2016 Belmont Stakes Entries, Odds and Analysis

June 10th 2016

Below are the entries, post-positions and morning line 0dds for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes. Exaggerator is the morning line favorite at 9/5 odds. Expect his live race odds to lower. Suddenbreakingnews picks up Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith for this race.

As far as Triple Crown races, Suddenbreakingnews finished the closest to Exaggerator in terms of distance in lengths of any horse in the field with his 5th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Next closest would be Cherry Wine.

The only horse (in this field) who has beaten Exaggerator is Brody’s Cause who finished ahead of him twice as a 2 year-old in the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile races at Keeneland.

Overall, there isn’t a lot of speed in this field. Trainer Todd Pletcher has two entries: Stradivari (4th place finisher in the Preakness Stakes) and Destin (6th place finisher in the Kentucky Derby). Todd Pletcher is the only trainer in this year’s Belmont Stakes to have won multiple Belmont Stakes races. He is one of the best at training horses for this 1 1/2 mile distance. Pletcher got a 2nd place finish out of a very average Derby trail horse in Commissioner in the 2014 Belmont Stakes.

So Destin, who hasn’t raced since the Kentucky Derby, and Stradivari should be two horses to watch out for and consider in your Trifectas. Stradivari’s sire Medaglia d’Oro finished 2nd in the 2002 Belmont Stakes by 1/2 length after a disappointing 8th place finish in the Preakness Stakes. Exaggerator’s sire Curlin lost by a head in the 2007 Belmont Stakes. I am predicting another win by Exaggerator. The Preakness Stakes was Stradivari’s first race in the slop and I feel that he is a big strong horse that will probably run better on a dry, fast track. So how about a Exaggerator-Stradivari Exacta?

Unless it is a wet race, I wouldn’t bother putting these three horses in your Superfectas: #7 Seeking The Soul, #8 Forever d’Oro and #9 Trojan Nation. They are all 30-1 for a reason because they aren’t fast enough to race with this caliber of competition. Jockey Paco Lopez is riding #6 Gettysburg and he is a very underrated jockey who sometimes can get surprise finishes out of longshots.

Betting Advice: This depends on if the race if run on a dry, fast track or in wet, sloppy conditions. If it is run on a wet, sloppy track, I would place win, place and show bets on Exaggerator and forget trying to come up with any combinations. Even on a dry, fast track, there are many unknowns so I wouldn’t recommend placing large sums of money on this race. I will probably play a $25 Exacta that would cost $50 that keys Exaggerator to win with two horses (4-Suddenbreakingnews and 5-Stradivari). So 11 over 4,5. Then take another $50 and make a Win bet on Exaggerator. But this depends on his live odds. I like win bets on Exaggerator at 4/5 or higher.

Below are post-positions and morning line odds for the 148th Belmont Stakes:

1) Governor Malibu (12/1) – He will assume a stalking position in this race. I consider him a serious play in Trifectas and Superfectas with the same trainer and jockey who propelled Tonalist to a 2014 Belmont Stakes victory. 

Career: 7 Starts 2-4-1-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>2nd
Sire:  Malibu Moon
Trainer:  Christopher Clement (2014 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Joel Rosario (2014 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 83, 94 – 88.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2016 Peter Pan Stakes

2) Destin (6/1) – A rested Todd Pletcher-trained horse could be dangerous in the Belmont. I like him for Superfecta plays. But he faded a bit down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby that is worrisome.

Career: 6 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>6th
Sire: Giant’s Causeway  
TrainerTodd Pletcher (2007 & 2013 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 100, 93 – 96.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – 2016 Tampa Bay Derby

3) Cherry Wine  (8/1) – Although he finished 2nd in the Preakness Stakes, I would be concerned how he will perform on a dry, fast track.

