Friday Night Australian Racing (3/24) and Saturday Morning Dubai (3/25)

The Wet Story:  There is only one top level track tonight on the North American feed (Rosehill, near Sydney), and the track will be very, very, very wet.  I am just going to provide selections for Rosehill’s big race, the Group 1 BMW at 2400 meters (12 furlongs).

Race 6A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, March 24, 2017.  THE BMW ($1.5M) 12:30am EDT 11:30pm CDT 9:30pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super, Pick 4 (6A, 7A, 8A, 9A) 3yo+ OPEN G1.  1 1/2 miles, Apprentices Cannot Claim.  Selections 1-3-6-8

#1 OUR IVANHOWE (4/1 ML) showed what he can do on a wet track, absolutely destroying his oppenents in the Group 1 Ranvet a week ago.  Coming back on a week’s rest is usually an Aussie “power play.”  I would be very surprised if he did not finish in the top two.  #3 Who Shot Thebarman (18/1 ML) excels at races of a mile and a half or longer.  He looks ready to fire a good race at nice odds.  #6 Humidor (4/1 ML) and #8 Jameka (4/1 ML) have had epic battles in Melbourne this season, finishing very closely together, with Humidor coming on top in both races.  Both horses give me the impression they are better going over firmer going, but it is noteworthy both Melbourne invaders have a win over heavy going.

 

Dubai World Cup Picks (50 % chance of rain and soft turf):

Race 1 (Godolphin Mile):  #6 Sharp Azteca (9/5 ML)

Race 2 (Arabian): ???

Race 3 (2 Miler):  #1 Sheikhzayedroad (8/1 ML)

Race 4 (UAE Derby):  #10 Epicharis (5/1 ML)

Race 5 (Turf sprint):  #11 Limato

Race 6 (Dirt sprint):  #5 Cool Cowboy

Race 7 (Dubai Turf):  #4 Decorated Knight (10/1 ML, best bet)

Race 8 (Sheema Classic):  #7 Postponed (3/2 ML)

Race 9 (World Cup):  #9 Arrogate (1/5)

Graded Stakes Preview, Saturday, March 25th

A Select Field of Six is Entered in Gulfstream’s Skip Away!

GP R12 (6:02 Eastern), The Skip Away Stakes (Grade 3), 9 furlongs

Interesting the Skip Away Stakes is being run on Saturday, because Skip Away held the career earnings title for many years and if Arrogate wins the Dubai World Cup at around 12:45 Eastern on Saturday he will become the new career earnings leader by approximately $3 million.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #6 Team Colors (5/2)   2nd – #3 Fear the Cowboy (4/1)   3rd – #4 Zulu (2/1)

TEAM COLORS has hit the exacta in 9 of 13 races and has a great pedigree for 9 furlongs – Street Cry out of an A.P. Mare (distance over distance).  He is not a world beater but I think he is being pointed to this race and his trainer Jimmy Jerkens hits at a 36% win rate (16 wins, 45 starts) going turf to dirt with a 124% Return On Investment (ROI).  FEAR THE COWBOY is going the right way and he owns the top last race speed figure.  ZULU has had a great career sprinting (three wins in three starts) and a very disappointing career going a mile or longer (zero wins in three starts).  Since he is going nine furlongs today I can’t back him enthusiastically, but his typical speed figure is strong in this field.

 

Time for a Turf Marathon in the San Luis Rey at Santa Anita!

SA R9 (7:30 Eastern), The San Luis rey (Grade 2), 12 furlongs (turf)

This race is the top “stayers’ race” on the West Coast.  Looking at the field there do not seem to be many true stayers, so I am going to stick with the runners that have run well at a mile half for the top two spots, and my third pick will be trying the 12 furlong distance for the first time.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #4 Ashleyluvssugar (5/2)   2nd – #9 Texas Ryano (7/2)   3rd – #10 Itsinthepost (5/1)

ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR is the old pro in this race, and is (4-2-1-0) at the rarely run 12 furlong distance.  On January 28 “Ash,” showed a new dimension, beating fast Cal-breds at the much shorter 9 furlong distance, and his career record at Santa Anita is 9-5-0-1.  Deserving favorite.  TEXAS RYANO is a 12 furlong, Grade 2 winner in this field (defeating Ashleyluvssugar) so that has to be respected.  His Santa Anita record is solid too (10-3-2-1).  ITSINTHEPOST is a hard knocker that has hit the board in nine of his last ten starts.  He has never tried the 12 furlong distance, but often a nine- or ten- furlong horse can stretch out to 12 furlongs and with that natural speed be a real tough horse to catch at 12 furlongs.

