To Phoenix, Arizona we go, to some of the final races of the Enlightened Derby Trails’, Minor division.
The Turf Paradise Derby is within this division, carrying a 50k purse for leading 3YOs, going 8.5 furlongs.
My top 3 here are 1-8-4. Actually I can’t even split hairs between the latter 2, but I will go ang the morning-line favoritism here.
Senor Friday is my top pick here, followed by Parking Permit and Midnight Reverie. Senor Friday is considered one of the top 3 favorites. We’ll slip down to Parking Permit. Breaking his maiden status following 4 races and a 6 week layoff, he managed a small new top in BRIS of 72. Following this, he scored a 79 in the Startac Stakes on this track, winning by a neck. Those last 2 races were his lone turf events. He returns to dirt today. I like him on the recent strength of his pace.
Midnight Reverie is the other price consideration. Maiden no more after 9 races, and a mile victory here just 11 days ago. He has taken a very similar image, scoring well first after layoff, then slight diminished returns thereafter. Last 2 races were 71 (turf debut), then an 80 coming back to dirt, albeit in ‘good’ condition.
No overlays to be found in this race. I think it to be a modestly valuable race, with 2 mid-price horses in the mix with a favorite hard to play against.
Of note, I’m playing against Prince Pierce, who did score EDT points from the Portland Meadows Juvenile placing.
Earlier in the Turf Paradise card, there is the Arizona Oaks for leading 3YO fillies. This is a mile race, for 30k. Top 3 here are longshot/overlay Frances Anna, then 2 favorites in Free My Soul and Stormy Music.
Frances Anna is not 15-1 as per morning line. She’s more like even-money. Won first race after 6 tries, then was 6th in the JJ Coady Sr, in a big stretch to 7.5 furlongs and her turf debut. Stretches further today and returns to dirt, really taking to this track. I like that she comes out of a small new top of 72. It’s pretty even with the percentages, but posts 1-3 in mile races are winning 16%. One bullet work since her last race on 1/26.
Next is the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. This race came into my view only recently, as it became the more important race in my EDT list. It’s one of the more lucrative Minors races at 100k. 13 horses are to contest the 9 furlongs. My top 3 are 9-3-5..the favored Kingly, then longshot/overlays The Creep and Data Hawk. Rey Coliman also factors as a longshot/overlay.
My main criteria for liking Data Hawk is twofold and timely; he posted 5 works at Golden Gate since his last race on 1/4, two of them competitively fast. Also, this late-running type showed some movement vs the leader by the 2nd call, while posting a 75 BRIS, a few ticks slower than his prior effort. In that race, his first on the all-weather, he scored a 79 while breaking maiden and proving his stamina beyond a mile.
The Creep has fared decently after reclaim by Doug O’Neill. His prior effort here was his lifetime best 83, finishing 2nd in the Gold Rush. I think he’ll like the turf-to-AW move here.
Rey Coliman won and broke maiden vs statebreds in his first exposure to AW. He’s been somewhat competitive since, with 3 cashes in 4 races. He scored a 76 in September, succeeded by a 79 last time out on 1/4 here; he showed some early movement vs leader there himself.
Finally there is the Risen Star, with no EDT but definitely actual Derby Trail impact. This race is for leading 3YOs, going 8.5 furlongs, for a $400k purse. Top 3 here are Frolic More, Plus Que Parfait, and Mr. Money. Overlays: Frolic More, Mr. Money and Dunph.
This is definitely a race I expect value across the placings. I’m totally going against favored War Of Will. I do so reluctantly as I have him in my Future Wager wins and exactas, out of Pool 2.
Frolic More ran a 94 last time out in an optional-claim race, this following a 2 month layoff, his first time at Fair Grounds and at a route. With that much time off and an increase in speed, I like playing the continuation factor. That was a huge run compared to others, so I’d expect to see a bounce. But it might not happen. He had some trouble out of the gate, and ran a bit wide in the latter stages. He easily could have run better.
Plus Que Parfait was 5th in the LeComte last time out here, and 2nd in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes with a 94. Nice pedigree compared to these (Point of Entry/Belvedere, out of Awesome Again). I see the LeComte result, which was 87, as a bounce. 9 of 32 races of this distance here have been won by his early/pressing style. 6 races were won from posts 1-3 He has points in my EDT series from the Heartland division.
Mr. Money also has EDT points,coming from his 4th place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He scored a small new top of 92 in that race, ahead of a 90 that was his maiden-breaker. Both races were routes at CD. I rank him as having the best tactical speed. Last 3 races at 2nd call: 113, 92, 82. He benefits from track bias the same way Plus Que Parfait does. Gained 2.25 lengths vs leader at 2nd call last time in the BC Juvenile. Posted a bunch of works ever since, 3 of them bullets.
Dunph was an early KY Derby contender for me last year, after finishing 9th in the KY Jockey Club, and 3rd in the Springboard Mile. Only horse in the field to win first off layoff or debut race with layoff since in this field. He’s waited the longest, 2 months, to stretch out.