04/03/2009 4:51PM

Saturday G1 Thoughts



Some initial thoughts on Saturday's five Grade 1's around the country:

Ashland Stakes (5:03 pm): Stardom Bound will be even-money or less shooting for her sixth straight Grade 1 victory, and faces a field that has combined to win only two graded stakes, but it might be worth taking a small shot against her. She was a dominant and exciting juvenile champion, but she simply  appears to have made no progress in the last few months, and the rest of the crop may be catching up to her. Add in that this will be her first start outside of California, and she's shaky at odds-on.

The three fillies she just won a four-horse photo from in the Santa Anita Oaks are all back to try her again, but I don't really want any of them. I'd rather try to resuscitate Dream Empress (5-1), who was a good second to the good Stardom Bound in the BC Juvenile Fillies. She's been awful in two starts this year but those were on dirt and grass and today she returns to the track and distance over which she won the Alcibiades six months ago. If you're feeling particularly creative and contrary, What a Pear and Be Fair are worth a look at big prices.

Wood Memorial (5:19 pm): Can't beat the favorites in this one, which looks as simple as one A (I Want Revenge), one B (Imperial Council) and one C (West Side Bernie). I Want Revenge was magnificent winning the Gotham by 8 1/2 lengths, a pretty big gap for Imperial Council to close entirely, at least this time around. Imperial Council should get a better pace set-up this time, but I Want Revenge also figures to sit a dream trip from the rail, second or third early behind the overmatched speed in the race, and get first run on his primary rivals. West Side Bernie should improve off a non-effort over Poly in the Lane's End as he returns to dirt, but may still be third best.

Santa Anita Derby (5:36 pm): The race is widely perceived as a two-horse showdown between 9-5 The Pamplemousse nand 2-1 Pioneerof the Nile, but I'm going to play it is a one-horse race, focussing on The Pamplemousse and trying to get cute and beat Pioneerof the Nile for second. I think The Pamlemousse can relax behind his rival's pacesetter, Z Day, and blow the race open at will while Pioneerof the Nile is still loping along at the back of the pack.

Carter Handicap (5:51 pm): Only seven betting interests, but by far the most wide-open of today's G1 quintet. With three intractable front-runners in the field (True Quality, Fabulous Strike and Driven By Success), I'm looking for a meltdown in the seventh furlong that lead to a rematch of the 2007 Belmont Futurity, when Tale of Ekati beat Kodiak Kowboy by a length. This might be Kodiak Kowboy's best distance, and you get a two-for-one coupling with Biker Boy, a late-bloomer who's been trouncing lesser fields. Ah Day could also snare a piece if he can work out a trip from the rail.

Apple Blossom(5:57 pm): This came up a dreadful race for a Grade 1 after the defection of Proud Spell and there have to be plenty of owners kicking themselves for not entering this five-horse, $500k G1 race which ended up with only one graded-stakes winner of any kind -- Acoma, the even-money favorite. Seventh Street, a tough-luck second in the Barbara Fritchie in her stakes debut, is her only plausible competition in a race where the two favorites figure to be something like 3-5 and 6-5.

I'll be posting live tomorrow from Aqueduct, where today's grass race was cancelled and tomorrow's two scheduled turf races are in jeopardy after a full day of rain today. Track officials said a decision on Saturday's turf racing won't be made until the course is evaluated in the morning.

