Saturday, June 9, 2018

Belmont Stakes 2018 - Triple Crown Edition

Belmont Park - June 08, 2018
Race 11 - 6:46 PM
Belmont Stakes.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And One Half Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Justify
2 – Free Drop Billy                                                           
3 – Bravazo
4 – Hofburg                                                       
5 – Restoring Hope                         
6 – Gronkowski                                                
7 – Tenfold
8 – Vino Rosso
9 – Noble Indy
10 – Blended Citizen

After the Preakness I couldn’t help but wonder  -

Was the reason that #1 Justify wasn’t as dominant in the Preakness (compared to the KY Derby) because he was worn out from simply racing two weeks before and also having to endure two consecutive races in the slop?

Image result for justify preakness

In the KY Derby – Justify ran a 22.24 Quarter mile and was driving through the finish line with plenty of lengths between him and the next horse. In the Preakness he ran a slower first quarter mile (23.1) – and at the finish line Good Magic was in fighting distance….and Bravazo was closing fast! Did Justify get a little lucky holding these horses off?? Is it possible this Triple Crown contender has nothing left in the tank??

OR -- Did Justify just use the Preakness as a Prep race for the Belmont (which incidentally would mean that Justify is about as BADASS as they come)?  The slower first quarter mile makes a lot more sense if they’re preparing Justify for a longer race (which the Belmont will be). And as they came to the finish line, perhaps Jockey Mike Smith knew he had the win in his back pocket and just let Justify cruise home…..sure Bravazo was bearing down on the leader….but Mike Smith knew it was too late and there was no reason to push.

Image result for justify arrives in new york
Justify arrives in New York
Is this the next Triple Crown Winner?
Take a look at the Preakness (what you can see through the Fog) – what do you think???


Morning line odds have Justify at 4/5 odds – so, in short, the experts believe that the Belmont Stakes is Justify’s race to “lose”.

And not only do I agree with that – I’m certainly hoping to see another Triple Crown winner….and a well-deserved one at that.

After watching #3 Bravazo close in the Preakness – he’s certainly the challenger to watch – it appeared that Bravazo just needed another 20 yards to overcome Justify – and in the Belmont he’ll have an additional 5/16th’s of a mile to work with.

As a side note – (based on Belmont History and Bravazo’s previous races) I wouldn’t be surprised if Bravazo comes out flat for the Belmont and when he is asked to close – he doesn’t respond. He may have taken his best shot at Justify in Pimlico and come up short…..we’ll see.

Just the race itself will be tricky for all of these horses – they’ve never run this distance before – and the timing can be very problematic.

Some Belmont winners have used early speed to build up a large enough lead that when they head for home the competition is so worn down – all of the horses kind of “slog” to the finish line – with the early leader having established just enough of a lead to hold off his weary foes.

Image result for exhausted dog meme
Photo of previous Belmont Stakes
This could very well be Justifys strategy – he certainly has the early speed – however if you wear your horse out too quickly in the Belmont, you can be an easy target in the stretch run – timing is crucial.

A strategy to defeat Justify (and while it’s not very sportsmanlike – it is legal) would be to BOX Justify in early – and keep him there until the final turn – his #1 post position certainly makes him an easy target for this.

When I say Box him in – that would mean one of these horses would have to jump out to a very early lead and move directly in front of him…..in the meantime the other horses would press Justify against the rail – leaving Justify nowhere to move and forced to run whatever pace is set up for him.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
doesn't like being Boxed in
OR put in a corner -
And he may watch Dirty Dancing
after the Belmont.
Boxing a horse can be very unnerving for the horse – and certainly frustrating for a great horse like Justify.

As they come out of the final turn – “eventually” a hole would open up for Justify to run through …. but by then it could be too late.

I just don’t see any of these horses willing to jump out front and cut Justify off – Mike Smith is a very wily Jockey and as long as Justify gets out of the gates well – I don’t think Mike Smith will allow Justify to get boxed in.

I believe what we'll see is Justify contend for the early lead (perhaps with Bravazo) -- and then the remaining contenders will hope that Justify fades in the LONG final stretch.

#4 Hofburg, #8 Vino Rosso and #9 Noble Indy – are definitely contenders to watch – these three horses in my opinion have substantial talent and they haven’t raced since the Kentucky Derby  -- so they’ll have fresher legs than Justify and Bravazo.

Coming down to the wire – I’m not concerned that Justify won’t have the “heart” to win – but I am concerned one of these other horses will be better suited for this distance.

But what can I say Closing Speed is a sucker for a Triple Crown Contender….

Closing Speed likes:  Justify, Noble Indy, Vino Russo

Closing Speed also thinks that it’s likely Current New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski will be at the Belmont Stakes – and there should be 4/1 odds on him taking his shirt off after the race.

Related image
Can you imagine being named after the guy on the left....poor horse.
If I’m betting $30 – this is what I like:

$1 Box Trifecta – 1,3,8,9 = $24
$1 Box Exacta – 3,4,9 = $6


Friday, May 18, 2018

Preakness Stakes 2018


Pimlico  - May 19, 2018
Race 13 - 6:48 PM
Preakness Stakes  (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Quip
2 – Lone Sailor                                                  
3 – Sporting Chance
4 – Diamond King                                                            
5 – Good Magic                                
6 – Tenfold                                                                        
7 – Justify
8 – Bravazo

Let’s just get this out of the way….. .I am in AWE of Justify.

Image result for shocked batman

I do think #5 Good Magic has a shot at upsetting the heavy favorite #7 Justify. But Good Magic will need the race of his lifetime and luck (either good for him or bad for Justify) to pull it off.

Before you take a look at the Kentucky Derby video below – there are a couple of factors I’d like to point out.

#3 Promises Fulfilled and Justify run the first quarter mile in 22.24 seconds…in the mud.
Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
hates cleaning mud
from his fur.

22.24 seconds in the mud – is ABSURD!

Even had there been no rain – and the track had been firm and dry, 22.24 is usually too fast to maintain, if you want to win the Kentucky Derby. Had the track been firm and dry….they likely would have run about a 21.9 (or faster)! 

Again that’s absurd!

If a horse runs THAT fast…THAT early they are very likely to fade

And if you look closely as the announcer says “And there goes Justify” – watch Promises Fulfilled – Going into the final turn he was tied for first …..and then 11 horses pass him – he’s by my estimate, 20 lengths behind Justify before he falls off the backside of the screen, and he’s not the only one.
Flameaway also falls out as they round the final turn.

