The Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3 and the only Pool for the Kentucky Oaks is underway. The live odds can be found by clicking HERE. These pools run all weekend until Sunday March 1st at 5PM CST
A bit more research, four out of the last five Kentucky Derby winners had four career starts by March 1st of their 3 year-old campaign. And all five had won in their last start. Another interesting finding, you probably want a horse that has won a 1 1/16th race with a time under 1:44 as four out of the previous five Kentucky Derby winners had done by this date. The only Kentucky Derby winner in the past five years who didn’t fit this description was Animal Kingdom. He only had two starts but his last start in his 2 year-old campaign was a win in a 1 1/8th mile race at Gulfstream Park with a time 1:49.01. He would have eclipsed the 1:44 mark based upon his fraction times in that race.
What horses in Pool #3 best fit this criteria above? Dortmund, International Star, Prospect Park and Upstart (if you are like me and think his win in the Fountain of Youth should have stood). I still think Dortmund is the prototype of a Kentucky Derby winner and who I will be plunking $20 down on in this pool. His odds have teetered around 9-1 and 10-1 most of the day. I may plunk another $20 on Dortmund if I can’t get a price on Upstart. I generally like International Star but I prefer a more accomplished jockey in such a big race other than Miguel Mena who has been International Star’s main jock of late.
I still like Texas Red but already have $20 on him in Pool #1 that will pay out $302 with a win. I feel that with his recent foot abscess problem, that I need to hedge a bit in this pool. Otherwise, Bettor Beware on Texas Red but I think you will be able to get him a nice price over 15-1.
Also, Daredevil will be racing in a 7 furlong race tomorrow and I expect him to win and his odds to lower. Don’t get caught up in this Todd Pletcher horse with a win. He has new owners and I feel that they are targeting him more for mile races rather than the Kentucky Derby. I see him more as a Breeders’ Cup Mile contender later in the year.
As far as the Kentucky Oaks Pool, Take Charge Brandi has been the favorite (listed horse) of bettors thus far but I will still be placing $20 on Condo Commando who I feel is the more proven horse at the Oaks distance of 1 1/8th mile. But one bet that I am considering is a $10 Exacta 4-22 (Condo Commando-Take Charge Brandi).
With the Kentucky Future Wagers Pool #3 coming up February 27th, below are eight horses to consider for your future wager. But first, what does a Kentucky Derby winner usually look like on paper?
Profiling the Kentucky Derby Winner
The profile of a typical Kentucky Derby winner is that 75.7% are Kentucky bred. California Chrome was the exception and not the norm last year being a California bred horse. California has produced only four Kentucky Derby winners with the last (before California Chrome) being Decidedly who won in 1962. Florida is the next best state at producing Kentucky Derby winners with six.
Another stat to consider is that the roughly 70% of Kentucky Derby winners won their first race in their first or second start–which California Chrome accomplished. As long as a horse wins in his first four starts and gets hot in February and March, I am fine with it. Also, probably a more important stat, thirteen out of the last fifteen Kentucky Derby winners broke their maiden by December 1st of their 2-year-old campaign. All the horses in my top seven won their first race by December 1st except for Far From Over who won on December 12th.
