2018 Pegasus World Cup Contenders

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January 15th 2018

We are 12 days away from the richest horse race in the world–the 2018 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. The total purse was raised from $12 million for the inaugural race last year to $16 million dollars this year. The field will be limited to 12 entries. Below are profiles on 10 of the 12 that are expected to be entered.

1) Gun Runner – He’s extremely consistent and the top racehorse in the world on dirt. He produced his career best Beyer Speed Figure of 117 in his last start–the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Unfortunately for race fans, Gun Runner will be retired at the conclusion of the Pegasus World Cup race where he will undoubtedly be the race favorite.

Career: 18 Starts 11-3-2-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 5
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey:  Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.43  – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic

2) Collected – Although he had a disappointing third place finish in his last start–the 2017 San Antonio Stakes–Collected will probably be the 2nd race favorite behind Gun Runner in the Pegasus. He finished 2nd behind Gun Runner in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

Career: 13 Starts 8-2-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Jockey)
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.73 – 2017 California Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 California Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic

3) West Coast – The winner of the Pennsylvania Derby.  He finished 3rd in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. His Travers Stakes win still ranks as his most impressive performance. There have only been seven other horses who posted a faster time in the Travers at the 10 furlong distance than West Coast’s 2:01.91.  One of which was track record holder Arrogate in 2016 (1:59.36).

Career: 9 Starts 6-2-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>3rd
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.65 – 2017 Los Alamitos Derby
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 107 – 2017 Pennsylvania Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 112 – Breeders’ Cup Classic 

4) Sharp Azteca – The Cigar Mile winner with a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 115. Sharp Azteca has pretty much raced 7 and 8 furlong (1 mile) races during his career. It is not a stretch for him to race an extra furlong which is the beauty of this 9 furlong Pegasus World Cup race.

Career: 16 Starts 8-5-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Freud
Trainer: Jorge Navarro
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115  – 2017 Cigar Mile Handicap

5) Seeking the Soul – The Dallas Stewart-trained surprise winner in the Clark Handicap. He earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 103 with the win.

Career: 17 Starts 5-3-5-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>1st
Sire: Perfect Soul
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: John Velazquez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.88 – 2017 Clark Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 103 – 2017 Clark Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2017 Clark Handicap

6) Giant Expectations – The surprise winner of the 2017 San Antonio Stakes in a small but talented five horse field that included Collected, Accelerate and Hoppertunity.

Career: 13 Starts 4-3-1-3   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>6th–>1st
Sire: Frost Giant
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2017 San Antonio Stakes

7) Toast of New York – Although Toast of New York has never won a Grade 1 race, the recently turned 7 year-old does have two career 2nd place finishes in Grade 1 races: the 2014 Pacific Classic and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (shown below). After a three year layoff due to a soft tissue injury, Toast of New York was entered and won the Condition Stakes in the UK at Lingfield Park back in early December. It is good to see him back racing.

Career: 9 Starts 4-3-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Thewayyouare
Trainer: Jamie Osborne
Jockey: Lanfranco Dettori
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 113 – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic

8) Gunnevera  – Although he is not likely to win against this level of competition, he has a chance of hitting the board. He’s a closer and I would like his chances better in a 10 furlong race. He finished tied for 5th with Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Career: 13 Starts 5-3-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>5th
Sire: Dialed In
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Edgard Zayas
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.51 (estimated) – 2017 Florida Derby
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic

9) Stellar Wind – The only filly/mare to be entered into the Pegasus World Cup. She’s coming off a very disappointing 8th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Does she have a chance of winning against this field? Sure but she will have to get out of the gate well and bring her “A” game and run the best race of her career. It’s a tall order but should make this race more interesting.

Career: 16 Starts 10-2-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 6
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>8th
Sire: Curlin
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:49.02 (estimated) – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 110 – 2016 Zenyatta Stakes

10) War Story – In his last three starts, all Grade 1 races, he has finished 4th each time including the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He’s not likely a contender for the win but a horse to include in your Supefecta bets.