That’s a HARD Fade…the kind of fade you expect from any horse that runs a 22.24 in the mud at this distance……now compare Promises Fulfilled to Justify….same early race – much different ending.

Again – I’m in awe of Justify.

Related image
Incidentally I'm still watching Archer...but they really need to step up
their game this season.
Bolt D’Oro runs a length or two behind Justify until the final turn – (Bolt D’Oro who had just finished second behind Justify in the Santa Anita Stakes).

If you watch Bolt D’Oro he makes his move coming out of the final turn – but he’s absolutely gassed…..after another furlong or so, you can see him wobbling in the middle of the track….that’s an exhausted horse!

Audible (who finished 3rd) ran the race I expected him too – he found the inside after coming out of the final turn and made a noble effort…..but it’s too late - Justify has a comfortable lead at the finish line. (I wish Audible was making another run at Justify in the Preakness - would have been interesting to see).

Kentucky Derby Video:


Usually I will offer insight on the other horses – but I do believe this is a two horse race – between Good Magic and Justify.

I think #1 Quip could run with the early leaders – but I think he’ll fade if he tries to keep up early….so he likely will end up out of the money.

#8 Bravazo finished 6th and #2 Lone Sailor finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby – I would expect them to finish in the money here…..best case scenario 2nd place, most likely a finish in 3rd and 4th.

Fatigue could play a factor for any of the horses that ran in the KY Derby and return two weeks later for the Preakness - but I still like the KY Derby contenders to do well here.

Good Magic has a couple of things working for him in this race – first it’s a shorter race, which may help…..also Good Magic starts this race on the inside of Justify which should help.

From what I’m reading the forecast calls for rain again – so the track could be very muddy – that doesn’t help anyone, as we’ve already seen how Justify runs in the mud.

**Seriously did you see the final photos – Justify’s Jockey Mike Smith looks pristine – everyone else is covered in mud!

Justify needs to sign on with a Laundry Detergent --- "Your Clothes won't just be fresh and clean.....
they'll be Justified!"

**However if Ownership becomes concerned that Justify could hurt himself on the track (and I have seen this before) they may not let the horse run “his kind of race”. Meaning Ownership could instruct the Jockey to hold the horse back and basically jog the track – it’s unlikely, but it is possible.

**It’s also possible that Good Magic’s ownership becomes concerned about injury and they could jog him.

For Good Magic to win this race I think he’ll have to hope for a slower first half  – instead of a speedy 45.77 half mile (in the mud) – hopefully something closer to 47…or even a 48.

If Justify doesn’t tear the track up in the first half mile – Good Magic may be able to reserve more of his energy and as they come out of the final turn – if Good Magic can establish the inside, he can pick up a few steps on Justify coming out of the turn…..and then hit his next gear and have hopefully “just” enough to beat Justify in a shorter race (shorter than the KY Derby).

It will be a fascinating chess match between Good Magic and Justify to see how they approach the pace of this race --- IF Justify is able to pass Good Magic early, establish the inside AND a comfortable lead – Good Magic will likely finish the same way he did in the Kentucky Derby (or worse).

Closing Speed likes:  Justify, Good Magic, Lone Sailor

Whenever there is a HEAVY Favorite in a race (and Justify will be a heavy favorite) your two choices are to bet against him in that race or (in my opinion) make that horse the Key (or Anchor) in a Pick 3 or Pick 4 bet….(or if you’re feeling lucky – a Pick 6).

If I were betting $20 here’s how I’d do it.

Pick 4 beginning in Race 10 – (includes Races 10,11,12 and 13) = $20

Or Pick 4 Beginning in Race 11 (includes Races 11,12,13, and 14) = $20

If you choose to do a pick 3 beginning with Race 11 – that should be a $5 bet.

A Pick 3 Bet beginning with Race 12 would be a $4 bet.
Race 11 is going to be tough – and Axe Man is less than a sure thing…but I like him enough.

Race 10: 3,4,5,9
Race 11: 1,3,4,7,12
Race 12: #8 Axe man
Race 13: #7 Justify
Race 14: 1,3,5,7

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Kentucky Derby 2018


Churchill Downs  – May 5th, 2018
Race 12 - 6:50 PM (EST)
Kentucky Derby
Purse - $2,000,000
Distance - One And One Quarter Miles
Surface - Dirt


1 – Firenze Fire
2 – Free Drop Billy
3 – Promises Fulfilled
4 – Flameaway
5 – Audible
6 – Good Magic
7 – Justify
8 – Lone Sailor
9 –  Hofburg
10 – My Boy Jack
11 – Bolt D’oro
12 – Enticed
13 – Bravazo
14 –Mendelssohn
15 – Instilled Report
16 - Magnum Moon
17 – Solomini
18 – Vino Rosso
19 – Nobel Indy
20 – Combatant
21 – (AE)  Blended Citizen
 

The 144th Kentucky Derby could be the most talented field of three year old horses I’ve seen…..well, ever.

Justify enters this race as the morning line favorite --- however it would not surprise me if UAE Derby winner #14 Mendelssohn becomes the favorite at the start of the race – take a look at his last start:


For those of you who don’t follow horse racing much – the UAE Derby is equal in purse money to the Kentucky Derby (2 Mill), so it’s not like this horse just clobbered a bunch of nobodies.

However…..there are a couple of very interesting strikes against this horse --- the UAE Derby is held in the Middle East….and this horse just got to Kentucky this past Thursday……I can’t imagine this horse isn’t due for some major jet lag!!


I have boots on the ground that tell me Mendelssohn looks ready --- however a UAE Derby winner has never won a Kentucky Derby (granted the UAE Derby is only 18 years old). Most UAE Derby winners don’t even come close…..still you can’t help but be intimidated with that Romp – that being said, Mendelssohn has won 4 out of 7 races….which is great, except two of his rivals this Saturday are undefeated.

The Next Prep race I’d like to look at is the Wood Memorial – where #18 Vino Rosso found the winner’s circle. Other contenders in this race are: #12 Enticed and #1 Firenze Fire.


Unfortunately for Firenze Fire he starts off the Kentucky Derby against the rail, and far better horses than he have been avalanched upon before the first turn and not been able to get out from under the wall of horses. I expect the same here.

Enticed – fades hard before they reach the final turn in this race….and the KY Derby is a longer race, so he’s not likely to pull off a victory (however Enticed could play a key factor in this race).

