Friday, April 15, 2016

Arkansas Derby 2016

Purse - $1,000,000
Distance - One And One Eighth Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 –  Discreetness
2 –  Cutacorner                                
3 –  Creator                                        
4 – Suddenbreakingnews                                            
5 – American Pioneer                                                    
6 – Unbridled Outlaw                                                    
7 – Dazzling Gem
8 – Whitmore
9 –  Luna De Loco
10 –  Cupid
11 – Gray Sky
12 - Gettysburg

For the most part, the Arkansas Derby is a rematch of the Rebel Stakes in March – and in my opinion it’s likely that the Arkansas Derby will also be a replay of the Rebel Stakes.

In the Rebel, #10 Cupid went wire to wire to the Winner’s Circle holding off #8 Whitmore and a late charging #3 Creator.  

The remainder of the field included #1 Discreetness, #2 Cutacorner, #4 Suddenbreakingnews, and #11 Gray Sky.

As you watch the race – one item of note happens at the 1:28 mark – you’ll see Cupid have an awkward step near (or into) the rail  – the announcer doesn’t acknowledge it – but I believe Cupid would have finished much stronger had he come out of the final turn smoother.

The Rebel Stakes:

 To round out the field we have:

#5 American Pioneer  (NOT a close relation to Arkansas Derby Champion and Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah) – American Pioneer has 1 win in two races and has never contended against this kind of competition – I don’t like his inexperience here and I really don’t like his 8/1 odds – I’d think about it, if this horse were closer to 30-1.

#6 Unbridled Outlaw – he has 1 victory in 5 attempts – and finished 2nd in his most recent outing – at 10/1 I’m not a fan.

#7 Dazzling Gem finished 3rd in the Louisiana Derby and is back at the track after only 21 days off –  I believe Dazzling Gem is worth a look in this race – in the Louisiana Derby he was fading in his 3rd place finish – but it wasn’t the best trip for him and he’s the only horse with experience at this distance.

Dazzling Gem is well positioned to work his way into the middle of the pack --- and then we’ll see if he can finish stronger this time out. I don’t like him to win – but at 10/1 odds I like him to finish better than American Pioneer and Unbridled Outlaw.

#9 Luna De Loco – finished 13th (in a 14 horse race) in the Southwest Stakes – this horse tapped out around the ½ mile marker of his last race and hasn’t raced in 35 days  – perhaps the horse had a minor injury to get over or just needed more training – he’s had two victories out of four races – but I just haven’t seen anything to make me believe he can contend in the Ark. Derby.

And finally #12 Gettysburg finished 2nd at Sunland in his last race and has a career record of 1 win in 5 races – I don’t love him at 6/1.

The Arkansas Derby is (in my opinion) Cupid’s race to lose – HOWEVER starting in the 10th spot, the added distance and this quality field could test his abilities.

However Cupid does have a great song....and that should count for something....Ladies and Gentlemen Mr. Sam Cooke!!

Alright.....back to racing.....#3 Creator and #4 Suddenbreakingnews will likely drop to the back of the pack and cruise along there for the first ½ mile or so -- I'll be looking for both of these horses to make a strong late charge at the end of the race.

I’ll be very curious to see what #8 Whitmore will do with his inside position of Cupid.

Cupid will likely want to take the lead and set the pace – the question is - can (or will) Whitmore attempt to keep up the early pace with Cupid in hopes of coming out of the final turn with a better position than Cupid?

Or will Whitmore let Cupid fly by and position himself in the middle of the pack – hoping to finish stronger than his last outing?

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah likes
the idea of Cupid but is NOT
a fan of getting shot with his
All things being equal – Cupid is the horse to beat in this race – but with the added distance in this race and a less than optimal post position --- Cupid will have to earn this one.

I think Dazzling Gem (12/1) is a legit long shot possibility.

I’m looking for Suddenbreakingnews to rebound from a mediocre Rebel Stakes – but I think Creator is being overlooked at 10/1.

Closing Speed likes:  Cupid/ Creator and Suddenbreakingnews.

If I’m betting $10 on this race I like:
$1 Exacta Box: 3,4,10 = $6
$2 Win – #3 Creator

$2 Win – #7 Dazzling Gem

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Florida Derby 2016

Gulfstream Park – April 2, 2016
Race 14 - 6:48 PM
Florida Derby (Grade I)
Distance - One And One Eighth Miles

1 – Sawyers Mickey
2 – Fellowship                                  
3 – Majesto                                                       
4 – Nyquist                                                        
5 – Copingaway                                                               
6 – Chovanes                                                    
7 – Takeittotheedge
8 – Fashionable Freddy
9 –  Mohayman
10 – Isofass

#4 Nyquist and #9 Mohayman are considered by many to be the two best three year old horses in the country --- and (it’s possible) they could be starting a great rivalry here at Gulfstream Park in the Florida Derby.

#4 Nyquist is undefeated in 6 races including the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile and the San Vicente Stakes.

#9 Mohayman is also undefeated – having won his last two races The Fountain of Youth and the Holy Bull Stakes here at Gulfstream Park.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
thinks that having a Father
named Uncle Mo would be
very confusing. 

Nyquist (like his father Uncle Mo) has a tendency to set a demanding pace (he put up a 22.7 ¼ mile in his last outing) – he will, most likely, look to take the lead early – control the rail – and have enough stamina to finish before any late closers can catch him……and as I wrote before – so far no one has.

Mohayman will likely stalk the pace – he will likely position himself in the middle of the pack and look to have enough time and enough energy to close on Nyquist.

What will be very interesting is to see how much distance is between Nyquist and Mohayman going into the first turn and coming out of the second turn.

Mohayman doesn’t want to burn out too early trying to keep up with Nyquist in the first three quarters of the race --- he also doesn’t want to give Nyquist so much room that he doesn’t have time to catch Nyquist in the final furlongs.  

Currently Nyquist is the second favorite currently set at 6/5 odds --- Mohayman is currently at 1/1 odds – I don’t think I’ve ever seen odds this low AND this close in one race.

With a two dollar bet --

6/5 odds pays $4.40
1/1 odds pays $4.00

Just to look over the remaining horses –

#1 Sawyers Mickey is currently at 30-1 and has never won a race in 7 attempts

#2 Fellowship (15-1) finished 3rd in the Fountain of Youth against Mohayman and has two victories in 10 attempts.

#3 Majesto (20/1)  - 1 win in 5 Races
#5 Copingaway (50/1) 1 win – 14 races
#6 Chovanes (30/1) 1 win – 4 races

#7 Takeittotheedge (20/1) – he won in his only race, which was a 7 furlong race here at Gulfstream Park.

#8 Fashionable Freddy (30/1) – 1 win in 5 races
#10 Isofass (30/1) – 1 win in 4 races.

To give this some perspective Nyquist has 6 victories – Mohayman has 5 victories – and the rest of the field combined have 8 victories.

In my attempt to pick a winner in this race – I have gone back and forth several times –

Mohayman has never had to close on this kind of early speed – Nyquist may not have enough endurance to hold Mohayman off.

Mohayman has experience on this track – Nyquist is the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champion.

I usually take the horse that has experience with the track, and Mohayman has won his last two races at Gulfstream Park…..but it is certainly not easy not choosing the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile that has quite a bit of racing experience already.

So Closing Speed likes: Mohayman,  Nyquist and Majesto

I would not bet on this race – this is a race you just sit back and hope to watch two young greats go at it.

However if you’re betting $18 I would go with a Pick 3 bet beginning in race #12

Race #12 – 3,5,6 with Race #13 – 4,7,9 with Race #14 4,9.