Career: 9 Starts 2-2-2-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>3rd–>2nd
Sire:  Paddy O’Prado 
Trainer: Dale Romans 
Jockey:  Corey Lanerie
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 88, 96 – 92 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  97 – 2016 Preakness Stakes

4) Suddenbreakingnews (10/1) – With Mike Smith as his jockey and his penchant for making up considerable ground as a closer, he should be a candidate for your Trifectas and Superfectas. I really don’t understand why his morning line odds were set at 10/1 versus Destin’s at 6/1 when he finished ahead of him in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby.

Career: 9 Starts 3-4-0-0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>2nd–>5th
Sire: Mineshaft 
Trainer: Donnie Von Hemel
Jockey: Mike Smith  (2010 & 2013 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 94, 96 –  95 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 –  2016 Kentucky Derby

5) Stradivari (5/1) – I think he is a serious threat to win this race so long as it is on a dry, fast track. A candidate for your Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas.

Career: 4 Starts 2-0-0-2
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>4th
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 2nd in 2002 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2007 & 2013 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez (2007 & 2012 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 100, 95 – 97.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100Keeneland Allowance Race 4/17/16

6) Gettysburg (30/1) – A longshot who is viewed as the potential pacesetter in the Belmont. He has very underrated Paco Lopez as his jockey. I like him best of all the 30/1 longshots for a Superfecta.

Career: 7 Starts 1-1-2-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>5th–>3rd
Sire:  Pioneerof the Nile
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 87 – 87 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 87 – 2016 Arkansas Derby

7) Seeking The Soul (30/1) – The better of the two Dallas Stewart-trained horses but neither will hit the board on a dry, fast track.

Career: 3 Starts 1-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>5th–>1st
Sire: Perfect Soul (IRE)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 79, 88 – 83.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  88 – Churchill Downs MSW 5/29/201

8) Forever d’Oro (30/1) – 30/1 for a reason, see above. But he does have the pedigree to go long.

Career: 3 Starts 1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>5th–>1st
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 2nd in 2002 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 71, 81 – 76 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  81 – Belmont MSW 5/29/16

9) Trojan Nation (30/1) – He has yet to win a race and it won’t be this either. Don’t bother using him in Superfectas unless it is a wet race.

Career: 7 Starts 0-1-3-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>16th
Sire:  Street Cry
Trainer:  Patrick Gallagher
Jockey: Aaron Gryder
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 93, 63- 78 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  93 – 2016 Wood Memorial

10) Lani (20/1) – A temperamental Japanese-trained horse who improved in his last start in the Preakness. A Superfecta candidate but not a threat to win.

Career: 8 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>9th–>5th
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga 
Jockey:  Yukata Take
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 93 – 90 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2016 Preakness Stakes

11) Exaggerator (9/5)  – He has never finished below 3rd as a 3 year-0ld. He has never finished below 2nd in his last three Grade 1 Stakes races. His live odds will go lower than 9/5. I think he will win but he is beatable. 

Career: 11 Starts 5-3-1-1 
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 2nd in 2007 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (2009 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 101, 101 – 101 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2016 Santa Anita Derby

12) Brody’s Cause (20/1) – The only horse in this field who has beaten Exaggerator but this came as a 2 year-old. I haven’t been impressed with his 3 year-old campaign thus far. A candidate for your Superfecta.

Career: 7 Starts 3-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 7th–>1st–>7th
Sire: Giant’s Causeway 
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Luis Saez
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 91, 89 – 90 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91 – 2016 Blue Grass Stakes

13) Creator (10/1) – At 10/1, I expect his odds to go higher. Will he bounce back after a disappointing 13th place finish in the Kentucky Derby? He is a big roll of the dice.

Career: 9 Starts 2-4-1-0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>13th
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Steve Asmussen 
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 96, 76 – 86 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 – 2016 Arkansas Derby


–Michael

Analyzing Exaggerator’s win over undefeated Nyquist in the Preakness Stakes

May 21st, 2016

The 141st Preakness Stakes (shown below) will be viewed by many as an upset with Exaggerator finally beating undefeated Nyquist after 5 attempts.

