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.
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

Super Stakes Saturday Across the Country

keeneland-race-courseWhat a day of racing we have from across the country.  Something like 14 graded stakes with 6 of them being grade 1’s, and then out of those, 3 being major final Kentucky Derby preps. There is a multi track pick 4 between Keeneland and Aqueduct as well as a guaranteed 300,000$ all stakes pick 4 at Keeneland. Lots of opportunities to make some money out there, lets just hope the weather cooperates. All of these picks are before scratches and assuming grass race stay on the grass. So lets begin at Aqueduct…..

Aqu Race 3-The Excelsior has a short field and wont be much of a betting race.  No-one really wants to show much pave here but I’m going to pick KID CRUZ hoping he can sit on the lead or right off of it like he did in his last.  He also likes the main track at Aqueduct.

Aqu Race 6 is a OC62k/N2X on the turf that looks pretty deep.  I’m leaning towards the Clement horse, IROMEA, coming off a slight layoff.  Last 2 races were very good and should come running for Johnny V. OFF LIMITS should also be tough with a clean trip.7-6-4

Aqu Race 8-The Gazelle. LEWIS BAY probably needed her last race while making a solid move to come up to superstar Cathryn Sophia who would be 1-9 here.  With some speed signed on, she should get a suitable pace to run at and will be tough to deny 2nd off the layoff. ROYAL OBSESSION is a longer shot that looks interesting.2-5-1

Aqu Race 9-The Bay shore.  I think Cocked and Loaded will be over bet here and that will make the price on my top choice, AWESOME GENT, creep up.  Love that he was able to sit second in his last and with the same trip should be able to wear down UNIFIED as he tries winners for the first time off a great debut race. 4-5-6

Aqu Race 10- The Wood Memorial.  New York’s big derby prep worth 100 derby starter points and 1 Million dollars. Doesn’t get much bigger then this.  Really competitive field here but I have to lean on the favorite and my early derby choice, SHAGAF.  I think you might get better then 2-1 because I think MATT KING COAL and OUTWORK will both take some money.  I also feel they might get hooked early and set it up for a horse who can sit right off, and that horse is SHAGAF.  At a price I would also look at FLEXIBILITY and TALE OF S’AVALL, to round out the exotics. 1-5-4

Aqu Race 11- The Carter.  Another Grade 1 here and a great field has lined up for it with all the usual cast of NY sprint characters. I think SALUTOS AMIGOS is back to his old form and if that’s the case he will be dangerous tomorrow.  7F isn’t his ideal distance but he should have enough pace upfront to run at.  Look for him to mow them all down late. Same can be said for CALCULATOR who ships in from California.  Should be rolling late.  A horse who might get overlooked in the wagering is ANCHOR DOWN and that might be a mistake, I love the cutback from a mile to this 7F and should be tight, third off the lay off. 5-7-6


Kee Race 5 – This Allowance race on the turf looks pretty good so lets take a look.  I’m looking for DEA to turn the tables on SYMPATHY for Mark Casse. Last 2 races have been really good for this filly and should be able to get the jump on her main rival today. 5-9-2

Kee Race 6- The Ashland. A grade 1 for fillies aiming at the Kentucky Oaks, this short 5 horse field has 3 standouts and from those only one has raced this year and that is Cathryn Sophia.  She looks to over power these but I will take a shot with RACHELS VALENTINA for the upset.  Todd knows how to get them ready off a layoff, and this might be a prep for the oaks, but I cant take low odds on SOPHIA. 4-3-5

Kee Race 7 _ The Commonwealth for sprinters going 7F is a deep race with no clear standout.  I am leaning towards comebacker HOLY BOSS here for Asmussen, who has put a steady diet of works into this stakes winner.  Didn’t get beat much in the Breeders Cup sprint on this track in his last and has fired fresh in the past. BARBADOS on the outside looked good in his first start of the year, and should sit a good trip also. 9-10-8

Kee Race 8- The Shakertown. Always a fun race, this turf sprint looks like a great rendition. POWER ALERT is such an honest horse.  Almost always runs his race and knows how to win.  Back to back super races at Gulfstream, he should be able to sit right off the pace, and if he can swing out should be tough in the stretch. SUMMATION TIME is a closer for Christophe Clement and Castellano who should get a good pace to run into, just needs to stay clear of traffic. 1-3-8

Kee Race 9- The Madison.  A great Grade 1 race every spring, this years field will not disappoint as you have multiple grade 1 winners in the field. I am going to go with 2 longshots on top here as they have the recency edge over the 2 favorites.  They are CLOTHES FALL OFF and DANCING HOUSE. Both trained by Kiaran Mclaughlin, and both coming off impressive wins.  Both can sit close and make a run and should get the jump on probable favorite Wavell Avenue. 8-7-3

Kee Race 10-The Blue Grass. Another Grade 1, million dollar derby prep and this one got a field of 16 to sign up (with only 14 being allowed to run). I am going with a price and that horse is STAR HILL for Rusty Arnold.  Loved his maiden breaker and I’m going to excuse his Tampa race.  Ran good, but didn’t have the kick I thought he would.  He also was running into a slow pace and that track can be funny.  Shows 2 great works for this race, breeding says he will love the distance, and just needs to get over to save some ground from the 13 post. Same for MY MAN SAM who ran a great second in an Aqu allowance race last month.  Should drop down easily as he comes from behind. 13-14-3

Santa Anita

SA Race 5- The Providencia With the weather possibly being an issue and the chance for a wet turf course very much in play, I ended up on MIRAGE here, last 2 wins have been great and both come over a good turf course. Can sit and make a run which looks like the perfect set up here. 2-5-9

SA Race 7 The Santa Anita Oaks. Theres really nothing to say here, Songbird should dominate here.