BetPTC.com Horses to Watch – 3/20/17

Horses to Watch – Ed Meyer

As the first day of spring is upon we’re thinking of preps to come, the opening of the Keeneland, and the blooming roses of Churchill only 46 days away.  The 143rd running of the Derby will be here before we know it, and the picture is starting to take shape slowly. – Before the fever hits a frenzy remember there’s plenty of racing to watch and wager, and here are some runners who’ll give you a solid run for your money.  Best of luck from your friends at BetPTC.com !

Turfway Park

3/18/17

Race #3 – #4 – Bell by the Ridge – 1 mile on the all weather

Richard Bracho in the irons for trainer Kim Hammond (27%). They brought a 10-year-old gelding to post who is 11/13 ITM over the TP oval. Bracho tipped off the rail looking for clear sailing at the 1/4 pole and took over the lead briefly before getting nailed on the wire by Twice Mike who loves the course.

Race #5 – #9 – Jersey Chaser – 5 1/2f on the all weather

Eric Reed sent a good looking daughter of Drosselmeyer to post. She had been off for 7 months shipping in from Arlington Park. She made a fast closing effort and may have needed one. – She loves sprinting and is 3/5 ITM at this distance.

Race #6 – #4 – Infinite Midnight – 6 1/2f on the all weather

Son of Giant’s Causeway had not been out in a year after shipping in from Aqueduct. First time gelding previously trained by Chad Brown won impressively on this day. He was dropping from allowance company to condition $25k claimers. Play him right back if you have time before the end of the meet on 4/1/17.

Oaklawn Park

3/18/17

Race #10 – The G-2 Rebel Stakes – #8 – Silver Dust – 1 1/16

Corey Lanerie in the irons for Randy Morse and the field of 11 three-year-olds got a bit tight around the far turn. At the 3/4 mark this deep closer had to tap on the brakes and wait for room. The son of Tapit was making his second start of the year and appears distance should not be a problem moving forward.

Gulfstream Park

3/18/17

Race #7 – #6 Illmatic – 6f

Nik Juarez in the driver’s seat and was coming off a 55 day vacation from the races. He was bumped soundly leaving the gate and far back in the field. He moved off the rail at the 1/4 pole for clear sailing and was wide making an eye-catching run for next time out.

Race#9 – #5 – Casby’s Kid – 1 1/16 on the turf

Luis Saez in the irons for Jorge Navarro (22%). Son of Girolamo was making his first start in 59 days. The barn wins (35%) with maiden claimers and scores (20%) with turf runners. – He was rank and hard to control on this day and forced to check off heels while making a bid. We’ll excuse this effort as he was working out the bugs for good things to come next out.

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Friday Night Australian Racing, 3/17/2017

Rain, Rain, Rain:  Sydney has received a LOT of rain this week.  Usually I avoid betting on a card wetter than a soft 7, but there are several Grade 1s on the line at Rosehill Gardens tonight, so I will TRY to make some picks for Rosehill’s HEAVY 9 surface.  Keep in mind that Americans would not typically race on a Heavy 9 track – recall in Australia their is no “main track” to switch the races to.

Here is what you want to look for when there is a really Heavy track:

(1) Look for horses that have won multiple times on the HEAVY.  Most young horses probably have not ran on a heavy track.

(2) See if any jock has found the “fast way to go” as the races are run.

(3) See if there is any obvious track bias.  On a very heavy track usually the best part of the track is close to the stands’ side, where the racing fans are.

 

Rosehill (Race 4A) – The Ranvet Stakes (Group 1, 3 and up, 10 furlongs).  Picks: 1-3-4

#1 HARTNELL (7/5 ML) is one of the top 15 horses in the world.  I am willing to excuse his last race on the Heavy, because the best race of his career was on the Heavy on Sept 17, 2016.  With no WInx entered I expect a very good effort.  #3 Stratum Star (6/1 ML) ran last Friday night in another Group 1, and comes back here for super-trainer Darren Weir.  This guy will be tough to get by IF he can handle the Heavy.  He’s never raced on a Heavy track.  #4 Our Ivanhowe (18/1 ML) is more of a Group 2 horse, not nearly in the class of the top two selections.

