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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Is Astrology Beatable in the Iowa Derby?

31 October 2010: Garrett Gomez and Astrology take the G3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Three big stakes tonight at Prairie Meadows, and with all due respect to Awesome Gem and Daisy Devine, arguably the biggest star on the program is the Steve Asmussen trained colt, Astrology. A graded stakes winner at two, Astrology furthered his reputation with a strong performance in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. That 3rd place finish, beaten less than two lengths, to division leaders Shackleford and Animal Kingdom came in his last start. Coming off such a quality race in the Preakness, pretty much guarantees that he will go off at short odds in the Iowa Derby. With the added popularity that Mike Smith brings to the saddle, I am guessing that his 9-5 morning line odds may drop to something more in the neighborhood of 4-5 by race time.
Good news for bettors if you agree with me that he is beatable. Don't get me wrong, I recognize that Astrology has the class edge and may prove much the best, but at these odds I think it makes sense to try and beat him. There are several in here that I think can step up and run big tonight, but two in particular interest me the most, and likely second and third choices Caleb's Posse and Prayer for Relief are not among them.
Chosen Miracle – Crazy right? He's only had two races, both sprints, and only in maiden and allowance company. Not so fast my friends. His last race at Arlington was terrific, when he won for fun and earned a big Beyer of 98. The son of Ghostzapper should be able to handle 1 1/16 miles, he just picked a tough spot to do it. My guess is he is near the lead early on a track that favors that type of style, and may prove very brave down the lane at big odds.
Sherriff Cogburn – His two races as a juvenile were spectacular. A maiden win in which he beat Caleb's Posse (one of the favorites tonight) by seven lengths, was followed by a runaway win in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile. Setbacks kept him off the Derby trail, and he is 0 for 2 since returning, but both losses were good enough to think he is not far from a sophomore breakthrough. This is his third race off the layoff and he had a mile race to serve as a tightener. As the likely fourth choice, the Sherriff offers solid value.
In the evening's other big races ... I do feel the big favorite in the Iowa Oaks, Daisy Devine, is also beatable, as all four of her really good races came at the Fair Grounds, but the problem is I could not find another filly in the race I really like. So, if she runs near her best race, she should be able to handle this bunch. I will play some Pick-3's with all in the Oaks, but a little more with Daisy in the winning spot. While in the Cornhusker, I like two horses quite a bit both of whom are happily 8-1 on the morning line.
Headache has had a bit of an on again, off again type of career, but if his last race is any indication, he may be ready to put it all together. I like the rail post, and the fact that he should get first jump on the leaders, as many of the favorites are more closer types. I like him the best, with Shadowbdancing being my next choice. He won this race last year at 10-1, and should have similar odds tonight. He absolutely loves this track, and I would be surprised if he is not leading the field as the horses turn for home. It Happened Again will be the third horse I play. It's not often I like two 8-1 shots as my top two picks in a race, but it's true tonight, and it was true last year when I had my biggest collect of the year in the Cornhusker Handicap.
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Older Comments about Is Astrology Beatable in the Iowa Derby?...

That pay off was a gift with Baffert's history in Iowa.Didn't need a PP to handicap that except for the other positions.
  • MichaelPavelick · icyhotboo, I guess that comment confirms that Baffert has a steady history of having horses ready for the Iowa derby? · 2309 days ago
Ruffian75, Thanks, I actually uncovered that before your poast. Kind of surprise. Possibly any Baffert horse that comes "rollin into Iowa", gets a lot of respect or Baffert has a steady history of having horses ready for the Iowa derby. One victory in a maiden claimer, and another in an allowance race doesn't deserve those kind of morning line odds. His very respectable move against Comma to the Top, is hard to deny. But that was as a 2 year old & he lost by approx. 9 lengths.
Michael, Prayer's morning line was 7-2, and he went off at 5.9-1, so, he wasn't bet down. But, his odds didn't go up that much, either.
Persoanlly I respect Astrology. Actually to me its a reverse logic scenario. He was actually too good for a grade 3 event. He looked like a "lot of horse" in the Preakness. So the Iowa derby just fills his racing schedule. He raced wide in Saturday's race which makes the effort more difficult, and made a dominant move on the back stretch, although he seems somewhat immature. Hard to say, but the connections might just keep him racing active with "workouts within a race" until Travers day. Since he went a mile & 3/16ths in the Preakness, a mile and 1/4 Travers event makes sense.
Yeah, I understand the betting public being "mesmerized" by the win pool, but, I've also heard of the "bridge jumpers". People who bet a "sure thing" with an astonishing amount of money, usually in the show pool, but, Belmont only accepted place bets that day as the lesser bet. I guess that's where you got to be a tote board student, and watch the fluctuation of the different pools' monies.
Ruffian75, With super strong favorites, the betting public becomes mesmerized with the win pool. Then you might have a longer odds horse run 2nd. So I'm almost assured that the place wager has paid more then the win pool. Thats what I love about this form of "sport betting". Paying attention to the betting pools can really pay off.
The exacta was "sweet"!!!!!!! They really pounded Astrology. His prep races didn't sell me. Sunland Derby, Jerome Stakes, and, he did finish 3rd in the Preakness. The show payoffs were almost as much as the place payoffs. And, here's a trivia question that I don't have the answer for: When Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes, he went off @ 1-20 odds. When he won, the place payoff was more than the win payoff(2.10 to win; 2.20 to place). Has there ever been another 1-20 horse that actually paid more to place than to win?
Ruffian75, I sure hope you had a place bet, or had him "boxed" in the exacta. Generally 3 year olds are risky vehicles, because of the improvement factor. Bafferts "Prayer' had over a 6 month layoff making a strong move as a 2 year old against "Comma", was given one race tightner, and just improved after his rest & turning 3 years old. He was difficult read.Still trying to figure out what Prayer For Relief's morning line was? Was he bet down?
Michael, after you "schooled" me on Flat Out last week, I'm betting the house on this one!!!! After this race, life will be so much sweeter!!!! Thanks for the inside info.
You better bet with Zatt when it comes to PRM. This man cashed thousands last year on like a 20 dollar investment.. i'm in!
So as far as the "class factor" Sherriff Cogburn winning the UNGRADED PM Juvenille, the next step up would be grade 3. So this race makes perfect sense from a class perspective.
Since Astrology has already won a grade 3 event, are the connections excited about trying to capture another grade 3? Hard to say, particularly when that grade 3 victory was at mile. Todays distance is mile & 1/16th so it be a nice fit for him. When a young developing horse wins a grade 3, normally the connections want to step it up & win that grade 2 or grade 1 for breeding value.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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