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Anthony's Eleven

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Welcome to "Anthony's Eleven," your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 139 on May 4 at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In the coming weeks, Anthony Stabile, best known for picking 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide at odds of over 12-1, will break down the top contenders for this years Run for the Roses, exclusively on VegasInsider.com, culminating on Friday, May 3th with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 3rd and May 4th, Kentucky Oaks and Derby Day, you'll be able to purchase Stabile's Pick Packs, full of selections and plays for two of racings' most exciting days of the year.

Breakdown
Rank Horse Trainer Jockey Next Race Pool 1 Odds
1 Verrazano Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Tampa Bay Derby (3/9 at TB) 11/1
2 Violence Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano Fountain of Youth (2/23 at GP) 13/1
3 Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Jose Lezcano Risen Star (2/23 at FG) 15/1
4 Uncaptured Mark Casse Miguel Mena Spiral (3/23 at TP) 40/1
5 Flashback Bob Baffert Julien Leparoux San Felipe (3/9 at SA) 12/1
6 Orb Shug McGaughey John Velazquez Fountain of Youth (2/23 at GP) 8/5 (field)
7 My Name is Michael Bill Mott Joel Rosario Tampa Bay Derby (3/9 at TB) 8/5 (field)
8 Overanalyze Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Gotham (3/2 at Aqu) 33/1
9 Delhomme Todd Pletcher Undecided Rebel (3/16 at OP) 55/1
10 Super Ninenty Nine Bob Baffert Rafael Bejarano Arkansas Derby (4/13 at OP) 47/1
11 Goldencents Doug O'Neill Kevin Krigger San Felipe (3/9 at SA) 20/1

Amazingly, Derby season is upon as we're just about 10 weeks away from one of my favorite days of the year and I'm happy to be back for another year here at VegasInsider.com.

A few things have changed since the last Derby, most notably the loss of my basement due to Hurricane Sandy that disrupted my Breeders' Cup coverage last year (I apologize and would love to thank Chris and the rest of the VI team for being so supportive in every way) and the new Derby system that will determine the field as opposed to the old graded earnings system.

I don't think this system is any better than the old one but I have always been a pretty firm believer that the best horses usually find their way into the starting gate by hook or by crook. Anyway, we don't have time for me to expound on the new or old system as we have two major preps that, yes, offer those precious Derby points, this Saturday. Let's start in the Sunshine State.

A field of 11 three-year-olds has been entered for the $400,000 G2 Fountain of Youth going 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream Park main track. And while Itsmyluckyday and Two Year Old Eclipse champion Shanghai Bobby, the one-two finishers from the first Derby prep at Gulfstream, the G3 Holy Bull, have both decided to wait for the G1 Florida Derby on 3/30, this field certainly doesn't suffer from a lack of depth or quality.

In fact, the last three Derby winning trainers, Todd Pletcher, Graham Motion and Doug O'Neill, will all be represented in the FOY. In what has become the norm this time of year, it appears as if Pletcher holds the strongest hand with VIOLENCE.

A finalist for the juvenile Eclipse award last year which he eventually lost to his stablemate, Violence was otherwise undefeated last season. After breaking his maiden against a solid group of maidens going seven furlongs at Saratoga, Violence returned to action off of a ten week layoff to take a roughly run renewal of the G2 Nashua at Aqueduct where he survived a foul claim to retain his victory.

Despite that tough race, both physically and mentally, Pletcher forged ahead and sent Violence to Hollywood Park for the G1 CashCall Futurity for his two turn and synthetic surface debut. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Violence rated in midpack under Javier Castellano and exploded on the turn to grab the lead before idling down in the latter stages to win by a bit over a length.

Never out of serious training, Violence sports a solid if not spectacular worktab coming into this and appears set to run his record to a perfect four for four. Castellano rides from post 3.

After going gate-to-wire in the G3 Sam F Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, trainer John Terranova has decided to wheel Falling Sky back in just three weeks as opposed to waiting for the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9th. As a juvenile, Falling Sky won two of three starts, including an entry level allowance/optional claiming contest for trainer Antonio Sano before being transferred to Terranova. Jose Espinoza, aboard for the Davis victory, returns to ride. They'll break from post 10.

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He's Had Enough
is another coming back in just three weeks. From the connections of last year's Derby winner I'll Have Another, He's Had Enough had a rollercoaster season in 2012. He broke his maiden at first asking and was a bang-up second to Shanghai Bobby in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile but was off the board in a pair of G1s, the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and the CashCall and also tried the turf with little success. In his lone start this season, He's Had Enough beat just one of four runners in the G2 Bob Lewis at Santa Anita. Mario Gutierrez has the call from post 9.

Trainer Eddie Kenneally will stretch out Majestic Hussar in the FOY to see if his colt has any shot at jumping on the Derby trail. In his four race career, Majestic Hussar has done his best work on wet tracks, sporting a pair of wins, including an allowance score over a sloppy Gulfstream strip last out, and a second place finish in three starts while managing to beat just one in his lone dry track effort in the G1 Hopeful last year at Saratoga when coming off his maiden score. Perhaps that effort can be forgiven but he will need to prove he can handle a fast track while negotiating a distance of ground for the first time in here. Luis Saez rides for the first time from post 4.