Career: 25 Starts 5-3-3-5   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>4th–>4th
Sire: Northern Afleet
Trainer: Jorge Navarro
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.95 (estimated) – 2016 Pegasus World Cup
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Pegasus World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 111 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic


Mourinho wins the Smarty Jones Stakes

The Bob Baffert-trained Mourinho picked up 10 Kentucky Derby points with a win in Monday’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park with a nice time of 1:37.25 and 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Finishing second was the Steve Asmussen trained colt Combatant.

Bob Baffert now has three colts with at least 10 Derby points: McKinzie (20), Solomini (14) and Mourinho (10). St Patrick Day, the full brother to American Pharoah, has yet to resume training.

Steve Asmussen’s top 3 year-old point earner thus far is Combatant (8). Perhaps the best colt in Asmussen’s barn is Copper Bullet who resumed training January 5th. Chad Brown’s Good Magic leads the Derby point standings with 24.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Pegasus World Cup with all confirmed entries and odds.  After this, I will preview the 2018 Holy Bull Stakes scheduled for February 3rd.

–Michael

MLK Day Special – 2018 Smarty Jones Stakes Preview

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January 14th 2018 – Updated January 15th

The Road to the Kentucky Derby trail continues tomorrow on Martin Luther King Day at Oaklawn Park. Another 17 Derby points are up for grabs (10-4-2-1). Although this is a small seven horse field, it should be an interesting race with entries from Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen.

The Smarty Jones Stakes is named after one of my all-time personal favorites. The Pennsylvania-bred who swept the Southwest Stakes, the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in 2004 en route to winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes that year. His bid for the Triple Crown came up short by a length in the Belmont Stakes with a second place finish to Birdstone.

Below are the post-positions, weights, jockey assignments and morning line odds.

The Smarty Jones Stakes

The Smarty Jones Stakes – 1 Mile – Race #8 at Oaklawn Park – Post-Time: Monday January 15th at 4:38 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Weight/Trainer/Odds
1. Combatant (115) – Santana Jr/Asmussen – 2/1
2. Lone Rock (115) – Stevens/Van Meter – 12/1 (Scratched)
3. Tap Daddy (117) – Contreras/Asmussen – 8/1
4. Mourinho (115) – Van Dyke/Baffert – 3/2
5. Arched Feather (115) – Court/Frederick – 30/1
6. Navistar (115) – Velazquez/Pletcher – 5/2 (Scratched)
7. Bode’s Maker (115) – Wethey Jr/Milligan – 30/1

Race Commentary: The Bob Baffert trainee Mourinho is the race favorite at 3/2 odds. He has the highest E Speed Figure (104) in the field. Mourinho has two second place finishes in his last two starts (Speakeasy Stakes and Bob Hope Stakes). From Steve Asmussen’s barn, Combatant is the 2nd race favorite at 2/1 odds. Combatant finished 2nd in his last start–the Remington Springboard Mile back in December. Asmussen’s other entry, Tap Daddy (8/1), won in his last start on turf at Churchill Downs. Prior to this start, he finished 2nd in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (8 1/2 furlongs). 

There are high expectations for the Todd Pletcher trained colt Navistar. The son of Union Rags was purchased for $900,000 as a 2 year-old in the OBS March 2017 sale. He will be ridden by Johnny V (John Velazquez) so I suspect he might be the live race favorite with bettors come post-time. Just remember that Navistar and Mourinho will both be making their two-turn debuts.

Rounding out the field, Lone Rock (12/1), Arched Feather (30/1) and Bode’s Maker (30/1). Gary Stevens will ride Lone Rock who had a fourth place finish at Oaklawn Park in his last start. Arched Feather broke his maiden won in his last start at Churchill Downs at 8 1/2 furlongs. 

As I stated in my previous blog, you never know what to expect with these January Derby trail races. I prefer to watch and see how this plays out rather than wager anything big. Crunching numbers, this appears to be a really good race on paper as the top four horses in this field (Mourinho, Combatant, Navistar and Tap Daddy) all have very similar closing speeds. So I am expecting a close race. And my hunch is that there are at least two future Kentucky Derby runners in this field.


Firenze Fire Wins the 2018 Jerome Stakes

Firenze Fire finished strong down the stretch in yesterday’s Jerome Stakes (shown below). Barring injury, pencil him in for this year’s Kentucky Derby. He currently sits tied for 2nd in Derby points with 20.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Pegasus World Cup contenders. 