But in reality, this was a confluence of talent and opportunity. Coming into the Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator had the highest average Beyer Speed figure for 3 year-olds in 2016. He had a 98 Beyer Speed Figure in the San Vicente Stakes in February, a 96 Beyer in the San Felipe in March, a 103 Beyer in the Santa Anita Derby in April and a 101 Beyer in the Kentucky Derby.

Exaggerator excelled on a sloppy track in the Santa Anita Derby, so today’s win should have been no surprise. Credit Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who did a masterful job placing Exaggerator right where he needed to be to have a chance to run down Nyquist.

In summary–Exaggerator is an extremely talented thoroughbred. Entering the Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator was ranked as the 7th best racehorse in the world in Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings and the 3rd best on dirt (Source). His winning time of 1:58.31 on a similar sloppy track was faster than American Pharoah’s time of 1:58.46 in the 2015 Preakness Stakes. Admittedly, American Pharoah coasted home in last year’s Preakness, winning by 7 lengths. But last year’s race had faster fractions through 1 mile and I feel that Exaggerator would have given American Pharoah a run for his money if nothing else.

Nyquist 

Although many are disappointed that we won’t have a Triple Crown candidate entering Belmont this year, REJOICE! The sport has two great 3 year-old thoroughbreds. Despite the loss, Nyquist is still a great race horse. He is 8-1 and has won five Grade 1 stakes races. His $5.1 million dollars in race earnings ranks him in the top 50 all-time.

Some may question jockey Mario Gutierrez’s decision to get hooked up in a battle for the lead with Uncle Lino so early but it is hindsight vision. Nyquist was right where he needed to be but just didn’t have the final kick down the stretch that he had in the Kentucky Derby. I feel this was due to the track conditions. Nyquist had only run once on a wet track that was rated as “good” in the Florida Derby. I generally feel that he would have won today had the track surface been rated as fast or good. But Mother Nature intervened.

The Belmont Stakes on June 11th will hopefully offer a rematch of these two great thoroughbreds. And don’t forget about Dale Romans’ Cherry Wine who took a huge leap in improvement today with his surprise 2nd place finish. He looks like a horse who will excel in races 1 1/4 mile or longer.

–Michael

The 2016 Preakness Stakes Starting Lineup, Post Positions, Odds and Analysis

May 14th 2016 – Updated 5/21/2017 at 3:15 PM CST

Below are the entries, post-positions and morning line odds for the 2016 Preakness Stakes along with detailed profiles of each horse. I have also included projected order of finish if run on a dry, fast track. Note that a bold font text is hyperlinked to either a horse’s Equibase profile or a race video from Youtube. This is to aid in your own research.

Weather Report:  The track right now is rated as “Muddy” which is between “Good” and “Sloppy” More rain is expected but it seems as if it will be light showers right around race time. Overall, the track conditions currently thus far don’t seem to be affecting much. There is more speed in this race than the Kentucky Derby. So this helps closers who seem unaffected by the track conditions so long as they stay in the clear and out of the splatter from horses ahead of them. I am not concerned how Nyquist will handle these off track conditions.

***Horses who have raced on a sloppy track include: Exaggerator (1st – Santa Anita Derby), Uncle Lino (3rd – Santa Anita Derby), Abiding Star (1st – race at Parx 4/12/16), Cherry Wine (1st – race at Churchill Downs 11/28/15) and Fellowship (7th – Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes 9/5/15).

141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico – Race #13 – Post Time: 5:45 PM CST – NBC

1) Cherry Wine  (20/1) – My projected finish – 8th place
Career: 8 Starts 2-1-2-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>3rd
Sire:  Paddy O’Prado (Finished 6th in the 2010 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Dale Romans (2011 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Corey Lanerie
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:50.50 (calculated) – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 88  – 87.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  88 – Blue Grass Stakes

2) Uncle Lino  (20/1) –  My projected finish – 6th place
Career: 7 Starts 2-2-2-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo  
Trainer: Gary Sherlock 
Jockey: Fernando Perez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:51.02 (calculated) – Santa Anita Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 95  – 92.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  95 – California Chrome Stakes