Finally Vino Rosso finishes strong….that being said I think Vino Rosso will need a lot of help to win against these other horses  - his post position isn’t much help.

Next let’s take a look at the Louisiana Derby which featured #8 Lone Sailor, #13 Bravaso,  #10 My Boy Jack and #19 Noble Indy.


Lone Sailor and Noble Indy put up a great fight for the finish line…..and with a slightly different trip I think they could have swapped finishes….My Boy Jack closes after going (by my eye) 11 wide and still finds a way to challenge…..meanwhile Bravaso finishes 8th.

In my opinion these results are very similar to the Wood Memorial – some very solid horses here, but I don’t know if they have the resources to contend with the major players in this race.

***My Boy Jack did follow up after this race with a victory in the Lexington Stakes – and a lot of people seem to be stoked about this horse, I’m assuming because he’s a late closer. Truth be told I watched the Lexington Stakes and a horse by the name of Pony Up can “seriously” close….Pony Up didn’t qualify for the KY Derby, but I’ll be watching out for that horse.

Let’s move on to the Blue Grass Stakes – where 2017 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champion #6 Good Magic picked up a victory against fellow contenders #2 Free Drop Billy and #4 Flameaway.


First of all, these horses all have very good post positions – however The Blue Grass Stakes year in and year out has been kind of a weird race – good horses often run poorly there – average horses will sometimes look unstoppable…..I mean it’s like a box of chocolates up in here – you never know what you’re going to get.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
is unhappy about coming out
of retirement for a
Forrest Gump Call back.
Coming into 2018 Good Magic looked like the “one” to beat….and then he finished 3rd in the Fountain of Youth, and the Blue Grass Stakes win is solid but leaves me unconvinced.

The one thing I noticed most about this race is how well Good Magic stayed on the rail coming out of the final turn….as you watch these next few races you’ll see dominant horses leave themselves vulnerable on the inside. Good Magic may end up being the kind of disciplined horse who can steal a victory here.


Moving to the Florida Derby – Contenders #3 Promised Fulfilled, #5 Audible, #9 Hofburg:


The Florida Derby could provide us with some clues about how the Kentucky Derby will play out – you’ll notice Promised Fulfilled goes on a suicide run at 21.95 Quarter Mile before falling into a deep fade……I think they’ll run a similar style here……however if they have some patience...maybe a different outcome??

Audible and Hofburg both look like very solid contenders – I think both would need some help to win the Kentucky Derby, but I think either of these horses could crack the top 3.

Moving West to Arkansas  - Contenders #16 Magnum Moon, #17 Solomini, #20 Combatant.


First of all – kudos to the announcer for having Bad Moon on the Rise in his back pocket for the end of the race.

Next – Unlike the Blue Grass Stakes ALL of these horses have less than stellar starting positions…..sheesh Kentucky look after your own much?!?!

I believe Magnum Moon is a real contender in this race – and with Morning odds at 6/1 that’s not a bad price…..Magnum Moon enters this race undefeated  -- however he has two lightning fast horses on his inside and I don’t know that Magnum Moon will be able to put himself in a position to win – he’ll need help.

The two lightning fast horses I’m referring too are Santa Anita Derby Winner  #7 Justify and 2nd place finisher #11 Bolt D’Oro. See for yourself.


From what I understand – Bolt D’Oro (who finished 2nd in this race) was fast enough to defeat all of the horses who ran in the American Races…..the only horse that could have beat Bolt D’Oro did – and that was Justify.

Undefeated in 3 lifetime races, Justify enters this race as the Morning Line favorite.  

The “big” Strike against this horse is that he hasn’t raced a lot – most of these horses have almost twice as many outings as Justify (Mendelssohn is 4 out of 7 lifetime)……my concern is this horse may not have the kind of discipline to win against this talented of a field – then again he made mistakes in the Santa Anita and still beat, perhaps, the next best horse in America – that’s the other side of the coin, this horse has scary, scary talent.

In my opinion if Justify can run his race --- he’s rightfully the favorite and most likely will win the KY Derby.

***Here’s how I see the race unfolding – NBC will start by showing you how much sound Mendelssohn makes…he’s a loud horse.

As the race begins -- If #3 Promises Fulfilled can get out of the gate cleanly I think  he’s got a shot at the very early lead, along with #4 Flameaway – the real question is “How fast will they hit the quarter mile”?

**If these opening speedsters hit it in 21 or even 22 – I think they’ll fade hard before the end of the second turn – if however (one of them) can take the lead at around 23 seconds….they may be able to avoid traffic and (at 30-1) find a way to finish in the top 4.

I’m being told Enticed will NOT look to be at the top of the pack at the beginning of the race, but instead run a more conservative race until the final turn…..I don’t believe it – He’ll either be up early, or my guess is not at all – I don’t think he has the endurance to catch some of these horses once they have the lead – if Entice runs with Flameaway  and/or Promises Fulfilled…..could be dangerous for Justify – seeing two (or three) horse battle for a fast early lead….could tempt Justify to run out of his comfort zone and THAT’S exactly how I think Justify could lose this race….that’s where his inexperience could cost him.

**If Audible or Good Magic can keep Justify on their right shoulder going into the first turn that could cause Justify to expend enough early energy to have him vulnerable by the end of the race – a lot of this race could depend on if these two horses get a better opening break than Justify.

That being said – I don’t think Audible or Good Magic are going to be comfortable with the early speed at the top of the pack – I think Justify will look to find a way to get past them early.

I really like Audibles position - and I like the patience he showed in the Florida Derby -- I personally am putting Audible higher than Mendelssohn. 

Bolt D’oro and Mendelssohn will be on the outside looking in – the good news is they’ll be able to pick their spots once the pack starts to separate going into the first turn…..the bad news is – if Justify can break free of Audible and Good Magic and put himself along the rail just behind some opening leaders  -- they may be in a position where they’ve lost too much ground early – to do any real damage late.

Magnum Moon, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso – will likely stick to the middle of the pack and hope to steal this race late – out of these three I like Magnum Moon  – but luck will be a big factor --- as these horses will need a parting of the Red Sea moment to have an opening coming out of the final turn….but with the right position and a lot of luck – one of these horses could steal it.

In closing – Mendelssohn looks amazing, and I’m told he’s ready…..and when I hear people around the track buzzing, I’ve learned to listen – but I just don’t like the late arrival from a different time zone – I don’t believe this horse will be ready for this kind of race. I’m kicking him down a few spots.

