By Ed McNamara
The attract — and hazard — of occasion days is the fixed temptation supplied by all these stakes. Saturday’s Florida Derby undercard options 9 of them. It’s arduous to remain disciplined and handle your bankroll to keep away from desperation mode once you get to the highest races late within the card.
Let’s strive to do this till the ultimate 4 races, all stakes, with a $48 Choose 4 funding that ends with the Florida Derby.
Like Chad Brown, Corridor of Famer Invoice Mott has a masterful contact with younger turf horses. He has a possible star in undefeated Annex (6), 2-for-2 on the Gulfstream grass after unleashing highly effective late surges. He got here from 22 lengths again to stand up by a head final time in his stakes debut. His prime rival seems to be like Step Dancer (8), who’s 2-for-3 on grass, along with his loss final fall in opposition to subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Fireplace At Will. Step Dancer comes off a five-month layoff for Barclay Tagg, who’s given him six stamina-building works at 5 furlongs. He ought to be prepared, and if Annex encounters visitors bother, Step Dancer might capitalize.
This prep for the Kentucky Oaks gives 100, 40, 20 and 10 qualifying factors to the highest 4. I made a decision to unfold with Con Lima (1), Bow Bow Lady (2), Loopy Stunning (3) and Millefeuille (6). Con Lima goes turf to filth for Todd Pletcher, who wins 25% of the time with that transfer. She likes Gulfstream’s fundamental observe, the place she broke her maiden by 5 1/4 lengths at 7 furlongs final July. She’s gained 3 times on grass and total, by no means worse than second in eight begins.
Bow Bow Lady is a stab, and he or she wants to maneuver ahead off her wire-to-wire, 4 1/2-length maiden win, however her last determine and late-pace quantity say she could possibly be a consider an underwhelming subject. Loopy Stunning (3) has run second 3 times in graded stakes however has misplaced 4 in a row. She has license to progress off a late-running second in her season debut. There was some buzz about Millefeuille earlier than her abysmal efficiency final time within the Davona Dale (seventh by 21 lengths at 3-1 odds). Mott brings her proper again, and I all the time give him the advantage of the doubt.
Many will single At all times Procuring (9), a Pletcher-Repole Secure collaboration, and it’s simple to see why. She’s 3-for-5 on grass, together with a stakes win at 12 furlongs, and a head away from a four-race successful streak. She’ll be odds-on or decrease and by far essentially the most logical winner.
I’ll additionally throw in Warfare Like Goddess (1), a superb finisher who broke her maiden for Mott at 1 3/8 miles in her second profession begin [Brisnet final figure the best in the field at the distance]. She closed nicely [16 4/5 seconds for the final three-sixteenths] for fifth final time behind stablemate Antoinette, who set a leisurely tempo and cruised at 1 3/16 miles. I like Warfare Like Goddess’ distance pedigree [by Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel out of a mare by Epsom Derby hero North Light]. That is solely her fourth begin, so she’s eligible to enhance.
Deep nearer Best Honour (7), one of many early favorites for the Kentucky Derby, is 3-for-3 at Gulfstream, together with knockout victories within the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth. He’ll be odds-on, and deservedly so. Can anybody beat him?
Effectively, Recognized Agenda (5) already did, by a head at 1 1/8 miles in a maiden race Nov. 8 at Aqueduct. Best Honour has excelled since, whereas Recognized Agenda has gone 1-for-3. You may make excuses for the defeats, third by 9 lengths within the slop within the Grade 2 Remsen and fifth by 4 1/4 lengths within the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. Recognized Agenda, the 3-2 favourite, spun his wheels that day on a unusual observe that some horses don’t deal with. He rebounded final time with an 11-length runaway in a 9-furlong allowance at Gulfstream. He’s 5-1 and value placing on the ticket.
My third horse is Spielberg (10), Bob Baffert’s first Florida Derby starter. Spielberg, a $1 million yearling, hasn’t lived as much as the worth or the early hype, however his second-place effort final out in opposition to undefeated Important High quality wasn’t unhealthy. He’s clearly not Baffert’s first string, however would you be shocked if someway Mr. Derby pulled off the upset? Simply in case, I’m not leaving Spielberg out.
Listed here are the numbers for the $48 Choose 4 play on a $1 base guess:
6,8 with 1,2,3,6 with 1,9 with 5,7,10. And good luck.
Final Saturday my $32 steered play on the late Choose 3 on the Truthful Grounds paid $52.60 — nothing to brag about however so much higher than dropping.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Report of New Jersey. He’s the writer of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Wonderful Crown,” a chronicle of the primary 12 Triple Crown champions.