 

Rosehill (Race 5A) – The George Ryder Stakes (Group 1, 3 and up, 7.5 furlongs).  Picks: 8-2-1

It will be interesting to see if extreme rain can slow #8 WINX (expect 2/5 at post time).  She has won her last 15 races in a row, all in Australia, and is considered the 2nd-best horse in the world, behind only Arrogate.  #2 Le Romain (14/1 ML) has won his last 3 races, the last taking advantage of a very strong track bias near the stands’ side.  In sharp form, but then again there is sharp form, and there is Winx’s form.  #1 Chautauqua (9/1 ML) has lost his last 4 races in a row, but the last race was an improvement.  He is a good horse that has never raced this far in his career.

 

Rosehill (Race 6A) – The Rosehill Guineas (Group 1, 3yo, 10.0 furlongs).  Picks: 1-4-2

#1 PRIZED ICON (4/1 ML) is a top-level grinder who has raced against the best and never, ever quits.  Not a sure thing on the Heavy but 4/1 would be a fair price.  #4 Inference (4/1) won a Group 1 in Sydney on the Heavy two weeks ago.  The first significant son of multi-continent runner So You Think is a logical play.  #2 Gingernuts (6/1 ML) is extremely well bred for the distance and has won a 12 furlong Group 1 in New Zealand and is on a hot streak of three wins in a row.  Obvious contender has yet to start on the Heavy, however.

 

Rosehill (Race 7A) – The Golden Slipper (Group 1, 2yo, 6.0 furlongs).  Picks: 1-11-9

#1 PARIAH (7/1 ML) is the highest-rated two year-old in Australia.  He ran against the bias last time, and I look for him to run exceptionally well tonight.  #11 Tulip (8/1 ML) was my selection to take the $1 Million Blue Diamond on February 25.  That race card from Caulfield was not available over here, so I just watched an she was a very good fourth.  She ran last week and crushed a Group 3 at Rosehill.  I expect her to be very tough to beat.  #9 Catchy (6/1 ML) beat Pariah and Tulip on February 25th and is undefeated.  He has a super late kick and could be value at 6/1 just off her form.  It might be worth boxing these three in exacta and trifecta boxes.

Graded Stakes Preview, Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Some of the Best 3yo Runners in the Country are at Oaklawn.  Believe me!

R10 Oaklawn (7:06 Eastern), The Rebel Stakes (Grade 2), 8.5 furlongs

The Rebel at Oaklawn Park used to be a nice prep for local horses aiming for the Arkansas Derby, but in the last few years the purse for the Rebel has gone from $500,000 to $700,000 to now $900,000, making is the most lucrative of the “50 Point” prep races at a mile and 1/16th, and quality horseflesh follows cash.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #7 American Anthem (2/1)   2nd – #10 Royal Mo (9/2)  

3rd – #5 Untrapped (8/1)

If your are playing the late pick 4 or the late pick 5, an “all” selection might be warranted for this race, as there are horses shipping all over the country to run.  I have a very small Ky Derby wager on AMERICAN ANTHEM at 15/1, and he is the favorite to win the 2017 Rebel off a 2/1 morning line.  He only has two starts, but the BRIS speed figure he received in the sloppy Sham Stakes at Santa Anita was strong, topping the field with a 102 and beating his next horse by 13 lengths.  His bullet workout was also very good, getting 6 furlongs in 1:11.3 and edging his workmate, current 4 year old and Grade 1 winner (at two) Mor Spirit.

Fellow Southern California shipper ROYAL MO is 2 for 2 going two turns, and descends from sire Uncle Mo, who has been really good the last 18 months.  I think this horse can rate a bit, and he should get a nice trip two or three wide going into the first turn.

UNTRAPPED just keeps getting better and I love the jock switch to Irad Ortiz, who is really good on horses that close from a few lengths off the pace – “pressers” (he is 23% wins from 403 starts, 64% in the money).  The horse might not class up with the top two picks, but he has shown the ability to finish fairly well and there is some speed the race.  Don’t leave this guy off your trifectas!