ORB is seeking his third straight victory while making his stakes debut in the FOY for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. Orb came flying in his debut to finish third to Violence after breaking close to a dozen lengths behind the field. His gate issues came back to haunt him again in his next start before he caught a couple of tough sprint customers in Vyjack and Clawback. The light bulb went off in his fourth start as he closed nicely to break his maiden at a mile before stretching out and adding Lasix in his two turn debut last out going 1 1/8 miles. He not only overcame a speed biased course last out but he managed to dig in and hold off a resurgent speedster to hold on for the score. John Velazquez rides from post 1.

Cerro wired allowance foes just two races before Orb won just about a month ago here for Motion in his second start with Lasix. Joe Rocco Jr. rides from post 6. Sky Captain was second in that heat despite being stuck down along the rail for most of the way. Pat Husbands rides for Mark Casse from post 7. Elmutahid failed in four turf starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin before wiring maidens over the slop here at Gulfstream last out. Joe Bravo has the call from post 5.

Joshua's Compromise was fourth in the Holy Bull for trainer Barry Rose at 132-1. A resurgent Edgar Prado rides from post 2. Speak Logisitics gets a rider change to Joel Rosario having finished a troubled trip fourth in the Davis last out for trainer Ed Plesa. He'll break from post 8. Longshot Sr. Quisqueyano was first or second in his first seven tries before running poorly in the Holy Bull last out. Carlos Olivero rides for Luis Olivares from post 11.

At the Fair Grounds, fourteen runners will line up for the $400,000 G2 Risen Star going 1 1/16 miles on what very well could be a wet main track with rain forecasted for most of the day Friday and for Saturday morning.

Trainer Chad Brown has decided to use this spot as the launching pad for his rising start NORMANDY INVASION. A monstrous maiden score going a mile after chasing the pace to no avail in his debut sprinting caught many eyes in the Northeast and across the rest of the country for that matter.

Brown brought Normandy Invasion back just three weeks later in the G2 Remsen and over a heavily speed biased race track, Normandy Invasion managed to close from dead last to miss by a nose in a remarkable effort over that course in just his third career start.

After a bit of a freshening, Normandy Invasion returned to the worktab in mi-January and has worked well for his sophomore debut which comes over a course with one of the longest home stretches in America. Jose Lezcano flies in from Gulfstream to ride from post 9.

G3 LeComte winner Oxbow returns to the scene of his biggest score for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas having wired eighth others last out by over 11 lengths. Since being vanned off in his Saratoga debut, Oxbow has made three dirt starts, a third place finish to the highly regarded Gulfport, and easy maiden score at Churchill and the Lecomte. He figures to be on or close to the lead again and will break from post 10 under Jon Court.

Trainer Bob Baffert has decided to take the blinkers off of Code West while shipping in from California. Code West broke his maiden in the fourth and final start of his juvenile season before returning to finish second to eventual G3 Southwest winner and stablemate Super Ninety Nine in a Santa Anita allowance contest most recently. Martin Garcia comes in to ride from post 2.

Todd Pletcher can't let a Derby prep go by without being represented so he's sending Palace Malice in off a second place finish to Majestic Hussar in the slop at Gulfstream last out in what was his first start in over five months. Rosie Napravnik rides from post 6 in what will be his two turn and stakes debut.

Mylute makes his first start of the year for trainer Steve Asmussen after compiling a solid resume as a two-year-old. After breaking his maiden in an Arlington over their synthetic course in a sprint, Mylute managed to finish second in the Jean Laffitte at Delta Downs, the tune up for their big event the G3 Delta Jackpot in which Mylute was third. He closed out his season with an almost 11 length romp in an allowance contest over this strip. Shaun Bridgmohan rides from post 5. Asmussen will also send out recent off-the-turf maiden winner Proud Strike from the rail with the red-hot, returning Hall of Famer Gary Stevens in the irons.

Agent is two for three and won an entry level allowance contest at Sam Houston in his two turn debut last out for trainer Joe McAnally. Richard Eramia rides from post 3 while LeComte runner-up Golden Soul returns for trainer Dallas Stewart from post 4 with Miguel Mena aboard for the first time.

Hardrock Eleven added blinkers when second in a minor stakes at Sam Houston last out for trainer David Banks after finishing fifth behind Mylute in the aforementioned allowance race. Jamie Theriot rides from posy 7. I've Struck a Nerve was second in a minor stakes here before finishing fourth in the LeComte and will get a rider change to Jimmy Graham. He'll break from post 8 for trainer Keith Desormeaux.

Inoscencio Diego will pilot Bethel from post 11 for trainer Gennadi Dorochenko who upset the G1 Louisiana Derby here last spring with Hero of Order. Bethel is one for four in his career with the lone win coming in a maiden claimer. G3 Bashford Manner winner Circle Unbroken will break from post 12 coming off a sixth place LeComte finish. Leandro Goncalves rides for Garry Simms.

Finally, trainer Al Stall will send out a pair in the Risen Star in the undefeated Departing and Sunbean. Both colts broke their maidens sprinting before stretching out to win around two turns in their next starts. BJ Hernandez rides Departing from post 13 while CJ Hernandez will pilot Sunbean from post 14.

Prep Play of the Day
I'm not sure what the track at the Fair Grounds will be like so the play will be at Gulfstream. Play a $10 exacta box using Orb and Violence. Then make a $1 trifecta part wheel using Orb and Violence with Orb, Violence, Majestic Hussar and Speak Logistics with All the horses. The first bet costs $20 and the second bet costs $54.

Good luck!!!

Bankroll: $0

  
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