Ride the Rainbow


We’ve been a little behind in getting some posts up – sadly work and life have gotten in the way – but we’re back for the big Florida Derby Day card at Gulfstream today which includes a mandatory payout (so you don’t have to be the only winner like the logo says) in the Rainbow-6. The carryover entering the day is over $4.7 million and the pool could well exceed $20 million.

Let’s take a look at the sequence.

Race 9 – The opener is a turf route for three year olds and we’re going to use the favorite, #7 Art Collection (9-5) but only defensively. He is first time Scooter Dickey after running third on debut for Chad Brown. Our top two are the two inside runners, #1 Wisely (5-1) and #2 Rhode Island (6-1) for Mark Hennig and Shug McGaughey respectively. Both trainers are better with second timers and both horses come out of a race where they were hurt by a very slow pace.

A – 1, 2
B – 7
C – none

Continue reading

Posted in Multi-Race Ticket Strategy, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Derby Trail Preview: Rebel (G2)

Today at Oaklawn, they run the Grade 2, $900,000 Rebel Stakes and it drew a strong field of 11, including several that come out of the strangely run Southwest Stakes.

Last month’s Southwest was run on a gold rail, which strongly aided the winner, My Boy Jack, and hurt several others.

Meanwhile, Solomini ships in from California for Bob Baffert in his first start after being DQ’d in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity.

Let’s go through the field.

#1 Title Ready (8-1) – He steps up from an allowance win for Steve Asmussen. The 89 Beyer earned that day is not that far off what he’ll need here and that race was off a nine-week layoff. The speed horse he dueled with (and defeated) last time came back to run 2nd with the same 82 Beyer he earned that day. It’s also noteworthy that his return race, by far his best race, was the first time he wore blinkers. This is an interesting, improving runner that should be a good price.

#2 Curlin’s Honor (12-1) – He’s 2-2 for Mark Casse but both wins have come sprinting and he has to get a lot faster. He is by Curlin and there is some route quality in the pedigree (including four-time dirt route winner Swinger’s Honor), but he’ll have to take a big step forward on figures.

#3 Solimini (3-2) – He ran a good race in the Breeders Cup while forging a fast pace on the dead rail. His DQ in the Los Alamitos Futurity was a little suspect, and Bob Baffert seemingly wins with everything he sends to Oaklawn. The deserving favorite starts from Gate 3, but he’s not unbeatable and the Baffert-factor means he’s probably a bit overbet in a race that features some interesting alternatives.

#4 Magnum Moon (7-2) – One of the interesting alternatives is Magnum Moon, who won on debut and then an allowance for Todd Pletcher. He overwhelmed a field at Tampa at 1-10 without being asked while stretching out to two-turns for the first time. But again, in an open race, here’s a horse that is going to take a lot of money and is facing a very good field. We’d use him in a Pick-4 but prefer others.

Continue reading

Posted in Derby Trail, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aqueduct All-Stakes Late Pick-4

Our last post of the day looks at the all-stakes late pick-4 at Aqueduct that finishes with the Gotham, a key Kentucky Derby prep race that came up pretty strong.

Let’s go through the sequence.

Race 7 (Stymie) – #3 Harlan Punch (3-1) won with a picture-perfect trip on Sunday and comes back on short rest to try here. While he’s been in good form and a mile is the perfect distance, he won’t get a better trip than Sunday (or ever) and he might have to run back to that race here. #5 Watershed (6-1) is our top pick. He didn’t like the slop last time and was hurt by being inside at Laurel two-back while turning back to a mile today. #6 Vulcan’s Forge (5-2) is a reliable late-runner for Todd Pletcher and gets back to a mile but could be overbet off a race in which he closed from behind a fast pace.

A – 5, 6
B – none
C – 3

Race 8 (Heavenly Prize) – #1 Divine Miss Grey (2-1) has been in great form and can handle any pace scenario. Plus, with the scratch of Bishop’s Pond, the pace up front should be a little slower than expected. We’re leaning on her but will back-up with #3 Highway Star (3-1) who has some back races though her form tailed off last year. #7 Holiday Disguise (7-2) is hurt by the scratch of Bishop’s Pond but is very talented and should improve in her second start off a long layoff.

A – 1
B – none
C – 3, 7

Race 9 (Tom Fool) – #1 Green Gratto (20-1) has been embroiled in some fast paces lately and meets his easiest pace scenario in some time. He’s popped at big prices before and will be a huge price. #4 Threefiveindia (5-1) might be a touch below but also might have been too close to a fast pace last time and he’ll get the jump on the late runners. #5 Skyler’s Scramjet (9-2) might not have liked the mud last time despite winning and has been in great form for Michelle Nevin. We’ll also use #10 Spartiatis (15-1) who goes out as a big price for Rudy Rodriguez and is drawn well on the outside.