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Undefeated at Oaklawn, Terra Promessa Looks to go 6 for 6 in the Azeri

R7 Oaklawn (5:21 Eastern), The Azeri Stakes (Grade 2), 8.5 furlongs

BetPTC.com selections:

1st – #2 Terra Promessa (3/5)   2nd – #7 Streamline (10/1)  

3rd – #6 Eskenformoney (3/1)

I could try to come up with a story that this race will be competitive, but TERRA PROMESSA has been so good at Oaklawn I have to put her on top.  STREAMLINE has basically teased me for the last two years, because it always looks like she is going to win and then she hangs.  However, she has never been out of the money (6-1-2-3) at Oaklawn so it may be wise to use her under Terra Promessa in a moderate exacta play.  ESKENFORMONEY has never run at Oaklawn and has never really been very exceptional at other tracks.  I recommend trying to beat her for second in the exacta.

Top Mare Curlin’s Approval Looks to go Extend Her Graded Stakes Win Streak 

R11 Gulfstream (5:39 Eastern), The Inside Information Stakes (Grade 2), 7.0 furlongs

BetPTC.com selections:

1st – #8 Curlin’s Approval (3/5)   2nd – #5 Dearest (5/1)  

3rd – #7 Moment of Delight (6/1)

CURLIN’S APPROVAL was pretty good, but in her last two races she has shown the ability to track the pace early and finish strongly.  Right now I make her the mare to beat in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, which will be right up her alley at 7 furlongs, the same distance as today’s race.

If Curlin’s Approval wasn’t in South Florida, DEAREST would be getting all the attention.  She’s a multiple stakes winner and has won four races at Gulfstream in five attempts. My opinion:  people playing large horizontal tickets at Gulstream should try to use Dearest.  MOMENT OF DELIGHT is a speed horse that has won five times at Gulfstream (14-5-3-1).  She is only 1 for 6 over other surfaces.  She may lack the class but she gets a top speed rider in Paco Lopez.

Santa Anita’s “Santa Margarita Stakes” is Grade 1

R9 Santa Anita (7:30 Eastern), The Santa Margarita Stakes (Grade 1), 9.0 furlongs

BetPTC.com selections:

1st – #3 Finest City (8/5)   2nd – #2 Vale Dori (9/5)   3rd – #7 Wild At Heart (6/1)

FINEST CITY is a hard knocking mare that has won at the highest level over this track and expect her to run very well on Saturday.  He usually hits the board and I expect her toughness to prevail.  VALE DORI has been making a career of beating the same horses over and over.  She is on a four-race win streak, so she is not a pushover, but she hasn’t been tested either.  WILD AT HEART has chased Vale Dori this winter but she is a decent closer in a field with three speed horses in it (Finest City, Vale Dori and Perfect Pic), so she will probably get a sweet trip and finish well enough late.

BetPTC.com Horses to Watch – 3/16/17

Horses to Watch – Ed Meyer

As we enter the time of year when all preps count. You can smell the scent of roses  with only 54 days until the first Saturday in May. The Derby picture has shown a glimmer of hopefuls but there are still many questions to be answered. Only time will tell and you’ll want to watch and wager right here on BetPTC.com ! – Here are some runners to build that needed Triple Crown bankroll. Some have a good excuse for not bringing their “A” game and that translates to a bumper payday at the windows. – Best of luck from your friends at BetPTC.com !

Gulfstream Park

3/11/17

Race #6 – #4 – Milbra – Claiming 6f

Jermaine Bridgmohan was aboard the three-year-old filly who broke her maiden two races back. She had a bad trip last out, and was ready to make good. Claimers can have a short cycle of being ready to roll. She was 14-1 today, and showed a glimpse of good things to come next out. If she gets anywhere near this price she’ll reward her backers handsomely at the windows.

Race #11 – #6 – Sweet Ella – 7 1/2f on the turf

Luis Saez in the irons for Todd Pletcher as they brought a daughter of Scat Daddy to post. She was cutting back from 1 1/16 – 7 1/2f and was making her second start of the year. She was 5 wide in the final turn and splitting runners with great interest as the odds-on favorite. Maybe some added ground or a cleaner trip has her in the winner’s circle next out.

