1 1/4 mile distance.  I also am a little pushed back by the one two-turn race this season.  So lets get in to my pick and my analysis…..

On paper my pick hasn’t hit a 90 beyer, finished out of the top 4 in his last race, and has run to many times this year according to the spreadsheet, but as they turn for home SHAGAF will be the one to come and catch! His breeding says the distance will be no problem.  I loved the conservative approach Chad Brown has taken with him, and don’t think he was 100% cranked up earlier in the season.  In the Wood Memorial he hated the slop, fell further back then he wanted to be and made a eye catching move on the turn only to have his momentum stopped behind slowing horses.  After all that he flattened out in the stretch, which is excusable to me. He has looked AMAZING over the Churchill Downs surface training and his last work was very fast for a Chad Brown horse and he did it easily.

    My analysis is this, I think the pace will be an even pace, not helping or hurting speed or closers. With Danzing Candy on the outside he will have to hustle to cross over to the rail, with other speed such as Outwork and Nyquist to his inside, this will be no easy task.  Also from watching the daily gallops online and some workouts, don’t be surprised to see Mohaymen upfront and on the muscle, he has been very aggressive all week and might be tough to control in this big field which would add to the pace.  I could see a 47 3/5 half or something close to that.  I picture SHAGAF and MOR SPIIRIT sitting right behind the front group, with Gun Runner not far off of that.  Turning for home I think Danzing Candy retreats and Nyquist’s Distance challenged pedigree slows him down.  Outwork takes control, but Shagaf collars him at the 1/8th pole and they run 1-2 to the finish line, with Gun Runner and Brodys Cause clunking up for the minor awards.
    I think you don’t want to be to far out of it turning for home, with a lot of the favorites and wise guy horses being deep closers, they might get in each others way.  There will only be a handful of holes to sneak through, and all 5-7 of them aren’t going to fit.
Check back later for Oaks day picks and Derby day picks!


Kentucky Derby Analysis

Kentucky Downs…

I know all eyes are focused on Louisville and the Kentucky Derby but i Just wanted to give a shout out to Kentucky Downs. The European style all turf track just announced their schedule for the fall and its a doozy. Daily purses will average $1.56 million with maiden races running for $130,000 and allowances for $145,000, unheard of numbers in this day and age. They will run 12 stakes for 3.95 million as well. All that equals big quality fields and competitive racing. Its a great little niche meet, that has gotten progesively better year after year. Well done!

Kentucky Downs…

Makers 46 Mile preview

The friday feature at Keeneland is the Grade 1 Makers 46 Mile on the turf. The hot horse is Heart to Heart for Brian lynch but as a speed horse he might be up against it today. Lately hes had things his own way on the front end without much pace pressure. Today he gets Shinning Copper who is a speedball coming off a near wire to wire victory at Gulfstream in a Grde 1. With those 2 need the meas types the wise guy horse seems to be Tourist who i do like, but off his long layoff he could be hard to rate, as he has shown runoff speed in the past. My selection is Reload for Shug/Castellano. A closer, he should get some pace to run at here and should be tighter 2nd time off last years layoff. 

Makers 46 Mile preview

Keeneland/Aqueduct plays for 4/13

Some picks for todays keeneland Aqueduct cards…

Keeneland race 5- A 1 1/2 mile race on the turf, looks to be a race you can go in any direction. I ended up leaning towards AL KHAZAALIYA, for Plethcher/Velazquez. Its a very evenly matched field but she has the recency edge on these after running down at Gulfstream, and running well. Should be able to stalk and pounce.  3-1-8

Bonus late pick 4 play 1-3-8/3/1-2-4-6-12/4-7

Keeneland race 7- The feature is also on the turf and is also wide open. The favorite Cite on the rail looks to be tough but I am going to go way outside to the 12 TASIT. Loved his maiden score and he ran a great race against Azar last out at Gulfstream. Wants to be on turf and finally gets back there. If he can negotiate a trip from out there, he should be hard to handle and should get the jump on the deep closers. 

Aqueuct race 9- Nothing special about this 40k claimer on turf but #7 D.S. Boyd looks like a live longshot going onto the grass for the first time. This closer got a slow pace to run at last time and his closing kick should work well on the grass. George Weaver is a great grass trainer that wouldnt put him on there if he didnt think he would like it. 

Keeneland/Aqueduct plays for 4/13