3) Nyquist   (3/5) –  My projected finish – 1st place
Career: 8 Starts 8-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo  
Trainer: Doug O’Neill (2012 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez (2012 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.11 – Florida Derby
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.31Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 94, 103  – 98.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 –Kentucky Derby

4) Awesome Speed (30/1) –  My projected finish – 11th place
Career: 6 Starts 4-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>1st
Sire:  Awesome Again 
Trainer: Alan Goldberg
Jockey: Jevian Toledo
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:53.31 – Federico Tesio Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 74, 83  – 78.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  87 – Mucho Macho Man Stakes

5) Exaggerator (3/1) –  My projected finish – 3rd place (1st place if sloppy wet track)
Career: 10 Starts 4-3-1-1 
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Curlin (2007 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998 & 2008 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.66 – Santa Anita Derby
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.51 (calculated) – Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 103, 101  – 102 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – Santa Anita Derby

6) Lani (30/1) –  My projected finish – 9th place
Career: 7 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 5th–>1st–>9th
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga 
Jockey:  Yukata Take
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A – 1:52.84 (estimated time from 1900 Meter UAE Derby)
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:03.02 (calculated) – Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 83 (est), 87 – 85 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 87 –  Kentucky Derby

7) Collected (10/1) –  My projected finish – 4th place
Career: 6 Starts 4-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2010 & 2015 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2006 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.90 – Sunland Park Festival of Racing
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 90  – 90 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – Lexington Stakes

8) Laoban (30/1) –  My projected finish – 10th place
Career: 4 Starts 0-2-1-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>4th
Sire:  Uncle Mo 
Trainer: Eric Guillot
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:50.98 (calculated) – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 85, 84  – 84.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  85 – Gotham Stakes

9) Abiding Star (30/1) –  My projected finish – 7th place
Career: 11 Starts 5-1-1-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire:  Uncle Mo 
Trainer: Edward Allard
Jockey: J.D. Acosta
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 83, 91 – 87 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  91 – Parx Derby

10) Fellowship (30/1) –  My projected finish – 5th place
Career: 12 Starts 2-3-3-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>4th
Sire: Awesome of Course
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:49.79 – Florida Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 86  – 86.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  87 – Florida Derby

11) Stradivari (8/1) –  My projected finish – 2nd place
Career: 3 Starts 2-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 8th in 2002 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher 
Jockey: John Velazquez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.64Keeneland Allowance Race 4/17/16
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 79, 100  – 89.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100Keeneland Allowance Race 4/17/16


New Shooters

Todd Pletcher’s Stradivari represents the biggest new threat to Nyquist. Even though he has only raced three times, he proved to be exceptionally fast in his last start–an allowance race at Keeneland. He produced a very nice time of 1:48.64 in this 1 1/8th mile race and received a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his win. With that time, he would have blown away the Blue Grass Stakes field. Below is a video of the 2nd start of his career, a win at Gulfstream Park where he ran away from the field in a 1 1/16th mile race.

But we have been down this road before last year when Pletcher’s Materiality received a 109 Beyer Speed Figure in his 3rd start and win in the Florida Derby. Materiality went on to finish 6th in the Kentucky Derby and 8th in the Belmont Stakes. But note a couple of things. That Materiality’s time in the 1 1/8th mile 2015 Florida Derby was 1:52.30. Stradivari’s time of 1:48.64 in a 1 1/8th mile race at Keeneland was faster than Spectacular Bid and Holy Bull’s time of 1:50 flat in the Blue Grass Stakes. When comparing Materiality to Stradivari, nobody would say that Keeneland is a faster track than Gulfstream Park. Stradivari is a real threat to Nyquist.

Bob Baffert’s Collected is another new shooter than could hit the board. I felt he was good enough to be ranked in my top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders but he failed to secure enough points to make the field.

Betting Advice

Rain is being forecasted for the Baltimore area on Saturday with an 80% chance of showers. Click HERE for weather updates. This will affect handicapping as it did last year. Right now for a dry race,  I would lean towards a Trifecta bet of four horses keying Nyquist to win. So Nyquist over Exaggerator, Stradivari and Collected–3 over 5, 7, 11. A $10 bet of this type would cost $60.

