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HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

Live from NY (and CA), It's The Todd and Bob Show!

On Saturday the national horse racing spotlight will be on New York and California as Grade 1 stakes races, aka preps for the Kentucky Derby are on tap at Aqueduct (NY) and Santa Anita (CA) race courses. The races from New York and California will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network, starting at 6:00pm EDT. Both will be contested at 1 1/8 miles.

First up will be the $1,000,000 G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, race 11 (Post Time 6:28pm EDT).


There are ten (10) starters but many believe it is a two (2) horse race between a pair of undefeated colts, #8 – Verrazano (4-5) and #5 – Vyjack (4-1). The later is a perfect 4 for 4 lifetime, while Verrazano, unraced as a 2-year-old attempts has been very impressive during his 3 races in 2013.

Others in the Wood field who look to spring the upset are #1 – Chrisandthecapper (30-1), #2 – Normandy Invasion (5-1), #3 – Quinzieme Monarque (30-1), #4 – Elnaawi (12-1), #6 – Mr. Palmer (12-1), #7 – Always in a Tiz (15-1), #9 – Go Get the Basil (30-1) and #10 – Freedom Child (30-1).


HOW I SEE IT: After a quick review of the past performances, one fact sticks out like a sore thumb… Verrazano is the only legitimate speed in the race. Point, Set and Match! In his final tune-up, he outworked 4-year-old, graded stakes winning stablemate, Discreet Dancer. That’s scary! Unless Vyjack reverts back to his early speed style of running, this G1 event could turn out to be a walk in the park on the front end for Verrazano, even though I still question his ability to get the classic (10f) distance in the Kentucky Derby. If longshots like Chrisandthecapper and/or Freedom Child try “go” early, then look for Normandy Invasion, Elnaawi, Mr. Palmer and/or Always in a Tiz to shock the racing world.               

The Wood Memorial PLAY: $1 TRI Part-Wheel 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 with 5 with 2, 4, 6, 7, 8

Next up at Santa Anita on Saturday their 9th race is the $1,000,000 G1 Santa Anita Derby.
Breaking News: OnThursday morning, Hear the Ghost sustained a slight injury to his right leg". This injury not only forces him to scratch from this race, but he will miss all 3 Triple Crown races, as 90 days of rest is the remedy.   


Post Time is set for 4:00pm PDT (7pm EDT). With #2 – Hear The Ghost (5-2), winner of the G2 San Felipe Stakes now SCRATCHED from Saturday's race, #1 – Flashback (9-5) will likely be the odds on favorite. The gray son of Tapit is just one of trainer Bob Baffert’s triple threat.  The other two being his stablemate #3 – Power Broker (5-1) who makes his long awaited 3-year-old debut, having last raced in the BC Juvenile, finishing 5th, and #6 – Super Ninety Nine (6-1), winner of the Southwest Stakes @ OP but followed that with a disappointing 5th as the 6-5 favorite in the Rebel Stakes.

Others looking to earn their way in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with victory are #4 – Tiz a Minister (6-1) and #5 – Goldencents (6-1), third and fourth in the San Felipe. The longshots looking to score the upset will be #7 – Summer Exclusive (20-1) and #8 – Storm Fighter (20-1) fresh off a maiden scores, and #9 – Dirty Swagg (50-1) whose coming off a 3 month layoff after a last place (5th) effort in the G3 Sham Stakes @ SA. 

HOW I SEE IT: The top four finishers in the San Felipe return will one major change… Garrett Gomez replaces Julien Leparoux on Flashback.That’s huge. Gomez won’t force his mount into a suicidal pace, as was the case in the San Felipe, which could benefit other front runners. Look for Goldencents, Power Broker and Super Ninety Nine to lead the way into the backstretch. That will leave Flashback in the catbird seat along with longshots Storm Fighter and Dirty Swagg while Tiz A Minister will be in a different zip code until the quarter pole. The way Flashback has been bet in all of his races, he must have the talent, so maybe he shows it in here, now that he won't Hear The Ghost.       

The Santa Anita Derby PLAY: $2 TRI Part-Wheel 1, 3 with 1, 3 with 4, 6, 9  

* Drawings courtesy Mel @dailyracesfunies. To see more of Mel's work, click here.  


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Older Comments about Live from NY (and CA), It's The Todd and Bob Show!...

I have to rethink the SA Derby, have to go to Power Broker, he has had time to grow and he'll be fresh!!
Oooops, good catch Michael! My proof reader was in a hurry to get to Pimlico and skipped out on me. ;)
Have 2 been scratched from the Wood Gary. I thought there were 10 starters.
I love the bridge, too. VYJACK with the home track advantage and the versatility and 4-1 morning line.
The price should be right on Elnaawi.
I'm looking for Elnaawi to hugely upset the Wood.
Not so fast GQ...Verrazano may be the lone speed but these 3 year olds are still maturing, meaning anything can happen. And until Vyjack proves otherwise he is my selection for the Derby Roses. Out west 'The Dragon' holds all the aces...Flashback being my pick. Oh by the way...I love those Funnies!!
The Verrazano bridge is my favorite Mel toon yet ;-) Good luck Saturday, Gary!
great drawings by Mel, love her work!!!

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections.

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.

Get all of my selections via ProPicks Mobile, a FREE app for your smartphone that gives you FREE selections from a variety of handicappers.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney