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!

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.
16-15-19-5-17
Check back later for Oaks day picks and Derby day picks!

 

Kentucky Derby Analysis

Weekend Recap

f5ea4aba55f9476f8f8a4b30062f462e-80326c5d83cd4001ab0ecf89dba39c8f-2Unbelievable weekend of racing just passed with a few horses stamping their tickets to the Derby while other contenders failed to impress. While the derby preps get all the attention, some of the undercard stakes really stole the show.  Of course weather had to play a factor in 2 of the derby preps which might have made for more questions then answers. Lets dive in….

At Aqueduct Saturday we saw a very slow running of the Wood Memorial won by the immensely talented in only his 4th career start over 80-1 maiden Trojan Nation.  Final time was the slowest of any Wood in history and no one came home particularly fast.  Some may not have cared for the muddy track (shagaf?) or maybe it was just a weak group to begin with.  Everyone klnows ive been on Shagaf’s band wagon for a long time and I am still driving that wagon.  I don’t think he liked the mud and I really didn’t care for his trip to much.  Fell to far back, made an eye catching move to get into contention on the turn, but ran up on heels instead of goiong around the tiring speed, and could never really re-rally. I still love his chances going to the derby, as I do with Outwork as well, who has worlds of talent. If I am right about Shagaf I will be rewarded handsomely as his odds are surely to rise.

In the undercard races, Salutos Amigos finally got his Grade 1 win in the Carter, which he rallied widest of all to wear down a stubborn Calculator and Dad’s Caps. A great win for the old veteran and he might be rounding back into form. Lewis Bay won the Gazelle for 3yr old fillies but not gets rewarded with a match up against the dominant Songbird in the Kentucky Oaks.

In Kentucky, The Blue Grass had a big field, but not much quality in my opinion, and to no surprise, besides favorite Zulu running out, it was very form full with Brodys Cause making a wide run and exploding down the lane to win his second Grade 1 on this Lexington track. My Man Sam and Cherry wine also rallied from well back to get the minor awards, all but assuring themselves into the derby.  It didn’t receive a high beyer speed number, but Brody’s Cause couldn’t have looked any better running off like that.

In the Madison stakes, we saw 3 horses who last started in the Breeders Cup last fall and all 3 ran to their class.  Sheer Drama, who was running at a not ideal distance was gritty down the stretch under Joe Bravo and wore down Stopcharginmaria late.  It was a great race from start to finish.  I really thought Clothes Fall Off would run  better but really showed no energy at any point in the race. The Ashland was a 3 horse race on paper. but someone forgot to tell Weep No More who ran by the heavy favorites late in the stretch at 30-1. It looked like favorite Cathryn Sophia didn’t want to go that long, while Rachel’s Valentina ran unbelievable off the layoff to just miss, she might be a play back in the Oaks, if there was no Songbird running there.

Out west,  Exaggerator blew his rivals off their feet in the Santa Anita Derby with a last to first sweeping move on the far turn.  Mor spirit and Danzing Candy had no answers at the top of the stretch with Mor Spirit finishing second by default, with Danzing Candy fading badly down the lane after possibly running off with Mike Smith through very quick fractions on the sloppy track.  I don’t know what to make out of this horse, after last race I thought he didn’t want to go this far and he proved me wrong, but was it the slop that moved him up so much? Mor Spirit didn’t handle it at all and might be live on Derby Day. In the co-feature Songbird did her usual thing and toyed with a bunch of overmatched fillies in the Santa Anita oaks, no doubt she will be a heavy heavy favorite in the Kentucky Oaks come May, she’s just unreal!

Weekend Recap

Hope for New England racing?

 So yesterday the New England HBPA released an article pretty much saying they have made a coalition with horsemen to go forward with a plan to create a equestrian center somewhere in mass that will be owned by the horseman and not a private company. This plan would create a racetrack, polo grounds, indoor/outdoor areans for all types of equine competition and access to public trails. I personally feel like its a great idea and could be the future for New England horsemen who have felt like there is no light at the end of the tunnel lately. Of course a lot of approvals need to be put in place and the funding has to be there but this is a great step to bring back full time racing back, not just a 6 day Suffolk Downs meet.

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/98864/ma-horsemen-have-plan-for-multi-purpose-track

Hope for New England racing?

Dubai World Cup Thoughts…

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So we are a few hours away from the worlds richest horse race,. The Dubai World Cup, worth 10 million dollars.  Not a bad pay day for 2 minutes of running! Everyone is excited to see California Chrome run and try to improve off of last years runner up finish. A lot of people were concerned about the wide post but if you remember Chrome does his best running outside of horses and doesn’t like to be down inside. I know its a unpopular opinion but I just don’t think he’s good enough.  Even though he runs better wide, he is still going to lose ground doing it.  That might work  against lesser competition in the San Pasqual, but against the worlds best he wont be able to lose that ground and still kick on down the lane. Just one mans opinion.  He also hasn’t run a really fast since the 2014 BC Classic.

My pick is not surprising if you’ve followed this blog, Frosted is in my opinion the best handicap horse in training currently. Any other year, he would be a classic winner, possibly duel but he had the misfortune of being born the same year as American Pharaoh. His races away from Pharaoh were very impressive winning the Wood and Penn Derby.  His prep for this was visually impressive and should be set to run big from just off the pace. Also Mshawish could be set to run a big race off his awesome Donn Handicap win. Regardless its going to be one hell of a race!

Dubai World Cup Thoughts…

Rebel thoughts…

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Really liked Cupids race in the Rebel yesterday.  He had a bad start, rushed to the lead and that would usually spell doom for most horses.  After getting the lead, he was able to slow down his second quarter and when Whitmore came running late in the stretch, Cupid dug down and would not let him by.  He showed a lot of heart to finish like he did after a not so ideal beginning.  As for Whitmore, I loved his race and would be who I would chose going forward from the race.  Off the pace, had to chase home a horse who was able to dictate his own pace and didn’t get much pace pressure.  Went a little wide on the turns (because of post, and running style) and was finishing well.  Might have hung a little but definetly ran a lot further then Cupid did.  He might be the play in the Arkansas Derby if there is a little more pace pressure on Cupid.

Rebel thoughts…