Here is a $1 Superfecta bet I made that costs $24: 3, 5, 11, with 3, 5, 11, with 5, 7, 11, with 1, 2, 7

Interesting fact: 23 out of the last 26 Preakness Stakes winners ran in the Kentucky Derby, this makes Exaggerator a little more attractive betting option and especially so if the race turns out to be wet, sloppy one.

If the race is run on a sloppy track, then I like this order of finish: 1st – Exaggerator, 2nd – Nyquist, 3rd – Stradivari, 4th – Uncle Lino–5-3-11-2

–Michael

Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial and Blue Grass Stakes Previews

April 6th 2016

This coming Saturday April 9th are three big Derby Trail races–the Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby. All three have $1 Million dollar purses and offer 170 Derby points. The winner and 2nd place finishers in these races will qualify for the Kentucky Derby as they pay out 100 points for 1st and 40 points for 2nd. 40 points will be enough to get a horse into the Kentucky Derby. 3rd place and 4th place pay out 20 and 10 points respectively. You can follow the Kentucky Derby point standings by clicking HERE.

Below are the post-positions and morning line odds for all three races. Please note that all three races will be televised in NBC Sports between 4 and 6 PM Central Standard Time.

Wood Memorial Stakes – 1 1/8th Mile at Aqueduct- Race #10 Post Time: 4:30 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Shagaf – Ortiz Jr./Brown 2-1
2. Adventist – Carmouche/Gyarmati 10-1
3. Trojan Nation – Gryder/Gallagher 30-1
4. Tale of S’avall – Velasquez/Tagg 20-1
5. Flexibility – Franco/Brown 8-1
6. Matt King Coal – Ortiz/Rice 3-1
7. Dalmore – Alvarado/Desormeaux 12-1
8. Outwork – Velazquez/Pletcher 5-2

Commentary: My projected order of finish 8-6-1 (1st: Outwork, 2nd: Matt King Coal and 3rd Shagaf). I would probably recommend an 6-8 Boxed Exacta. Matt King Coal is a horse that has shown a lot of promise but has zero Derby points. So he must finish 1st or 2nd to make the Kentucky Derby field. Flexibility has 15 Derby points and needs to a top 3 finish to make the Derby.


Blue Grass Stakes 1 1/8th Mile at Keenland- Race #10 Post Time: 5:00 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Lookin for a Kiss – Gaffalione/Tomlinson 50-1
2. Donegal Moon – Garcia/Pletcher 5-1  
3. Cherry Wine – Lanerie/Romans 12-1
4. Zulu – Castellano/Pletcher 5-2
5. Crescent Drive – Graham/Amoss 20-1
6. Brody’s Cause – Saez/Romans 4-1
7. Laoban – Lezcano/Guillot 12-1
8. Twizz – Murrill/Maker 12-1
9. Goats Town – Albarado/Lukas 20-1
10. American Dubai – Landeros/Richards 20-1
11. Cards of Stone – Lopez/Pletcher 20-1
12. Zapperini – Torres/Foley 30-1
13. Star Hill – Jaramillo/Arnold 10-1
14. My Man Sam – Leparoux/Brown 10-1
AE. Pinson – Bravo/Maker 30-1
AE. Hint of Roses – Geroux/Maker 30-1

Commentary: Zulu is the class of this large field. I like his post position draw so I think he wins this one. It is difficult to project who will finish 2nd through 4th because we don’t know which Brody’s Cause will show up. The one who was a non-factor and finished 7th in the Tampa Bay Derby or the who showed great promise as a closer as a 2 year-old? He has 14 Derby points so he will need to finish in the top 3 to make the Kentucky Derby field. So my advice is to stick to win bets for Zulu or key him to win over Donegal Moon, Star Hill, My Man Sam and Brody’s Cause in Trifectas and Superfectas.