Note: blue bold fonts are linked to race videos or Equibase references
1)Dortmund(Kentucky Bred- Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 20
Sire: Big Brown – 2008 Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes Winner
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 9-1, Pool #2: 10-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 8-1
4 Starts, 4 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (97 Beyer), 1st (91 Beyer), 1st (103 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 97
Fastest 1 1/16 Mile Time-: 1:40.86 at Los Alamitos 12/20/14
Next Race: San Felipe Stakes – March 7th or Santa Anita Derby – April 4th Dortmund’s Equibase Profile
2) Texas Red (Kentucky Bred – Won in 3rd start) – Derby Points: 12
Sire: Afleet Alex – 2005 Preakness Stakes & Belmont Stakes Winner
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 14-1, Pool #2: 9-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 12-1
6 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 33%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 33%
Last Three Starts: 3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer), 2nd (90 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 97
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.91 at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Santa Anita Derby – April 4th or Arkansas Derby – April 11th Texas Red’s Equibase Profile
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 12-1, Pool #2: 10-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 8-1
3 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 67%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 5th, 1st (101 Beyer), 1st (101 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 101
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.95 at Santa Anita Park 9/27/14
Next Race: Rebel Stakes – March 14th American Pharoah’s Equibase Profile
4) Upstart (New York Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 36
Sire: Flatterwhose sire was A.P. Indy – 1992 Belmont Stakes & Breeders’ Cup Classic
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 53-1, Pool #2: 12-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 15-1
6 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 25%
Last Three Starts: 3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (105 Beyer), 2nd–DQ from 1st (95 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.96 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Florida Derby – March 28th Upstart’s Equibase Profile
5) Carpe Diem(Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 14
Sire: Giant’s Causeway– Finished 2nd in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 15-1, Pool #2: 12-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 12-1
3 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 67%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 50%
Last Three Starts: 1st, 1st (91 Beyer), 2nd (93 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 92
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.95 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Tampa Bay Derby – March 7th Carpe Diem’s Equibase Profile
6) Far From Over (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Blame – 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Unlisted in both Pools
Current Morning Line Odds: 15-1
2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (78 Beyer), 1st (96 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 82
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.93 at Aqueduct 2/7/15
Next Race: Gotham Stakes – March 7th Far From Over’s Equibase Profile
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: Unlisted, Pool #2: 40-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 20-1
8 Starts, 4 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 50%
Last Three Starts: 4th, 1st (89 Beyer), 1st (93 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 91
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.82 at The Fairgrounds 2/21/15
Next Race: Louisiana Derby – March 28th International Star’s Equibase Profile
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 29-1, Pool #2: 26-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 20-1
3 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (80 Beyer), 1st (83 Beyer), 1st (90 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 86.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:45.47 at Delta Downs 11/22/14
Next Race: San Felipe Stakes – March 7th Ocho Ocho Ocho’s Equibase Profile
Overall, I felt confident that the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner was listed in Pool #2, but I am 100% confident that he is in this pool. I would not recommend placing any bets on horses whose Morning Line Odds are greater than 30-1. This means do not waste your money on these 50-1 horses: Bolo, Danzig Moon, Keen Ice and Mr. Z.
Also, Khozan ended with 25-1 final odds in Pool #2 and he is coming off a win in his last start in a one mile race at Gulfstream. He is listed as 15-1 Morning Line Odds. Don’t buy into the hype. I felt that he was overbet in the last pool for what he had accomplished and I expect the same in this pool. I like horses who have proven that they can win in races longer than one mile (two-turns).
What am I going to do? I already placed a $20 bet on Texas Red in Pool #1 that will payout $302 if he wins. In this pool I am going to place $20 to $40 on Dortmund (horse #6) depending upon his live odds on Saturday morning. If only place $20 on Dortmund I will be looking for value and a price for any of the above horses.
Below is a ranking of the average Beyer Speed Figures of my top eight horses last two starts. Ties are broken by the higher speed in the last start.
Ranking By Average Beyer Speed Figures of Last Two Starts:
1) American Pharoah 101
2) Upstart 100
3) Dortmund 97
4) Texas Red 97
5) Carpe Diem 92
6) International Star 91
7) Ocho Ocho Ocho 86.5
8) Far From Over 82
You can follow the Future Wager Pool #3 Live Odds by clicking HERE.
You can see the full Kentucky Derby point standings by clicking HERE
2015 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool
For the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool, I would recommend one filly only: Condo Commando. She has already won at the Oaks distance of 1 & 1/8th mile and she demolished that field in the Demoiselle Stakes winning by 11 1/2 lengths (shown below). She is listed as 8-1 Morning Line Odds and also coming off a win in the Busher Stakes. Take Charge Brandi was listed at 6-1 odds. She has a tremendous heart but I feel that Condo Commando is the more proven commodity at this point having won at 1 1/8th mile distance. So I am placing $20 on Condo Commando (horse #4) in this Pool.
You can follow the live Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool Odds by clicking HERE
You can see the full Kentucky Oaks point standings by clicking HERE
Due to injuries, performance reasons and schedule conflicts, many horses who have enough points aren’t entered in the Kentucky Derby. The following horses historically have enough points to gain entry due to these reasons
4) El Kabeir – 25 points
5) War Story – 24 points
6) Far Right – 22 points
7) Dortmund – 20 points
Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed with any horse this past weekend in the point paying Derby races. In the Fountain of Youth shown below, all the horses looked like they were really laboring to the finish line in this 1 & 1/16th mile race. Upstart had his win taken away due to interference and veering out into Itsaknockout’s path. There was a clear violation, but I am not convinced that it would have changed the finishing order. It certainly would have made it a closer race. Even if Upstart’s win was upheld, this race wasn’t as impressive as his last start in the Holy Bull Stakes. So this begs the question, has Upstart peaked? Nevertheless, he should be one of the race favorites for the Florida Derby.