Tampa Bay Downs

3/11/17

Race #3 – #5 – Road Guard Post – 6 1/2f on the main track

Daniel Centeno in the saddle as he was aboard the first time starter by Unbridled’s Song. The barn has a strong win clip of 45% with first timers. She broke well setting a blistering pace only to settle for the show dough this effort. She is bred to be something special and her work tab is solid. Second time out may be just what the doctor ordered.

Race #4 – #6 – Alum – 7f on the main track

Jose Ortiz in town for Todd Pletcher, and the son of Bodemiester was a beaten chalk over the track last out. Pletcher’s usual rider John Velasquez was aboard the eventual winner Egyptian Hero. Alum was bumped soundly at the start and had to check at the 1/8th pole uncorking a rally. He’s bred to be a player and next out may be a good shot at redemption.

Race #7 – #4 – Profiteer – 1 mile on the turf

Jose Ortiz in the driver’s seat for Shug McGaughey. This was 2nd time lasix for the son of War Front and his second start of 2017. He was a beaten favorite, and bested in the shadow of the wire. This turf runner will give them fits next time out.

Race #10 – #9 – My Impression – 1 1/8 on the turf

New York-shipper for the McGaughey barn with Jose Ortiz in the saddle. The daughter of Sky Mesa was making her first start of the year. She made a stout charge at the 3/16’s pole three wide making a solid bid to be fifth this day.

 

 

 

BetPTC.com Horses to Watch – 3/11/17

Horses to Watch – Ed Meyer

The weekend of Derby preps may have muddied the waters as the chorus of will the real contenders please show up is growing. But not to worry. This has happened as long as the roses have bloomed. Maybe this will be the year we have a blockbuster payoff in Louisville ! You’ll want to stay tuned for every prep moving forward as value could be waiting right around the corner. – Here are some runners you’ll want to follow right back to the starting gate. They didn’t have had their best effort and this may be the angle you’ve been looking for. Best of luck from your friends at BetPTC.com !   

Gulfstream Park

3/4/17

Race #2 – #4 – Silver Defense – 7 1/2f on the turf

“Jersey” Joe Bravo aboard as they exited the OBS Sprint going 6f on the AW to 7 1/2f on the turf. The son of First Defense came flying late in the lane and was hammered at the windows from a 12-1 morning line to 9-2 at post time. – He was taken up at the start and raced under a snug hold. Once turned loose he tipped off the rail and fanned 7 wide closing with a flourish.

Race #3 – #5 – Donwell – 1 1/16 on the main track

Joel Rosario in the irons for Bill Mott and they win at a 19% clip as a team. This son of Divine Park was making the turf-dirt switch and owned two maintenance works at Palm Meadows. He was a beaten chalk last time out and offered a sweet price at 19-1 this day. This was his second off a layoff run and was three wide for 3/4 of the race. Rosario swung wide looking for a clear lane and made a solid bid down the lane finishing second. Even though this was a very good effort on dirt, my inner-horse player would not be surprised to him back on the weeds.

Race #4 – #4 – Coasted – 1 1/16 on the turf

Irad Ortiz in from New York to ride. This was her first start in four months and the daughter of Tizway looked good on the track. She hopped at the break costing a few lengths and was forced to tap on the brakes down the backside. She made a game effort down the lane and was bested by fast closing Dream Dancing threading the needle along the rail. – Coasted may be in top order for a great 2017 racing season.

Race #7 – #1 – Olorda – 1 3/16 on the turf

Julien Leparoux in the saddle for Chad Brown and this speedy mare by Lord of England (GER) looked to be ready to dictate the pace under red-hot Leparoux. She was bumped soundly at the start and forced to take up and check sharply down the backstretch. Dismiss this effort and follow her right back the next time she takes the track. If Leparoux stays aboard you can expect the top-notch speed rider to dictate the pace.

Race #8 – #13 – Fayeq – 7f on the main track

Joel Rosario aboard the first time starter for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn. The son of Malibu Moon was breaking from the far outside post and that is no gift. – He kicked around the far turn and made a huge late kick run to get the show-dough. He has solid breeding and the trainer does well with second time efforts. Hopefully a better post is in his future and more distance doesn’t look like a bad thing.

Race #11 – #4 – Bondurant – 1 mile on the turf

Brain Hernandez had the call for Ian Wilkes and this was his second start of 2017. The son of War Front saved ground along the rail and had to await a gap many times during the race. Once he tipped off at the 1/16th pole he weaved in and out making a strong late bid.