A – 1, 4, 5
B – 10
C – none

Continue reading

Posted in Multi-Race Ticket Strategy, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tampa Bay All-Stakes Pick-5

Tampa Bay Downs runs an excellent all-stakes pick-5 on Saturday that wraps up with the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, the biggest race of their meeting.

Let’s take a look at the sequence, which begins on race 7 at 3:15 pm.

Race 7 (Columbia Stakes) – This is a turf mile for three year olds and we like #2 Captivating Moon (5-1) for trainer Chris Block. His prep for this was very good as he closed well into a slow pace after being slammed at the start. His other previous turf start was a strong close to win on debut at Arlington. #7 Gidu (2-1) is the obvious favorite and ran very well tracking a solid pace behind a good rival in Speed Franco last time in the Dania Beach at Gulfstream. We do want to use #9 Street Copper (8-1) on the ticket after he was compromised by a slow pace last time and two-back ran into the impressive Maraud, who last week won the Palm Beach at Gulfstream. We’ll throw in #5 John Tipmann (15-1), who was a good second to the talented Snapper Sinclair behind a moderate pace at Kentucky Downs in his lone other turf start.

A – 2, 7
B – 9
C – 5

Continue reading

Posted in Multi-Race Ticket Strategy, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Derby Trail Preview: Tampa Bay Derby (G2)

The biggest race of the season at Tampa Bay Downs comes today as they run the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, a key Derby prep race.

Previously: San Felipe, Gotham.

The race is headed by Flameaway, who won the local prep in the Sam Davis last month.

One important note: Free Drop Billy and Enticed were cross-entered here and in the Gotham due to questions about travel in light of the nor’easter that hit the northeast last week. They did get travel to New York, so they will both scratch out of here. Because they were entered, and thus accounted for in the morning line, keep in mind that the actual prices of the runners will be lower across the board.

Let’s go through the field.

#1 Arazi Like Move (50-1) – He’ll go two-turns for the first time and will try to move from off the pace. He just feels way overmatched after getting beaten by 23 lengths in the Pasco last time behind World of Trouble, a contender in here.

#2 Tiz Mischief (8-1) – We’ve been fans of this horse since his impressive maiden-breaker at Keeneland in the fall. He was a good second in the Kentucky Jockey Club, and we were excited to see his return in the Holy Bull last month…and he was terrible. He moved up on the far turn, angled out, and had nothing in the stretch, beaten 13 lengths by Audible. Is it possible that he needed the race or didn’t like Gulfstream? Yes. He obviously needs to improve today, but we still think this is a talented charge and we’re expecting him to fire. It should be noted that he did run his best career pace figure in that return race and while the fractions weren’t blazing, per se, he did have to use a little more energy chasing, as he was closer to the pace. We’re going to look in his direction for the upset this afternoon.

Continue reading

Posted in Derby Trail, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Derby Trail Preview: Gotham (G3)

An excellent card at Aqueduct on Saturday wraps up with the Gotham (G3), the local prep for next month’s Wood Memorial.

Previously: San Felipe.

The race is headed by Firenze Fire, who has been based in New York this winter and Florida invaders Free Drop Billy and Enticed, who both exit the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.

Let’s go through the field and remember, this is a one-turn mile.

#1 Dial Operator (10-1) – We are rooting for this Jersey-bred who comes in out of an impressive 4 1/2 length allowance win at Laurel for Jason Servis. Both of his wins have been impressive, though the first was against Jersey-breds and the allowance win did fall apart. Further, he has to stretch for 5.5 furlongs out to a mile and deal with some pretty talented runners. We could use him underneath, but it’s tough to get him to the winner’s circle.

Continue reading

Posted in Derby Trail, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Derby Trail Preview: San Felipe (G2)

There are three Derby preps on Saturday: the San Felipe at Santa Anita, the Gotham at Aqueduct, and the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. We’ll have previews of all three on the site in what should be a very interesting day on the Derby trail.

(We also owe you recaps of the Risen Star, Southwest, and Fountain of Youth and those will all come out, along with recaps of Saturday’s races, beginning on Sunday).

We’ll start with the San Felipe, which probably has the most star power but is also, at least in our opinion, the least interesting of the three races from a betting perspective.

Let’s take a look at the field.

#1 Bolt d’Oro (2-1) – First of all, we agree with the morning line that has this horse, who was third with a very wide trip at 3-5 in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, as the second choice and McKinzie as the 8-5 favorite. Bolt d’Oro, who does bring in Javier Castellano to ride for this race, missed a scheduled start in the seven furlong San Vicente and has apparently has been a bit up and down in his training for his first start in four months. Plus, among trainers, we’ll tend to trust Bob Baffert over the inexperienced Mick Ruis. Bolt d’Oro did draw well and he does get some pace to attack, but we prefer McKinzie to win.