Burt More than 1 year ago
It may be worth while staying at the simulcasting place for the big M 500k carryover. Bets are only one dollar and looks real chalky early and spread late
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
The public was 0 for 5 on these races in 2008. Winner’s average odds were 6 times greater than the losing favorite. Race, winner (IN CAPS), favorite and odds: Ashland Stakes LITTLE BELLE 16.10 Country Star 1.00 Wood Memorial TALE OF EKATI 8.50 War Pass 0.90 Santa Anita Derby COLONEL JOHN 2.60 El Gato Malo 1.80 Carter Handicap BUSTIN STONES 2.75 Spring At Last 1.20 Apple Blossom ZENYATTA 1.80 Ginger Punch 0.40
C More than 1 year ago
I'm throwing Just A Coincidence out there as a price play in the Wood. I Want Revenge has to overcome what, I think, is not the ideal post for him in this particular race. Just A Coincidence is improving and could be every bit as good as Imperial Council or anyone else in here. Really, who is so tough in this field? There's only 1 horse in the race who has won his last 2 starts (guess who).
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Did manage to find Thoroughbred Action on HRTV but not for the first 2 days of the outer meet (unless I missed them). Unfortunately, the big graded stakes look chalky today...Chuckie will send hard on the Pletcher horse in the Wood (3 horse) and hope for the best...and who knows Todd, maybe the track will be "souped up" and favor your frontrunner today!...if Big Brown had finished 2nd or 3rd in the Fla Derby last year would he have made it into the Kentucky Dby field?...poor Dunkirk.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Chocolate Candy is VERY live today. Nan was best her last vs. Stardom Bound, beats her today at a price. IWR, easy, on to favoritism in the Derby. Using Lime Rickey underneath. Ah Day right back in the Carter, sets up perfect for the King. Kodiak a must use, against Tale. The Capt. is a single in the Bay Shore. Nowhere To Hide works out a perfect trip from the rail in the ILL, on to an undeserving start in the big race.
beerbelly More than 1 year ago
Wood Meemorial 2009 Edition: Look for Frank Alexander's LIME RICKEY to make one run in the stretch. His 5F works have been improving & the horse he beat last Stormalory won the feature Turf race at KEE yesterday. At 20-1 or higher might be worth a farthing or two esp. underneath.
Diceman More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Thoroughly enjoyed your column in Saturday's DRF regarding "Synthetic Form." Frankly,I'm at a loss to understand your irritation with Synthetic Tracks and their impact on the Kentucky Derby. Typically, your writing exemplifies professional editorial style and even tempermant. By your own admission, you prefer New York racing and betting to any other venue. Last time I looked, NY has no Synthetic tracks. However, the NYRA should seriously consider converting the Aqueduct Inner Track to a synthetic surface. The new surface would substantially increase mutuel handle and be kinder to man and beast during the Winter season! The Derby is always a difficult race to win regardless of circumstances and the racing surface. However, the Best Horse typically wins, irrespective of track conditions, unless the Horse is the victim of bad racing luck or the Jockey simply blows the race with poor judgment and riding skills. Since the introduction of sythetic surfaces at major race tracks, including Keeneland, Arlington and Southern California, my handicapping skills have improved and I am turnng a profit on Exactas, Trifects and my favorite bet, the 10 cent Super wager! In the interest of full disclosure, my handicapping consists of evaluating only six(6) critical factors clearly reflected in the Horse's DRF Past Performance Lines. However, to win consistently at the races, you must also master "betting strategies." In short, to win consistently, you must have both professional handicapping skills and solid betting strategies! Steve, I am grateful for Synthetic Surfaces. They have turned a plodding handicapper into a Winner and I am Smiling a lot these days! To all my wonderful blogger friends, including YOU Steve, Have FUN, Smile More and Enjoy Life! Good Luck and Good Health! The Diceman
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
God help the faves on Sat. 04/04/09. But then again, he almost always does. Go Chocolate Candy!
callmetony More than 1 year ago
Steve much kudos for the article you wrote in todays DRF. It was so right on . As if this game hasn;t shot itself in the foot enough now it messes with the preps for the biggest race of our sport . This polycrap is just such a total mistake it really puts all of us handicapper 's at a total disadvantage . Not to mention ruining entire meets like keeneland and santa anita that we all used to look so forward to . At this point with everyone going under I'm sure there's no funds to ever reverse the mistake . We;ll just have to deal with it and gamble a lot less since it is now a guessing game .
TW More than 1 year ago
Mr. Crist, I love Exotic Betting and your blog. Imperial Council can beat I Want Revenge. Taqarub and Kodiak Kowboy both win at Aqueduct tomorrow. You're dead on in Santa Anita Derby. I'm trying my own blog. http://handicappinghorseraces.blogspot.com/