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Friday Night Australian Racing, 4/10/2017

Race 8A Australia (Flemington) Friday, March 10, 2017  TAB AUSTRALIAN CUP ($1.5M) 12:35am EST (11:35pm CST, 9:35pm PST) W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super OPEN Group 1.  One Mile and 1/4. Apprentices Cannot Claim.  Picks 3-11-10.

#3 THE UNITED STATES (6/1 ML, 6/1 early betting) very nearly won his first race back at 9 furlongs in late February, gets a great post in barrier 4, and has run fast enough several times in his career to win this race.  With typical improvement coming into tonight’s race he might well blow this race wide open.  #11 Jameka (9/2 ML, 3/1 early betting) is a mare that has proven often that she can mix it up with the boys.  The biggest query does she try to get the lead from barrier 11, or does she take back?  Either way, she won Australia’s most important mile and 1/2 race (the Caulfield Cup) in October of 2016, so we know she can get tonight’s mile and a quarter.  #10 Humidor (4/1 ML, 3/1 early betting) did out-finish both The United States and Jameka last time, but those two were early into their preps, while Humidor was making his 3rd start off a layoff.  How much improvement does he have left in him?  The Aussie touts I follow make him the horse to beat.

Graded Stakes Preview, Saturday, March 11th, 2017

It’s “Big Cap” Day!

SA R10 (7:30 Eastern), The Santa Anita Handicap (Grade 1) 10 Furlongs

This race was the original $100,000 race in the 1930’s.  These days the purse is $750,000.  The large presence of the Dubai World Cup and its $6,000,000 purse has really watered down this race.  For example, if there was not a Dubai World Cup, Arrogate would have run here instead of being aimed for Dubai.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #3 Shaman Ghost (2/1)  2nd – #1 Midnight Storm (8/5)   3rd – #9 – Imperative (5/1)

But the job of the handicapper is to identify winners from the willing, and going off his recent races SHAMAN GHOST has to be on top for me.  His speed figures have increased every time over his last 4 starts, and visually he finished very strongly his second placing to Arrogate in the 9 furlong Pegasus Stakes.  I think this horse really wants 10 furlongs (he is a good stakes winner over 12 furlongs) and he should be flying late.  MIDNIGHT STORM used to be a one-dimensional turf miler, but he has won his last two races on the dirt in wire to wire fashion and is (to me) the surprising 8/5 favorite.  This horse loves to win and he will have the lead at the top of the stretch.  Will he be able to hold off Shaman Ghost for that last furlong?  Certainly he is a top contender for the win.  IMPERATIVE appears to be the best of the California horses and he has won two of his last three races.

 

California 3 Year Olds Duke it Out in the San Felipe

SA R5 (5:00 Eastern), The San Felipe Stakes (Grade 2) 8.5 Furlongs

The California path has been a good source of winners for the Kentucky Derby, including I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014), and Nyquist (2016) in the last few years.  I will go out on a large limb and say no one in this San Felipe field appears to be Triple Crown material, because no one in this group PASSES horses.  They all want to be on the pace.  That works in short fields full of overmatched competition, but not in races full of quality speed horses.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #5 Gormley (9/5)   2nd – #4 Mastery (6/5)   3rd – #6 Iliad (5/2)

I put GORMLEY on top because he has faced the toughest competition (Classic Empire, Not This Time, and American Anthem).  I have no idea who is going to win this race, because as I said my top three selections are all high quality speed horses that can’t pass a horse.  MASTERY is light on the numbers (especially in late pace in the Los Al Futurity), but it is apparent in his workouts that his trainer, Bob Baffert, is trying to get him to ration his speed.  His last workout on March 5th was a beauty.  Check it out on xbtv.com if you are interested.  ILIAD is either another West Coast speedster or a maybe better.  I don’t wan’t to take 5/2 before the race to find out.

 

South Florida Three Year Olds Head To Tampa!

