05/10/2012 4:30PM

King: Master Rick offers price in Peter Pan

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Master Rick brings a 99 Beyer Speed Figure into Saturday's Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes.

This past meet at Oaklawn Park, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert went 6 for 9 while competing exclusively in stakes, and two of his three losses came behind other Baffert-trained runners.

To put that in perspective, when Bodemeister and Secret Circle ran one-two for Baffert in the Arkansas Derby, the results actually lowered Baffert’s meet win percentage – so dominant had he been.

The only horse Baffert started who didn’t finish behind another Baffert trainee was Drill, who was outrun by Master Rick in the Northern Spur Stakes, though Drill still ran a career-high 97 Beyer Speed Figure in finishing second.

This Oaklawn history points to a betting angle in Saturday’s Peter Pan at Belmont Park, even though Baffert doesn’t have a starter in the race. But Master Rick is in there – yes, the only non-Baffert trainee to win versus a Baffert runner this spring at Oaklawn Park.

He is overlaid at 10-1 on the morning line, despite being 2 for 2 since joining the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen and coming off a 99 Beyer, the highest figure posted by any entrant in the Peter Pan, albeit by only a small margin.

Other favorable angles surrounding Master Rick include that Corey Nakatani is up – the jockey aboard for both of this horse’s wins. And Master Rick also shows the steady works typical of a healthy, in-form Asmussen runner.

Beyond numbers and the company he beat in the Northern Spur, there are other reasons to be encouraged by the race. Master Rick was visually impressive notching that victory, seemingly beaten when Drill pulled alongside in midstretch, only to outgut that rival in the final furlong.

This is a fast, game horse that did the unlikely at Oaklawn, and if he can muster the same effort at Belmont, he has a strong chance at victory at a square price.

Genuine Devotion: Whipsaw City back on turf

Earlier on Saturday’s card at Belmont, another intriguing runner, Whipsaw City, is entered in the Genuine Devotion going six furlongs on the grass. Although not as fat of a price – she is 5-2 on the morning line – she is doubtful to drop any lower than that unless there are scratches. And if she sticks to her 5-2 price, she merits play.

This is a filly whose last race can be excused. Shifted from turf to Polytrack, she moved prematurely in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland and paid the price late, fading to fifth.

Winning that race was Groupie Doll, arguably the top female sprinter in training who just last week won the Grade 1 Humana Distaff in track-record time at Churchill Downs.

Cut back to six furlongs for the Genuine Devotion, Whipsaw City would be able to relax more effectively behind the speedballs and run them down from just off the pace over her preferred surface, turf.

Unbridled Sidney: Honey Chile in a good spot

Churchill Downs has just a minor overnight stakes as its feature on yet another disappointing post-Derby card this Saturday – with the feature being the five-furlong Unbridled Sidney on grass.

Favored at 3-1 odds is Wild About Marie, a three-time stakes-winning turf sprinter but a mare coming off a flat effort when eighth in the Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland on April 21.

The guess here is that horseplayers will give her a pass for that loss, reasoning that a layoff of three months left her at less than her best. And perhaps that is a valid excuse; maybe she was short fitness.

But having liked her to win that race and knowing that she won fresh previously, this horseplayer wanted to see more from her that day. Instead, she simply went through the motions.

As an alternative play, the choice is 4-1 shot Honey Chile. A speedy filly, she fell a neck short of winning a Grade 3 stakes at Woodbine last time out, leading for much of the race before tiring.

Although more experienced racing on Polytrack than turf, take note of how well she ran when she last raced five furlongs on grass in the March 4 Ladies Turf Sprint, chasing the blazing fast Inspired at Gulfstream and only tiring a little late to be third.

She doesn’t face any rival of that speed in the Unbridled Sidney, leaving her in a position to get a good trip, either setting or pressing the pace.

Carson Horton More than 1 year ago
Interesting key race angle, but here's a better one... As a pace play Use Summer Front and Good Morning Diva in a double key (8-1 and 12/1 M/L) and crush the exotics after Master Rick and Le Bernadin run The Lumber Guy off his feet and then implode in deep stretch. One of these two (and possibly both) should be rolling late after the balls to the wall pace that is likely and it is even possible that MR or LB may be able to hang around for a 3rd or a 4th at big odds If both Front and Diva can pick up a piece with at least one of them possibly even getting by Mark Valeski in the stretch, the tri and super payoffs blow up!
Mark Jacobsen More than 1 year ago
Mark Jacobsen More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge Whipsaw City fan. Should have run in the Jenny Wiley. She be going to the Gamely or Just A Game. Could easily win both.