With less than 28 days until the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7th, there are now just five (5) major graded stakes races remaining for 3 year old Derby hopefuls to prove they deserve a shot to Run For The Roses.
This weekend there are three (3) Derby prep races. All take place on Saturday (Apr. 9th) and are run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The $1,000,000 Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial at Aqueduct (NY), the $300,000 Grade 3 TVG Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park (IL) and the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita (CA). Both the Wood and the Illinois Derby will be shown live on MASN starting at 5pm EDT. For those who get TVG or HRTV, both will have the Wood Memorial, TVG will have live coverage all day from Hawthorne Park being the lead sponsor of the Illinois Derby and HRTV will have races from Santa Anita Park including the Santa Anita Derby, duh!
Recapping Day 5 (Friday, April 8th) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…
Best Bet So Picky (# 4; 8th race; M/L 7-2; P/T 2-1) was sent off as the clear second choice, but appeared to have handle the sloppy track too well. When he was asked for his best turn of foot he just spun his wheels and the jock didn’t abuse him in the final furlong, allowing him to coast home in last. Huge disappointment.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 5 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 2 WIN – 0 PLACE – 1 SHOW.
Longshot Masabi King (# 6; 4th race; M/L 5-1; P/T 4-1) broke alertly and sprinted out to a 3 length advantage within the first 2 furlongs, extended it without being pressured coming into the stretch then was able to hold off the late charges from the others to win by 2 lengths as the 4th betting choice, returning $10.40 to WIN, $4.00 to PLACE and $3.80 for the SHOW.
Longshot pick scorecard from 5 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 1 WIN – 2 PLACE – 1 SHOW
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $20 on Chenoasilver (# 7; 1st race; M/L 9-5; P/T 3-5) though best horse in the race on paper, was only second best on the track at Pimlico, returning $2.80 to PLACE and a paltry $2.10 for the SHOW. At least it’s a win (5% or $1.10 profit) and the SHOW parlay has started another streak that can extend beyond the 2 days.
For the Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 6 (Saturday, April 9th) … ALL RACES are OFF THE TURF
Soup Of The Day: Chicken Noodle
Best Bet: Our Jaks (# 2; 1st race; M/L 2-1) takes a necessary drop after stepping up too far in class following her maiden victory. Jockey Sheldon Russell retains the mount on this 4 year old who should have no excuse to finish well whether the track is fast, sloppy or muddy.
Longshot: Duffy Junior (# 2; 3rd race off the turf; M/L 10-1) might be better off running this contest on the dirt or muddy track. His sire (Monarchos) handled an off track quite well and stretching out to 1 1/16 miles from his 5 ½ furlong debut where he closed 7 lengths in the final 2 furlongs should play into his running style.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $81.30 ($80.30 bankroll – $20 wager + $21 return)
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $21 on Lyonnaise (# 3; 2nd race; M/L 9/2) is 1 for 31 lifetime but at this distance (1 1/16 mile) has never failed to hit the board (1-2-2 in 5 races). This 6 year old mare has been pretty consistent lately as well, always managing to get 2nd or 3rd in 4 of her last 5. She is 0 for 2 on an off track, but her workout tab shows a decent workout time in the mud, so she’s still worth being the play here.
In the Wood Memorial Stakes, Race 10 on the Aqueduct card (PT 5:48pm EDT), the hands down betting favorite will be #5 – Uncle Mo (1-5). He’s undefeated in four (4) lifetime starts, only ever seeing the hind quarters of one of his race foes at any stage of a race. Trying to find any reason that he could lose here, one should point to his most recent race, 3 year old debut against 4 sub-par foes, where he ran his lowest Speed Figure. Just as in life where there is “no free lunch”, in horse racing there is “no sure thing”. Uncle Mo will most likely win this race as he’ll only face early pressure from D. Wayne Lukas’ #7 – Duca (20-1) and Gotham stakes runner-up #7 – Norman Asbjornson (15-1). Uncle Mo has everything to lose and nothing to gain in this race as 6 of his 9 rivals have lost at least one race in their career by double-digits, not exactly Triple Crown material. If the track comes up muddy or sloppy, it should enhance #2 – Toby’s Corner (8-1) and #4 – Arthur’s Tale (12-1). A couple longshots that should be considered for your exotics are #6 – Preachintothedevil (20-1) adds Blinkers and could rebound returning to natural dirt off a dull effort in the Gr. 3 Spiral stakes on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park and #9 – Isn’t He Perfect (50-1) who won’t have a problem getting the 1 1/8 mile distance, but can he raise his game the necessary number of notches to make some noise?
If you’re looking to beat the Chalk (i.e. Uncle Mo), then look towards #2 – Toby’s Corner or #6 – Preachintothedevil, but I won’t. Look out for the bridge-jumpers who load up on Uncle Mo to SHOW, just in case the unthinkable happens.
