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Champagne Wishes and Derby Dreams

honor code

This Saturday at Belmont Park focus will be on the 2 year old colts as nine promising prospects will enter the gate in the 142nd running of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. I for one am very excited to see how this plays out.  It appears that there may be some very talented runners in here. And who knows, maybe we see some of these come the first Saturday in May. Now I know that may seem crazy, talking about the Derby in October, but I can’t help myself. This field appears to be legit and with a lot of upside. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Casiguapo – This one is a toss for me.  I don’t like that he’s on the rail and I believe he is in over his head here.

 2.  Ride on Curlin – He ran a big fig down at Ellis Park breaking his maiden, then came back to run ok in the Iroquois at Churchill.  He was wide that day and I have a feeling he will show a good account of himself here today. Whether that’s good enough, I don’t know.  I have him ranked a cut below the top contenders here but he may be one to keep our eye on in the future.

 3.  Havana – This Pletcher colt had a big win, with a huge 102 Beyer, while breaking his maiden at first asking at The Spa.  In my experience, horses that break their maidens with obnoxious figs usually regress next time out.  He may still be able to regress and win this but i'm against him today and will let him beat me.  I'll limit his use underneath in exotics.  With that being said, if he were to go out and improve off that 102 Beyer, we may have a freak on our hands.  I am very excited to see how he responds here even though i’m siding against

 4.  Debt Ceiling – I find this one to be very interesting.  I was visually impressed by his last win at Delaware.  I'll admit I wasn’t a fan of his at first, I bet against him in the Sanford at Saratoga, but I really do believe he has a sneaky shot in here.  I am concerned a little bit that he has no works since his last start, but to me he is to be considered a dangerous contender for win honors.

 5.  Honor Code – This is the one who intrigues me most.  His maiden (pictured above) was incredible and he looked marvelous visually in doing so.  The catch with this guy is was that win just a sloppy fluke?  I highly doubt.  He has been working well for this and I am really excited to see what he does in here.  Huge contender and my top pick in here.

 6.  Long on Value – Making his 2nd start since being transferred to Bill Mott.  He had a nice win two back at Delaware before throwing a clunker in the mud in the Hopeful.  He’s a tricky one to me.  I’m going to limit his use to underneath in the exotics today but he may be one to watch for in the future. 

 7.  Strong Mandate – I may be in the minority here, but i’m not sold on this one just yet. I know he has a pair of nice wins by big margins, but one was in the mud and the other on an easy lead – and visually speaking I wasn’t that impressed.  I’ll be scared not using him on the win end, but he will be limited to underneath use today.

 8.  Grand Arrival – This one is a toss for me.  I will use him underneath due to his improved work tab, just can’t endorse to win.

 9.  Intense Holiday – The other Pletcher.  He had a real easy go of it in his maiden win at Monmouth.  I will limit him to use underneath possibly, completely against on win end though.

The Play:  I will play Honor Code across the board.  In the pick 4, I will key off Honor Code and Debt Ceiling.  In the exacta, I will key Honor Code on top, with Debt Ceiling, Havana, Strong Mandate, and Long On Value underneath.  I may also play a trifecta keying off Honor Code, with Havana, Debt Ceiling, and Strong Mandate for 2nd, and punch the all button to round it out. 

 Good luck everyone in all your wagers.  Have a winning day.  Positive Vibes.

~Written by Michael Barry  


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