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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

2014 Kentucky Derby: Gotham Stakes Plays

Extrasexyhippzster wins 2014 Miracle Wood.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

 

The 2014 Kentucky Derby Trail leads us back up to the Big Apple on Saturday as a field of eleven three year olds enter the gate for the Gotham Stakes (Gr.3) at Aqueduct. The field, while not star studded, does have some potential in my opinion and I found it be a very interesting race. The top pair from the Withers, Samraat and Uncle Sigh, return in this spot and if they decide to go at each other again like last time, we are in for another treat. Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a trio of contenders headed by Harpoon who narrowly missed in the Sam F. Davis last out at Tampa Bay. This will also serve as a welcome-back race for a very talented two year old, In Trouble, who was last seen in September taking down the Futurity at Belmont in his second career start. There is also a new face on the scene, Maryland invader Extrasexyhippzster, who ran very well in his most recent start while winning the Miracle Wood at Laurel with ease. This is a fun field with some potential and I look forward to seeing how this pans out. Here’s my take on the pace scenario and a close look at the field…

Pace – The pace doesn’t appear that it will be super fast, but I feel it may be really contested with several that like to race towards the front. In Trouble is going from a sprint to a route and while I think he will press, he may be right in the mix. Uncle Sigh and Samraat both like to race on the lead and I can’t really see them changing their style. Monopolize is adding blinkers and he may show better speed today as well. I think given the possible pace scenario I will lean towards the pressers and stalkers today.

In TroubleI am very intrigued by this Tony Dutrow trained colt. He will be making his 2014 debut here after flashing signs of talent in his perfect two year old campaign. He only raced twice, but one was in a very live maiden race at Saratoga that he took down that I was actually on hand for, and the other was in the Futurity (Gr. 2) at Belmont. He has been working well for this and I like the fact that Joe Rocco decides to fly up to stay aboard. While I do like him, he has a few major hurdles to overcome. This is his first start off of a layoff, and while he has shown he can fire fresh, this isn’t exactly the easiest spot for a return. He also will be racing around two turns for the first time and you really never know how they will handle it until they try. If he does handle it, I think he should be able sit a real nice trip pressing from the rail. I am going to consider him a contender, but I realize he does have some obstacles to overcome.

Financial MogulWhile I did not like his 2014 debut run in the Holy Bull, I am starting to think I may have been too harsh. It was his first start around two turns, in a really tough spot, while coming in off of a layoff. I do think he has a right to improve here and he has been working well for his second start off the bench. He should sit a nice trip stalking from the inside and for that reason I do view him as a slight contender in here. I do have concerns though, his only win has come in the slop going seven panels, but if he can improve I think he is the one who trips out in here. He may be worth adding into your multi-race wagers.

Uncle SighWhile he was valiant in defeat in a game effort in the Withers, I think he may get the same type of trip today. Except this time Samraat won’t be the only one breathing down his neck. Nakatani flies in to ride, which I thought was interesting, but I am siding against today. I wouldn’t be mad if he proved me wrong, I do think he is a cool horse, but I can’t see him getting a nice trip today. I am against.

Noble CornerstoneYou must watch this gelding’s behavior in the paddock and post parade. He was not a happy camper in his 2014 bow in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa and he did not run well at all. He left his race in gate as they say. I thought he was your most likely winner that day as I really liked his first two starts. He adds blinkers back on for this and if the price is right, he may be worth another chance in here. I consider him a marginal contender, but he must act right pre-race. He is another who may get a nice trip.

Monopolize – He is the first of the Todd Pletcher trio and I think he would really have to improve to contend here. His only win has come on an off track and I thought his last start was very unimpressive. I think he could cause problems up front while adding blinkers for the first time today, but on the win end I just can’t see it happening. I will pass.

Deceived - This colt enters open company for the first time and I feel like he may be in over his head. He did win by eight lengths in his last, but that was against much lesser than these and I wasn’t visually impressed by that effort either. I will pass on him today.

Classic Giacnroll – I wasn’t impressed with either of his stakes efforts here in New York and I do not seeing him turning it around today. I will pass.

