By Tony Bada Bing
Lots of big games today including the NFL’s conference championship games, but as far as we’re concerned Derby Wars
$5,000 pot presents the biggest opportunity to cash with only 49 other tournament players to beat. Today’s action comes from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, so let’s get after it…
The tight turns, most likely contested pace and a vulnerable favorite in Monument Hill means a closer at a price could get you off the snide and into the top spot early on. Consider Monument Hill’s last two wins were against straight claimers and you can see this company line may be just a tad above the six-year-olds abilities. With Exchange Kisses and Clear Attempt assuring an honest pace, two closers to strongly consider – Minnie Punt – stakes place with his New York breds and Middie – who has closed on both dirt and turf. I like the better price on Middie with Alex Solis aboard.
Gulfstream Race 10, Optional Claimer, 1 1/16mile turf
Let’s take one early and take one late here. Frolic’s Revenge has much experience in stakes company and has held herself in good account. Jockey Jose Lezcano should have this filly just off the lead in the middle of the track. Wholelottashakin had a lousy start in her last and still came within two lengths to of taking it all. Solis rides back which is a good sign.
Gulfstream Race 11, Conditional Claimer, 1 1/16 mile turf
Just take the longest shot likely to take the lead and who just might hang on – Road to Babylon.
Almost a certain play against for top two morning line choices – Midnight Transfer, who takes on winners for the first time and Drill, a promising two-year-old whose form has gone south of late. Sure either could win easily, but unless you’re playing it safe with a big lead in the Big Game pick someone else. Passing Game
did not appear to get the best of trips last time out following a similar stake win at Golden Gate in November. He may want nothing to do with the natural dirt, but at odds that will probably close around 8-1, he is worth a try.
Santa Anita Race 5, Maiden Claimer, 1 mile
Here’s a no-nonsense angle to explore – when a trainer has two horses going in the same race, why not take the higher priced entry? Lady Ten goes first out for Bob Baffert, who has the morning line second choice in Bella’s Fantasy. Sure Lady Ten is first out going two turns, but Baffert strikes at 20% with such runners. And riddle me this Batman, why does Baffert’s top jock go with the 6-1 choice?
Recap of last week’s Big Games
Allow me to begin and end with a double tournament winner – Milton Pena, aka Milton60. The man took home the top prizes in the $1,500 Big Game and the 10-player $1,000 game last Sunday for total winnings of $850. Milton started strong in the $1,500 game by hitting four of the first five races. He would hit only one more, but it was a biggie with Starship Freedom, which paid the tournament capping $64 in the win-place format. Here’s hoping Milton took this weekend off to give us other Derby War players a chance!
Recap complied by Josh Chicorelli