Friday, February 1, 2013

February Racing

Well, the Holy Bull (G3) certainly didn't live up to the pre-race hype. Many were touting the race as the best prep of the season but as it turned out, all but two of the three-year-olds in the race were overhyped. My Winter Book pick (Bern Identity) was within striking distance coming around the far turn but Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby showed that it should have just been a match race between the two. They both pulled away at the top of the stretch and absolutely destroyed the field as the third-place finisher was 11 3/4 lengths back. It's now back to the drawing board for me and many others (Frac Daddy and Dewey Square were big disappointments as well) as we scramble to find another three-year-old to follow these last three months on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby".

February kicks off an exciting weekend for the Derby hopefuls. There are three Derby prep races spread out across the country as well as the Hutcheson (G2) and an allowance at Gulfstream Park which includes some talented maiden winners who hope to load the gate in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at the end of this month. After this weekend we are left with only two races in the "Prep Season" before the point values jump and we move into the "Championship Series" where things really start to tighten up.

Withers (G3)
2/2 Aqueduct (Inner Dirt) 4:18 EST
Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/16m

2 Revolutionary 3-5
Stakes debut for the highly touted three-year-old out of Pletcher's stable. Took him four tries to break his maiden but when he finally did he posted a 103 BRIS Speed rating while running away by 8 1/2 lengths over the inner dirt here at Aqueduct. Not going to get much value with him here but he is the one to beat  and should find himself on the points standings list after Saturday. 

5 Siete de Oros 8-1
Pennsylvania bred is exiting a head second in the Jerome (G2) over the inner dirt at Aqueduct. Likes to come from off the pace and will try to run down the favorite. 

1/1A Long River/Valid 7-2
Long River broke his maiden over this track in December and is entering off a fourth-place finish in the Jerome. Valid makes only his third career start and is exiting a maiden win at Laurel. These two will likely be fighting to finish in the money behind Revolutionary. 

*If the track comes up muddy include #7 Smooth Bert in your exotics as his only two wins come over muddy tracks...

EX/TRI BX: 2,5,1/1A

Sam F. Davis (G3)
2/2 Tampa Bay Downs 5:23 EST
Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/16m

1/1A Northern Lion/Dynamic Sky 9-5
Northern Lion is a recent 5 3/4-length maiden winner for Mark Casse. Would have liked to see the son of Lion Heart not be entered as coupled entry to get a better value. Dynamic Sky followed up a disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a win in the Pasco Stakes over this track just a few weeks ago. Getting two-for-one here is tough not to back. 

9 Midnight Pappa 10-1
Zito looks to join the Derby Trail with his recent maiden winner over this track. Had to drop him down to a 20k maiden race to do so, but was also coming off a three-month layoff. Posted sharp workouts leading up to the race and could be the sleeper in here. 

EX BX: 1,9

Robert B Lewis (G2)
2/2 Santa Anita 5:03 EST
Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/16m

4 He's Had Enough 
A disappointing fifth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) last out returns to dirt for only the second time. His first start over dirt resulted in a head second to the two-year-old Champ Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Look for him to bounce back here with a win and add to his point total. 

2 Flashback
Stakes debut for another highly touted three-year-old except this one comes from Baffert's stable. Son of Tapit has some competition in this tiny field of four and will likely be the heavy favorite. 

3 Den's Legacy
A third-place finish in the CashCall Futurity and runner-up in the Sham (G3) his last two times out. Likes to come from off the pace and is a legitimate contender that could pull off the upset. 

1 Little Jerry
First start on dirt but this son of Candy Ride is out of his league here and won't be a factor. 

EX/TRI BX: 4,2,3

-At Gulfstream Park look for Forty Tails and Merit Man to battle it out in the 7f Hutcheson (G2). In the allowance race keep an eye on Gunderman and recent maiden winners Verrazano and Eton Blue.

*Itsmyluckyday stole the show in the Holy Bull and is now atop many people's Derby lists. Shanghai Bobby was a close second while the other contenders failed to show up. 

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