Matt Winn - Can Code West Pass The Test?

6/14/2013 9:41 PM
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In an effort to select a race to analyze this weekend, this race had the largest field, and for only being a $100,000 Grade III, it seems to be highly competitive.  Sprinkled among this field are several that attempted to be on the Triple Crown trail.  Then there are others that are possibly late blooming 3YO’s.  Whatever the case that could be, we will attempt to try and uncover a winner or a possible “sleeper”.  Here’s the field:

1 – LOOKING COOL(15-1, Tr.Carl Nafzger; Jy. Alan Garcia. Sire: Candy Ride. Broodmare Sire: Forest Wildcat)  Two-time Derby winner, Nafzger, didn’t make an appearance at this year’s Run For The Roses. Usually he doesn’t show up, unless he feels he’s got a shot(apparent in the 17 year gap between wins).  Both wins by this colt under Garcia, and at Gulfstream Park.  Though he was a beaten favorite in last race @ Oaklawn, he did show signs of early foot.  Not much upside, but nothing to counter on negative end.  Trainer has to be a plus.

 2 – SUNBEAN(6-1, Tr. Michael Maker; Jy. Joel Rosario. Sire: Brahms. Broodmare Sire: Malagra).  Maker inherited this colt last out, and this time around, he’s adding blinkers and hot jock Rosario. His first four races of his career had him pitted against Louisiana-breds.  His last two races were step-ups to the big time, with nothing to show for it.  Maybe the jockey and equipment change will be the answer?

3 – UNCAPTURED(6-1, Tr. Mark Casse; Jy. Miguel Mena. Sire: Lion Heart. Broodmare Sire: Arch).  Canadian-bred has not put in too many bad efforts, and is 2-for-2 @ Churchill.  Gets Mena back, who guided him to his Churchill success.  Worth keeping in mind.

4 – DEWEY SQUARE(12-1, Tr.Dale Romans; Jy. Mike Smith).  Last out was the Illinois Derby, in which he ran up the track.  Other notable performances was against Uncaptured last year in the Kentucky Jockey Cup @ Churchill, and the Holy Bull @ Gulfstream, when he faced Itsmyluckyday, who set a track record that day.  To try and change his luck, Romans has acquired the services of Mike Smith, who seems to show up for big performances.

5 – CODE WEST(4-1, Tr. Bob Baffert; Jy. Rosie Napravnik. Sire: Lemon Drop Kid. Broodmare Sire: Saint Ballado).  Baffert didn’t make much noise in this year’s Triple Crown, with only Govenor Charlie representing him in the Preakness Stakes.  The irony was, that this colt could’ve been entered in the Derby or Preakness, but instead was on the undercard of both big races.  Napravnik is back to ride this one, who ran away to a 6 ¾ length win on Preakness day.  Definitely worth the entertaining thought.

6 – TREASURY BILL(6-1, Tr. Wayne Catalano; Jy. Shaun Bridgmohan. Sire: Lemon Drop Kid. Broodmare Sire: Menifee).  Earlier this year, this horse was involved in some discussions as possibly running in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.  His owners seemed to have had their patience wear thin, and they have moved their horse to a Midwest trainer in Catalano, and a jockey change to Bridgmohan, who has fared well at this current Churchill meet.  Has registered a bullet work.  Question is, can this horse step up to bat immediately for Catalano?

7 – ABSTRACTION(9-2, Tr. David Carroll; Jy. Leandro Goncalves. Sire: Pulpit. Broodmare Sire: Quiet American).  This lightly-raced colt has reeled off back-to-back wins, after a debut loss.  He seems to be taking a shine to Churchill’s track, having been on the grounds working out since April 8.  His last work was in the mud, but the three works before that were all bullets.  Goncalves has been his only rider, so all systems seem go.

8 – STREET SPICE(20-1, Tr. Greg Geier; Jy. Jeffrey Sanchez. Sire: Street Sense. Broodmare Sire: Coronado’s Quest).  Virtual unknown is coming into this race from the Chicago area, where he has been based.  His last race was eight weeks ago, in which he was a distant fifth in the Illinois Derby.  Geier is adding blinkers for possible improvement, and despite the fact that that last race was a distant fifth, it did show some “masked” closing numbers.  Maybe this horse would be good in the exotics?

9 – RULER OF LOVE(12-1, Tr. Joan Scott; Jy. Joseph Rocco. Sire: Peace Rules. Broodmare Sire: Wheaton).  This colt is getting some respect from the Racing Secretary, but he hasn’t won since September of last year, and his only two wins have been on the turf.  Did run third in the Derby Trial over this track, but, I will tend to look elsewhere.

10 – BELLARMINE(9-2, Tr. Kenneth McPeek; Jy. Julien Leparoux. Sire: Magna Graduate. Broodmare Sire: Alydar.  Withstood the challenge of Code West in the last race under the same conditions,  as he won over this oval.  He won that race after breaking his maiden in his third try.  Has only had four races under his belt, and outside post might be a deterrent.  Still, he has to receive some respect.

11 – CARVE(12-1, Tr. Steve Asmussen; Jy. Richard Santana. Sire: First Samurai. Broodmare Sire: A.P. Indy).  This gelding has left the friendly confines of Oaklawn Park, after racing his first four races there.  This stakes race has only been in existence since 2002, but Asmussen has won this event three times. His last outing had him finishing third in the Arkansas Derby, though the final time was nothing to write home about.  He’ll have to overcome the extreme outside post, but bloodline is pretty decent.


With this being a 11-horse field, we’ll look for a possible “sleeper” to go with our picks.  We’ll focus on the $1 Trifecta partwheel.  In the 1st slot, we’ll place #5 Code West, #2 Sunbean(2nd race for new trainer, who’s adding blinkers and Rosario), #8 Street Spice(adding blinkers), as our “sleeper”.  They will also be included in the 2nd and 3rd slot.  Add to the 2nd & 3rd slots, #6 Treasury Bill(bullet work, & new trainer), #7 Abstraction(3 bullet works in last 4 work outs), and #10 Bellarmine(because the trainer is not coming for a ham sandwich).  #8 $10 WPS.  Let's close it off by swinging for the fence in a hardball game with a wiffleball bat. $3 Daily Double: #3 Uncaptured, #5, & #8 with #4 Take Charge Indy.  Total bet - $99.

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