Itsaknockout is now undefeated in three starts. Once highly regarded Frosted finished 4th.
In the Risen Star Stakes, International Star established himself as a serious Kentucky Derby contender with his second consecutive win at the Fairgrounds. I had initial concerns last fall that he was a horse that preferred turf, but all those doubts have been erased now. He should be the race favorite for the Louisiana Derby and has a good pedigree. International Star’s sire Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby. However, he has yet to dazzle us with impressive Beyer Speed figures. He earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in the Lecomte Stakes and a 93 in the Risen Star.
But he is improving, not regressing and that is the most important element at this time of year. But the big question for him now—is he a rising star that had only been racing to the level of his competition?
Race favorite Imperia has a disappointing 5th place finish,
The Southwest Stakes established Far Right as the early favorite for Arkansas Derby by beating race favorite Mr Z. The wet sloppy track at Oaklawn Park on Sunday should have hindered his closer style. But once again, under jockey Mike Smith, he managed to beat Mr Z to the finish line. Far Right is a very good horse but like International Star, he has yet to dazzle us with eye-popping speed figures. Mr Z is establishing himself as a herd runner who will finish up near the front with the lead pack but not win. A better name for him would be “Close But No Cigar”
I really loved the second-place performance from The Truth Or Else under jockey Calvin Borel. This was his first start in a race longer than 1 mile and he looks like he loved the added distance. So I expect him to be a contender to American Pharoah in the upcoming Rebel Stakes.
In Other Races…
I was really impressed with the Todd Pletcher-trained horse Khozan who absolutely demolished the field in Race #5 at Gulfstream Park this past Sunday. He is a late bloomer braking his maiden in his first start in a 7 furlong race at Gulfstream Park on January 24th.
My next blog coming up this Thursday will focus on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3 and the first Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool.
Who do I think will be dropped from Pool #2 in Pool #3? Lord Nelson, J S Bach, Gorgeous Bird and Possibly Mr Z due to the expected lack of interest from bettors.
Here is who I think will be added in their place: Far From Over, Metaboss, Divining Rod and The Truth Or Else
This weekend there are three important point paying races on the Kentucky Derby Trail. The Fountain of Youth and the Risen Star Stakes on Saturday February 21st. And the Southwest Stakes on Sunday February 22nd. The Southwest Stakes is the last points paying race of the Derby prep season that will award 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers. The Fountain of Youth and Risen Star Stakes are a part of the 1st Leg of the Championship series that will award 50-20-10-5 poins to the top four finishers. The winner of these two races will gain enough points to enter the Kentucky Derby. Most likely, the second place finisher will too. The current Kentucky Derby Points Standings can be accessed by clicking HERE.
Each race will have some fairly high-profile horses who were listed in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2. These horses are: Upstart, Frosted, Itsaknockout, Gorgeous Bird, Imperia, International Star, JS Bach, Far Right and Mr. Z. This represents over one-third of the horses listed in Pool #2.
The most compelling race will be the Fountain of Youth Stakes to see if Upstart is the real deal. In my previous blog, The Six Best Performances on the 2015 Kentucky Derby Trail, Upstart’s win in the Holy Bull Stakes was the most impressive of this year’s Derby contenders using an average of the three major speed figures for races longer than one mile.
The Southwest Stakes was snowed out this past Monday and will be rescheduled this Sunday. Two horses (JS Bach and War Story) were originally entered in the Southwest Stakes. However, due to the cancellation, they have been entered into the Risen Star Stakes at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans instead hoping to capitalize on more points.