SA Race 8-The Santa Anita Derby. The last Derby prep of the day and Santa Anitas biggest race of the meet. A great field here as the top 3 return from the San Felipe. Im going MOR SPIRIT here. Had a weird trip last out and those last 2 works make you think Baffert is tightening the screws now as the big derby is approaching. Should get some pace to run at as DANZING CANDY should have more pressure up front with Iron Rob and Uncle Lino. 4-2-3

SA Race 9-The Thunder Road is a great race full of comebackers and grade 1 winners. Not bad for a ungraded 100k stakes. It looks to me like a 2 horse race between possible lone speed WHAT A VIEW and comebacker TWENTYTWENTYVISION with me leaning towards the latter. I think he will be close to the soft pace and should be able to quick home a head. Mandella 21% with this type of layoff horse. Dangerous. 7-12-9

Good luck everyone, any questions or comments feel free to ask me on twitter and ill get right back to you.





Super Stakes Saturday Across the Country

Florida Derby Stakes Races

 Great day of racing in the sunshine state today as the showdown in the Florida Derby is finally apon us! Lets start with the undercard stakes

R5 The Skip Away stakes looks like Valids race to lose, but i really love Team Colors today and goibg forward in the older dirt division. He could be a major player. 1-5-6

R7 The Florida Oaks. Paola Queen interests me a lot, love the stretch from 7f to this and he breeding says she’ll love it. Great rider switch to Castellano and looked good in her last race. Off The Tracks will be tough but will be overbet. Not for me 1-7-5

R8 The Appleton. Long on Value likes this course and distance and should be tighter second time back for Mott/Lezcano. Im not giving up on All Included, I dont think he wanted to go that far in his last and this might be his best distance. 4-1-6

R10 The Sir Shackleton. Anchor Down might not have wanted to go the mile last time and cuts back to 7f which i think is ideal for him. Shown some real nice works for this since his last race. Squadron A dropped Saez in his last when Saez tried to fit into a hole that wasnt there. It was baffeling to me as he was full of run and could have easily gone around to win. Should be tough late. 6-4-5

R11 The Orchid is a wide open race. I landed on Phot Call here. She had the impossible task of chasing Tepin in her last and I think she wants to go longer which is what she gets here. Suffused will be tough if ready off the bench for Mott/Juddmonte. 4-3-1

R12 The Honey Fox is also wide open but i found the Favorites tough again. Lady Lara wasbt going to beat Tepin in her last and had to be closer to the pace in that race, shouls be able to sit and make one run here with more pace signed on. Tammythetorpedo has won 2 straight here but agaisnt lesser. 6-5-4

R13 The Pan American. Wake forest goes first time for Chad Brown and word is this horse is the real deal. Very excited to see him run today. Jay Gatsby could be a longshot to watch for. Breeding says he’ll love the the distance and can sit close and pounce. Dangerous. 7-2-1

R14 The Florida Derby. Finally the main event. The showdown we’ve all been waiting for. Im taking Mohaymen here. Hes already run 2 big races on this track and has won at the 1 1/8 distance in the Remson. I dont think Nyquist wants to go this far. He was getting gained on at the end of the Juvenille and now hes flying across country for this test. Great horse just dont think today is his day. 9-4-3

Florida Derby Stakes Races

Sad News about Rockingham Park


Im posting a link for a great article on the sad future of Rockingham Park in Salem Nh. Unless a miracle happens in the NH senate thursday it looks like Nh will once again kill any hope of legalizing Gambling in the state. People in government are opposed to gambling for what it brings to the state (besides money and jobs).  Whats funny about that is that right now the track brings in 2 million dollars a year in “charitable gaming” (poker, blackjack, craps) which apparently is different from “gambling”. Its all scare tactics from anti gambling people in the state. Instead it looks like the track will get demolished and redeveloped in the next 18 months. Its a very sad situation for New England racing who has already lost hope with Suffolk Downs getting bypassed for a casino. On a personal note, living a few miles from “The Rock” its where i grew up and also where i caught the bug for this beautiful sport. Friday nights under the lights, saturdays on a lawnchair in the picnic area, great memories. To see it standing there, falling apart, knowing itll never be back to its glory days, when seabiscuit ran there, or big NY outfits shipping in for the NH Sweepstakes every summer, its a shame. Its time for people to wake up and see what we are losing, but unfortunetly its probably already to late.

Sad News about Rockingham Park