#2 Lombo (8-1) – Lombo stretched out from 6.5 furlongs to win the Lewis going 8.5 furlongs last month, setting a strong pace and wiring the field. That said, he beat a far weaker field than this one and has to deal with other pace in this race.

#3 Ayacara (8-1) – We liked Ayacara last time and he ran pretty well, making more of a grinding move in a race won wire to wire. Still, he was inside all the way saving ground, and the pace was fast. It was a decent effort and he is improving. We’ll have a few McKinzie / Ayacara exactas, but it’s hard to see him jump all the way up and win.

Continue reading

Posted in Derby Trail, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through the Card – Gulfstream Saturday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream has put together an excellent 14-race card on Saturday that features nine stakes races, and an excellent three-year old Maiden Special Weight.

Race 4 – The Very One (G3) – Fillies & Mares go 9.5 furlongs and #3 Daring Duchess (8-5), who wired a solid field when winning at this distance on December 30th, is the favorite. She’s the lone speed again here, with only #4 Holy Helena (7-2) and #5 Empress of the Nile (12-1) able to keep her honest. We are going to try #2 Westit (9-2), hoping she gets a little pace and an assist from one of Holy Helena or Empress of the Nile, and that the stretch out will help this daughter of Tapit. She seems to be heading in the right direction over her last few starts (she was very wide three-back, buried inside two-back, and last time maybe found the field a little too tough though she just ran ok there).

Race 5 – Sand Springs – #1 Celestine (3-5) is odds-on in her career finale but got beat as the favorite last time and is often overbet. We want to take a small shot with #3 Grizzel (5-1). As a three-year old, she ran a good race in the Belmont Oaks, pressing a fast pace and holding on for fifth. She had traffic in the stretch in the Colleen and then was thrown in against tough older rivals in the Canadian. Something went amiss in the Ontario Derby and she’s fresh for this one, plus she lures Javier Castellano. She might need one off the bench, but she’s the interesting alternative.

Race 6 – Palm Beach (G3) – #1 Speed Franco (3-1) won the Dania Beach last time and his two best races have been on turf with give in the ground, which he will not get today. #6 Therapist (5-2) is way too short a price (though Maraud will likely be the second choice). Therapist won the Awad with the most perfect of trips and might need one off the layoff. We’re not sure how good he is. #7 Hawkish (8-1) was very impressive in debut. The runner-up improved his figure two points in a win. The sixth place finisher improved 10 points in finishing second next out. We still, however, have some doubts about how good the field was that he beat and he could be the wise-guy horse. We’re leaning on #2 Maraud (3-1) in here. We really liked his allowance win on January 13th and while he got dusted by Speed Franco in the Pulpit, Speed Franco loved the soft going that day.

Race 7 – Herecomesthebride (G3) – #3 Thewayiam (2-1) hasn’t run especially fast and has won with two perfect trips in her two starts at this meet. We’re leaning on #4 Brattata (5-2) in multis. She had excuses in several of her starts at two (buried inside on October 7th, slow start, wide run on November 4th, and wide off good rail, wire to wire winner on December 3rd) before coming back to crush a maiden field on February 4th. This race starts the middle pick-4 and we’ll be leaning on Brattata.

Continue reading

Posted in Spot Plays, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Derby Trail Preview: The Fountain of Youth (G2)

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Greetings from Hallandale Beach, home of Gulfstream Park and Saturday’s G2 Fountain of Youth. This stop along the Derby trail features the return of Good Magic, last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile winner.

It’s the last of 14 on a marathon Saturday card that features eight additional stakes races and a 3 year old Maiden Special Weight that features Orb’s full brother Personal Time. We’ll look at some other spots in our next post.

Let’s go through the field.

#1 He Takes Charge (20-1) – He’s taken a long time to get going but did register a nice win three weeks ago, leveling off very nicely in the late stages. He’s drawn perfectly, and this is only his second time going two-turns on a fast track.

“He’s the type that goofs off before, during, and after a race. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before things really start clicking for him,” said trainer Mark Casse (via DRF).

#2 Free Drop Billy (9-2) – Some news broke late Friday that trainer Dale Romans might scratch him to run next week in the Gotham.

We’ll see which way Romans decides. He ran pretty well in the Holy Bull, but Audible flicked him aside at the top of the stretch, so it wasn’t a very appealing finish. That race did, however, come up pretty fast. FDB is again drawn very well and is logical though as the second choice, he won’t offer any value.

Continue reading

Posted in Derby Trail, Stakes Preview | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment