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Friday, April 4, 2008

Preps Should Clear Derby Picture

Three major graded stakes headline Saturday’s Derby Prep races at the Big A, Hawthorne and Santa Anita. Things will begin to come into focus after the three races to be televised nationally on NBC Saturday afternoon. With some serious graded stakes coin available, it’s do or die for some hopefuls that are on the bubble. Top Trainer Todd Pletcher tries to improve some of his horses' graded earnings with horses entered in each prep.

Wood Memorial (GI) – With potential wet weather looming for the NYC area on Saturday, it makes ‘capping the 84th running of the Wood at Aqueduct all the more difficult. With Mott putting in coupled entry INNER LIGHT, into the mix, there appears to be lots of speed to keep WAR PASS and GIANT MOON company during the early fractions. While WP crushed the field at Monmouth in the slop last October, there appears to be lots of early speed, which could open things up for COURT VISION and potentially TEXAS WILDCATTER (Pletcher horse). All eyes will be on the Juvie champ to see if he can rebound from the abysmal performance (although I think CV pulled him back once he knew he was finished) in the Tampa Bay Derby. I like that Gomez shipped in for the race and Court Vision here. Selections: 1- Court Vision 2- Texas Wildcatter 3 – War Pass

Illinois Derby (G2) – Everyone seems to love DENIS OF CORK, and it appears his last was a “key” race with both place and show horses winning their next out. ATONED, with $60K in graded stakes, really needs to be big here and I think Todd likes the spot here for him. He was edged out by Big Truck in the Tampa Derby, but was right there in the stretch. I’m not too keen on Z HUMOR, who has his fifth jockey riding him in stakes competition. He didn’t show me much in the FOY and although he has had some decent works since then, I’m not buying. I look to either GOLDEN SPIKES (blinkers off) or RECAPTURETHEGLORY, to round off the tri. I’m going to go with Todd though in this one, as I think it’s his best chance to be running in four weeks and he will pull out all stops for this one. Selections: 1 – Atoned 2 – Denis of Cork 3 – Golden Spikes

Santa Anita Derby (G1) – The 71st running of the Santa Anita Derby and first on synthetics on paper is a rematch of the Sham Stakes’ winner COLONEL JOHN and runner-up EL GATO MALO. Similar to the Wood, a couple speed horses, BOB BLACK JACK and POLONIUS, should head to the front early. Pletcher sends ON THE VIRG into his first stakes action with Todd Baze up. There’s a chance BBJ could wire this thing, but I am looking for the upset of the day here and YANKEE BRAVO, to enjoy the speed dual in front and steal one at the wire under Alex Solis. YB at $50K in graded earnings also needs an excellent showing to make it to Louisville. Of course, leaving Col. John out of the money means he’ll probably win. Interesting that Gomez jumps off the Colonel to ride Court Vision back east. Selections: 1 – Yankee Bravo 2 – El Gato Malo 3 – Bob Black Jack


Kevin Stafford said...

I like your plays in this post. It's rather aggressive to play "beat the favorite" in all 3 preps - but you've identified the likely guys that could get it done.

I think Yankee Bravo is really going to fly under the radar today and Gallagher didn't come back west for a small slice - they are there to win - plus they need the win worse than the Colonel and the Bad Cat.

Very nice selections. I'll be hoping you get some nice scores today.

The HR Maven said...

Not be MMQBacking, but your Saturday picks for the Derby preps were like a lot of others -- wrong! We are no closer to a Derby favorite that we were 24 hours ago and when Pyro goes down next Saturday, look for a 50-1 shot to surprise everyone on the first Saturday in May.


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