Tam R11 (5:27 Eastern) The Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2), 8.5 furlongs

Since its inception in 1981, there has been only one winner of the Tampa Bay Derby to win the Kentucky Derby, Street Sense in 2007.  Street Sense was a very good animal, much higher class that anyone in this 2017 field.  The winner of this race will probably be limited to races like the Ohio Derby and/or the Indiana Derby this summer.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #9 Wild Shot (5/1)   2nd – #5 Tapwrit (3/1)   3rd – #6 Beasley (9/2)

WILD SHOT has improved his BRIS speed figures four races in a row and is second off the layoff.  The negative is he has lost ground from the stretch call to the wire three straight times (all 8.5 furlong routes, like this weekend’s distance), but perfect horses aren’t 5/1 shots.  It appears that Robby Albarado took this guy off the pace last time, and he ran a career top speed figure, so maybe similar tactics can get him to the winner’s circle.  TAPWRIT is every trip handicapper’s dream, a horse that did get blocked for run by my count three times in his last race, before having a strong gallop out, bounding by the winner, McCracken.  My main concern with this horse is he apparently lacks “turn of foot,” or the ability to accelerate.  His jockey was able to place him in the “box seat” behind the early speed, and I thought there were several opportunities for Tapwrit to get out of trouble – but he lacked the acceleration to do it.  I think this horse can run all day and maybe he can show his best at 10 furlongs (or more likely 12 furlongs at Big Sandy).  Taking a short price on this guy at 8.5 furlongs would be a high-risk play, in our opinion.  BEASLEY is a nifty allowance horse coming into this race with two 4 furlong bullets.  His 9/2 morning line is not a great price but my gut tells me he will go off in the 7/1 range and might be a solid value play.

 

The Florida Oaks is a Great Race for Three Year Old Fillies!

Tam R9 (4:25 Eastern) The Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 3), 8.5 furlongs (turf)

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #5 LA COLONEL (5/2)   2nd – #9 Compelled (4/1)   3rd – #3 Dynatail (8/1)

LA CORONEL was the key to my horizontal bets at the 2016 Breeders’ Cup (bad idea from post 13 of 14).  She was 5 wide and out of position the entire races and I got sour.  It’s nice to see her back in a race she can win.  Her 2016 race at Keeneland crushes this bunch.  COMPELLED keeps putting together nice races and she lost a heat breaker last time to a very nice Chad Brown filly named Rymska.  DYNATAIL is 2 for 2 over the course against weaker and I think she makes the lead again this weekend.  She would appear to be a great pick 4 horse.

 

The Hillsborough Stakes is a Great Source For Black Type!

Tampa R10 (4:55 Eastern) The Hillsborough Stakes (Grade 2), 9 furlongs (turf)

These Grade 2 races for fillies and mares are really interesting.  As racing fans, we tend to focus on the winners of the Grade 1 races, but breeders and bloodstock people also pay close attention to Grade 2 races, especially for fillies and mares.  Winning one Grade 2 race can make a mare’s breeding career.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #3 Dickinson (7/2)   2nd – #1 Swiss Range (6/1)   3rd – #6 Isabella Sings (5/2)

DICKINSON and SWISS RANGE have yet to win a Grade 2 so I would venture their connections are all out to win this weekend.  Dickinson has race recency and appears to be very sharp.  Swiss Range is a listed stakes winner at Newmarket and she put in a big run in the always “high class” E.P. Taylor at Woodbine in the Fall of 2016.  This race may be a touch short for her but I expect a top effort.  ISABELLA SINGS is already a Grade 2 winner (Nov. 14th, 2015), along with several Grade 3 races.  Her connections might be looking “down the road” with her.  Either way, with her high early speed she’s the one to chase, for sure.

 

The Triple Bend Stakes is a Great Source For Grade 1 Black Type!

SA R8 (6:30 Eastern) The Triple Bend Stakes (Grade 1), 7 furlongs

The Triple Bend used to be a key stakes on the Hollywood Park schedule, but in recent years it has bounced around between the Santa Anita Winter/Spring and Summer meetings.  It is welcome to see it placed in a nice spot on Big ‘Cap day so the fans can see some top quality sprinters.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #5 Masochistic (Even)   2nd – #4 Silent Bird (4/1)   3rd – #3 Kobe’s Back (5/2)

MASOCHISTIC made a lot of supports groan in agony when he was well beaten as the favorite in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup with no apparent excuse.  On the positive side he wins these kinds of races and he wins fresh, and there is no Defrong in here to torment him.  SILENT BIRD has won his last 5 races and he’s 2 for 2 at 7 furlongs – solid upset chance at the 4/1 ML odds quote.  I have no idea how Kobe’s Back is doing.  If he’s in form he is the best horse in this race, especially at Santa Anita (7-3-2-1, $572,000 in earnings).

