At the Gate - Saturday
March 30, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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March Madness is not exclusively about hoops.
We have a blockbuster day in horse racing upon us with a couple of key Kentucky Derby preps as well as the Group 1 $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest race.
The action starts at 9:10 ET with the opening race of the Dubai World Cup card, the Group 2 Godolphin Mile. The action continues all day, with NBC Sports Network covering the Grade 1 $1 million Florida Derby and Grade 2 $1 million Louisiana Derby. The one-hour telecast starts at 6:00 ET.
I spent most of the last 36 hours handicapping the 13-race card from Gulfstream Park, the 10-race card from the Big A, and a few of the stakes from Fair Grounds.
The Dubai World Cup is one of the trickiest races of the day, and I am going to lean toward the home team despite the U.S. having a less than stellar record on Dubai World Cup night since the switch to Meydan and the synthetic surface.
Animal Kingdom gets the call and having all three U.S. runners in the top four does concern me a bit. U.S. based runners have not fared well at Meydan in three years and Dullahan and Little Mike did not instill much confidence in their preps. However, I loved Animal Kingdom's run in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) behind Wise Dan and he got a good tune up running second in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G1) last out.
His last go on the fake stuff was his victory in the Spiral (G3) in March of '11. The five-year-old just seems to be coming into this race in sharp form and if any trainer can get the job done without lasix it is Graham Motion.
Royal Delta tries taking on the boys again and last year things did not work out very well in a ninth place finish after a less than stellar trip and ride. She comes in here off a sharp prep winning the Sabin (G3) on the main track at Gulfstream Park.
Her only other try on the fake stuff was a win versus Alw-1 foes on polytrack at Keeneland in April of '11. She has good tactical speed and this race and I have a fond memory of watching Gloria de Campeao go gate to wire at 25-1 back in 2010 as our top pick.
The real selling point for her is the fact that Mott brings her back despite the poor showing last year. She is going to run much better this time around.
Selections: Animal Kingdom – Royal Delta – Hunter’s Light - Dullahan
My Best Plays Report for Saturday features my selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for 15 races today including the UAE Derby, Dubai World Cup, Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby and my strongest plays from Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, and Fair Grounds.
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Here is today’s opening from Gulfstream Park to get the day off to a good start:
GP Race 1 OClm $75,000N1X (12:30 ET)
7 Shining Copper 3-1
6 Middleburg 5-2
2 Stormy Len 6-1
5 Archer Hill 8-1
Analysis: Shining Copper is making his first start since running a good third last November at Hollywood Park in the Generous (G3), beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot to Den's Legacy, who has finished in the money in four graded stakes since then, last out a third place finish in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park. The gelding broke his maiden last summer at Del Mar in his second career start while in the Drysdale barn. Now he makes his first start with blinkers and for trainer Oussama Aboughazale, who is from Chile where he is an owner but took out his trainer's license to saddle them himself here. He has one other starter at the meeting, Diva Spirit, who won here breaking his maiden in her second career start at 30-1. She made her debut two back, also with Drysdale.
Middleburg was a good looking maiden winner last out in her second career start, stalking the early pace, splitting runner and drawing off late going a mile here. The colt still looks as if he has plenty of upside potential and has an attractive pedigree. He is by Lemon Drop Kid out of the stakes winner Rum Charger ($102,944) who has dropped three other turf winners including Grade 1 winning turfer Winchester ($1.6 million. The extra ground here should suit and he already owns the top last out speed fig.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7 / 2,3,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $50,000N2X (4:12 ET)
5 Readytodefer 9-5
4 Sovereign Default 8-1
1 Schoolyard Dreams / 1a Dr Disco 4-1
2 Jimanator 8-1
Analysis: Readytodefer set the early fractions and battled on gamely in the stretch with the ultra tough Saginaw, beaten just a head. Saginaw came back to win the state bred Compelling Word in his next outing on March 21, his 12th win in his last 16 starts. The gelding has handled the main track here and owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers. Her just needs to avoid bouncing off his career top.
Sovereign Default was a sharp winner two back against $30,000 non-winners of three or a race since Nov. 18 and was claimed out of the race by the Rice barn. Last out he just did not fire his best on a fifth place finish at this level, and was again claimed, this time going to the Jacobson barn that is 26% winners first off the claim. The five year old cuts back to a sprint here and he did break his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs back in '10. The barn is 24% winners moving runners from route to sprint.
WIN: #5 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 4,5 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,4,5,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 10 The Skip Away G3 (5:03 ET)
9 Cigar Street 5-2
8 Take Charge Indy 3-1
3 Golden Ticket 5-1
10 Pants On Fire 5-1
Analysis: Cigar Street took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2 optional claimers and earned a career top speed fig in the effort. The runner up in the race as Big Screen, who came back to pop a 110 Beyer beating Alw-2 optional claimers in his next start at the Big A on March 23 by 9 1/4 lengths. The colt makes just his third start since coming back off a eight month layoff. He was put on the shelf after checking in a decent fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) last year. The colts toward the outside and there is some speed in here and this guy likely will not be on the lead here, but he showed two back he can sit off and pounce. Mott appears to have this guy ready for a big effort.
Take Charge Indy tracked the early pace and did not have enough punch in the stretch in a third place finish in the Donn (G1) last out off a 2 1/2 month break. The colt won 1 of 5 starts last year, taking the Florida Derby (G1) over the main track here. He put in a solid effort two back in the Clark 'Cap (G1) in a runner up finish to Shackleford. He fits here with his best but our top pick appears to have more upside.
WIN: #9 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 3,8,9,10
TRI: 8,9 / 3,8,9,10 / 3,6,8,9,10
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R1: #8 Dream of Scipio 8-1
R2: #7 Suzenshine 8-1
R5: #11 Sinistra 15-1
R5: #2 Quiet Favorite 8-1
R7: #5 Brooklyn Red 12-1
R8: #4 Sovereign Default 8-1
R8: #2 Jimanator 8-1
R10: #5 Belle Epoque 8-1
R10: #9 My Lucky Lieu 12-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.
Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.
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