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Santa Anita Derby 1 1/8th Mile at Santa Anita Park- Race #8 Post Time: 5:30 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Denman’s Call – Bejarano/O’Neill 15-1
2. Exaggerator – Desormeaux/Desormeaux  4-1
3. Danzing Candy – Smith/Sise 9-5
4. Mor Spirit – Stevens/Baffert 8-5
5. Smokey Image – Espinoza/Gaines 15-1
6. Iron Rob – Elliott/Papaprodromou 12-1
7. Dressed in Hermes – Prat/Armstrong 15-1
8. Rare Candy – Talamo/Hofmans 30-1
9. Diplodocus – Baze/Baltas 30-1
10. Uncle Lino – Perez/Sherlock 20-1

Commentary: Danzing Candy benefited from getting out into the lead on a semi-damp track at Santa Anita to win the San Felipe Stakes back on March 12th. I watched the San Felipe live that day and my thought was that day that Mor Spirit will bounce back and win a rematch. So I would key #4 Mor Spirit to win in your Trifectas and Superfectas.

It is difficult to access if Smokey Image bounces back after a lackluster performance in the San Felipe. So I would recommend Trifectas 4 over 2,3 over 2,3. Exaggerator could excel with an additional furlong so don’t be surprised if he finishes 2nd. I am also perplexed how the Santa Anita handicapper could assign Uncle Lino 20-1 morning line odds when he finished 4th in the San Felipe and 2nd in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Denman’s Call and Iron Rob have never raced further than 7 furlongs. Iron Rob will probably be the early pacesetter in this race.

–Michael

2016 Rebel Stakes Preview – Suddenbreakingnews the morning line favorite

March 18th 2016
Coming up tomorrow at Oaklawn Park is the highly anticipated Rebel Stakes with a $900,000 purse that has attracted a full field of 14 horses. Four of these 3 year-olds were in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3: American Dubai (99-1), Cupid (36-1), Suddenbreakingnews (14-1) and Whitmore (42-1). Cherry Wine was absent in the last pool but was in Pool #2 at 31-1 final odds. Below are the post-positions and morning line odds.

Post Position/Horse (weight)/Jockey/Trainer
1. Creator (115) – Santana Jr./Asmussen – 6/1
1A. Madtap (117) – Nakatani/Asmussen – 6/1
2. Z Royal (115) – Vazquez/Lukas – 20/1
2X. Gray Sky (115) – Geroux/Lukas – 20/1
3. Ralis (117) – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 12/1
4. Cupid (115) – Garcia/Baffert – 7/2
5. Discreetness (122) – Court/Fires – 12/1
6. Siding Spring (115) – Rocco/Casse – 20/1
7. Spikes Shirl (115) – Castanon/Stewart – 30/1
8. American Dubai (115) – Landeros/Richards – 12/1
9. Cutacorner (117) – Birzer/Van Berg – 30/1
10. Whitmore (117) – Ortiz Jr./Moquett – 7/2
11. Cherry Wine (115) – Lanerie/Romans – 12/1
12. Suddenbreakingnews (122) – Quinonez/Von Hemel – 3/1


Overall, this will be an exciting race if the Southwest Stakes (shown below) was any indication. I think this race will come down to a battle between four horses: Cupid, Suddenbreakingnews, Madtap and Cherry Wine. Cupid was a scratch from the San Felipe last week at Santa Anita and shipped to Oaklawn Park for this race instead. Madtap raced at Oaklawn Park two weeks ago on March 5th and won with a very good time of 1:43.85 at the same 1 1/16th mile distance. Both of the horses may wear down in the stretch due to tiredness. So I feel that this race may set up well for another win by Suddenbreakingnews. I think this is a better race to watch than bet.

–Michael

 

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2

February 7th 2016 
Updated February 14th 2016 4:15 PM CST (see below)

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool #2 will be active this coming Friday February 12th at 11 AM CST through Sunday February 14th at 5PM CST. There are 13 new horses in this pool (shown with an asterisk).

