Equidaily Racing Journal



Saturday, May 5, 2007
Picks and plays for some of the day's major stakes
by Seth Merrow

The big day. Although there are probably races of more interest and importance to those of us that follow the sport on a daily basis, undoubtedly the Kentucky Derby garners the most attention of any race on the American calendar. This year the field contain twenty -- of which perhaps 10-12 have a legitimate shot. Therefore it's a race that lives up to the hype -- at least beforehand, as the handicapping puzzle is especially intriguing this year.

So, of course, the G1 Kentucky Derby, along with a solid undercard of stakes, highlights our nine race Coast-to-coast card this week. Besides the Kentucky focus, we also make stops in NY, Maryland, and SoCal.

Turf wagers are turf only

Best Bets

Churchill, Race 6, Quite a Bride.
Churchill, Race 6, exacta box, Quite a Bride/Lady of Venice.
Churchill, Race 9, Defer.
Churchill, Race 10, WPS, Any Given Saturday.
Churchill, Race 10, WPS, Zanjero.
Churchill, Race 10, exacta box, Any Given Saturday/Street Sense.
Pimlico, Race 9, More Cowbell.

Churchill: Kentucky Derby G1 $2 mil

Any Given Saturday...Comes in off of a very similar pattern to our "value play" in last year's Derby, Bluegrass Cat. That one ran second in the Derby at 30-1 after winning the Sam F Davis, finishing second in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby, and then tossing in a dud in the G1 Bluegrass. Any Given Saturday won the Sam F Davis, ran second in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby, then tossed in a little bit of a dud, running third in the G1 Wood Memorial. That was his first out-of-the-exacta finish, look for a rebound today. Obviously the post position is a concern, but just to his inside, Stormello should be sent. Inside of that Circular Quay and Tiago might linger. So Gomez might have some nice options early on despite the wide draw. This guy has been getting some buzz from the pundits over the past week and that might hurt the value we anticipated -- but he was a solid 21-1 after Friday's early-bird wagering.

Street Sense...We were ready to take a stand against the "big four" (each one received a good amount of attention somewhere along the Derby Trail season), Street Sense, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Curlin and Hard Spun. They're all talented enough to win -- but they all have a knock or two against them as well. However, this guy has looked good in his two starts this year and has been training up a storm over the Churchill strip. So he's in.

Cowtown Cat...Seems like he's improved as a 3YO. Convincing winner of both the G3 Gotham and G2 Illinois Derby. Should be in a good spot early. The workout watchers says he's looked good the past couple of weeks. All adds up.

Zanjero...We thought he was primed for a big effort in the G1 Blue Grass -- and he was! Closer to the pace in that wacky race than he usually tends to be and should be better suited by the scenario in this race. Might surprise at a price.

Wager: $5 WPS on Any Given Saturday.
...$5 WPS on Zanjero.
...$5 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.
...$1 exacta box top four, plus Sam P, Scat Daddy, and Circular Quay.

Belmont: Nassau County BC G2 $200K

Dream Rush...Looks like the real deal. Had trouble in only miss.
Cash's Girl...Could be ready to pop.

Wager: $10 exacta Dream Rush over Cash's Girl.
...$2 exacta Cash's Girl over Dream Rush.

Churchill: Churchill Downs G2 $250K

Istan...Been steadily improving through his last four and looks tough if able to duplicate recent form.
Moon's Halo...4YO debut might signal he's come back better than ever.
Ah Day...Tough on best effort.
Saint Anddan.

Wager: $5 WP on Istan.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Churchill: Distaff Turf Mile G3 $150K

Quite a Bride...Mott filly should be forwardly placed and could be tough to catch if able to clear Rich Fantasy. Of course, that's a big "if".
Lady of Venice...High hopes were dashed in a G1 at Saratoga last summer. But she's clearly the one to beat despite that lone off-the-board finish.
Magnificent Song...Pletcher trainee took to the turf last year. Steps outside of her age-group for first time today.
Price Tag.

Wager: $5 WP on Quite a Bride.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Churchill: La Troienne G3 $150K

Appealing Zophie...She might have a pace advantage on these. The dud last time is scary but has had plenty of time off and shows a decent 6F work two weeks ago. Also, has a good race over an off track.
Total...Comes in from same last two as top pick -- and also tossed in a clunker last time. But she'll be tough if she can rebound to prior good form.
Silverinyourpocket...Might wake-up with stakes experience under her belt.
Tessa Blue.

Wager: $5 WP on Appealing Zophie.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Churchill: Humana Distaff G1 $300K

Sweet Fervor...Promising start to her career then bombed in two stakes at Gulfstream early last year. Her 4YO starts seem to indicate she's come back having benefitted from the time off.
Pussycat Doll...Baffert trainee is clearly the one to beat. Won this race last year -- but only raced twice in 2006, raising some red flags about her durability.
Wildcat Bettie B...Worked into submission on Monday when teaming with barnmate Hard Spun. She could be set to run well coming off the quirky Oaklawn surface.

Wager: $5 WP on Sweet Fervor.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Churchill: Turf Classic G1 $500K

Defer...When this guy won at Saratoga last summer we predicted at stakes future was on the horizon. It hasn't worked out that way but he looks kind of interesting as a possible upsetter with three races so far this year that seem improved and it's also worth noting that Prado stays onboard.
Better Talk Now...Old-timer has beaten me a few times. A little bit inconsistent so he's tough to get too excited about and we've looked to play against in the past but he's a legit G1 winner and has run well off similar layoffs in the past.
Einstein...Impressed at Fair Grounds and looks to be in good form.

Wager: $5 WP on Defer.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Pimlico: Woodlawn $80K

More Cowbell...Named for the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit, this one has registered but one win in three starts. Beyers have improved with each start and we like the confidence shown by trainer motion moving into stakes company on the turf debut.
Legacy Reserve...Also from the Motion barn, also trying turf for first time. Finished in top half of field in nice Turfway stake last time.
Another Vow...Seems to have gotten the hang of it over the last few.
Rebel Yeller.

Wager: $5 WP on More Cowbell.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Hollywood: Mervyn Leroy Hcp G2 $150K

Molengao...Put in twice nice runs at Santa Anita, including a close-up second to Lava Man in the G1 Big Cap. Let's just hope he's a little closer early on than the last time he raced on this strip.
Buzzards Bay...Off since June but the workout pattern should have him fit.
Porto Santo...Should be rolling late and looks interesting moving to the synthetic surface from grass.
Wanna Runner.

Wager: $5 WP on Molengao.
...$4 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Coast-to-coast Archives...Picks, plays and results from previous weeks


Note: Pages on this site are labelled with the equidaily.com logo. Some links are for information only and lead to pages at other sites. equidaily.com is responsible only for the pages on this site. equidaily.com assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Always check with official sources to verify info.

E-mail any questions, comments, or suggestions:

email button

Copyright 2007 equidaily.com