Friday, May 20, 2011

Preakness 2011: Oh Yeaaaah!

This is about as an easy a wager as there's ever been for a race, assuming there is one and the world doesn't end prior.  If you don't have your money on #9 Mucho Macho Man, given Friday's sad passing of the great Randy "Macho Man" Savage, then you don't understand what a "hunch" bet is.

Besides the name likeness to Mr. Poffo, he also has a decent resume, and has a much better running style for Pimlico than Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.  I also like Shackleford again, he ran a big one at Churchill but couldn't quite carry his speed the full 10 furlongs.  Flashpoint is a longshot pick if he can get away from the field like he did in the Hutcheson (Gr. II). Click Here to Read More..

Friday, May 6, 2011

2011 Kentucky Derby Predictions

I think the 2011 Kentucky Derby could be one of the more exciting races in recent memory, but assembles one of the least impressive fields in quite some time.  Top contenders and prep winners including Uncle Mo, To Honor and Serve, Toby's Corner, Premier Pegasus, Jaycito, and JP's Gusto all will be on the sidelines the first Saturday in May.  Who is starting in the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby is a fairly even group with no standouts.  Nick Zito trained Dialed In has been made the morning line favorite at 4-1.

Top Contenders (by post position)
#1 Archarcharch: Would be my top choice were it not for drawing the rail post which could present problems for him as he lacks early speed.  Surprisingly the rail has produced the most Derby winners (12) since 1900 of any post, but only 1 in the past 35 years.  I like his breeding with Arch being the sire of last year's BC Classic winner Blame, and broodmare sire Woodman is solid.  Running style will require a quick pace, which I'm not sure that he'll get, but he closed nicely in both the Southwest and the Arkansas Derby most recently. 
#8 Dialed In:  Visually impressive Florida Derby victory makes him the favorite, but I don't think he closed as fast as it seems as Shackleford was backing up from quick early fractions, and still managed the place.  Scores amongst the top 3 in 4 of the 5 categories I analyze so I have no choice but to put him in the contender mix, although deep down I think he's more likely to encounter a tough trip than not and Zito can add this race to his close calls in the classics in recent years. 
#17 Soldat:  You have to be willing to excuse the Florida Derby, and believe this son of War Front can get 10 furlongs.  I see a potential War Emblem type situation here, who wired a field at 20-1 after getting a clear lead and setting reasonable fractions (47 second 1/2, 1:11 6f pace).  He's the biggest benefactor of the scratch of Uncle Mo who was the most accomplished pacesetter and he now sports the top Beyer Speed Figure in the field at 103 (not unlike W.E.).  He showed class as a juvenile placing 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf, and solid foundation with 5 starts last year.  If the track comes up wet, he'll be my key horse for first, but either way he'll be in my exactas.

Exotic Fillers: (outside shot of upset, but more likely completing the trifecta)
#13 Mucho Macho Man:  Finished behind a few of these in prep races, but always seems to fire.
#19 Nehro:  Strong closer, but lost by a neck in both the Arkansas Derby and LA Derby his past two starts.  Improving colt may just have seconditis.
#14 Shackleford:  If he can do what Soldat wants to do, he has a shot.  Hung in there nicely in the Florida Derby losing only by a head after leading the whole way with fairly quick fractions.  If the track comes up wet he moves forward with Forestry a good sire of mudders.  Plus, any horse named after Charles Shackleford has my bet.

Wildcard:  #11 Master of Hounds - no prior dirt races, this Aidan O'Brien trainee ships in from Dubai after campaigning in Ireland and Great Britain last year.  By Kingmambo, there's reason to believe he'll like the dirt and his pedigree also suggests he can run all day - the question is will it be fast enough.  Only has a maiden victory to his credit, but did run 2nd on the synthetic track in the UAE Derby in his last start.  With the field lacking much talent, and top jockey Garrett Gomez up, I'll put a few bucks on him to win.

Small win bet on #11 Master of Hounds (30-1).  I'll put a medium size wager on Soldat and Archarcharch at 10-1 or better, i don't think Dialed In to win offers much value.

Exacta:  8 / 1, 13, 19
1/ 8, 13, 14, 17, 19
17/ 13, 14, 1
14/ 13, 17

Good luck to all. Click Here to Read More..