**I would like to add if Mendelssohn wins the KY Derby --- we could be witnessing something very special…..like greatest 3 year old of all time special.

I am counting on Justify to run his race and not lose his composure – I think he takes the lead going into the final turn and doesn’t look back.

I like Audible to hang close with the leaders and slide into 2nd  followed by Bolt D’oro and Magnum Moon.

Closing Speed likes:  Justify, Audible and Magnum Moon.

If I’m betting $34 on this race I like:

$1 Trifecta Box: 5,7,11,16 = $24

$1 Exacta: 7, 11 with 6,9,14,18,19 = $10

Some Longshots -- (If there is rain – I would consider betting $27 on Longshots – as follows)

$2 Win - – Good Magic (Especially if it’s raining)
$5 Win – Audible (If raining)
$5 Win - Magnum Moon (if raining)
$5 Win - Nobel Indy (if odds are higher than 20/1)
$10 Win -  Promises Fulfilled (if odds are higher than 20/1)



Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Belmont Stakes

Belmont Park – June 10, 2016
Race 12 - 6:37 PM (EST)
Belmont Stakes (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And One Half Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 – Twisted Tom
2 – Tapwrit
3 – Gormley
4 – J. Boys Echo
5 – Hollywood Handsome
6 – Lookin at Lee
7 – Irish War Cry
8 – Senior Investment
9 – Meantime
10 – Multiplier
11 – Epicharis
12 - Patch

Ahhhh the Belmont Stakes ----  the Test of Champions!!!

(Or as most of America views it when there isn’t a Triple Crown on the line):

Image result for cc sabathia
They're still running races??
Why run when no one can win a Triple Crown?
To make matters worse…… or at least to make matters less interesting:

The Kentucky Derby Winner Always Dreaming is recovering from a light injury.

The Preakness Winner Cloud Computing will be….I don’t know......rebooting that day,

And Classic Empire who would likely be the favorite in this race – and one would imagine would like to pick up a Triple Crown victory….will be Classically Napping – which anyone who enjoys a good nap will understand how that is done.

Image result for 18th century sleep
Having read Pride and Prejudice for the 200th time because it's our
only book -- Molly takes a nap.

Looking at the field I feel it’s important to write that I believe this Belmont Stakes is wide open – I think the odds should be much closer bunched together – and I believe there’s a very good chance for a “relative” Long Shot to help you bring home some cash!

So let’s take a look at who will be racing –

#1 Twisted Tom – he’s won 4 out 6 lifetime races – he visited the Winner’s Circle in his last race and his odds are currently an enticing 20/1. He hasn’t raced against this quality of horse though,

HOWEVER – the real question in the Belmont is if he can handle the distance?? He’s had 49 days away from racing – he could be the big surprise here – and I love his post, but I like the talent I’ve seen from the other horses.

I wouldn’t mind seeing his odds get closer to 30-1 before laying down a bet.

#2 Tapwrit – Finished 6th in a muddy Kentucky Derby, and before that he finished 5th in the Blue Grass Stakes.

The Blue Grass Stakes results are always funky – and the Kentucky Derby was slop that day – Tapwrit is a solid late closing horse, I like him in this race.

#3 Gormley – Winner of the Santa Anita Derby – and finished a disappointing 9th in the Kentucky Derby.

Gormley has won 4 out of 7 lifetime races – he’s a very talented horse and he certainly has a solid shot here .

#4 J Boys Echo – There are a lot of people, that I respect, that think J. Boys Echo (going off at 15/1) is the horse to beat in the Belmont Stakes.  After finishing 15th in the KY Derby and 4th in the Blue Grass Stakes – I believe some bettors are throwing both of those races away – and instead looking at his victory in the Gotham stakes where he beat Preakness Winner Cloud Computing.

He only has 2 wins in 7 races – but the Gotham was a big one.  I’m hearing a lot of talk from the track, and those folks often know the inside scoop. Just letting you know.
Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
understands the hardships of
being Hollywood Handsome.

#5 Hollywood Handsome – 2 wins in 9 races and  going off at 30/1 – Has lost races to Multiplier and Patch. Probably just hoping to pick up some money in a 3rd or 4th place finish. Great name for a horse, but this horse has been without a Blockbuster so far.

#6 Lookin at Lee – Hasn’t won a race since August 2016 – however he’s very good at ending up in the money. He has 2 wins in 11 races – he finished 3rd in the Arkansas Derby, 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and 4th in the Preakness Stakes.

I like Lookin at Lee – he’s a late closing horse – but I think (at this point) he's been raced too much – he maybe should be Classically Napping with Classic Empire and Molly -- I like him to be in the Top 3 but I don’t like him for a win here.

#7 Irish War Cry – Currently he’s the favorite in this race at 7/2. He finished a disappointing 10th in the Kentucky Derby, however he had a very unfortunate starting position in that race – a month before the KY Derby he won the Wood Memorial (here in New York) – beating Preakness winner Cloud Computing.

Irish War Cry has 4 wins in 6 races and when it comes to running a Mile and 1/8th I think Irish War Cry is likely the best horse in this field. But I don’t know that he’s going to have the distance in this one.

#8 Senior Investment – has won 3 out of 9 career races and most notably finished 1st in the Lexington Stakes and 3rd in the Preakness.

Senior Investment looks like he has the distance in him for the Belmont Stakes – I really think this horse has a shot – the big question is if he’ll be rested enough after only a 21 day lay off from the Preakness.

#9 Meantime – has 1 win in 4 attempts – my hunch here is that Meantime hopes to build a very early lead and then hope all the other horses are too exhausted to catch up --- I have seen this work in the Belmont before, but I don’t know that Meantime will be able to build that kind of lead.

#10 Multiplier – Won the Illinois Derby and then finished 6th in the Preakness Stakes. Multiplier has a good late kick – but I’ve gotta say I’m disappointed with that 6th place finish in the Preakness, along with the fact that he’ll only have 21 days rest before this race.

#11 Epicharis – the true wild card in this race!  This horse is currently the 2nd favorite in this race going off at 4/1, just behind Irish War Cry at 7/2.

Epicharis is a lifetime 4 wins in 5 races and his only loss was in the UAE Derby where he finished 2nd by a nod of the head to (I REALLY HATE RAINY KENTUCKY MUD) Thunder Snow.

Related image
Thunder Snow would be the horse in the very back - FREAKING OUT!

