Thursday, April 3, 2014

April has arrived

The first Friday in April is finally here and so is the opening of the much anticipated Spring Meet at Keeneland located in Lexington, KY.

This will definitely be a unique meet for the historic race course as it will be the last time racing is run over the Polytrack. It was just announced this week that the track will change back over to dirt this summer, marking the end of an eight year run that Keeneland had with the all-weather surface. Hate it or love it, the switch should certainly bring the Bluegrass Stakes back from the dead.

It is hard to imagine that we are only one month away from the Derby and yet there is still no consensus on the Derby favorite. Top Billing and Honor Code were once at the top of lists but have since fallen off due to injury. Cairo Prince was the next to be dubbed the favorite after his performance in the Holy Bull (G2), but he came up short in the Florida Derby (G1) last week.  It looks to be California Chrome's turn following his impresive run in the San Felipe (G2). He will get a chance to cement himself as the leader if he can tackle the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. Of course there is also the Wood Memorial (G1) being run at Aqueduct. If Samraat were to win again, it would be tough to not put him near the top heading into the Derby undefeated.

Wood Memorial (G1) 1 1/8m
4/5 Aqueduct 5:40 EDT

8 Samraat 7-2

Just keeps on winning. Carried 123 lbs. in the Gotham and that didn't stop him. Hard not to back this colt on his home track. 

11 Social Inclusion 2-1

Blew away Honor Code and an allowance field at Gulfstream Park last month and could be a monster. That being said, I need to wait until he shows he can repeat that performance on another track. Can he wire at Aqueduct going 1 1/8 miles?

4 Harpoon 8-1

Takes one last shot at the Derby and has been training well. Had trouble with his outside post last time and draws near the inside here. Don't count out the Pletcher colt. 

10 Uncle Sigh 5-1 

Continues to play second fiddle to Samraat. Had chances to beat him in the Withers and Gotham but couldn't. Don't see him turning the tables here but figures to be in the mix. 

$30 Wood Bankroll

$6 W: 8

$1 TRI BX: 8, 11, 4, 10 

Santa Anita Derby (G1) 1 1/8m
4/5 Santa Anita 6:30 EDT

3 Hoppertunity

After a difficult trip in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds he traveled to Oaklawn and won the Rebel (G2) in eventful fashion. This lightly-raced colt is still learning and continues to improve with each start.  If he pulls off the upset, the curse of Apollo will be the talk leading up to the Derby. 

5 California Chrome

One of the more seasoned three-year-olds on the Derby trail comes off a 7 1/4-length win in the San Felipe. The early Derby favorite for many will get a chance to prove himself going 1 1/8 miles.  

6 Candy Boy

Returns after an almost two-month layoff. Has been training well and should be in contention in the end. Will have to hit the board if he wants to make the trip to Louisville. 

$20 SA Derby Bankroll

$8 W: 3

$2 TRI BX: 3, 5, 6

*It has been a rough start to the year in trying to figure out these unpredictable three-year-olds. On to the Wood & SA Derby. 

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