SamraatThis colt has done nothing wrong so far as he is a perfect four for four, but I feel the waters got a touch deeper today. In the Withers, he faced only five other foes and it essentially turned into a match race with Uncle Sigh. He got the job done that day, and I do commend him for it, but I feel today he will have to deal with that same stubborn foe again and a few others who may be gunning for him from behind. It’s hard to knock him, but I am taking a shot against him. If he beats me, fine. I can live with that. I wish all the best for him, but I won’t be backing him today.

ExtrasexyhippzsterI feel like this is going to be the wise guy horse on Saturday, and I got to admit, I’m on board too. I thought his win in the Miracle Wood was really nice visually. He has never run poorly in all five of his starts and he does own a win over the strip, albeit on an off track. I think he should be able to work out a nice pressing trip right off the speed. He has been working well for his first soiree into graded stakes company and I am expecting a really nice effort. I give him a big chance.  

Master Lightning – The second Pletcher charge in the field is coming in off getting trounced by the one above in the Miracle Wood. I don’t like his chances today at all. I consider him to be on Pletcher’s “C” squad and I think he will have to do some major improving to even hit the board. I will pass on him at this time.

HarpoonAnd finally we come to the third, and last, of the Pletcher three. This guy’s story is a little more complicated than the others. He ran last out in the Sam F. Davis and I thought it was a pretty decent effort considering it was his first start verses winners and in stakes company (see S.F. Davis recap here). If he had drawn better for this, I would have really considered him on top. Since he has drawn widest of all, and considering the pace scenario, I have a feeling he is either going to get caught wide into the first turn, or he may have to drop back and be farther off the pace than he would like. I view him has having a slight chance, but I am against for the reasons stated. It would not shock me if he did end up winning, but I am going to use him underneath.

The Play – I am going to play against the top two from the Withers. If I were playing multi-race wagers I would use Extrasexyhippzster, In Trouble, Financial Mogul, and Noble Cornerstone. As for intra-race, I will play an Exacta keying Extrasexyhippzster and In Trouble on top, with that pair and Financial Mogul, Noble Cornerstone, Samraat, and Harpoon in the back.

As always, I hope I gave you folks some food for thought and either helped solidify your own selections, or turned you on to something you may have missed. I wish you all good luck at the windows and a fun day enjoying the races. Have a winning day, guys.

 

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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby: Gotham Stakes Plays...