Epicharis definitely has the Past Performances and Talent to deserve being the favorite or second favorite in this race.

However – he hasn’t raced in 77 days and he will have to acclimate to a different continent and also (more importantly) different drug rules  -- legal supplements vary from State to State in the US – let alone the World.

Under normal circumstances I would understand considering this horse the ideal horse to win here. But horses traveling this kind of distance usually don’t fare well in their first race in a new environment.

#12 Patch – The one eyed wonder only has 1 win in 4 attempts – although he did finish 2nd in the Louisiana Derby. This horse is a great story --- and I do think this race is fairly wide open, but he’ll need a break out performance and some sizeable luck to pull off a win here. Would have preferred his ownership raced him in the Iowa Derby in early July.

Here's how I see the Belmont Stakes -- I'm looking for Meantime, Irish War Cry and Epicharis to set the early pace -- Gormley and J. Boys Echo will likely be in the middle of the pack -- and I'll be looking for Tapwit, Lookin' at Lee and Multiplier to be towards the back as they enter the second turn.

Coming out of the final turn -- I believe Meantime will fade...HARD -- like the kind of fade where he goes from 2nd to last in about 3 seconds.

Irish War Cry and Epicharis may have enough talent and stamina to finish the Belmont like a 15 round heavyweight fight -- where Irish War Cry and Epicharis will basically be looking just to keep standing at the end.

In this scenario -- the late closers will be too far from the lead to significantly close ground on the leaders -- the closers will have "some" burst, but not enough to steal a victory.

I don't believe Irish War Cry and Epicharis pull this one off though -- I think Epicharis comes out rusty and fades early.

I think Irish War Cry will swing out of the final turn free and clear -- but I don't think he'll have enough of a lead or the endurance to hold off the late closers.

I like Gormley, Tapwrit, J. Boys Echo and especially Senior Investment to make enough of a late run to pull off a mild upset.

I don't think Multiplier or Patch can do it -- and I think Lookin' At Lee could finish anywhere between 2nd and 7th -- just depends on how much energy he has left in the tank.

In the end -- I like Irish War Cry to be the early leader who has just enough to finish in the money.

I like Tapwrit -- because he's had enough rest, and he can close.

But I'm taking Senior Investment -- because this horse has awesome closing abilities and I like his chances in this one!

Closing Speed likes:  Senior Investment, Tapwrit, & Irish War Cry

If I’m betting $29 on this race I like:

$1 Exacta: 2/4/7/8 = $24
$5 Gormley to Win.










Saturday, May 20, 2017

Preakness Stakes 2017

Pimlico  - May 20, 2016
Race 13 - 6:48 PM
Preakness Stakes.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 - Multiplier
2 - Cloud Computing
3 - Hence
4 - Always Dreaming
5 - Classic Empire
6 - Gunnevera
7 - Term of Art
8 - Senior Investment
9 - Lookin At Lee
10 - Conquest Mo Money


For anyone who missed #4 Always Dreaming”s victory in the Kentucky Derby see the video below.

Kentucky Derby:


#4 Always Dreaming is the significant favorite in the Preakness and he certainly has earned that distinction. So far this horse has shown that he does everything well – he runs in the mud well, he handles traffic well, he closes like lightning and he’s a very disciplined competitor.  From what I’ve seen I think there’s only three things that can beat Always Dreaming.

1st  Exhaustion – he could come out flat after only two weeks rest – two weeks is an unusual task for these horses and Always Dreaming, Hence, Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Looking at Lee are all coming off of a short rest.

The Empire Strikes Back?!?!
It's like you see the horrible joke
coming from a mile away, but
you can't do anything about it.
2nd Injury – and I for one hope no one gets hurt in these races. It still pisses me off A LOT remembering that people actually cheered when Barbaro stopped racing because of an eventual life ending injury....yeah people were applauding.

3rdClassic Empire…..aka The Empire Strikes Back!

#5 Classic Empire will likely be the 2nd favorite in the Preakness and, in my opinion, also well deserved. Classic Empire finished a disappointing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, but I’d throw that race away. Classic Empire got squeezed coming out of the gate and pushed into the center of the field – there was also some shifting among horses behind Always Dreaming as they came home causing unusual traffic – and the mud didn’t help Classic Empire either.

Classic Empire *may be the better horse – I don’t think he is – but that’s what we’ll find out in the Preakness.

Image result for empire strikes back
I just assume NBC is going to abuse this idea
A look at the rest of the field:

#1 Multiplier – He’s going off at about 30-1….but here are a few things to consider – he won his last race, and he won it on the rail – so his post position could be perfect for him. He likes to stay in the middle of the pack – which should place him in an area of the field where he has room to maneuver.

Multiplier has had more rest (28 days) – and from what I saw he was FEARLESS in the Illinois Derby. If the quick turnaround has exhausted Classic Empire and Always Dreaming……Multiplier could make things interesting.

#2 Cloud Computing – has 1 win in 3 races – and he faded hard at a mile and 1/8th…….Cloud Computing is an amazing technology, but an average horse.

Related image
Speaking of Cloud Computing and the Empire Strikes Back -- Cloud City Everybody!
This made me anxious as a child....I mean what's holding this City up?
And what's below all of these clouds that we need to live above...but not on
So many questions.

#3 Hence – I like Hence – but he has 2 wins in 7 attempts and finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s a Deep Closer…..but he’ll need a lot of help to win this one  -- he’s a possible 2nd or 3rd place, and maybe the mud was a factor in Kentucky…..but I think at best a 3rd place finish here.

#6 Gunnevera – finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby and has finished behind Always Dreaming in two straight races (Florida Derby)…..I think the Preakness will likely be the third time.

Gunnevera is a good horse, and he’s also a bit of a deep closer – if Classic Empire isn’t up for a big finish Gunnevera could steal 2nd place.

#7 Term of Art – he’s won 2 races out of a lifetime 9 --- he hasn’t race in 42 days and his last victory was around Thanksgiving….which is what the teller will be saying to you if you bet on this horse…..you know, Thanks (for) Giving us your money…….huh??? See what I did there……And, no I have no shame.

#8 Senior Investment – is fresh off of an impressive victory in the Lexington Stakes – he has a lifetime 3 wins in 8 attempts – a better look at this horse is likely his 6th place finish in the Louisiana Derby.

He closes very well, but he would need a LOT of help to pull off a victory – I honestly believe he could be more of a traffic issue for Classic Empire more than anything else.

