Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 California Derby

GOLDEN GATE - January 12, 2013
Race 4 - 2:18 PM
California Derby
Purse - $100,000
Distance - One And One Sixteenth Miles

1 – Will True Up
2 – Condiment
3 – Zeewat
4 – Wildcat Moon
5 – Tree of Life
6 – Butterfly Soul
7 –My Best Bet

When I began writing about Horse Racing I decided that I would likely begin each season with the California Derby (because Cali is my home) – and end my three year old write-ups with the West Virginia Derby….the state where I was born.

The California Derby doesn’t always attract the most talented horses – however there are two horses lining up at the starting gate this year that may deserve your attention – and they are the 6/5 morning line favorite #3  Zeewat and #5 Tree of Life.

#3 Zeewat – has been dominant with Russell Baze on board, having won three races (out of a career five). Two strikes against this horse is that he’ll carry the most weight (122) and this will be his first time stretching out to a mile and 1/16th. However Zeewat has the highest earnings of the field and unless he comes out flat….or another horse surprises – I think Zeewat finishes in the top three without any surprise -- and also his good luck guy Baze will be aboard.

#5 Tree of Life is second in earnings  and showed promise in his early career – having won his first two races (both at 6 furlongs), however he’s followed that with a 10th place finish and a 5th place finish in a mile and 1/16th and a mile. He returns to racing  after a 49 day rest ---- and he could be the kind of horse that returns from a rest and dominates the field….he could also finish 7th?!?!

I wouldn’t be surprised if Tree of Life slipped into being the third favorite – and #2 Condiment switches places with him.

#2 Condiment – has only one victory in six races – however he has three recent races at 1 mile and he finished second in two of them. He has the inside track on both Zeewat and Tree of Life and with a little luck his opponents could come out flat and he could pull off a minor upset. Problem is…..I write that and then immediately remember : 1 victory in 6 races…..he’s also lost to Zeewat twice.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
thinks that the author making a
"Condiment" play on words
is a new low...
Like a well relished frankfurter  -- #1 Will True Up will have Condiment covering his outside……

Will True Up may have the best sire in Lawyer Ron (a challenger to Barbaro almost 10 years ago), however despite his excellent breeding – Will True Up has only 1 win in 4 attempts, and the victory was at 6 furlongs. I think at the right odds you might throw down some cash in hopes that his father’s talent arrives this Saturday…..but I would need 10/1….or more, I just don’t see anything on paper that makes me a believer.

#4 Wildcat Moon – has two career victories in seven – and both of those victories were in his last two races. He’s carrying 116 lbs. and while his victories have only been in 6 furlong races – I like that he’s coming into the race off of two consecutive victories. At 8/1 he’s got me thinking.

#6 Butterfly Soul – with horses like Butterfly Soul and Tree of Life, I can’t tell if I’m looking at horses or sitting at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore….(oh wait they closed that store….bummer)…..anyway I think this horse’s name is real groovy and I really dig that she’s a filly – I also really like that she’s currently the longshot at 15-1 and carrying the least weight – 114.

She has two career victories (out of five attempts) and both victories came under a mile. However she’s run in solid stakes races and while her best recent finish was 2nd in a mile race – I like that her last three races were a mile or longer. At 15-1 she’s tempting.

And finally #7 My Best Bet who has won three races out of six….problem is he’s finished behind Zeewat and Condiment in two of those six races…..and you have to wonder what could help this horse’s luck. There’s a chance his outside post will help, and of course there’s a chance the other horses will misjudge the distance….but I think “my best bet” is not to put money on this horse winning this Saturday -- (which seeing how my confidence usually backfires...could make this horse your best bet...)

In closing Zeewat was absolutely stunning in the Gold Rush Stakes here at Golden Gates – he pulled away easily from the rest of the field and, without question, deserves to be the favorite.

I think having the inside slot and adding more distance will help Condiment….but unless the time off and training have seriously improved his closing abilities – I think a second place finish is (once again) very likely – however I think Wildcat Moon will steal the 2nd place from him and Condiment will finish third.

Closing Speed likes: 3,4,2

Now comes the betting side:

Since I didn’t cash a winning ticket from my last blog – I’ll slow down the betting this week and only put $10 on the table.

$1 Exacta 3,4 with 2,3,4,6 ($6)
$4 Butterfly Soul to Win

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