It’s difficult at best how the Santa Anita indefinite closing will impact the Derby Trail.
Namely, which track will get to host works and, hopefully, racing, to secure the stakes that were to be run on 3/9 and the later ones toward April. The championship series definitely takes a hit, but who will get the opportunity? And, will it be safe?
I’m all for getting horses the proper care and feeding. Hopefully, us horseplayers will having something great to root for alongside the other Trail races. No racing Saturday means no San Felipe, which almost cements the resume anyway for Improbable and Game Winner. The timing is such that the next round of Future Wagers could lower their value further, and beyond that toward the Run for All Those Roses itself. Conspiracy, perhaps?
On the Oaks side, the cancellation also impacts equally and profoundly. Of the 23 Oaks
horses involved, 2 are set to run the Santa Ysabel. It’s less guesswork for me to figure out
who will be in the field of 14 in May, but it leaves questions as to who is really in shape and ready.
For the Enlightened Derby Trails, I’ve taken out the SA Derby. It will probably be replaced by one of the other CA tracks, which in turn will replace one of my Minor division stakes racing involved in my point scheme.
Within the Trails, we’ll start on the Derby side and the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs (South division), and the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park (also in the South). The other 3 races in the South division (Louisiana, Sunland and Florida Derbys) take place on 3/23, 3/24
Going from earliest post time order, we’ll start on the Oaks side:
FLORIDA OAKS, 8.5 furlongs, 200k purse, Grade 3.
Top 3: 4-3-5…. Elsa, Winter Sunset, Concrete Rose
Projected overlays: None. I would consider the two big longshots, Margaret’s Joy and Zarina,
both 30-1, as overlays. Per my own rules on wagering overlays, they’d both have to be worth
better than 15-1 to be worth wagering. These are false overlays.
Throw-outs: 8,9 (Her Royal Highness, Winning Envelope)
Of the 5 preps, this is the one that any favorite has any true chance of hitting the board. All
5 are basically opportunities for big scores. If you can project the top favorites out of the
top 3, you can prepare in confidence for a profit.
Elsa won her maiden debut, then was 3rd in a stakes event at Saratoga, then 7th in a
bouncing effort in the Selma. After a 2 month layoff she put in her best effort yet with a 90
win in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante, first time at a route.. Last out, 2nd with a 76 in teh
Lanerie. She’s on the uptick of a good up-down speed figure pattern. Also an in-out pattern
of using Joe Bravo, who did ride her in the Jimmy Durante.
Winter Sunset won both lifetime starts, first in a maiden 38k event, then the Lanerie on 2/9,
both at Fair Grounds. Both scores were in the 70s. I like that she put up a small new top at
3, first race out, ahead of her 2YO best.
My odds: La Feve 14-1; Mega Fortune 23-1; Winter Sunset 5-1; Elsa 3-1, Concrete Rose 5-1,
Zarina 23-1, Blowout 13-1, Stellar Agent 6-1, Margaret’s Joy 23-1.
I don’t do the ABC charts, but I’d separate them this way by my ranks:
A: 435 B: 10,7 C: 2,11
By my odds:
A 1 B: 3,5,10 C:11
I’m not sure what to make of this, but 3,5,10 and 11 seem worthy in both lines. Margaret’s
Joy would then seem to be a true overlay. My only interest in liking her is that she has great
late speed, as evidenced by her maiden debut.
GOTHAM STAKES: 1 mile, 300k, Grade 3.
Top 3: 5-8-3… Haikal, Tikhvin Flew, Mind Control
Projected overlays:Haikal, Tikhvin Flew
Throwouts: Much Better
Haikal was 2nd by a neck in his maiden debut at Aqueduct with a stellar 92 score. Switching
from Irad Ortiz to Rajiv Maragh, he won by a neck in another maiden race at Aqueduct, this
time earning a 95. Debuting at 3, he won the Winkfield at Aqueduct by a neck with a score
of 99. I like the small new top angle for his 3YO debut. It stands out even more as it came
after a 7 week layoff, plus a nice gain between 1st and 2nd call. This late closer also has the
best tactical speed of the field.
Tikhvin Flew won his maiden debut at Aqueduct with a 99, by 1.75 lengths. He finished 3rd
in the Winkfield, scoring a 97. Best AWD numbers (Street Sense/Chatique, out of Deputy
Minister). The 2 big speed figure results make him a huge threat. 41% of mile races on
Aqueduct’s main track have been won by front-running speed horses.
