Saturday at Laurel Park, The Tampa Bay Derby, and The Big Cap

Featured, Sports and Bets — March 8, 2014 at 10:08 am by

It’s full steam ahead with the Kentucky Derby preps, and Tampa Bay Downs is where the spotlight shines this week for this year’s promising 3-year-olds.  In Florida, Gulfstream gets most of the attention this time of year, but today all eyes are on the Gulf Coast as Tampa hosts its biggest racing day of the year.  The Tampa Bay Derby began humbly in 1981 and the race has seen itself grow into an important prep race for the Triple Crown.  Two of the last 7 Kentucky Derby winners used the Tampa Derby as a prep race;  Street Sense won both in Tampa and Kentucky in 2007, and Super Saver finished third in Tampa before winning roses for trainer Todd Pletcher in 2010.   Is there a Triple Crown race winner in this year’s field?  You never know, babes.

Meanwhile, out in California, at Santa Anita, today is also known as “Big Cap” day.  This is the loving term that refers to the Santa Anita Handicap, an important and lucrative race in the handicap division for older horses.  This year’s edition is a rematch between the two horses who finished 1-2 in the 2013 Breeders Cup Classic, winner Mucho Macho Man, and runner-up Will Take Charge.  California legend and Breeders Cup Classic bust, Game On Dude is also entered today;  this race oozes talent.  We’ll take a look.

In Maryland, Laurel Park is in full swing, and the featured race is the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes.  This race is for three-year-olds, like the Tampa Bay Derby, but it’s not a Kentucky Derby prep, and it doesn’t offer qualifying points for the first Saturday in May.  But, it does feature some nice sophomores, and who knows, if one of these horse really impresses, this race could be a stepping stone for the Preakness, the Belmont, or the Travers.  We’ll handicap this race as well and give you our winner, along with a few others from Laurel Park.

In fact we’ll start in the home state

Laurel Park

As of 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, the main track is listed as fast and the turf track is closed due to the recent rain.  This could change as the morning wears on, but we’ll avoid the turf in our handicapping.

Race 6- OC 25k- 7 Furlongs:   #4 Addison Run is a lightly race 4-year-old who has progressed nicely over her last two races.  Addison Run broke her maiden on her third try back in November and on her next time out in February, she came 5 wide to sweep past a field right here at Laurel.  Owner Howard Bender paid $210,000 for this grey back in 2011.  I see no reason why she can’t excel against this short field.  #2 Brenda’s Way poses the main threat, we have to hope the #3 How Far We’ve Come doesn’t let the #2 get loose alone on the lead.   But Addison Run is our play no matter what.   Bullet work, Pimentel on board, and the fact that my friend Tom’s daughter is named Addison all add to the appeal.

Race 7 ALW- 42K- 6 Furlongs:   The #7 Litigious was 3rd to our girl Addison Run last time out.  Here she is trying to get her first allowance win.  We say she does it.  She faded down the stretch in that last one; maybe she just didn’t like the slop.  Now with a fast track, maybe it’s her time to shine.  Great works under the guidance of trainer Timothy Tullock are inspiring.  Tullock is putting horses in the money this winter in his short sample size at Laurel.   Litigious looks to be the speed of the speed here, and if Boyce can gun from the go we’re looking at a wire-to-wire win.  Exacta with the #4 Patricias Princess

Race 8- Private Terms Stakes:   The #2 Baratti, the #5 Roman Fire, and the #6 Joint Custody stand out here at first glance.  Baratti, the 2-1 ML favorite looks awesome coming off his maiden win, posting a 92 Beyer.  Roman Fire was my initial choice, coming off of a string of nice races and offering 8-1 odds.  Joint Custody seems to love Laurel Race Course and has been crushing some recent stakes race here.  But these three may all end up at the front, grinding each other down in a pace duel.  For that reason, I’m going with the Linda Rice, New York invader, #8 Kid Cruz.  Cruz has the breeding for this and he just missed in his first race back off of a 2 month lay off.  Rice does well with the 2nd race off the layoff angle, and Kid Cruz looks like a colt on the improve.  6-1 morning line offers nice value and we hope he runs down the leaders in the deep stretch.  Big horse rollin’ late.

The Big Cap- Santa Anita

I love both Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge.  I nailed the Breeders Cup with these two and now they meet again over the same course in California.  Will Take Charge tries hard every time and Mucho has blossomed into a champion.  It’s too tough to go against the favorites here.  As much as Game on Dude has impressed on the west coast, he doesn’t seem to show when the waters get deep with competition.  Other entries include stakes winners Blingo and Hear The Ghost and both may have slightly more than a puncher’s chance, but I won’t go against my boys.  Will and Mucho in a chalk laden exacta, with Mucho getting my win bet.

The Tampa Bay Derby

This race is full of nice competitors, but none jump out as potential big time, Kentucky Derby prospects,  yet.  Because the field doesn’t blow me away, I’m looking for value and a new shooter to emerge.  Sure Pletcher and Casse both have two strong entries and Pletcher’s charge Vinceremos and Casse’s Conquest Titan looks to be  logical choices, but I’m going to look upset.   I’m going with the #4 Coltimus Prime.  This guy just missed in his last in December up at Woodbine and he exploded for an 87 Beyer.  Why would trainer Justin Nixon ship him from Canada off of that win in December?  If he was starting a Florida campaign would he always choose this as his first race?  Hmmmm?  This is a purely hunch play, but in a field of nice but not exactly stand out colts, Coltimus Prime intrigues the shit outta me.  Let’s play at 15-1.  Throw in the bigger names in exactas along with other longshot East Hall and hope for a big score.  Love the hunch, babes.

Enjoy the races and good luck!


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