–Michael

The Road to the Kentucky Derby — The 2018 Jerome Stakes

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January 11th 2018

The month of January begins the unveiling of how well last year’s promising 2 year-old colts have developed over the layoff. Some improve by leaps and bounds, other regress. The Sham Stakes last Saturday (shown below) told us that the Bob Baffert-trained colt McKinzie is a serious Kentucky Derby contender. He’s a perfect 3 for 3 thus far. However, unlike many of the other Kentucky Derby hopefuls, McKinzie had remained in training since he debut in late October of last year.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby trail continues this Saturday with another qualifying point paying race at Aqueduct with the Jerome Stakes. 17 Derby points are up for grabs. The Jerome Stakes has been run since 1866 and has some notable race winners in Kelso, Bold RulerTom Fool and Afleet. The John Servis-trained colt Firenze Fire is the 3/5 race favorite. The race record is 1:33:20 held by Noble Nashua (1981).

Below are the post-positions, weights, jockey assignments and morning line odds.

The Jerome Stakes

The Jerome Stakes – 1 Mile – Race #8 at Aqueduct – Post-Time: Saturday January 13th at 2:50 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Weight/Trainer/Odds
1. Coltandmississippi (118) – McCarthy/Pletcher – 6/1
2. Seven Trumpets (118) – Lopez/Romans – 3/1
3. Regalian (116) – Reyes/Englehart – 20/1
4. Factor This (116) – Davis/Barker – 30/1
5. Smooth B (118) – RoccoJr/Reid Jr – 10/1
6. Old Time Revival (116) – Alvarado/Decker – 10/1
7. Firenze Fire (122) – Franco/Servis – 3/5
8. Glenwood (118) – Carmouche/Wilkinson – 50/1

Race Commentary:  Overall, I like two colts in this field: Seven Trumpets and Firenze Fire. And I think the race will come down to these two. Firenze Fire won the Champagne Stakes and finished 7th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Seven Trumpets has won his last two starts. However, keep an eye on Coltandmississippi. He is a paternal half brother to American Pharoah and he’s trained by Todd Pletcher. Coltandmississsippi and has been inconsistent in four career starts (two wins, a 5th and 10th place finish) thus far. But you have to love the pedigree/trainer combo.

Overall, you never know what to expect with these January Derby trail races with colts coming off layoffs. So this isn’t a good betting race but one a great one to watch anyway. Perhaps a new star will emerge.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park scheduled for Monday January 15th–Martin Luther King Day. After that, my next blog will be one on the 2018 Pegasus World Cup contenders. I will have Smarty Jones Stakes preview out by Sunday night at the latest.

-Michael

Looking Forward To 2018

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December 28th 2017

With 2017 coming to a close, its time to look ahead to another interesting season of thoroughbred horse racing. To put it mildly, 2017 wasn’t one of my favorites as it was marred by inconsistency and the retirement of two great stars of the sport: Songbird and Arrogate. And another star, Gun Runner, will be retired after the Pegasus World Cup that is coming up in 5 weeks.

The sport seems to be heading into an era with no huge star. We’ve had a great run the past four years with California Chrome, American Pharoah, Beholder, Arrogate and Songbird.

Where will the next star of the sport come from? Most likely the 2018 Kentucky Derby class that appears to be a better crop than last year. Who are the leading candidates for stardom? Bolt d’Oro, Good Magic, Copper Bullet, McKinzie and St Patrick’s Day.

But perhaps the next star will be born in the Pegasus World Cup. Along with Gun Runner, the confirmed entries are West Coast, Collected, Gunnevera, Toast of New York, Seeking the Soul and the 6 year old mare Stellar WindWest Coast seems to be the most likely candidate to take a huge leap forward.

At any rate, I will preview and provide updates for the Pegasus World Cup as well as major races on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail in weeks ahead. The Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on January 6th will most likely be the next race I preview but I will keep an eye on entries for the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day.  The Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn is scheduled for January 15th. All three of these races are point-paying races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Have a great New Year!

–Michael

2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic Preview. Will Arrogate go out a winner?

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November 2nd 2017  – Updated November 3rd 2017 5:15 PM CST

As many already know, this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic will be the last race of Arrogate’s career. The all-time leading money earner in North America with $17.3 Million in career earnings will be retired at the conclusion of the race. Will he go out victorious and ride off into the sunset? That’s the Six Million Dollar question. 

