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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Previews

Don't much care for the Florida Derby as a betting race.  It's a three horse race on paper (Pick of the Litter 6-1 ML coming off a maiden win against three weak opponents in an off-the-turfer, seriously?), and a two horse race in my view since I just don't much care for Shanghai Bobby (5-2) in the win spot stretching out to a mile and an eighth.  Think that one is facing a potential added complication in Merit Man, the Spectacular Bid winner stretching out for the first time and figuring to be on the front end early.  Itsmyluckyday (2-1) should be sitting the garden trip with his tactical speed.  And I take Shug McGaughey at his word when he says that Orb (3-1), comfortably in the Derby picture with 50 points picked up in the Fountain of Youth, doesn't have to win, just run well to go to Churchill.  So I guess I like Itsmyluckyday; but not much value to be found here.

Saw a quote from Shug saying that “Probably every morning I get up and do this, I’m dreaming of winning the Kentucky Derby." [Courier-Journal]  Yet he hasn't had a Derby runner since Saarland in 2002.  I'm sure he could have forced the issue like almost every other trainer does, so you gotta respect this horse down the road, if perhaps not in this race, though he surely wouldn't be a surprise.

Let's try instead the G3 Appleton at a mile on the grass, and take a shot with Cool Blue Red Hot (12-1).  Steps up to stakes company after his first career try on turf, in his 12th career start for trainer Angel Penna Jr, in which he rallied well to edge Pletcher's tough Finale, earning a top figure - at least the ones that I'm using these days.  Thinking that he can improve with a grass race under his belt, and in his third start of the form cycle after a lengthy layoff.  Cool Blue Red Hot is by Harlan's Holiday out of an Accelerator mare, and if you go back to his third dam, you'll find accomplished grass runners such as Turf Classic winner Cacoethes, Fiji, and Subordination.  Figures to get some pace to run at in this spot with Decisive Moment breaking from the inside,  El Commodore from the outside, and Silver Max in between.

In the Louisiana Derby, Palace Malice (5-1) ran a solid third in the Risen Star, which was his first try around two turns and beyond seven furlongs; and he goes third time in the form cycle for the Toddster.  He's never been out of the money, and I much prefer him on a value basis to stablemate and morning line favorite Revolutionary (3-1); at least at those odds.  Don't think the latter beat much in the Withers.  Honestly, I think those morning lines should be reversed, especially given that Palace Malice has the race over the track.  He's a son of Curlin out of a Royal Anthem mare; and this is the female family of the late bloomer Rail Trip.  Code West (9-2) survived a brutal pace duel in the Risen Star and came again to edge the top choice for third; figures to be busy early again with Proud Strike entered again and with the addition of the stretch-out sprinter Titletown Five; and the extra distance doesn't figure to help.

Back to Gulfstream, in the lucky 13th, Town Flirt (6-1) goes second off the layoff for trainer George Weaver, and this streaky barn is live now with two winners and a second from its last four starters here.  This five-year old daughter of Speightstown has shown a consistent affinity for this surface, and relished her return here on March 1 after a layoff.  Nearly checked out of contention entering the final turn, she bulled her way to an outside path and closed like gangbusters into quick closing fractions and missed by 3/4s to a hard-hitting Chad Brown mare in Scenario Analysis.  Paco Lopez replaces Castellano (off to Louisiana to ride Revolutionary); he's been on board for Weaver's two recent winners here.  Celestial Kitten (3-1) hasn't seen the winner's circle in awhile, but looks fastest on paper and should be included in exotics.  Best of luck and have a great day!


steve in nc said...

Nice to have you firmly back in the saddle again, Alan. Haven't gotten to the Fla Derby yet, but there's an interesting horse in race 1 at GP.

You won't get 30-1 on this one, but Shining Copper has been outworking Aboughazale's recent longshot GP winner by about 2 seconds each time. Drysdale had both horses in CA.

Last September, Shining Copper was already as fast as most of these are now, so if he's improved with growth... Not a longshot, but at least on the ML, not the chalk, and if he looks good, he's a play for me.

Unknown said...

Nice going Steve.

steve in nc said...

Thanks, Alan. A game of inches. I agree with you on the Fla Derby - looks like the two chalks in order to me. I'll watch.

steve in nc said...

So Orb might be the chalk? I think he gets exposed today, but still no value on Lucky/Bobby.

Alan Mann said...

Guess Orb turned out to be the value as 3rd choice, but easy to say now.