1) Fountain of Youth Stakes Race #11 at Gulfstream – Post Time: Sat 4:30 PM CST – 1 1/16 Mile
Post positions & Odds: 1) Juan and Bina 20/1, 2) Bluegrass Singer 8-1, 3) Frammento 30-1, 4) Gorgeous Bird 6-1, 5) Itsaknockout 4-1, 6) Frosted 5-2, 7) Upstart 8-5, 8) Danny Boy 15-1
On paper, this appears to be a three-way battle between Upstart, Frosted and Itsaknockout. I think Frosted is probably better suited for races longer than 1 & 1/16 mile. Gorgeous Bird has never raced longer than a mile. I like Bluegrass Singer(who finished 3rd in the Holy Bull) since he is starting from the 2nd post. The Dale Romans trained colt Danny Boyis capable of finishing in the money but he is inconsistent and starts on the outside.
I would also place this $10 Boxed Exacta bet: 5-7 (Itsaknockout-Upstart) to capture the race favorite Upstart. A win bet on Upstart probably won’t pay out much. If you want to further hedge, place a $1 straight Trifecta: 7-6-5 (Upstart, Frosted, Itsaknockout)
2) Risen Star Stakes Race #11 at the Fairgrounds – Post Time: Sat 5:24 PM CST – 1 1/16 Mile
Post positions & Odds: 1) St. Joe Bay 12-1, 2) Tiznow R J 5-1, 3) Bluff 15-1, 4) J S Bach 5-1, 5) Imperia 7/2, 6) War Story 5-1, 7) Hero of Humor 30-1, 8) Keen Ice 8-1, 9) Big Big Easy 12-1, 10) International Star 9/2
***Note: J S Bach was scratched due to spiking a fever.
The race has enough speed across the board that it will be tough predicting a straight Superfecta. So don’t bet a large sum of money on this race as it is the less predictable of these three weekend Derby Trail races. For the win, consider four horses and their live odds: Imperia,International Star, Bluff andJ S Bach.
J S Bach is trained by Todd Pletcher, so he will get plenty of attention from bettors. Another notable entry is Tiznow R J who has three third-place finishes and one win in four starts. He was beaten by Keen Ice (also entered in this race) in his first start and finished third in his last start in the LeComte Stakes behind International Star and War Story. I think Tiznow R J, like his sire Tiznow (who won two Breeders’s Cup Classics) prefers distance. However, he has a very favorable 2nd post position. Trainer Steve Asmussen entered Big Big Easybut he has yet to race longer than a mile.
I would consider placing a $10 win bet on J S Bach if his odds are 4-1 or greater or Bluff if his odds are 6-1 or greater. I don’t mind trying to beat the race favorite if I can get a price.
If I had to place a $1 straight Superfecta, I would bet something exotic that would likely payoff well: 4-3-5-10 (J S Bach, Bluff, Imperia, International Star)
Since J S Bach has been scratched, I would make the following exotic $1 straight Superfecta: 3-5-10-2
3) Southwest Stakes Race #8 at Oaklawn Park – Post Time: Sun 4:42 PM CST – 1 1/16 Mile
Post Positions & Odds: 1) Bayerd 5-1, 2) Majestico 30-1, 3) Hillbilly Royalty 7-2, 4) Private Prospect 12-1,5) Bold Conquest 10-1, 6) Far Right 5-2, 7) Phenomenal Phoenix 30-1, 8) The Truth Or Else 20-1, 9) Kantune 12-1, 10) Bold Animaux 30-1, 11) Mr. Z 3/1
This would have been a more interesting race with J S Bach and War Story. So now it appears that it will be a two-horse show–a rematch of the Smarty Jones Stakes with Mr. Z and Far Right battling it out for the win. I like Mr Z edging out Far Right this time around but will there be a new horse in the mix? Two other notable entries are the Steve Asmussen-trained Bayerd who starts in post #1 (same post that Far Right won with in the Smarty Jones) and Donnie Von Hemel’s Hillbilly Royaltywho is undefeated in two starts and posted a 93 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start at Oaklawn.
I would consider placing a $10 win bet on #3 Hillbilly Royalty depending on his odds and hedge it with two $5 Boxed Exacta bets on (6-11) Mr Z and Far Right & (3-11) Hillbilly Royalty and Mr Z. If I had to place a $1 straight Superfecta, I would go with: 3-11-6-1(Hillbilly Royalty, Mr Z, Far Right, Bayerd). Why? Because it’s just a buck and the payout should be nice.
Below is a ranking of the six best performances of this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders. My criteria uses wins in races longer than one mile (two turns) and then averaging three major speed figures (Beyer Speed, Brisnet Speed and Equibase Speed). All races were 1 & 1/16th mile.
