• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 5 days ago
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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Bada Bing Inc.

Final Four hangover cure ... Derby Wars!

By Tony Bada Bing 


If you’re like me and are shaking off the hangover that was Dubai Racing Festival, huge Florida Derby card at Gulfstream and NCAA Final Four, there’s no better time than to have a little of the dog that bit you and play any number of big games at Derby Wars today. The Fair Grounds ends their racing season with three grade II affairs, including the wide open Louisiana Derby. So let’s get after it by starting in the Big Easy… 


Fair Grounds Race 8, New Orleans Handicap, 1 1/8 miles 


Pants of Fire and Nehro return to the scene of their hotly contested 2011 Louisiana Derby. In that edition, Pants on Fire barely held on for the victory while Nehro found racing room and his best stride right before the wire. You’ll remember that Pants of Fire finished up the track at Churchill, while Nehro again closed well for a second place Derby finish. Nehro then went into the Thoroughbred Witness Protection Program before resurfacing six weeks ago, romping home in an allowance affair. The biggest threat to these two is Mission Impazible, a two-time stakes winner at the track (Louisiana and New Orleans), who was disregarded in the Donn Handicap where only a nose separated him and Hymn Book at the wire. The head says Mission Impazilbe, the heart says Nehro, who catches a break in the weights and has much better odds – Nehro it is. 


Fair Grounds Race 9, Mervin H. Muniz Handicap, about 1 1/8 miles on turf 


I overhead a gambler much wiser than I once say, “If a horse likes the Fair Grounds turf – which is unusually in its length and cut – take him on the return to the Fair Grounds.”   

There are three such returnees here today:  

  • Smart Bid, a two Fair Grounds turf winner, including last year’s Muniz 

  • Suntracer, a four-year-old, trying to bridge the gap from allowance winner to graded stakes winner 

  • Mr. Vegas whose latest trainer, Richard Scherer, has somehow turned this recent five-year-old from a NY-bred allowance winner into graded-stakes winner 


Suntracer has the juiciest odds, Mr. Vegas will have a strong say in the outcome from beginning to end and Smart Bid is your most likely winner. If Miguel Mena, aboard Mr. Vegas, is allowed to set leisurely fractions on the front end, he’ll be very tough to catch – that’s why he’s my top choice. 


Fair Grounds Race 10, Louisiana Derby, 1 1/8 miles  


While Cigar Street is likely to be the “wise guy horse,” I say he is more likely to bounce off such a strong maiden win three weeks ago than win here. Shared Property is the most likely candidate to improve while he breaks somewhere besides “out there” in double-digit post land. The Larry Jones entry looks to be toughest to beat. While Mark Valeski shows nice, steady progression in his speed figures (something I always like to see), Mr. Bowling may just bounce back in a big way. Problem is 2-1 or 3-1 is all you’ll probably get for your troubles. Windsurfer, a recent maiden breaker in Florida, intrigues the most and has been working well at Palm Meadows. At least he has one more win than long shot Flashy Sunrise. Zipping along in his workouts and adding the blinkers first-time, I say take a shot with Shared Property. 


Gulfstream Park Race 7, Maiden Claimers, 1 1/16 miles on turf 


If you love low-level claiming events in which horses are 0-for-their-last 12 than Gulfstream is the place for you today. Really can’t stomach or recommend much on the card, but let me give this race a timid pick: A Miss Named T. Why? Well, she just hasn’t lost as much as anyone else in here since she is only making her second start after a mildly interesting start, when she only finished 2 lengths behind the winner. She also gets a new trainer in Dale Romans and a new rider in Jesus Castanon, so why not? 


Gulfstream Race 9, Maiden Claimers, 1 mile 


This race is absolutely crying out for a first-time starter. In here we have just one, First Won, that is. The owner/trainer has not rolled out a first-tiime winner in two years, nor has he had a starter win going a mile or longer first out. All the more reason to take a shot, no one else will be and his odds promise to be high. At least First Won has put together some moderate to fast works and breaks from the outside. If he breaks well, you should have something to root for by the time the finish line creeps up. 


Santa Anita Race 4, Optional Claimer, 6 ½ furlongs down the turf 


My top choice in here goes against my feelings in picking a down the turf winner, mainly looking for experience in running this unusual course. My reason for changing course here is that Plenny of Henny is the only multiple winner in the field and overshadows this field in racing and winning experience. Will he take to the hill or the turf first time? Not sure, but I find him the most reasonable risk/reward bet in here. 



Time for a recap from Josh Chicorelli 


Saturday: $2,525 Saturday Big Game ($25 buy-in with 107 players) – (11 races using GP, SA, TP tracks) - Winner: Scott Pulcini (Icelam33 - $105.20) 


Scott Pulcini or better known as ‘Icelam33’ in DerbyWars took down a field of 107 to win the $1,000 prize last Saturday. Scott’s wagers totaled to $105.20 over the course of the eleven race card.  Hitting six out of those eleven, Mr. Pulcini started off hot hitting three out of the first four.  His largest hit on the day came in the 8th at GP when Storm Warnings paid $43.60 for the win-place.  Good job Scott! 


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Older Comments about Final Four hangover cure ... Derby Wars!...

There is no Final Four hangover cure if you live in Lawrence Kansas!
I'm disappointed too. I was looking forward to seeing him run. I hope he can be a force in the Handicap division in 2012
Starting to think a little straighter after a Bloody Mary - thanks to Isaac, my bartender - yes, default position with scratches is to take second choice, Mission Impazilble
Disappointed to see Nehro is scratched ... will you be going Mission Impazible instead?

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Tony Bada Bing began his lifelong quest of finding winners more than 35 years ago as a fifth grade student. This is when his grandfather first took him to the many Off Track Betting facilities sprinkled throughout Long Island, NY. While many kids his age were clamoring to hit the beach or an amusement park during summer vacation, Bada Bing was spending it in stuffy, smoked-filled rooms filled with retirees and reprobates listening to Marshall Cassidy on tape delay calling Saratoga.

This passion was further lit by his father, who took Bada Bing to East Boston's Suffolk Downs, only after Bada Bing learned to read the Racing Form. For most of his young adult life a summer rotation of NY OTB, Suffolk, and the now shuddered Rockingham Park in Salem, NH filled his betting days. 

Notable winners along the way: Willow Hour's and Runaway Groom's Travers wins as well as Derby winners Grindstone, Thunder Gulch (which he called in print the day before) and Super Saver. His latest quest is to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

Bada Bing plays tournaments at Derby Wars, bets through several account wagering sites and has blogged about Thoroughbred racing for the past four years. He prefers the bigger meets of NYRA and California as well as seasonal meets of Gulfstream, Churchill and Oaklawn. He likes vertical, multirace wagers like Pick 4s.

He has produced several Horse Racing Nation videos, in addition to blogging. He can be found at Twitter @tonycbadabing. While away from the track Bada Bing enjoys time with his wife, who tolerates and supports his passion, and his two children.


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