#9 Lookin At Lee – finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby – and he’s going off with 2 wins in 10 attempts. Looking at Lee really impressed me in the Kentucky Derby – and he’s currently the third favorite at 10-1. I just don’t see this horse beating Always Dreaming and/or Classic Empire – BUT Lookin At Lee is just talented enough to pull off another 2nd place finish in this one…..it’s possible.

#10 Conquest Mo Money – A LOT of buzz has been made about Conquest Mo Money entering the Preakness – he did NOT run in the Kentucky Derby, however he has 3 wins in 5 attempts --  including a 2nd place finish in the Arkansas Derby behind Classic Empire.

Mo Money comes in Mo’ Rested and could certainly pull off an upset if the Kentucky Derby horses are gassed for this one.

At 15-1 he has my attention…..however in the Arkansas Derby he looked like he began to fade at the mile marker…..and while he may have built stamina more….I just don’t know that he has that last 3/16 of a mile in him.

Related image
Apparently the Preakness is also Movie Night for my blog.
Here’s how I see the race unfolding:

Always Dreaming will come out of the gate clean, take the rail and take the early lead – Conquest Mo Money will cross over and attempt to stalk Always Dreaming….or possible push the early tempo.

If Conquest Mo Money and Always Dreaming hit the quarter mile in the high 21 or low 22 that could be good news for the late closers who will be hoping that a hot early pace will tire these two horses out.

From what I’ve seen Always Dreaming will run “his” race – he’ll be at the quarter mile in the high 22’s or low to mid 23 and really pay Mo Money – No Mind….which is also the title to my second Rap Album.

A horse like Cloud Computing or Term of Art “might” try and run with the big boys at the front of the pack….that won’t last long.

Lookin At Lee and Multiplier will likely be just off that pace and Hence, Senior Investment, Gunnevera and Classic Empire will likely be several lengths back for most of the race.

Midway in the final turn – we’ll start to see movement in the back of the pack – For Classic Empire a lot of his success will be determined on what kind of position he has made for himself coming out of the final turn……there could be a lot of traffic with the deep closers and also some fading horses in the way.

Conquest Mo Money and Always Dreaming are going to be “asked” for another gear…..my guess is that Always Dreaming will go into his jaw dropping final gear and Mo Money will start to lose ground on the leader.

At this point it could come down to *if Classic Empire can make an incredible final burst and how much ground he’ll have to cover.

From what I have read and seen in the past – in a race like this when you have two strong favorites with two different racing styles – it’s wise to throw in a “longshot” to break up the favorites.

I’m going to be bold and say it’s Multiplier

Closing Speed likes:  Always Dreaming / Multiplier / Classic Empire

**I’m not crazy about betting on this race, because I think the favorites are going to do well  -- but here are some ideas.

If I’m betting $32 on this race I like:

$1 Trifecta Box: 1,4,5,9 = $24  
(we might catch a break and get a decent longshot in second)

$1 Exacta Box: 4,5 with 1,6,9,10 = $8




Friday, May 5, 2017

Kentucky Derby 2017

Churchhill Downs – May 6, 2017
Race 12 - 6:46 PM (EST)
Kentucky Derby (Grade I)
Purse - $2,000,000
Distance - One And One Quarter Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 –  Lookin at Lee
2 – Thunder Snow                                                          
3 - Fast and Accurate                    
4 - Untrapped                                                  
5  - Always Dreaming
6 - State of Honor
7 - Girvin
8 - Hence
9 - Irap
10 - Gunnevera                                  
     
11 – Battle of Midway
12 – Sonneteer
13 – J Boys Echo
14 – Classic Empire
15 – McCraken
16 – Tapwrit
17 – Irish War Cry
18 – Gomley
19 – Practical Joke
20 – Patch
It’s going to be a curious Kentucky Derby this year (ESPECIALLY if it rains) – I believe the Best horse of this group is #17 Irish War Cry – I believe the most talented horse of this group is #14 Classic Empire – and I believe there’s a very good chance neither of them will win the Kentucky Derby…….if you just want my picks go to the bottom  -- here’s how I see the field.

#1 Lookin at Lee – much like his sire Lookin at Lucky I think he’ll get buried along the rail and won’t be able to escape the traffic – Lookin at Lucky managed to finish 6th in the KY Derby and then Won the Preakness – but I don’t think his son has as much talent.

#2 Thunder Snow – In the UAE Derby he broke from the 10th spot and managed to be a pace setter – he finished with plenty of endurance……IF this horse isn’t jet lagged from the trip from the Middle East he would be a very real threat in this race – however I’ve never seen a UAE Winner acclimate in time to make a solid run at the roses…….he’s worth a $2 insurance bet….but history tells me he’ll come out flat.

#3 Fast and Accurate was the Spiral Stakes winner – it was a very solid last outing – however this horse is facing a much better level of talent than the groups he’s won against.

He just couldn't wait to write
Don't Sleep on Always Dreaming
#4 Untrapped – 1 win in 6 races – (6th in the Arkansas Derby)

#5 Always Dreaming – Winner of the Florida Derby, and the 5/1 horse I think will steal the Kentucky Derby. This horse was Grand Sired by Empire Maker and sired by Bodemeister – Empire Maker Grand Sired Grand Slam winner American Pharoah – and Bodemeister finished 2nd in the KY Derby and Preakness in 2012. Don’t SLEEP on Always Dreaming.

**When I began writing this - Always Dreaming wasn’t the favorite – now he is….so, so much for “stealing” the KY Derby.

Florida Derby (Below) – also racing (#6 State Of Honor, #10 Gunnevera)


#7 Girvin – Louisiana Derby Winner, and he’s won 3 out of 4 lifetime races – and he is an absolute STEAL at 21/1……however his racing style isn’t great for this Kentucky Derby. With a enough help this horse could shock the world, but I just don’t think he’s going to get enough help. Could end up in the top 3.

#8 Hence – Sunland Derby Winner -- and Hence scares the HELL out of me. He’s only won 2 out of 6 races, he hasn’t raced against quality talent – and he hasn’t raced in 41 days – however he has great closing ability, and he has the perfect starting position to set himself up for a quality trip. At 15/1 he’s another steal – I just don’t know if he has the talent or the seasoning –would love to have seen one more race out of him.

#9 Irap – 1 victory in 8 attempts and it was his last race The Blue Grass Stakes. I’m not a big fan of the Blue Grass Stakes as a Prep Race – Irap has talent, but I just don’t think he has enough to pull off a victory here.

