How One Man Sees Saturday's Coast to Coast Derby Preps

March 09, 2013 05:10am

The Derby Trail stretches from coast to coast this weekend. First making a stop in Florida for the Tampa Bay Derby then onward to southern California for the San Felipe Stakes, both contested on Saturday (March 9th). Winner of each race will earn 50 Derby system points, which just might be enough to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The $350,000 Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs race course is contested at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt track. It’s race 10 on the card and features a field of 9 runners, including the lightly raced, but much hyped 4-5 Morning Line favorite #6 – Verrazano. The More Than Ready colt is 2 for 2 with an impressive 16 length victory over #1 – Eton Blue (20-1), in his last start at Gulfstream. The rest of the field are no pushovers. #2 – Purple Egg (10-1) is a perfect 3 for 3 in making his 3 y.o. debut. The Sam F. Davis winner #9 - Falling Sky (10-1) and runner-up #5 - Dynamic Sky (4-1) are back for Round 2. Other Gulfstream Park invaders include G2Hutcheson Stakes winner #3 - Honorable Dillon (6-1), #7 - Offlee Fast (30-1) 2nd a neck to another Derby contender Capo Bastone, while another undefeated (2-for-2) colt, #8 - Park City (12-1) tries two-turns for Starlight Stable, who also owns reigning 2 y.o. champ, Shanghai Bobby.

HOW I SEE IT: Offlee Fast, Verrazano and Falling Sky will try to get first run into the clubhouse turn and guarantee a swift, early pace. At this point if Verrazano gets the upper hand heading into the backstretch, he’ll be tough to reel-in. But if he is pressed, look for the Purple Egg and Honorable Dillon to secure a nice stalking position, ready to make their run entering the stretch. Trainer Nick Zito is desperate for a Derby horse, so his hopes lie on Eton Blue, 2nd to Verrazano last time out, but sheds 4 lbs. for this contest, and could be heard from in deep stretch along with Park City and making his 3-year-old debut #4 – Java’s War (12-1).

Tampa Bay Derby PLAY: #5 - (Dynamic Sky) $10 WIN, $20 PLACE; $2 Ex Box 3-5-6

The $300,000 Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park is race 7 and scheduled for a 3:35pm PST Post Time. Eight (8) 3 year-olds will travel 1 1/16th miles over the natural dirt track. The Morning Line favorite is #2 - Flashback (8-5), gate to wire winner of the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. He’ll take on the Delta Jackpot and Sham Stakes victor #3 - Goldencents (2-1). Both have the same running style… quick from the gate and on or near the early lead. This tactic could be the undoing of both colts if at least one is not quite in top condition. It’s far from being a two horse race because #5 – Hear the Ghost (6-1), bred to go long gets his first chance to go beyond 6 furlongs in his third career start, while #6 – Tiz a Minister (12-1) a CA-bred, is a deep closer making his 10th career start after winning the CA Breeders' Champion Stakes on Jan. 26th gets Garrett Gomez back in the irons.

Others in the field are #1 - Carving (15-1) looking to rebound from his 4th place finish in the G3 El Camino Real Derby; #4 - Kochees (15-1) adds blinkers after being 4th in a stacked, one mile Optional Claiming race won by Super Ninety Nine (won Southwest Stakes next out) and runner-up was Code West (who ran 2nd in Risen Star Stakes next out); #7 – Salutos Amigos (6-1) who will help push Flashback and Goldendcents early and #8 – Omega Star (6-1) the only gelding in the field, 2nd to Tiz a Minister in his last outing.

HOW I SEE IT: A speed duel between Falshback and Goldencents, with Carving, Kochees, Hear the Ghost and Salutos Amigos in the second flight while Tiz a Minister and Omega Star have the best view of the field until the far turn, when the real racing begins. Look for Kochees and Hear the Ghost to begin their assault on the front-runners while the two trailers begin to pick up their hoofs, finally getting out of 2nd gear. By mid-stretch we'll find out who is more game, Flashback or Goldencents, as one will surely weaken in the final furlong. Flashback will really need to be special to hold off the late run from Hear the Ghost, Kochees and Tiz the Minister. Whether he is special will be answered at approximately 3:37pm PST.

San Felipe PLAY: #5 - (Hear The Ghost) $10 WIN, $20 PLACE; $2 Ex Box 4-5-6

Recapping the previously posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, Mar. 2nd had 6 winners from 9 races (4 Top Selection; pay-offs shown in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $3.20 (1st race), $3.80 (3rd), $9.00 (4th), $15.60 (6th), $2.80 (8th) and $4.40 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (9 2-0-0) Legally Included (7-2 PT; 5-1 M/L) was bumped at the break and settled way off the pace. Saving ground along the rail rallied from last (6th) entering the stretch, engaging a rival at the eighth pole and was game to the wire to win by a neck, returning $9.00 to WIN, $4.40 to PLACE and $3.60 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (9 0-0-2) Our Favorite (8-1 PT; 15-1 M/L) lacked speed early in the contest, was hung 6 wide on the turn and only showed little interest for a minor share losing SHOW money by a head and a nose, finishing 5th.


1st race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o.& up – 1 1/8 miles 

#2 – Delirious Tide  (5-2)

#5 – Ridley Creek Road  (2-1)

#6 – Big Phil (5-1)  

2nd race – $10,000 Claiming for 3 y.o.– One mile  

#4 – Ronello  (5-2)

#5 – Royale Jacob (5-1)

#2 – Some Way Some How  --- SCRATCHED ---

#3 - Cobbler's Mark (10-1)

3rd race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs
#1 – Pool Party (6-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT $$$
#5 – Gail’s Stormy (2-1)

#4 – Lookin for Me (4-1)

4th race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 miles
– Irish Moon (5-1)
#3 – Timeless Testament  (8-1)
#6 – Slew’s Flash (7-2) 

5th race – $10,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs
#1 – Belle of the West (2-1)

#4 – Pure Anticipation  (3-1)

#2 – Fireblossom  (10-1)

6th race – $38,000 Maiden Special Weight for 3 y.o.– 6 furlongs

#6 – Star Destiny (3-1)  *** BEST BET ***
#7 – Terrific Trio  (4-1)
#3 – Kennesaw Mountain (8-1) 

7th race – $5,000 Claiming N2Lfor F&M 4 y.o.& up – 6 furlongs
#11 – Buttertart (5-1)

#2 – Richbelle (8-1)

#1 – Super Cami (6-1)

8th race – $10,000 Claiming for 4 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 miles
#2 – Bubbling Springs  --- SCRATCHED ---
#5 – Snap It  (3-1)
#1 – Who Dat Boy  (6-1)

#6 - Radio Relay (4-1)

9th race – $40,000 Allowance N1X for 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs
#6 – Bullet Catcher  (2-1)
#3 – Dogwoods Barto  (6-1)
#1 – Gotogo  (8-1)

10th race – $150,000 Private Terms Stakes for 3 y.o – 1 1/8 miles
#7 –  Dynamic Strike (5-2)
#10 – Seventeenohsix (5-1)
#6 – Mr. Palmer (5-1)

11th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs
#2 – Chombo  (2-1)
#1 – Awesome Life  (7-2)
#5 – Hard Rock Delite  (10-1)



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Older Comments about How One Man Sees Saturday's Coast to Coast Derby Preps ...

I know some people who are thinking The Road to the Kentucky Derby started at Laurel in the Private Terms!!
GQ, nice pick in the San Felipe!
Such a great line up today! Great analyze. Let the games begin!
I always put something on Ghost horses bc they have a genetic predisposition to fire and romp, seems to me.

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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 for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   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.


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

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