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

 

 

 

2017 Iroquois Stakes Preview

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September 15th 2017 – Updated September 16th 

Tomorrow, the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail kicks off at Churchill Downs with the Iroquois Stakes. The winner will received 10 points in the 2018 Kentucky Derby point standings. The Iroquois is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile.

Last year’s Iroquois Stakes winner, Not This Time, finished 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Classic Empire. The only Iroquois Stakes winner to start in the Kentucky Derby was 2001 winner Harlan’s Holiday. Harlan’s Holiday finished 7th in the 2002 Kentucky Derby. But keep a eye on whoever finishes in the Top Three for the future as Lookin At Lee finished 2nd in last year’s Iroquois and was runner-up to Always Dreaming in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

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

The Iroquois Stakes

The Iroquois Stakes – 1 1/16th Mile – Race #10 at Churchill Downs – Post-Time: Saturday September 16th at 4:20 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Weight/Trainer/Odds
1. Ten City (122) – Gilligan/McPeek – 3/1
2. Hollywood Star (118) – Albarado/Romans – 5/2
3. Pont Du Gard (118) – Geroux/Correas – 15/1
4. Tres Equis (118) – Carmouche/Maker – 8/1
5. Ebben (118) – Graham/Margolis – 20/1
6. Smart Remark (118) – Cruz/Oliver – 20/1
7. Flameaway (120) – Leparoux/Casse – 4/1
8. Big Gemmy (118) – Hernandez/Calhoun – 15/1
9. The Tabulator (120) – Valdivia/Rivelli – 6/1
10. Mo Diddley (118) – Lanerie/Casse – 10/1

Race Commentary:  Overall, this seems to be a less talented field than the Iroquois Stakes had last year. The fastest horse in this field through 6 furlongs is The Tabulator (1:10.09 in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile). Unfortunately, this is an 8 1/2 furlong race.

Tres Equis and Pont Du Gard have both raced at the 1 mile distance. Pont Du Gard’s mile was on turf at Arlington. Tres Equis’s mile came in a two-turn dirt race at Indiana Downs. Ten City is probably the biggest name in this race, having beaten Copper Bullet in the Bashford Manor Stakes. Hollywood Star finished 2nd in Copper Bullet’s next start in the Saratoga Special Stakes. Hollywood Star is trained by Dale Romans who has won two out of the last four Iroquois Stakes.

The Mark Casse-trained colt Flameaway has never raced beyond 5 1/2 furlongs. I think 4/1 odds are too short for my tastes. Smart Remark and Pont Du Gard both will be making the 2nd starts of their career. The most experienced colts are Ten City and Ebben who have made 3 career starts.

This race seems up for grabs. 2-year-olds are unpredictable. I would lean towards two of lessor favorites in The Tabulator or Tres Equis for the win. A good combination of proven speed and proven stamina. Throw in Hollywood Star and Ten City in a small wager superfecta. As with most 2-year-old races at this stage, these races are more for entertainment than money makers.


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

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Trail Class – Who will be the stars of tomorrow?

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September 13th 2017

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.

Besides these three promising 2-year-olds, there others that are on my radar:

  • Zatter – The Zayat Stables, Bob Baffert-trained colt who finished 2nd in the Del Mar Futurity. He has produced 84 Beyer Speed Figures in his only two starts. The only question I have is how he will like distance since. His sire was Midnight Lute, who was a two-time Breeders’ Cup champion sprinter. 
  • Sporting Chance – The recent winner of the Hopeful Stakes. The son of Tiznow is being trained by D. Wayne Lukas, a three-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer. If his Hopeful Stakes race is any indication, he’s still a bit raw but D. Wayne will get him straightened out.
  • Instilled Regard – This 2 year-old son of Arch is being trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. He comes with high expectations, being purchased for $1,050,000 in the Ocala Breeders’ 2-Year-Old March sale. Instilled Regard’s only start came against St Patrick’s Day at Del Mar on Sept 2nd where he finished 2nd to the full brother of American Pharoah. I normally don’t get too excited about a 2-year-old after one start but it was the manner in which he closed that makes me see that he will like added distance.
  • Solomini Another Zayat Stables’ Bob Baffert-trained colt. His sire is Curlin so he may end up liking distance better than stablemate Zatter. He broke his maiden at Del Mar September 2nd in his very first start. Keep a lazy eye on this one.
  • Dak Attack The Dale Romans-trained son of Ghostzapper. This colt is a sentimental favorite for two reasons. First, I was a big fan of Ghostzapper and his eye-popping Beyer Speed Figures. Secondly, trainer Dale Romans lost promising colt Not This Time last year due to injury. And I will go to my grave believing that Not This Time would have been the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner had he remained healthy. Dak Attack is undefeated in two starts.
  • Run AwayThe Santa Anita Juvenile and Best Pal Stakes winner. He finished 3rd behind Bolt d’Oro and Zatter in the Del Mar Futurity but don’t take him off your radar just yet. The Kaleem Shah owned colt, trained by Simon Callaghan, has won 3 out of 4 career starts.