I don’t like the Blue Grass Stakes as an indicator for the Kentucky Derby – that particular race has a strange history of Great horses running poorly and often being beaten by lesser opponents – to me it’s a throw away race –

However the Blue Grass Stakes also involved:
#19 Practical Joke (2nd)
#15 McCraken (3rd)
#13 J Boys Echo (4th)
#16 Tapwrit (5th)

Let’s move ahead to:

#14 Classic Empire – (also Grand Sired by Empire Maker – but Sired By Pioneer of the Nile – Pappa to American Pharoah) will likely be the favorite in this race.  The Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champion has won 5 out of 7 races.

The two horses who defeated him are – Irish War Cry (Holy Bull Stakes) and Practical Joker (Hopeful Stakes) – however there’s MORE to the story of why, or how he was defeated.

Classic Empire – has Experience, Undisputed Talent, Amazing Closing Speed and…..well, he’s also been described as a “bit of a nut”.

Per the Daily Racing Forum:

His behavior in training first became unpredictable almost a year ago. In the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes last summer, a race in which he was favored, Classic Empire pulled a stunt rarely seen on the racetrack, doing a U-turn a few strides into the race and coming to a dead stop after throwing his rider to the Saratoga dirt – Winner Practical Joker.

Also: “Everyone wants to make him out to be this bad boy, but he’s not,” Mark Casse said. “That’s not him. Now, he does see things that others don’t see, but that doesn’t make him bad.”

Also he occasionally refuses to Workout….basically making him the Allen Iverson of Horse Racing.

Image result for allen iverson practice meme
Not a race.....not a RACE - We're talking about Practice?
 His loss in the Holy Bull is attributed to an Abscess on his Hoof – which considering his strong Arkansas Derby makes sense.

See Arkansas Derby also racing – (#1 Lookin At Lee, #4 Untrapped, and #12 Sonneteer)


Classic Empire “could” be both the Wild Card and Favorite of the Kentucky Derby….let that sink in.

#15 McCraken – has won 4 out of 5 lifetime races – his only loss was at the Blue Grass Stakes (which again I’m tossing aside) – He has talent, I really like that he’s just off of Classic Empire’s shoulder – it’s a good spot for him --  I just haven’t seen him win against the kind of quality in this race. He needs help, but he certainly could surprise – I don’t love his 5/1 odds here though.

#17 Irish War Cry – he’s also won 4 out of 5 lifetime races – he was sired by Curlin (one of my favorites of all time) and in my opinion, he “Should” be the horse to beat in this race……however that 1 loss…..that 1 loss has baffled many experts.

His one loss was a 7th place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes – this is at the same track (Gulfstream Park) where he defeated a gimpy Classic Empire just the race before.

Maybe it was just an off day….you just hate to bet big on a horse that has had that “OFF” of a day.

Also every time I see this horse's name I start singing.....IN THE NAME -- OF LOVE!!! 

Image result for u2 singing
I'm sure I do not look as cool as Bono when singing it.....or as on key

#18 Gormley – is the Santa Anita Derby Winner – he has solid Closing Speed - -The Santa Anita Derby has produced 2 out of the last 5 Kentucky Derby Winners.  And he is lifetime 4 wins out of 6 races.

He’s currently going off at 26/1 – and he’s definitely a horse that could also shock the world with a little help.

#19 Practical Joke – he’s going off at 31/1 – I think he has a solid chance of landing in the Top 3 – He hasn’t won a race since Oct. 2016 (3 wins / 6 attempts), however he’s also never finished worse than 3rd place – and he’s raced against the best horses in the field.

#20 Patch – He’s going to be “THE” Underdog story in this race – his post position is out in the parking lot AND he’s a One-Eyed Horse.  He has 1 victory in 3 attempts – he currently sits at 30-1 and while it would be the Feel good story – let me get my script to Disney -- History in the Making Kentucky Derby….I wouldn’t buy into the hype. At 50/1 I might be interested.

**Here’s how I see the race –

Lookin At Lee gets immediately buried on the rail – IF (and it’s a big IF) Thunder Snow is here to race I think he jumps out and sets the pace…..if this happens, nail biting will commence.

Always Dreaming (hopefully with a good jump at the gate) will join Thunder Snow at the top of the pack.

OR Thunder Snow will be dead tired and Always Dreaming will be on the Rail and in command of the early pace.

What I’m most curious about is WHERE Classic Empire will be when they hit the first turn? He may reserve himself and drop back towards the back half of the field --- I wouldn’t be surprised if McCraken and Irish War Cry do their best to stalk Classic Empire and keep him boxed in.

There is a chance that Classic Empire will fire off and attempt to run closer to the top of the field – if he does that McCraken and Irish War Cry will likely follow – but they won’t necessarily be able to box him into as much traffic.

There’s usually “some” horse that decides to go all LEEROY JENKINS and fire out of the gate at an unsustainable pace – usually ownership has seemingly decided that firing off fast and praying for miracle endurance is the only way they’ll win.  (I’m thinking Fast and Accurate, Battle of Midway, State of Honor or Irap).

Image result for leeroy jenkins meme

I’ll be looking for Girvin. Gomley, maybe Gunnevera and Hence to settle in somewhere in the middle of the field – all of these horses should be able to run “their race” – but they’ll likely need the Early Pace Setters to burn out and fade – and hope that Classic Empire is in traffic…….the same traffic they’ll need to avoid.

Coming out of the final turn – I see Always Dreaming in the lead, and hopefully picking up steam – at this point it will depend on who navigated traffic best – If Classic Empire gets daylight….and he’s not crazy…you know at the moment…..than I think he’ll have enough power to win.

