Pimlico, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita and Illinois Derby picks

April 06, 2012 | Gary Quill

On Saturday the national horse racing spotlight will be on New York, California and Illinois as graded stakes races, preps for the Kentucky Derby are on tap at Aqueduct (NY), Santa Anita (CA), Hawthorne (IL) race courses. The races from New York and California will be broadcast live on NBC Sports, starting at 5pm EDT. All three are contested at 1 1/8 miles.

First up will be the $1,000,000 G1 Resorts Casino World New York City Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, race 9 (Post Time 5:15pm EDT) on the card. There are eight (8) starters but many believe it is a two horse race, between #1 – Alpha (2-1) and #6 – Gemologist (8-5). The later is a perfect 4 for 4 lifetime, but needs to win or runner second to guarantee a spot in the Derby field on May 5th. Alpha has won 3 of 5 in his career, and won both starts in 2012 impressively on the Aqueduct inner track.

Others in the Wood field who look to spring the upset are Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito’s #2 – Casual Trick (20-1), #5 – Street Life (4-1) who displays a big-time closing kick, and Sagamore Farm #7 – Tiger Walk (15-1). The race appears not to have too much pace, so speedy #8 – The Lumber Guy (8-1) will surely inherit the early lead, with Gemologist next in line. IMHO, Gemologist will prevail and head to the Derby as an undefeated M/L favorite. For your exotics Key 6 w/ 1, 5, 7, 8.

Next up at Santa Anita on Saturday their 6th race is the $1,000,000 G1 Santa Anita Derby. Post Time is set for 5:41pm EDT. The prohibitive 6-5 M/L favorite is #1 – Creative Cause. He’s making his 3rd start of his 3 year old campaign, and has progressed beautifully in each. By no means will this be a cake though, as among his 9 foes, four (4) are graded stakes placed. I’m going to go long, as in #5 – Longview Drive (12-1) as he owns the best speed figure of this group over the Santa Anita natural dirt surface. He had a forgettable trip when 6th in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 20th. He gets the winningest jockey of all-time (Russell Baze) back in the irons, as Baze has guided Longview Drive to all 3 of his victories. For your exactas and/or trifectas, put #5 somewhere in the mix along with #1, #4 – I’ll Have Another (5-2) and #8 – Midnight Transfer (10-1).

Lastly will be the $500k G2 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course. It’s race 9 (Post Time 6:46pm EDT) on the card and has attracted seventeen (17) runners. Unfortunately the field will be limited to 14, so unless there are any scratches, #15 – Explain (20-1), #`16 – Arm Force (15-1) and #17 – Defiant Flyer (30-1) will be left out. The lukewarm 4-1 M/L favorite is #4 – Currency Swap who in his 3 year old debut got dusted by Gemologist. So depending on how he runs in the Wood Memorial will be a good gauge on Currency Swap’s chances here. It’s hard to imagine the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner is in this field, but it is a great betting race, and should spark a nice payoff regardless who the top 3 finishers will be. Based on my analysis, the race sets up for a Closer, either #7 – Saturday Launch (15-1) or #13 – Done Talking (20-1). I’ll make the latter my pick. Not because of his Maryland connections (trainer Hamilton Smith & jockey Sheldon Russell), rather due to his 1 1/8 mile effort at Aqueduct last November versus a very good field. Others to use with #13 in your exotics are 4, 7, #11 – Our Entourage (9-2) and #12 – Morgan’s Guerrilla (10-1).

Pimlico Turf starting gate

Recapping selections from Day 5 (Friday, April 6th) had 5 winners (1 Top Selection) with $2 Exactas in 4th ($76.40), 6th ($34.00) and 8th ($39.80) races. The BEST BET of the Day (4 1-2-0) went off 7-1 and was second best, returning $6.60 PLACE and $4.60 SHOW while LONGSHOT PICK (4 0-1-1) ran 6th at odds of 8-1.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $20 on April’s Foil (#11; 8th race; M/L 8-1) did not show the usual gameness, putting in a dull effort and taking the bankroll down to it’s last $20.

Selections for Day 6 at Pimlico Saturday, April 7th card are below.

Soup Of The Day: Chicken Noodle

1st race post is 1:10pm EDT. Track Condition… Dirt: FAST Turf: FIRM

1st race – $5,000 Claiming N2Y for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 mile
#2 – Betrayed (10-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#3– My Sweet Nenana (9-5)
#4 – Lovely Sonya Dor (7-2)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or NW3L 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Ted’s Vision (8-1)
#8 – Go Six Go (6-1)
#6 – Love Talk (5-2)

3rd race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 mile
#8 – Our Prince Charlie (5-1)
#3 – Sweep First (10-1)
#4 – Tyler’s Smile (2-1)

4th race – $15,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or NW3L 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#5 – Tin Star (3-1)
#4 – Bandidos Yanquis (12-1)
#1 – Domestic Affair (6-1)

5th race – $30,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or NW3L 4 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#7 – Crew (3-1) *** BEST BET ***
#3 – Ram (8-1)
#4 – Alicantino (4-1)

6th race – $25,000 Claiming NW2L for 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 mile
#2 – Blimey (4-5)
#6 – Hurricane Creek (7-2)
#3 – Pured It (15-1)

7th race – $31,000 Maidens for 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#2 – Shut Eye (8-1)
#5 – Sharp Numbers (9-2)
#8 – Ur (3-1)

8th race – $30,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or NW3L 4 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 mile
#1 – Yes He Did (8-1)
#2 – Varborough (3-1)
#5 – Petecarol (4-1)

9th race – $35,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#1 – Vaillainage (12-1)
#4 – Desert Falcon (8-5)
#2 – Muscadine (9-2)

10th race – $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes for MD-bred 3 y.o. & up – 5f on Turf
#6 – Ben’s Cat (3-5)
#3 – Heros Reward (8-1)
#2 – Steady Warrior (6-1)

11th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. or NW3L 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#9 – Borrego’s Boy (3-1)
#1 – Macho Taste (8-5)
#2 – Drayton Hall (4-1)

SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $20 ($40 bankroll – $20 wager + $0 return)

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Yes He Did (#1; 8th race; 8-1) drops down to a level where he has been successful.

Good Luck!

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Rubengy Says:

    Nice call on the Illinois Derby. I hope “Done Talking” is already nominated and I hope the connections send him and Mr. Russell to Churchill.

    [GQ added]: Thanks Ruben, and YES, Done Talking is TC nominated. After his IL Derby win, his Graded Stakes Earnings puts him 18th on the Pecking Order list to gain entry into the KY Derby. Barring upsets in both the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, and IF all 17 in front of him decide to enter (which there is one for sure who will not “Hero Of Order”) an IF the horse stays healthy, it appears DONE TALKING, trainer Hamilton Smith and Sheldon Russell will make it to CD on the 1st Saturday in May, for their 1st Derby.

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