In the TVG Illinois Derby, race 7on the Hawthorne card (PT 5:37pm EDT), has a full field of 12 entered, with the Tampa Bay Derby winner #4 – Watch Me Go is the lukewarm 7-2 Morning Line favorite. The pace short be a quick one, with front runners like #1 – Lagoon Of Diamonds (15-1), #2 – Smarter Than Ever (15-1), #3 – Joe Vann (6-1), #7 – The Fed Eased (5-1) and #10 – El Grayling (9-2) all vying for the early lead. This group too isn’t the strongest when it comes to stakes quality. Four (4) of the 12 have yet to win a race and other four have only beaten maidens. Strangely enough, there’s a maiden in here that intrigues me, #11 – Southern Sculptor (12-1). He ships in from Santa Anita having just 2 races under his belt, but in both faced some nice colts who have gone onto compete in both high-level allowance and stakes company. The jockey choice (0 for 13 in 2011; Luis Medina) doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling that the trainer is brimming with confidence, but maybe this kid works the horse in the A.M.? #6 – Sour (6-1) was tabbed to be trainer Albert Stall, Jr’s next star, but got beat by his stablemate (Left) who next ran in the Louisiana Derby, but was well beaten along with Machen who Sour lost to in his career debut. It’s been 5 weeks since his last race and maybe he’s matured a bit and could be a threat against these.
Go with #6 – Sour on top and use #4 – Watch Me Go, #8 – Zoebear (10-1), #10 – El Grayling and #11 – Southern Sculptor in your exactas, trifectas and superfectas.
In the Santa Anita Derby, race 10 on the Santa Anita card (PT 7:37pm EDT) had eleven (11) colts entered, but the San Felipe Stakes winner (Premier Pegasus) and 8-5 M/L favorite for this race was an early scratch when he incurred a hairline fracture of the cannon bone in his left foreleg, discovered late Thursday after his gallop. Now #11 – Jaycito (2-1), runner-up in the San Felipe will likely be the betting choice. Others who figure to be prominent are the Robert B. Lewis winner #9 – Anthony’s Cross (4-1), the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields winner #4 – Silver Medallion (7-2) and #3 – Mr. Commons (8-1) who was a newcomer to the Kentucky Derby Future Pool #3 last weekend. Rounding out the field are #1 – Offlee Wild Boys (30-1), #2 - Indian Winter (10-1), #5 – Comma To The Top (5-1), #6 – Midnight Interlude (20-1), #7 – Quail Hill (30-1) and #10 – Bench Points (10-1).
This is the most competitive of the 3 Derby prep races and will other the best value. The runner who has the best finishing times going at least one mile along with showing improvement in each of his 3 career starts is #3 – Mr. Commons. He has $0 graded stakes earnings, which means the only way he has a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby is to win this race. The fact that he showed up as one of 23 listed on the Derby Futures Pool #3 last weekend, indicates there’s been some whispers around the industry that he could be special. Complete you exotics by adding #2 – Indian Winter, #4 – Silver Medallion and #9 – Anthony’s Cross. NOTE: After posting blog on Friday, #11 – Jaycito was scratched as well due to a bruised foot/hoof. They are dropping like flies at Santa Anita.
2011 Derby Prep race Scoreboard
Date Prep Race GQ’s Pick Order of Finish
Jan. 30th Holy Bull Dialed In Dialed In, Sweet Ducky, Gourmet Dinner
Feb. 5th Whirlaway Preachintothedevil Toby’sCorner,JJ’s Train,Preachintothedevil
Feb. 12th Sam F. Davis Beamer Brethren, Too Experience, Watch Me Go
Feb. 12th Robert B. Lewis Tapizar Anthony’s Cross, Riveting Reason, Quail Hill
Feb. 12th El Camino Real Positive Response Silver Medallion,Jakesam,PositiveResponse
Feb. 19th Risen Star Santiva MuchoMachoMan,Santiva,RogueRomance
Feb. 20th San Vicente Sway Away TheFactor,SwayAway,PremierPegasus
Feb. 26th Hutcheson Black N Beauty Flashpoint,TravelinMan,LittleDrama
Feb. 26th Fountain of Youth Bowman’s Causeway Soldat,GourmetDinner,ToHnrAndServe
Mar. 5th Gotham Stay Thirsty StayThirsty,NormanAsbjornson,TobyCorner
Mar. 12th Palm Beach (turf) Ari C JoesBlazingAaron,Queen’splatekitten,Newsdad
Mar. 12th Tampa Bay Derby Beamer WatchMeGo,CrismsonKnight,Brethren
Mar. 12th San Felipe Jaycito Premier Pegasus,Jaycito,Bench Points
Mar. 19th Rebel Sway Away The Factor,Caleb’s Posse, Archarcharch
Mar. 26th Vinery Farm Spiral Animal Kingdom AnimalKingdom,DeciMomnt,Twnspired
Mar. 26th Louisiana Derby Left PantsOnFire,Zehro,MuchoMachoMan
Mar. 26th Sunland Derby Astrology TwiceTheAppeal,Astrology,RulerOnIce
Apr. 3rd Florida Derby Dialed In Dialed In,Shackleford,ToHonorAndServe
Apr. 9th Wood Memorial Uncle Mo
Apr. 9th Illinois Derby Sour
Apr. 9th Santa Anita Derby Mr. Commons
Enjoy a great day of thoroughbred horse racing. Share the fun with a friend