On the Docket…

My next blog will likely be a preview of the Iroquois Stakes scheduled for September 16th at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

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

–Michael

Labor Day Special – An early look at the 2018 Kentucky Derby Class

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September 3rd 2017 – Updated September 4th 2017 4 PM CST

The 2018 Kentucky Derby trail officially kicks off September 16th with the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. However tomorrow, we have a Labor Day special with two Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds in the Hopeful Stakes and Del Mar Futurity. These two races will give us some insight on who the stars of next year’s Derby Trail class might be. I have a few on my radar already.

Copper Bullet

Currently, I am very high on the Steve Asmussen-trained colt named Copper Bullet who won the Saratoga Special Stakes (shown below). Same owner/trainer combination as Gun Runner. I first wrote about him back in June Unfortunately, it was announced yesterday that he will be sidelined due to shin issues and likely miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

I am also very high on three other horses: St Patrick’s Day, Run Away and Zatter.

St Patrick’s Day

The Bob Baffert-trained St Patrick’s Day is a full brother to American Pharoah. He broke his maiden yesterday at Del Mar (shown below)

Run Away

Owned by Kaleem Shah, trained by Simon Callaghan, the son of Run Away and Hide is a perfect 3-for-3 with his Best Pal Stakes victory (shown below). He’ll be a Labor Day runner in the Del Mar Futurity.

Zatter

Owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Bob Baffert. The son of Midnight Lute defeated St. Patrick’s Day at Del Mar back on August 20th (shown below) which was the first career start for both colts. Zatter will face Run Away in the Del Mar Futurity.


Below are the post-positions, weights, jockey assignments and odds for the Hopeful Stakes and Del Mar Futurity:

The Hopeful Stakes  – 7 furlongs – Race #9 at Saratoga – Post-Time: 4:05 PM CST. Televised by Fox Sports 2 and TVG

Post/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Mojovation (118) – Velazquez/Pletcher – 2/1 
2. Oskar Blues (118) – Davis/McPeek – 10/1  
3. Firenze Fire (122) – Ortiz Jr/Servis – 7/2 
4. Psychoanalyze (118) – Franco/Lynch- 15/1
5. National Flag (118) – J.Ortiz/Pletcher – 9/2 
6. Sporting Chance (118) – Saez/Lukas – 8/1
7. Givemeaminit (116) – Rosario/Stewart – 10/1
8. Free Drop Billy (118) – Albarado/Romans – 4/1 

My Pick:  Mojovation is the fastest horse in this field. Free Drop Billy has the 2nd fastest closing speed but he was beaten by Firenze Fire in his last start. If you like a longer shot, Oskar Blues has already put up a decent time of 1:23.99 at this 7 furlong distance at Saratoga. I like a 1 with 3,8 Exacta and win/place/show bets on Mojovation.


The Del Mar Futurity  – 7 furlongs – Race #8 at Del Mar – Post-Time: 7:36 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Soul Streit (120) – Smith/Baffert – 4/1
2. Master Ruler (118) – Roman/Sadler – 20/1
3. Run Away (123) – Prat/Callaghan – 5/2
4. Tatters to Riches (120) – Baze/Mullins- 4/1
5. Fleetwood (118) – Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 20/1
6. Bolt d’Oro (120) – Nakatani/Ruis – 6/1
7. Gracida (120) – Espinoza/O’Neill – 12/1
8. Dia de Pago (118) – Gonzalez/Cerin – 12/1
9. Zatter (118) – Bejarano/Baffert – 7/2

My Pick: I think Run Away picks up his fourth win in four starts. Zatter will battle but I am concerned that he won’t be able to overcome his outside post-position. If you like longer shots, the Doug O’Neill-trained Gracida with Victor Espinoza on board could surprise and be a good show bet if his odds stay above 10/1.


On the Docket…

My next blog will likely be a Breeders’ Cup Contender ranking update followed by a preview of the Iroquois Stakes scheduled for September 16th at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.


My new Food, Wine and Travel Blog

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

–Michael