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds:

The Breeders’ Cup Classic – 1 & 1/4th Mile – Race #12 at Del Mar – Saturday November 4th at 7:30 PM CST. Televised by NBC 

Post/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Arrogate – Smithre/Baffert –2/1
2. War Decree – Heffernan/O’Brien – 30/1
3. Win the Space – Talamo/Papaprodromou – 30/1
4. War Story – J.Ortiz/Navarro – 30/1
5. Gun Runner – Geroux/Asmussen – 9/5
6. Mubtaahij – Van Dyke/Baffert – 12/1
7. Churchill – Moore/O’Brien  – 15/1
8. West Coast – Castellano/Baffert – 6/1
9. Gunnevera – Zayas/Sano – 30/1
10. Pavel – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 20/1
11. Collected – Garcia/Baffert –6/1

Race Commentary: From research I have done for previous Breeders’ Cup Classic races, the consensus I came to is that a race winner really needed to have a career Beyer Speed Figure of 112 or better for me to believe that they has a serious chance of winning. Why? Because the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner has raise their game and usually produces a Beyer Speed Figure of 112 or better.

Below is the Beyer Speed Figures for the last ten runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The average Beyer Speed Figure for this 10 year period was 113.8.

2016 – Arrogate (120)
2015 – American Pharoah (120)
2014 – Bayern (113)
2013 – Mucho Macho Man (112)
2012 – Fort Larned (117)
2011 – Drosselmeyer (104)
2010 – Blame (111)
2009 – Zenyatta (112)
2008 – Raven’s Pass (110)
2007 – Curlin (119)

With this in mind, here are profiles on the only three horses in this field who have eclipsed a Beyer Speed Figure of 112 during their career:

Gun Runner* (9/5) – He’s extremely consistent and arguably the top racehorse in the world on dirt. In his last two starts in the Whitney Stakes and Woodward Stakes, he produced his two best career Beyer Speed Figures of 112 and 115. The only knock on his resume currently is that he has never won at the Classic distance of 10 furlongs. However, he has an ideal post-position (#5) in the starting gate.

Career: 17 Starts 10-3-2-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 3 Starts  0-1-2-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.76 (estimated) – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 102 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes

Collected* (6/1) – He’s a perfect 4 for 4 in 2017. His surprise win in the Pacific Classic answered any questions you might have had about his ability to stretch out to 10 furlongs. Unfortunately, he drew an outside post (#11) for this race. So he’ll have more traffic to deal with and a longer trip than he had with post-position #2 in the Pacific Classic.

Career: 11 Starts 8-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Start  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Martin Garcia (2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.70 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic

Arrogate (2/1) – The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion was upset by Accelerate in the San Diego Handicap and then by Collected in the TVG Pacific Classic. There is no doubt that his has lost some closing speed. Worst yet, he has been prone of late to not getting out of the gate quick enough. He will have to get out of the gate in good order in this race starting from post-position #1. If he does, he has the ability to wire the field if the Arrogate of old shows up. If not, he could get hemmed in along the rail.

Career: 10 Starts 7-1-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  4-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>2nd
Sire: Unbridled’s Song
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 1:59.36 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 119 – 2017 Pegasus World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes

My Pick: Although I hope Arrogate wins, I like Gun Runner in this one. He is fast, consistent and has the better starting post in the middle of the starting gate. My feeling is that if Bob Baffert and his ownership group were confident that Arrogate was the Arrogate of late 2016 and early 2017, they wouldn’t announce early retirement before the richest horse race in the world–the Pegasus World Cup.

Collected is a talented horse but he had his own way in the Pacific Classic with a great starting position (post #2). This time he will have to come from the outside post. I just didn’t like that draw for him.

Update: The way front runners and favorites have been going down at Del Mar thus far, I’d stick with win bets on Gun Runner or Collected.

–Michael

2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Race Preview. Will Bolt d’Oro stay undefeated?

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November 1st 2017 

With the impending retirement of Arrogate after the Breeders’ Cup Classic, I feel that more eyes will be on the future stars of the 2018 Kentucky Derby class in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Overall, this 2-year-old class appears to be better than last year’s crop at this same time.