However if he’s battling traffic – I like Always Dreaming for the win…..and a crazy finish for 2nd (Irish War Cry, Classic Empire, McCraken, Hence, Girvin, or Gomley) 

Closing Speed likes:  Always Dreaming, McCraken, Classic Empire, Irish War Cry

If I’m betting $34 on this race I like:

$1 Trifecta Box: 5,14,17,18 = $24
$1 Exacta: 5, 14 with 2,7,8,10,15 = $10

Some Longshots -- (If there is rain - scratch the $34 bet – and I would consider betting $27 on Longshots – as follows)

$2 Win - #11 Battle of Midway – (Especially if it’s raining)
$5 Win - #18 Gormley – (If raining)
$5 Win - #19 Practical Joke (if raining)
$5 Win -   #7 Girvin – (if odds are higher than 20/1)
$10 Win - #10 Gunnevera – (if odds are higher than 15/1)



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Arkansas Derby 2017

Oaklawn Park
Race 11 - 6:18 PM
Arkansas Derby   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,000,000
Distance - One And One Eighth Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Rockin Rudy
2 – Classic Empire
3 – Silver Dust
4 – Petrov
5 – Grandpa’s Dream
6 – Lookin at Lee
7 – Sonneteer
8 – Rowdy the Warrior
9 – Untrapped
10 – One Dreamy Dude
11 – Conquest Mo Money
12 - Malagacy
                               
I’m going to start off by writing that I believe there could be a sizeable upset in the Arkansas Derby – the favorites have a few things going against them…..enough, I believe,  to cost them a trip to the winner’s circle.

And some of these long shots only need a little edge to steal a big race – and they may get it here at Oaklawn.

The Arkansas Derby serves as a rematch for several of these horses who last raced in the Rebel Stakes 28 days ago.

#12 Malagacy earned a commanding victory over #7 Sonneteer (2nd), #9 Untrapped (3rd), #4 Petrov (4th), #3 Silver Dust (5th) and #6 Lookin at Lee (6th).

See Video:


As the announcer so aptly stated there were three noses on the wire for 2nd place – and I believe one of these three horses could be the one to steal a victory here in the Arkansas Derby.

Before I “show my work” on the upset – here’s a quick briefing on the field.

#1 Rockin Rudy – 1 victory in 3 career starts , I think he’ll be overwhelmed by the talent here. If he somehow breaks from the gate well and grabs the rail and sets the early pace….he could position himself for a top three spot…..but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

#2 Classic Empire – He’s the Favorite in this race - currently going off at 8/5. This son of Pioneer of the Nile (half-brother to Grand Slam Champion American Pharoah)  enters this race as the Breeders Cup Juvenile Champion , BUT most recently 3rd place finisher in the Holy Bull Stakes.

An additional issue I see for this horse is that he last ran 70 days ago – and this race is set up to be a kind of Boom or Bust for Classic Empire. He’s got a great post, but I’m concerned he either peaked too soon (his 2 year old season) or that he’ll have too much rust coming into this one…..or both!

From a bettors standpoint I think you either bet against him heavy……or you sit on your hands…i.e. not bet at all.

Image result for holding a bunny
Or, instead of sitting your hands, you could hold a giant rabbit
Happy Easter everyone.

#3 Silver Dust (1 win in 4 attempts) and #6 Lookin at Lee (2 Wins in 8 attempts) – neither have shown me enough to win in this one.

#4 Petrov – 1 win in 5 attempts – I thought he had a very tough trip in his 4th place finish…..he got bunched up in traffic coming out of the final turn and it seemingly took forever for him to find a gap to run through……I love his starting spot…..but I HATE that he only has one victory. 12/1 odds – worth a look!

#5 Grandpa’s Dream – 1 win in 4 races – 30/1 odds – in a race with a possible upset he may be worth a $2 bet…..but I think you and Grandpa will both be dreaming at that point.

#7 Sonneteer – He REALLY caught my attention with his 2nd place finish in the Rebel Stakes and I was ready to GUARENTEE a big finish from this horse……I mean a BIG GUAAAAAA-----ROOOONNN---TEEEEE this horse was going to do something special here in the Arkansas Derby…..and then I reviewed his full history.

0 wins in 9 Races…….I mean that ZERO feels REALLY PUNCTUATED!

Image result for westbrook dunk
Like REALLY ZERO
I do think there’s an upset brewing here…..and 15/1 odds looks mighty nice…..but ZERO Wins…Zero.....I could be mumbling that all during the race.

#8 Rowdy the Warrior – he’s going off at 30/1 and has 1 victory in 9 races. Which of course makes it even more difficult to forget that ZERO sitting with Sonneteer.....I mean even Rowdy the Warrior a horse clearly with some kind of complex could put together 1 win.

Likely you’ll see Rowdy the Warrior begin at the back of the pack….and finish there as well.

#9 Untrapped – 1 win in 5 attempts – this horse is very good at finishing 2nd or 3rd --- he could be the upset contender here but I’m not loving his starting spot.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
refers to himself as
One Dreamy Dude
on his dating profile -
at JC Date
Jungle Cats Date
#10 – One Dreamy Dude – 0 Wins in 6 Attempts --- I think he’s basically a part of the field so that I have material for Strangely Sensitive Cheetah.

#11 Conquest Mo Money – 3 wins out of 4 attempts – and he finished 2nd in the Sunland Derby. In the Sunland Derby he was forced to go far wide in the first turn and it really cost him ground he couldn’t make up --- he’s sitting at 15/1 and he very well could pose as an upset threat!

#12 Malagacy – Undefeated in 3 lifetime races – he’s definitely the horse to beat in this one, and in my opinion should still be considered the favorite in this race over Classic Empire.

So here is my breakdown of how I see this race going

Malagacy “could” and likely will push to be a part of the early lead (i.e. the Pace) – Conquest Mo Money will do EVERYTHING in his power to make sure to keep Malagacy on his outside shoulder and not give Malagacy the opportunity to get an inside position…..this could be KEY.

If Malagacy goes for the rail and Conquest Mo Money succeeds in keeping him from getting it – both of these horses could come out of the final turn exhausted – leaving someone inside -- or someone with a reserve an opportunity.

That someone very well could be Classic Empire – who will have a shorter trip on the rail into the first turn and could (and should) position himself to have the inside track coming out of the final turn 

*IF both Malagacy and Conquest Mo Money are sucking wind --- he could breeze the final furlongs and take a solid victory….that is….unless he comes out flat, or he’s not up for the distance?!?!

IF (and this is a solid IF) Conquest Mo Money presents issues for Malagacy and both of them are wiped out coming out of the final turn AND Classic Empire comes out rusty – this makes way for a sizeable upset.

I SO BADLY want to go with Sonneteer but WHO picks a horse to win a HUGE Kentucky Derby Prep that has Zero Wins…….

Image result for be brave
This is what betting on Sonneteer feels like.....
I'm going with Petrov for the win....but I think there are a number of possible upsets here -- if you're betting tomorrow -- Be Brave!

Closing Speed likes:  Petrov / Malagacy / Classic Empire

If I’m betting $30 on this race I like:
$1 Trifecta Box 4/2/11/12

$6 Win Bet #7