ABC chart by odds: 5/8,1,3/7
ABC chart by rank: 5/8,3/1
Family Biz may be the lone surprise, coming out of a small new top in his 3rd race at age 3.
He was 4th in the Winkfield, making some ground up near the 2nd call.
My odds: Haikal 6-5; Tikhvin Flew 6-1. Mind Control 3-1, Family Biz 3-1 Not That Brady 9
-1, Knicks Go 17-1, Instagrand 17-1.
TAMPA BAY DERBY: 8.5 furlongs, 400k purse, Grade 2.
Top 3: 8-11-4..The Right Path, Zenden, Dream Maker
Projected overlays: The Right Path, Zenden, Lord Dragon.
Throwouts: Admire, Outshine, Tacitus.
The Right Path won his maiden debut at Aqueduct with an 92, by 3.5 lengths. After being
claimed by Jorge Duarte from leading trainer Alan Goldberg, The Right Path was given 3
months off and some time in Florida. He finished 3rd last out in an optional claimer 75k
race, with a 91 score. I like the consistency of his two scores. His 3rd place finish was
officially listed as 2nd after a DQ, and being steadied at the eighth pole.
Zenden has raced thrice at Gulstream, all sprints, finishing with 2 wins and 1 2nd. A 92 in
his maiden debut, 98 winner in the Buffalo Man, and 88 in the Grade 3 Swale. I figure he’ll
bounce back this time. His 2nd call pace numbers: 97, 111, 104.
Lord Dragon for the upset. It took him 6 tries to break maiden, which he did last time out on
1/25 on this track. No quicker race than this one, with an 85. It does represent a small new
top than his best at 2, with an 81. Will it translate? I sure hope so.
ABC chart by odds: 3, 11, 5/7,8/2,4,9
ABC chart by rank: 8,2,11,4,9/7
One more: Win Win Win, a proverbial favorite, probably can’t be ruled out completely, as he
is the speed of the field, and posted the best speed figure for both the track. First off layoff,
he should be well rested for this one. 5 workouts, last 2 were bullets.
My odds: Win Win Win 4-1, Lord Dragon 5-2, Zenden 5-2, The Right Path 4-1, Well Defined
7-2; Sir Winston, Dream Maker and Dunph each 11-1
BOURBONETTE OAKS: 1 mile, 100k purse, on Turfway Park’s all-weather track.
Top 3: 5-8-2…Into Trouble, Malibu Party, Naughty Joker
Projected overlays: Malibu Party
Into Trouble the proverbial favorite at a lukewarm 4-1, which makes this race attractive for
value, no matter which way to bet.
Malibu Party still a maiden after 8 races, getting 3 2nds and 1 3rd. 3rd last time out in a 50k
stakes race here at Turfway. She gained from 70 to set a small new top of 80. That race was
a cutback in distance from a mile, and she returns to a mile here. The race last out was key.
First after layoff, she improved both in pace number and lengths behind leader at 2nd call.
ABC chart by odds: 5/2/8
ABC chart by rank: 5/289/4, 12
My odds: Into Trouble 4-5, Naughty Joker 5-1, Malibu Party 7-1, Unapologetic Me 9-1,
JEFF RUBY STEAKS: 9 furlongs, 200k purse, Grade 3.
Top 3: 2-5-9 Moonster, Baytown Jimbo, Curlin Grey
Projected overlays: Moonster, Baytown JImbo
Moonster increased from 78 to 80 first after layoff, last time out, and a 1-length gain on the
leader by the 2nd call
Baytown Jimbo has the best AWD numbers of this field (Artie Schiller/Whispered, out of
Medicean). The current pace pattern suggests that he bounced last time out in the Display,
and should bounce back. 4 works since that race, last 2 very fast, one a bullet. 35% of teh
the all-weather route races run here during the meet have been won by early/pressing types.
Also 15% have been won from posts 4 through 7.
ABC chart by odds: 2/5/3,9,10
ABC chart by rank: 2,3,5,9,10/8
My odds: Baytown Jimbo 5-1, Somelikeithotbrown 7-1, Curlin Grey 7-1, Twelfthofneverland
9-1, Five Star General 7-1, Moonster 2-1
Later tonight, I will post about the 2 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks pools, which
commence on Friday 3/8