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds:

Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile 1 & 1/16th Mile –  Race #10 at Del Mar – Saturday November 4th at 5:58 PM CST. Televised by NBC Sports Network

Post/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. U S Navy Flag – Moore/O’Brien – 8/1
2. Solomini – Prat/Baffert – 6/1
3. Firenze Fire – I.Ortiz Jr/Servis – 6/1
4. Givemeaminit – Castellano/Stewart – 20/1
5. Free Drop Billy – Albarado/Romans -5/1
6. Good Magic – J.Ortiz/Brown – 8/1
7. The Tabulator – Valdivia Jr/Rivelli – 20/1
8. Bahamian – Gutierrez/Callaghan – 30/1
9. Hazit – Velazquez/Pletcher – 20/1
10) Golden Dragon – Roman/Yanakov – 30/1
11) Bolt d’Oro – Nakatani/Ruis – 9/5
12. Hollywood Star – Rosario/Romans – 15/1

Race Commentary: Overall, this is a weaker field than I anticipated for a prestigious Breeders’ World Champion race with a $2 Million Dollar purse. Bolt d’Oro and The Tabulator are the only two undefeated colts in this field, both having won in each of their 3 starts. There are three colts who have yet to break their maiden: Givemeaminit, Good Magic, Bahamian. The Aidan O’Brien-trained U S Navy Flag is a European horse who has only raced sprints on turf. 

As far as Speed Figures, here are the only horses in the field who have eclipsed an 85 Beyer Speed Figure:

Bolt d’Oro – 100        
Firenze Fire – 90
Good Magic – 89
Solomini – 87

My Pick: 2-year-olds are inconsistent and unpredictable.  So I would steer away from difficult to hit exotics. I like win bets on Bolt d’Oro and Firenze Fire. The only exotic bet I would consider is a Boxed Exacta 3-11 (Bolt d’Oro and Firenze Fire). Bolt d’Oro is the class of this field and my early favorite for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. However, he is going to be hindered somewhat with a far outside starting post in a 12 horse field. This could put Bolt d’Oro in the cross-hairs of a closer like Firenze Fire coming down the stretch.

Firenze Fire displayed excellent closing speed in the Champagne Stakes (shown below).

The only concern with Firenze Fire is that he will be making his first start in a two-turn race. However, this may not hurt his closing style that much. So a Boxed Exacta of Firenze Fire-Bolt d’Oro might be a wiser bet if Bolt D’Oro’s live odds move closer to 1/1.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the Breeders’ Cup Classic field. I will have this out late tomorrow (Thursday) evening.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

Be sure to check out my new food, wine and travel blog: https://mikesfoodwineandtravel.wordpress.com

–Michael

Updated 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contender Rankings

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October 11th 2017 – Updated November 1st 2017 4:15 PM CST

This year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic appears to be wide-open. Gun Runner will the likely favorite but he does his best work at 9 furlongs (1 1/8th mile). Last year’s Breeders’ Cup champion Arrogate has been less than impressive in his last two starts. Add this up and we may have a surprise winner in The Classic.

Below are my top 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders with the morning line odds.  

2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

1) Gun Runner* (9/5) – He’s extremely consistent and now arguably the top racehorse in the world on dirt. In his last two starts in the Whitney Stakes and Woodward Stakes, he produced his two best career Beyer Speed Figures of 112 and 115. The only knock on his resume currently is that he has never won at the Classic distance of 10 furlongs. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 17 Starts 10-3-2-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 3 Starts  0-1-2-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.76 (estimated) – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 102 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes

2) Collected* (6/1) – He’s a perfect 4 for 4 in 2017. His surprise win in the Pacific Classic answered any questions you might have had about his ability to stretch out to 10 furlongs. – Next Start: The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 11 Starts 8-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Start  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Martin Garcia (2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.70 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic

3) Arrogate (2/1) – The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion was upset by Accelerate in the San Diego Handicap and then by Collected in the TVG Pacific Classic. There is no doubt that his has lost some closing speed and he has been prone of late to not getting out of the gate quick enough. The most recent news is that the defending Pegasus World Cup champion won’t be defending his title. He will be retired after the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 10 Starts 7-1-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  4-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>2nd
Sire: Unbridled’s Song
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 1:59.36 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 119 – 2017 Pegasus World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes

4) West Coast (6/1) – The recent winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (107 Beyer Speed Figure).  His Travers Stakes win still ranks as his most impressive performance. There have only been seven other horses who posted a faster time in the Travers at the 10 furlong distance than West Coast’s 2:01.91.  One of which was track record holder Arrogate last year (1:59.36). Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 8 Starts 6-2-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.19 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 

5) Mubtaahij* (12/1) – The recent winner of the Awesome Again Stakes (shown below). Mubtaahij has historically been sort of an enigma but appears to have blossomed and matured under the training of Bob Baffert. Although he is not a huge threat to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he does have “hit the board” potential with a 2nd place and 4th place finish in the last two Dubai World Cup races. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 18 Starts 5-4-1-4   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>4th–>1st
Sire: Dubawi
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Best 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.28 (estimated) – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 102- 2017 Awesome Again Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2016 Woodward Stakes

6) Gunnevera (30/1) – Although he is not likely to win against this level of competition, he has a closer’s chance of hitting the board. There is no doubt that he has improved since his 7th place finish in this year’s Kentucky Derby. – Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 13 Starts 5-3-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  0-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Dialed In
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Edgard Zayas
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2.01.71 (estimated) – 2017 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes

7) Pavel (20/1)– Coming off a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 104 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup race at Belmont. He has just four career starts but could surprise in The Classic. – Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 4 Starts 2-0-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  0-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>3rd
Sire: Creative Cause
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2.01.24 (estimated) – 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 104 – 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 – 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup

8) War Decree (30/1) – Primarily a turf horse, he did win a Group 3 (Grade 3) race on a Polytrack surface in Ireland in his last start at distance 150 yards longer than the Classic distance of 10 furlongs (1 1/4 mile). So there are no questions that he can go the distance.  Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 3rd or the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 6 Starts 3-1-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 0 Starts  0-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 6th–>5th–>1st
Sire: War Front
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Donnacha O’Brien?
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: N/A

Other Breeders’ Cup Classic entries: Win the Space (30/1) , War Story (30/1) and Churchill (15/1). Win the Space and War Decree have been cross-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Churchill has also been cross-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Turf). War Story has been entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf race.

Keen Ice was pre-entered in the Classic but was retired after suffering an ankle injury

Note: An asterisk * indicates horses who have qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Classic by virtue of winning a “Win and You’re In’ race.


On the Docket…

My next blog will focus in on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contenders.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

Be sure to check out my new food, wine and travel blog: https://mikesfoodwineandtravel.wordpress.com

–Michael

Updated 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contender Rankings

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October 4th 2017

Below are my top 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders. We still have one remaining “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic coming up this Saturday with the Jockey Club Gold Cup race at Belmont.

2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders

1) Gun Runner* – He’s extremely consistent and now arguably the top racehorse in the world on dirt. In his last two starts in the Whitney Stakes and Woodward Stakes, he produced his two best career Beyer Speed Figures of 112 and 115. The only knock on his resume currently is that he has never won at the Classic distance of 10 furlongs. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 17 Starts 10-3-2-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 3 Starts  0-1-2-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.76 (estimated) – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 102 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes

2) Collected* – He’s a perfect 4 for 4 in 2017. His surprise win in the Pacific Classic answered any questions you might have had about his ability to stretch out to 10 furlongs. – Next Start: The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 11 Starts 8-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Start  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Martin Garcia (2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.70 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic

3) Arrogate – The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion was upset by Accelerate in the San Diego Handicap and then by Collected in the TVG Pacific Classic. There is no doubt that his has lost some closing speed and he has been prone of late to not getting out of the gate quick enough. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 10 Starts 7-1-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  4-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>2nd
Sire: Unbridled’s Song
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 1:59.36 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 119 – 2017 Pegasus World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 122 – 2016 Travers Stakes

4) West Coast – The recent winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (107 Beyer Speed Figure).  His Travers Stakes win still ranks as his most impressive performance. There have only been seven other horses who posted a faster time in the Travers at the 10 furlong distance than West Coast’s 2:01.91.  One of which was track record holder Arrogate last year (1:59.36). Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 8 Starts 6-2-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.19 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2017 Travers Stakes 