1) Upstart– His win in the 2015 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 24, 2015.
The much-anticipated rematch of California Chrome vs. Shared Belief this past Saturday in the San Antonio Stakes, highlighted an exciting weekend of horse racing. Shared Belief beat California Chrome to establish himself as arguably the top 4 year-old in the North America along with Bayern.
Overall, California Chrome ran well. He was right where he needed to be coming down the stretch but he did not run up to his capabilities. Historically, California Chrome was a full second faster than Shared Belief at Santa Anita Park at this 1 1/8th mile distance. Chrome ran 1:47.52 in Santa Anita Derby last April while Shared Belief ran 1:48.58 in the Awesome Again Stakes back in September. Shared Belief’s winning time in the San Antonio Stakes was 1:48.45. I am looking forward to a rematch and I believe that California Chrome will have an edge in 1 1/4 mile races in the future.
The Donn Handicap – “The Donn”
Todd Pletcher’s Constitution held off reigning champion Lea to win the Donn Handicap. This win will boost Constitution up the ranks of many analysts “4 Year-Old and Up” lists. However, I still think Lea is the better horse. As you can see in the video, he got hemmed along the rail too long to make up the necessary ground to edge Constitution. Give credit to Constitution and his jockey Javier Castellano for not getting hemmed in along the rail from the first post.
* Note: Palace Malice was initially retired in September of 2014. But after getting a clean bill of health, he is planning to race again in 2015. He suffered a minor injury January 28th after throwing a shoe.
The Kentucky Derby Trail
The Withers Stakes and Robert B, Lewis Stakes races gave us more information for separating the contenders from the pretenders on the Derby trail. Dropping out of my top six is El Kabeir due to his second place finish in the Withers Stakes. There were concerns that he had distance limitations, but he was generally regarded as the top East Coast horse at the end of 2014. But now that temporary honor goes to Upstart.
Dortmund’s impressive refuse-to-lose performance in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (video below) did much to confirm to me that he is now the top Kentucky Derby contender. He has the size, tactical speed, stamina, fighting spirit and pedigree of a Kentucky Derby winner. At this point, I think the only thing that can beat Dortmund is a bad post position draw in a large field. The bad news for his competition, I think he will really shine in races longer than a mile and 1/16th.
Far From Over – Another Serious Kentucky Derby Contender
The most impressive performance this past weekend came from the Todd Pletcher-trained horse Far From Over shown below. This aptly named horse gave us a brilliant performance in the Wither Stakes beating highly favored El Kabeir while posting a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Had he not stumbled out of the gate and got six lengths behind, I am sure his Beyer Speed Figure would have broken the century mark.
His winning time of 1:43.93 was faster than Samraat, Revolutionary and Alpha’s time in the three previous Withers Stakes. All three of those horses went on to compete in the Kentucky Derby (Samraat finished 5th, Revolutionary finished 3rd and Alpha finished 12th). Far From Over’s time was impressive since he probably lost a second due to the gate stumble and the fact that Aqueduct is not considered one of the most speed favoring tracks.
Far From Over now has two career starts and two wins. His sire Blame won the 2010 Stephen Foster Handicap, the 2010 Whitney Handicap and the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic and is the only horse to ever beat Zenyatta.
My Updated Top Six 2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders
1)Dortmund(Kentucky Bred- Won in 1st start) – Trainer: Bob Baffert
Derby Points: 20
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool: Pool #1 Final odds 9-1, Pool #2 Final Odds 10-1
This coming Saturday (February 7th) will be a huge day for the sport of horse racing. There are four big races to go along with the fact that 2nd Pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wagers will be active starting February 6th at 11AM CST through February 8th 5PM CST.
At first glance, this looks like it should be an easy win for El Kabeir. However, I am expecting a competitive race and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset as five out of the seven horses in this field won in their last start. The only two horses that didn’t win in their last start were General Bellamy and Classy Class.
Far From Overis a Todd Pletcher-trained horse that won in his first and only start at Aqueduct on December 12th. Classy Class is another good horse trained by Kiaran McLaughlin that Mike Battaglia thought enough of to list in Pool #1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wagers. March is coming off a win at Aqueduct on January 11th.
My prediction: 1) El Kabeir, 2) Far From Over, 3) Classy Class and 4) March. However, small wagers on this one as the payout won’t be huge and the predictability is very low.