Derby Wager Pool 2

1. Airoforce 20-1
2. Awesome Banner* 30-1
3. Brody’s Cause 30-1
4. Cherry Wine* 50-1
5. Cocked and Loaded 50-1
6. Collected* 30-1
7. Danzing Candy* 30-1
8. Discreetness* 50-1
9. Exaggerator 20-1
10. Gettysburg* 50-1 <–raced in Sam F. Davis Stakes 2/13/16 & finished a disappointing 5th
11. Gift Box 30-1
12. Greenpointcrusader 20-1
13. Gun Runner 50-1
14. Mo Tom* 50-1
15. Mohaymen 8-1
16. Mor Spirit 15-1
17. Nyquist 12-1
18. Shagaf* 30-1
19. Smokey Image* 30-1
20. Tom’s Ready* 50-1
21. Vorticity* 50-1
22. Whitmore* 50-1
23. Zulu* 30-1
24. Mutuel Field (All Others) 4-5

*Wagering interest not included in KDFW Pool 1

At this point in the future wager pool, I believe that the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner is somewhere in this pool so I would not place any bets on “All Others.” I expect that the bettors two favorites will be Mohaymen and Nyquist. I would give the nod to Mohaymen over Nyquist right now. However, I feel that 8-1 odds for Mohaymen is too short at this stage of the future wager pools. I still like Brody’s Cause and Exaggerator.

Overall, I was surprised that Mike Battaglia dropped Swipe, Flexibility and Sunny Ridge from Pool #1.  I was also surprised by the inclusion of these three horses: Whitmore, Tom’s Ready and Cherry Wine. I wouldn’t waste any money on these three nor would I place any money on Vorticity and Gun Runner.

Two horses that I feel will be liked too much by bettors and have final odds much lower than their on-track accomplishments warrant are: Mor Spirit and Zulu. Mor Spirit is a Bob Baffert-trained horse and his times and Beyer Speed Figures in the Los Alamitos Futurity and Robert B. Lewis Stakes aren’t even close to what Dortmund’s were last year. Zulu is a Todd Pletcher horse who is undefeated in 2 starts but has never raced further than 7 furlongs. He might be a “Miler” in the mode of Liam’s Map but I am skeptical of him being a threat in the Kentucky Derby at this point.

So below are five key horses to consider for your future wager.  Below these five are some other horses to consider if you can get a “price.”

1) MohaymenMorning Line Odds: 8-1

The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt is undefeated in 4 starts and posted an impressive time of 1:42.07 in the Holy Bull Stakes. When you watch that race and realize that he didn’t get off to the best start—yet he dealt with some traffic and then mowed down the field without being shown the whip–you have to be impressed. He is easily a sub 1:42 sec horse at the 1 1/16th mile race distance. Mohaymen is a half brother to the horse Frosted but he is way ahead of him at this stage of his career. His sire was Tapit so his pedigree suggests that he will like stretching out past 1 1/16th mile. His next start will be the Fountain of Youth Stakes on February 27th at Gulfstream Park.

Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0
Best 1 Mile Time: 1:36.01 – Nashua Stakes
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.07 – Holy Bull Stakes
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.92 – Remsen Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95- Holy Bull Stakes

2) Nyquist – Morning Line Odds: 12-1

The 2015 Eclipse 2 Year Old Male Horse of the Year. Winner of three Grade 1 Stakes races: The Del Mar Futurity, the FrontRunner Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. My way too early Kentucky Derby favorite proved that his declining Beyer Speed Figures wasn’t a concern with an impressive win in the Juvenile. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt is still undefeated in five starts. His stalking racing style reminds me of a young American Pharoah. Just remember the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile curse–the last horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that went on to win the Kentucky Derby was Street Sense in 2007. He is being pointed for the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park on February 15th and then the Florida Derby on April 2nd.