5) Keen Ice – He still holds the distinction of being the only living horse to have beaten a Triple Crown Champion when he shocked a nation by beating American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes. He has a 4th place finish in the 2015 Breeders Cup Classic and a 3rd place finish in last year’s Classic. In 2017, he has a 4th place finish in the Pegasus World Cup, a 7th place finish in the Dubai World Cup, a win in the Suburban Handicap and a hard-fought 2nd place finish in the Whitney Handicap. Next Start: The Jockey Club Gold Cup race at Belmont Park on October 7th.

Career: 23 Starts 3-3-5-5   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 5 Start  2-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 7th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Curlin
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.57 – 2015 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 106 – 2015 Travers Stakes/2017 Suburban HC
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 106 – 2017 Suburban Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2015 Travers Stakes & 2017 Suburban Handicap

6) Mubtaahij* The recent winner of the Awesome Again Stakes (shown below). Mubtaahij has historically been sort of an enigma but appears to have blossomed and matured under the training of Bob Baffert. Although he is not a huge threat to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he does have “hit the board” potential with a 2nd place and 4th place finish in the last two Dubai World Cup races. Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 18 Starts 5-4-1-4   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>4th–>1st
Sire: Dubawi
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Best 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.28 (estimated) – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 102- 2017 Awesome Again Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2016 Woodward Stakes

7) Cupid – The Bob Baffert-trained winner of the Gold Cup race at Santa Anita (shown below). He had a disappointing 4th place finish in his last start, the Awesome Again Stakes. He was right where he needed to be going into the stretch but didn’t have closing speed to match his competition in the last furlong. Not inspiring since the Breeders’ Cup Classic will have be a furlong longer than the Awesome Again Stakes. Next Start: Presumably the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th but don’t be surprised if he is entered in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile instead.

Career: 12 Starts 6-1-0-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>4th
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014, 2015 & 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Raphael Bejarano
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.89 – 2017 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 108 – 2017 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 108 – 2017 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2017 Gold Cup at Santa Anita

8) Gunnevera  – Although he is not likely to win against this level of competition, he has a closer’s chance of hitting the board. There is no doubt that he has improved since his 7th place finish in this year’s Kentucky Derby. – Next Start: The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 4th.

Career: 13 Starts 5-3-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  0-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Dialed In
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Edgard Zayas
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2.01.71 (estimated) – 2017 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes

9) Girvin* – He makes my Top 10 because he has already qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his win in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (shown below). However, his 11th place finish in Travers Stakes was disappointing and he followed up that performance with another disappointing effort in the Oklahoma Derby (5th place finish). Girvin may be better suited for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Next Start: Uncertain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is retired.

Career: 8 Starts 4-2-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  0-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>11th
Sire: Tale of Ekati
Trainer: Joe Sharp
Jockey: Robby Albarado (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2.04.39 (estimated) – 2017 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 75 – 2017 Kentucky Derby
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 2017: 98 – 2017 Ohio Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2017 Ohio Derby


On the Docket…

I was planning on writing a preview of the Jockey Club Gold Cup race at Belmont Park that is scheduled for Saturday October 7th. However, I will be out of town and this year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup really only has two name-horse in Keen Ice. This race will be the last “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’s Cup Classic. I will post updated Breeders’ Cup Classic contender rankings sometime next week along with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile rankings.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

Be sure to check out my new food, wine and travel blog: https://mikesfoodwineandtravel.wordpress.com

–Michael

2017 FrontRunner Stakes and Awesome Again Stakes Previews

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September 29th 2017

Coming up tomorrow at Santa Anita Park are key two “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The FrontRunner Stakes for the Breeders’ Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile and the Awesome Again Stakes for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Below are the post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds:

The FrontRunner Stakes

1 & 1/16th Mile – Race #8 at Santa Anita – Post-Time: 6:03 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Zatter – Bejarano/Baffert – 5/2
2. Take the One O One – Talamo/Koriner – 15/1
3. Ayacara – Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 10/1
4. Bolt d’Oro – Nakatani/Ruis – 2/1
5. City Plan – Van Dyke/Harty – 20/1
6. Texas Wedge – Roman/Miller – 6/1
7. Encumbered – Gutierrez/Callaghan – 8/1
8. Solomini – Prat/Baffert – 4/1
9. Continental Divide – Espinoza/Cassidy – 15/1

