At the Gate - Thursday
May 8, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Can anyone stop Orb from winning the Triple Crown other than the Racing Gods?
The Derby winner looks as if he will take on 10 or 11 runners next Saturday in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico and seems likely to be somewhere between 6-5 and 8-5 that way things are shaping up now.
Seven runners that finished behind him in the Derby are possible next week, and of that group Normandy Invasion, who got the lead in the stretch and weakened to finish fourth, may have the best shot of pulling off the upset.
Another with a shot is the Al Stall trained Departing, who comes into the race off a win in the Illinois Derby (G3). The colt has won four of his five career starts with the lone loss a third in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds in March behind Revolutionary and Mylute, who ran third and fifth respectively in the Derby.
If Orb wins the Preakness he still has to win the Belmont Stakes and since 1978 we have seen a dozen runners head to New York to try and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
All have come up short including I’ll Have Another, who was scratched on the eve of the race with a tendon injury last year.
Coming up on Saturday we may see a preview of a couple of runners that could give Orb a hard time in the Belmont Stakes. The $200,000 Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park serves as a prep for the third jewel of the Triple Crown and drew a field of 11.
The Todd Pletcher trained Abraham was installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite off a fourth place finish in the Illinois Derby. Pletcher went 0 for 5 in the Derby and does not seem likely to bring anyone to Baltimore for the Preakness.
The Nick Zito trained Declan’s Warrior may have the most upside of any in the Peter Pan field. The colt won the Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct on April 6 and will be making his first start beyond seven furlongs.
I will have my selections and analysis for the Peter Pan coming up in Saturday’s column.
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Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $15,000B (1:05 ET)
8 Jemaru 6-1
5 Quiet Favorite 3-1
1 Adirondack Express / 1a Artie Luvsto Party 5-2
6 Convocation 7-2
Analysis: Jemaru stalked the early pace, made a good middle move and took over the lead heading for home but could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish against $12,500 non-winners of three or a race since Oct. 21. The gelding has run well over wet tracks, landing in the exacta in 8 of 14 trips and we may see a wet track again today. He is 0 for 3 since the barn claimed him for $12,500 but looks headed back in the right direction and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a good look here.
Quiet Favorite was off a beat slow and never got untracked last out against state bred Alw-1 optional claimers. He was claimed out of the race by the Ness barn that is 38% winners first off the claim. The ridgling has lost a dozen races in a row but looks like a good fit here dropping in for a tag and the barn switch might get the guy going here.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 1,5,6,8
TRI: 5,8 / 1,5,6,8 / 1,3,5,6,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 7 OClm $50,000SAL (4:13 ET)
6 Risk Factor 7-2
1 El Oh El 10-1
8 Tenango 5-2
4 Much Stronger 3-1
Analysis: Risk Factor ships in form Florida where last out the colt set the early fractions and battled on right to the wire in a close up third in the state bred Sophomore, beaten just a nose and a neck for the top spot. The winner City of Weston came back to win the Big Drama Stakes at Calder in his next outing on April 27. The colt stretches out to a mile here and has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground and has a decent enough off track pedigree. The barn find a great spot for him here, eligible to run here by running for a $50,000 tag two back.
El Oh El faces winners for the first time here after breaking his maiden for a $50,000 tag last out at Gulfstream Park going a mile. The runner up in that race was On the Key, who came back to graduate for a $50,000 tag ion his next start on April 19. He gets the hot riding Rosario for the first time and this guy has a really strong off track pedigree, by Speightstown out of a Deputy Minister mare.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,4,6,8
TRI: 1,6 / 1,4,6,8 / 1,4,5,6,8
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.
R6: #8 Hold It 8-1
R7: #1 El Oh El 10-1
R9: #11 Shortcoming 10-1
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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