Career: 5 Starts 5-0-0-0
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.79 – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 89 – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

3) Brody’s Cause – Morning Line Odds: 30-1

Dale Roman’s winner of the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes. His sire was Giant’s Causeway who had a great career on the other side of the pond and finished 2nd in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic. This colt has excellent closing speed that he demonstrated above in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity as well as in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with his 3rd place finish. He looks to be a First Saturday in May horse. I think his 30-1 Morning Line Odds are a bit too long with his closing speed (I expected 20/1 M/L odds). He is being pegged for the Tampa Bay Derby March 12th. 

Career: 4 Starts 2-0-1-0
Best 1 Mile Time: 1:37.64 – Churchill Down MSW – Race #5
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.27 – Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 88 – Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity

4) Exaggerator – Morning Line Odds: 20-1

A Desormeaux brothers colt, they feel that he is more talented than Swipe. He finished 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then followed this effort with a win in the Delta Downs Jackpot with a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. Exaggerator’s sire was Curlin (2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner). Remember, his jockey Keith Desormeaux is a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby. His next start is expected to be the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita February 15th. 

Career: 6 Starts 3-1-0-1 
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.43 (calculated) Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – Delta Downs Jackpot

5) Smokey ImageMorning Line Odds: 30-1

He is undefeated in six starts, but five of his wins were at the 7 furlong distance or shorter. He might prove to be a better dirt-miler than a Derby horse. His next start is pegged to be the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park March 12th. That race will probably be a great litmus test to determine if this horse is for real as a Derby contender–or one who has just raced against inferior competition. However, a horse who has a nose for the finish line in 6 starts should not be ignored. I like him right around 30-1 or longer odds.

Career: 6 Starts 6-0-0-0
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.49 – California Cup Derby
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 85


Other horses to consider if you can get a “price” (live odds greater than 50-1)

Discreetness – winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes, undefeated in 4 starts. He has yet to race further than 1 mile.
Gift Box – Chad Brown’s colt resumed training January 19th. He finished 3rd behind Mohaymen and Flexibility in the Remsen Stakes.

Pay close attention to Exacta betting in this pool. This is where you can reap big rewards for just a few bucks.

Update February 13th 4:15 PM CST

Here are the top ten horses based upon current live odds:

  1. #24 – All Others – 3/1
  2. #15 – Mohaymen – 4/1
  3. #17 – Nyquist – 7/1
  4. #16 – Mo Spirit – 12/1
  5. #3 – Brody’s Cause – 14/1
  6. #1 – Airoforce – 15/1
  7. #19 – Smokey Image – 18/1
  8. #9 – Exaggerator – 22/1
  9. #23 – Zulu – 23/1
  10. #14 – Mo Tom – 30/1

My thoughts thus far–too much money is chasing Mohaymen (4/1 live odds) and Nyquist  (7/1 live odds) right now. We are still roughly 12 weeks out from the Kentucky Derby and a lot can happen between now and the first Saturday in May. To give you a perspective, American Pharoah had 5/1 final odds in the Kentucky Derby Pool #4 last year and he was given 5/2 Morning Line Odds for the Kentucky Derby when his live odds ended up at 2.9/1.

Right now, Exacta bets using these two and taking some flyers on a few other horses with Win bets look to be the best betting options. Brody’s Cause is 14-1 at the time of this update, so a $20 Win bet in this pool would pay back around $300. He offers more value at this point. Gift Box at 57-1 is very intriguing. Remember that he ran a 1:43 flat in a 1 1/16th mile race on a sloppy track at Belmont on October 3rd as a 2 year-old. See race HERE

Todd Pletcher’s Gettysburg (half brother to American Pharoah) was an intriguing prospect until when he ran a disappointing 5th in the Sam F. Davis Stakes today (see below)

Danzing Candy at 29-1 looks like a good option in this pool since he ridden by Mike Smith.

“All Others” currently at the time of this update is 3/1. Don’t forget that “All Others” in this pool includes Swipe who is supposed to resume training February 16th, Bob Baffert’s Cupid (half brother to Mohaymen due sharing the same sire Tapit) and Linda Rice’s Matt King Coal who resumed  training February 7th.

-Michael

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