Yes he is,but be careful in the future.There may be multiple entries in a race. If there are,the second entry would be 2 &2B. If you took it to the extreme and had a 3rd entry.That would be 3 &3C
Thanks. While I love the sport, I usually just bet to win but I've never gone big on a race with a 1A. so is In Trouble #2?
Just bet the #1 you get both horses Crown.
Random Question: I have never bet a race with this before. In trouble is in post position 1 but is listed as number 2 on DRF. also samraat is listed as 1A. how do I bet those at the window? would I put $ on 1A to win? is in trouble 2 or 1?
Yes,now that Famous is basically out of the picture and who knows what is going on with Noble Moon. There are only 2 remaining horses. Chrome and Indianapolis. As of right now ,i w ould have to say that Chrome is the leader in the Clubhouse. In my opinion,he is so much the best 3yo right now. The only thing that will stop him is an injury. Look at his last 2 races,Anne the next time Espinosa puts the whip on him will be the first time. Visually,this guy has been in a Hammerlock hold the entire race.He has been able to sit off of horses until the Jock says Go. This shows me that he relaxes . I am not smart enough to know what the distance limitations his bloodlines have in line for him.All i know is that on the Track,there has not been a more impressive Race Horse than him on Paper and also via the Eye Test. He has dominated his fields ala Smarty Jones and the ill fated Eskendeya. This horse is truly a beast. It will take one to beat him.As far as my eyes can see, i've yet to see another one around. Unless of course Dorothy can come into the picture. But i sure hope not. Let her beat up on the fillies. If Todd and Chef Boyardee are thinking of running outside of the box.Let The Travers be their laboratory. Til then,leave well enough alone.
Good news and thank you. Is Chrome now your derby guy?
Anne i just downloaded them. I see your girl Tiger is #1 overall in the Power numbers for the fillies. Ilook at the colts and i see the final race times. On the sheets i use California Chrome is the fastest of the 3yos'. On these he is almost rendered a turtle . I am loving this,better odds never hurt anybody.
No these are Overall speed and distance.i will download them from my bris account and let you know soon.
Thank you it seems like I might be able to incorporate that with old time ordinary racing form info since there are only a few races I might really be interested in. It would be prettyi tedious if someone played lots of races. In case you don't have and want any of these Primepower #s let me know. They are up to date thru the Risen Star and RA. Currently Dorothy is listed at 130.9, Noble Moon 136.7. I can see that these if they are an average don't take distance of the race into account.
Ann those are not the Thoro Graph speed sheets. If you mention The Prime Power , they sound like the Bris PPs'. The prime powere is just an overall rating of the top horse in the race.They take into consideration Spped / Pace and other variables and some up with a rating. My friend uses that when handicapping. Their accuracy is not that bad. Reading speed sheets is different,itis not as cut and dry as selecting the fastest horse. You have to look at the history of the horses. You must see how they got to where they are right now.Did they make the big abrupt move that might of hurt them or did they move very slowly and gradually.That in itself is a negative. The entire thing about handicapping with sheets.Try and identify who the developing horses are,bythat i mean their final times are constantly improving.Also identify when a horse runs an effort and how much time does he or she have to recover from it. I will give you 2 examples.Might not be popular with many,but when have i ever cared about that. Look at the 2 most discussed 3 yos on this site last year. Mind you ,the lower the number-the faster the horse. Palice Malice in the Belmont Stakes ran a "0" Very fast number. In the JCGC he ran a 1 and was awful in the BC.That means that although he was still running fast enough to be competetive. He never developed.He was faster in early June then he was in late September. The BC negative reaction was very predictable. To many efforts without a positive devepolpment. WTC on the other hand,in the Belmont he ran a "4" much slower in comparison.In the Pa. Drby ,he ran a "0" and then in the BC he ran a -2(that is minus) That means in the same span as P.M. he developed appx. 9 lengths,and it showed in his performance.
Hey, Tom, I got a group of those sheets, at least I think the ones you are talking about from Jennie Rees newsletter, every horse nominated for the derby. If thesse are the sheets you use can you tell me the interpretation of the Prime Power#? Thanks.
Don,based on the pace figures Harpoon has been running,unless they change strtegy and gun him to the front and extend a tremendous amount of energy. He will not sniff the lead within 5 or 6 lengths,if the big boys decide to go.Doubt Todd will be looking for a wire job here. I think he would be doing the Irish Jig with a 2nd or 3rd place finish.
Andy/Don i do not know if either of you subscribes to the theory of Bris Pace sheets. In my way of handicapping,i consider it the Holy Grail. Although the actual fractions of 24/48 come up slow on the actual time stamp. Based on the variant of the track that day,this was an extremely fast pace. To show you a comparison.Uncle Sigh in the race he won by daylight-the actual fractions were 23/48/1:42 (bris pace was 89/83/107) In the Stake he just ran in. the actual fractions were 24/48/1:46(Bris pace was 97/108/84) As for Samraat, in the race prior he went actual time 24/49/1:44(Bris pace 89/86/109) in the Stake the actual was same as Sigh 34/48/1:46(Bris pace 96/107/87). The Bris Net pars for this distance is 92/100/91. So you can see by that,if you subscribe to the theory.This was an extemely hot pace on a very dead surface. Being that it was contested,both horses in reality ran much better than they are given credit for. The only problem for them here is that the rail horse>In Trouble. He has the capacity to lay down faster early internal splits than the 2 mentioned above. This race just might set up big time for a closer,especially if none of the 3 Speeds decides to take back.
samraat & uncle sigh did make the Withers alot more fun to watch, but their fractions and time were real slow.. my going with Harpoon with a wire to wire win and Samraat fading in the stretch coming home.
Remember that on Withers Day the track was playing very slow. It will be very interesting to see what kind of fractions Samraat and Uncle Sigh carve out here.
harpoon wins

 Meet Michael Barry   

 

 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 

 

Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 

 

Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.

 

Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 

 

I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.