My Pick: I think this race comes down to Bolt d’Oro and the two Baffert entries. I like Bolt d’Oro for the win. With the unpredictability of 2-year-olds, I would make straight win bets on Bolt d’Oro and wouldn’t play trifectas or superfectas. The only exotic bet I would consider is an exacta keying Bolt d’Oro over Solomini and Zatter. That is 4 over 1,8.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago for US racing profiling my three current favorites on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail: Bolt d’Oro, Copper Bullet and St Patrick’s Day. The article can be accessed by clicking HERE.


The Awesome Again Stakes

1 & 1/8th Mile – Race #10 at Santa Anita – Post-Time: 7:05 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Win the Space (122) – Talamo/Papaprodromou – 15/1
2. Dortmund (122) – Stevens/Sherman – 8/1  Scratched
3. Midnight Storm (122) – Baze/D’Amato – 3/1
4. Curlin Rules (122) – Prat/Sadler – 6/1
5. Breaking Lucky (122) – Smith/Baker – 5/1
6. Mubtaahij (122) – Van Dyke/Baffert – 4/1
7. Donworth (122) – Gutierez/O’Neill – 6/1
8. Cupid (126) – Bejarano/Baffert – 2/1

My Pick: Cupid is the only horse in this field coming off a win. He’s my race favorite and should have this field covered. As for exotics, this field is unpredictable and I would stick primarily with straight win bets on Cupid. Any of the remaining six horses could hit the board.


On the Docket…

My next blog will be an updated Breeders’ Cup Classic contender rankings.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

Be sure to check out my new food, wine and travel blog: https://mikesfoodwineandtravel.wordpress.com

–Michael

2017 Penn Derby Preview

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September 21st 2017 – Updated September 23rd 4:30

Coming up this Saturday is highly anticipated Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. Although not a “Win and You’re In” Challenge race, the Penn Derby is an important Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds that carries a $1 Million dollar purse.

With no clear-cut favorite for the Eclipse 3 Year Old Male Champion award, perhaps this race will help sort things out. A win by West Coast could propel him to the top of this 3-year-old class.

Below are the post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds:

The Pennsylvania Derby – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #11 at Parx – Post-Time: Saturday September 23rd 4:45 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Timeline (122) – Castellano/Brown – 5/1
2. Outplay (119) – Velazquez/Pletcher – 12/1
3. Watch Me Whip (117) – Albarado/Romans – 20/1
4. West Coast (124) – Smith/Baffert – 8/5
5. Irap (122) – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 3/1
6. Talk Logistics (117) – Pennington/Plesa – 20/1
7. Game Over (117) – Carmouche/Navarro – 15/1
8. Irish War Cry (122) – Lynch/Motion – 9/2
9. Term of Art (117) – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 20/1
10. Giuseppe the Great (117) – Saez/Zito – 20/1

Race Commentary:  Bob Baffert’s West Coast is the horse to beat in this field. That being said, strange things sometimes happen in the Penn Derby. For example, last year when the Chad Brown-trained Connect at 10/1 odds upset the race favorite Nyquist. For this reason, I like Chad Brown’s Timeline in a 1-4-5 Boxed Trifecta (Timeline-West Coast-Irap). 

If you like to play longshots, Todd Pletcher’s Outplay at 12/1 is probably the best longshot with any glimmer of hope at winning. Outplay was a recent winner at this same 9 furlong distance in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga and he has won at Parx before.

For exotics, I would key West Coast to win over, Timeline, Irish War Cry, Irap and Outplay in some 10 cent supers. That is 4 over 1,2,5,8 over 1,2,5,8 over 1,2,5,8.


Early Favorites on the 2018 Kentucky Derby Trail

I recently wrote an article for US racing profiling my three current favorites on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail: Bolt d’Oro, Copper Bullet and St Patrick’s Day. The article can be accessed by clicking HERE.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

Be sure to check out my new food, wine and travel blog: https://mikesfoodwineandtravel.wordpress.com

–Michael