Thursday, April 4, 2013

Keeneland/Wood/Santa Anita


In Lexington, it might be hard to find someone who thinks the first Friday/Saturday in April isn't as prevalent as the first Saturday in May. April has finally arrived and Keeneland will open it's gates for four weeks of racing tomorrow. If you haven't been to Keeneland before then you will not begin to comprehend the logic behind the prestige that this track carries. Opening Saturday brings patrons the Ashland Stakes (G1) for three-year-old fillies, while the following Saturday is the Bluegrass Stakes (G1) for derby hopefuls. Now only if they would rip up that Polytrack and go back to conventional dirt....

Last weekend we saw a talented horse named Revolutionary take down the Louisiana Derby in order to punch his ticket to the Derby. This Saturday, Normandy Invasion is going to need to pull off the upset over one of the two unbeatens, Verrazano and Vyjack, in the Wood Memorial (G1) to claim one of the 20 starting spots. 

Over on the West Coast, Hear the Ghost is the only one heading into the Santa Anita Derby (G1) without any pressure. Flashback and Goldencents are currently on the edge of the fence with 30 and 29 points respectively and certainly can't afford to throw in a clunker if they want to make the trip to Louisville. These top three will have to hold off the late charging Tiz a Minister who came from way back in the San Felipe (G2) to capture third and is looking to crash the Derby party. 

Wood Memorial (G1)
4/6 6:28 EST
Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/8m

2 Normandy Invasion 5-1
Was off slow in the in the Risen Star (G2) but ran out of track and still managed to finish only 1 1/2 lengths back in fifth. The added distance will allow him to pull off the upset just before the wire and secure a spot in the Derby field. 

8 Verrazano 4-5
Looked superb in his three starts but who has he beaten. Will be the heavy favorite but this lightly-raced colt can be upset here. 

5 Vyjack 4-1
Impressive come from behind victory in the Gotham (G3) was flying down the stretch. Can't overlook as a possible winner. 

4 Elnaawi 12-1
Third in the Gotham last time. One that keeps improving and certainly can't be dismissed. 

Ex/Tri Bx: 2,8,5,4

Santa Anita Derby (G1)
4/6 Santa Anita 7:00 EST
Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/8m

4 Tiz a Minister 
Likes to come from far back and there is pace in here to track. We find out just how good he might be as he has hit the board when put to the test outside state-breds. Will hit the board but I like him to run down the field at the end to upset. 

1 Flashback
If he gets caught up in another speed duel you might as well count him out. If he can sit mid-pack and come from off the pace breaking from post 1 then he has no excuse this time and could be the one to emerge. 

3 Power Broker
With Hear the Ghost suddenly off the Derby trail, he becomes even more interesting. Making first start since his disappointing trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. 

Ex/Tri Bx: 4,1,3
*Hear the Ghost off the Derby Trail...

*Revolutionary booked a ticket to the Derby by taking the Louisiana Derby. Code West didn't fire, while Palace Malice couldn't have had a worse trip. 
*Hit the exacta in the Florida Derby as Orb was impressive and Itsmyluckyday was in perfect position but just got beat. Looks like Itsmyluckyday might have problems with the distance.

No comments:

Post a Comment