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
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.