2) The Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park (Race #5) –a 1 1/16th mile graded stakes race. Post time: 4:36 PM CST.
Last year this race was won by Candy Boy with Chitu finishing 2nd–both competed in the Kentucky Derby. This year’s race will feature Dortmund and Firing Line, a rematch of the exciting Los Alamitos Futurity where Firing Line lost to Dortmund by a nose. This is a six-horse field that is top-heavy on talent with Dortmund and Firing Line. Santa Anita Park isn’t as speed-favoring as the Los Alamitos circuit so I expect Dortmund (a big horse that prefers distance) to beat Firing Line a little more comfortably this time around.
Rock Shandy has a second and third place finish in his last two starts in graded stakes races and it a good bet to complete your trifecta.
My Prediction: 1) Dortmund, 2) Firing Line, 3) Rock Shandy
Big Purse races for 4-Year-Olds & Up:
1) The Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park (Race #13) – 1 1/8th mile graded stakes race with a $500,000 purse. Post time: 4:58 PM CST.
My Prediction: Bettor beware, there are a number of good horses with great jockeys on them that could spring the upset. This should be one of the more competitive races this weekend. It is hard to bet against Lea for the repeat. He has won three straight races at Gulfstream. I am leaning towards boxed superfectas that include Lea and Commissioner.
2) The San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita Park (Race #8) — 1 1/8th mile graded stakes race with a $500,000 purse. Post time: 6:00 PM CST.
California Chrome (2014 Horse of the Year) and Shared Belief (2013 2-year old Male) highlight this field in a rematch of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This race is expected to be California Chrome’s tune-up race for the Dubai World Cup. Hoppertunity, who won San Pasqual Stakes in impressive fashion on January 10th, will be Bayern’s replacement from Baffert’s stable. Alfa Bird won an allowance race on January 2nd at Santa Anita at the same 1 & 1/8 mile distance with a decent time of 1:48.31.
My prediction: 1) California Chrome, 2) Shared Belief, 3) Hoppertunity, 4) Alfa Bird. I would probably key California Chrome to win in a superfecta wheel with 4 horses.
Overall, I recommend waiting until after the Robert B. Lewis and Withers Stakes to see how Dortmund, Firing Line and El Kabeir perform before placing any future wagers.
Listed below are the morning line odds. Horses that are bold font are ones that I recommend considering placing bets on. However, this is dependent on where their live odds go. I like a few of the 30-1 and higher odds horses provided that their odds don’t shorten dramatically. Last year in Pool #2, California Chrome started off at 50-1 odds and finished with 30-1 final odds. A $20 bet on California Chrome in last year’s Pool #2 would have paid out $634.
Ocean Knight at 50-1 odds is the closest fit in this year’s Pool #2 to California Chrome in last year’s pool. Expect his odds to shorten over the weekend.
# horse (trainer)/morning line odds
1. American Pharoah (Baffert) 10-1
2. Carpe Diem (Pletcher) 15-1
3. Competitive Edge (Pletcher) 30-1
4. Daredevil (Pletcher) 30-1
5. Dortmund (Baffert) 12-1
6. El Kabeir (Terranova) 20 -1
7. Far Right* (Moquette) 50-1
8. Firing Line* (Callaghan) 30-1
9. Frosted (McLaughlin) 30-1
10. Gorgeous Bird* (Wilkes) 50-1
11. Imperia (McLaughlin) 30-1
12. International Star* (Maker) 50-1
13. Itsaknockout* (Pletcher) 50-1
14. J S Bach* (Pletcher) 30-1
15. Khozan* (Pletcher) 20-1
16. Lord Nelson (Baffert) 30-1
17. Mr. Z (Lukas) 50-1
18. Ocean Knight* (McLaughlin) 50-1
19. Ocho Ocho Ocho (Cassidy) 20-1
20. Prospect Park* (Sise) 50-1
21. Texas Red (Desormeaux) 15-1
22. The Great War (Ward) 30-1
23. Upstart (Violette) 12-1
24. All other 3-year-olds even
Odds by Mike Battaglia. * denotes new wagering interest in Pool 2.
Out after Pool 1: Blofeld, Calculator, Classy Class, I Spent It, Lucky Player, Ostrolenka, Punctuate, Unblunted.