 

The Kilroe is a Great Source For Grade 1 Black Type on Turf!

SA R9 (7:00 Eastern) The Frank E. Kilroe Stakes (Grade 1), One Mile

From memory, there are very few Grade 1 races at One Mile on turf – we count seven.  The Kilroe, three at Keeneland (one limited to females), the Shoemaker (now at Santa Anita) the Woodbine Mile, and the Breeders’ Cup Mile.  To win one of these is a BIG DEAL.  Assume everybody is fully locked and loaded in this race.

BetPTC.com Selections:

1st – #5 Ring Weekend (4/1)   2nd – # Bolo (3/1)   3rd – #4 Dortmund (4/1)

RING WEEKEND has been pointed to this race since coming out to California.  Don’t go against Graham Motion when the “money’s down.”  Note he won this exact same race two years ago (he was injured and did not run in the 2016 edition).  Bolo appears to be 100%, but I just can’t buy this guy is going to win a Grade 1 mile on the turf.  He’s just lost too many times and his speed figures are on the slow side.  DORTMUND is a “fix-it” project for Art Sherman.  I like that the blinkers are coming off and the workouts tend to be very fast.  Pedigree is OK for turf (for example, it’s better than Bolo’s pedigree), with Big Brown being average with turf winners, and he is a sibling with a turf winner.

BetPTC.com Horses to Watch – 3/6/17

Horses to Watch – Ed Meyer

The weather returned to more winter like temperatures after a brief taste of an early spring. The road to the Derby preps carried on, and with each passing race we find ourselves taking copious notes to determine the contenders from the pretenders as the the first Saturday in May is only 61 days away. Be sure to keep a close on eye on Derby prep action with every passing week, and keep building your bankroll. – Here are some runners who deserve a good look before they take to the track. Some may have a good excuse while others are candidates for a repeat trip to the winner’s circle. – Best of luck from your friends at BetPTC.com !

Aqueduct

2/25/17

Race #7 – #4 – Stormin Stephen – 6f on the inner track

Fresh off the claim with apprentice Hector Diaz in the irons. This son of Malibu Moon stumbled badly leaving the gate as Diaz corrected his mount to manage a good 4th place effort.

Fair Grounds

2/25/17

Race #4 – #4 – Tweeting – 6f on the main

Florent Geroux aboard for Thom Proctor with a good looking 1st timer. A well-bred filly by Uncle Mo was last away from the break and was carried wide into the final turn for home. This gal managed a solid bid for 3rd and should rebound nicely for a solid trainer.

Race #6 – #9 – Awesome Saturday – 6f on the main 

First timer from the Bret Calhoun barn with B.J. Hernandez in the irons. This son of Any Given Saturday was forced to check sharply and still managed to hit the after-burners and close with a flourish to get the win. He has the look of a repeat player who deserves a play right back.

Race #9 – #3 – Shane’s Girlfriend – 1 1/16 on the dirt

Mario Gutierrez in the driver’s seat for Doug O’Neill. They shipped in from California and was working very well in the mornings. She was slammed on both sides leaving the gate and she still tried to rebound with her first start of 2017. Sent off the odds-on chalk, her back class gives us plenty to look forward.

BetPTC.com

Race #10 – #1 – Bullard’s Alley – 1 1/8 on the turf

Solid runner from the Tim Glyshaw barn. This was his 2nd start off the shelf and may need a little class relief dropping out of graded company. This son of Flower Alley seems to enjoy the sod and lesser foes can have a strike at a sweet price.

Gulfstream Park

2/25/17

Race #5 -#4 – Blue Buff – 5 1/f on the dirt

First timer by Unbridled’s Song with Joe Bravo in the irons. He was working lights out in the morning at Palm Meadows and his dam (Fiery Pulpit) has three wins from 4 starters. He was wide down the backstretch and won impressively. He is a strong candidate to move up the ladder with promise.

Race #8 – #2 – I’m Stepping It Up – 7f on the main

Fresh off the claim for John Servis. 9-year-old son of Congrats and was forced to tap on the brakes down the backside. Once he was in gear he out put forth an honest effort for the show dough.