Two weeks from Saturday is the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. A full field of 20 starters is expected, and with the exception of one or two runners, horseplayers can perform some advanced handicapping on the race.
This Saturday, Hawthorne Race Course celebrates their single biggest day of horse racing as they host the $750,000 G3 Illinois Derby. A race snubbed by the folks at Churchill Downs (CDI) who designed the new Derby Point system. A system which designated specific races where 3-year-old colts, geldings and/or ridglings could earn points for a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby.
No valid explanation was provided as to why a $750,000 Grade 3 centerpiece race was excluded while another Grade 3 race run on the same day, with only a $200,000 purse run on a synthetic surface is part of the Derby Point system. No explanation was needed, the evidence was clear. The latter race is the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, run at historic Keeneland in the Blue Grass state of Kentucky.
Welcome to the wonderful world of politics within the horse racing industry. It’s no different than any other industry. In this scenario, Coolmore Farm is the marquee sponsor of the Lexington Stakes. No doubt that they have representation on the Derby Points System committee. If the Lexington Stakes was excluded, Coolmore most likely pulls their sponsorship.
We all know the saying, “Money Talks, and Bull Sh-t Walks”. Thankfully, Hawthorne still offered a fat purse and drew a full field of fourteen (14) 3-year-olds whereas the Lexington Stakes attracted ten (10), including a filly who is the Morning Line favorite.
Illinois Derby: #12 (Siete de Oros; 5-1) – #4 (For Greater Glory; 15-1) – #3 (Street Spice; 20-1)
Coolmore Lexington: #8 (Cerro; 5-1) – #11 (Pure Fun; 7-2) – #7 (Examen; 5-1)
The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #110… “Flip”
Recapping Pimlico’s Friday 10-race card posted just 4 winners but all 4 were Top Selections (BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $9.20 (3rd race), $15.20 (7th), $7.20 (8th) and $3.80 (10th).
The BEST BET of the Day (9 5-0-1) Wire Funds (R3 #7 7-2 PT; 7-2 M/L) broke well from the gate, challenged for the early lead but the jock decided to back off and stalk. That turned out to be a winning move as all but one of the early speed weakened in the stretch. Wire Funds battled that one through the final furlong, being able to get a neck advantage at the wire to pay $9.20 to WIN, $4.80 to PLACE and $3.80 to SHOW.
The LONGSHOT PICK (9 4-0-1) Cooperstown (R1 #6 11-1 PT; 12-1 M/L) certainly did not put in a Hall of Fame effort here. He chased the pace, was three deep when lightly steadied entering the far turn, then gave way and drifted out in upper stretch to finish 5th.
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $55 on More Than a Cruise (R9 #1; 1-1 PT, 7-5 M/L) certainly made it interesting just to get third in a six horse race as the prohibitive favorite, for a very shaky 10% ROI, paying $2.20 to SHOW. It adds $5.50 to the current $55.00 SHOW parlay amount for Day 11.
Selections for the Day 11 Pimlico Saturday, April 20th card are on Page 2.