Churchill Downs track announcer Mark Johnson said the Road to the Kentucky Derby was beginning just a moment before the field for the $150,000 Iroquois (G3) broke through the gate, and I am sure Donegal Racing is happy after their duo of longshots combined for a $500.00 exacta.
The Iroquois is the first of 34 points races to get into the Kentucky Derby and longshot Cleburne rallied to get up at the wire and return $34.10 under jockey Corey Lanerie, returning $70.20. He earned 10 points toward a ticket to the Kentucky Derby.
No Iroquois winner has come back the following spring and won the Run for the Roses.
His stablemate Smart Cover rallied down the outside of the track to finish second, beaten a neck at odds of 26-1, good for four points.
I did not have either but we ended the evening on a high note, with Devine Note ($14.20) winning the 10th as my top pick, and then Wry($15.80) got the job as my top pick in the finale, the late double returning $168.20.
We had four winners on top at Churchill Downs and at Belmont Park on opening day we had four more winners on top and I had five recommended exactas, but my personal bankroll took a hit early. However, I got lucky and hit the Late Pick 4 at Churchill which returned $910.80 for a $1.
That was a good way to end a day where my handicapping was solid but my personal betting was atrocious.
Analysis: Valar Dohaeris debuts for the Levine barn that is 15% winners with first timers. The gelding is bred to be fast, by Bustin Stones and the first foal to race out of a Buddha mare. The works are quick and while the barn has lost with six firsters in a row, dating back a year is hitting at a solid 21% clip.
Executive Office sports a couple of bullet drills for the Clement barn that is 21% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. The gelding is by Stanislavsky (9% winners with debut runners from a limited sapling) and the first foal to race out of a Distinctive Pro mare. The gelding is working as if he has some ability and debuts with lasix. Worth tossing in the mix here if this guy goes off near his 5-1 morning line.
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 2,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
Analysis: Wickepecko took the field gate to wire to beat $35,000 starter optional claimers last out in her second start off the claim by the Galluscio barn. The effort was flattered when the third and seventh place finishers both came back to win their next starts at Saratoga. She looks headed in the right direction form wise and looks capable of stepping into this tougher spot and being competitive at a decent price. Two of her three career wins have come over the Belmont Park turf.
Yes It's Pink is coming off a good runner up finish at the Spa, beaten a length for the top spot. It looks as if the Clement trainee will get some pace to run at here and he is making his third start of his current form cycle. She has beaten winners, beating state bed Alw-1 and Alw-2 foes in her first two starts against winners. She fits well in this spot.
WIN: #10 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,10 / 1,2,5,10
TRI: 2,10 / 1,2,5,10 / 1,2,5,7,10
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 8 Md Sp Wt (4:27 ET)
1 Great Mills High 4-1
4 Owl Moon 7-2
5 Grit and Grace 4-1
7 Defoe Street 3-1
Analysis: Great Mills High dueled for the early lead and could not finish last out, weakening to finish third on the grass at Indiana Downs. Asmussen switches her back to dirt here. She was outrun in her lone go on dirt but that did come in her debut. The filly has three sibs that are winners including turf stakes winner Great Mills ($435,838). The barn is 22% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners form turf to dirt.
Owl Moon made a mild late run to finish third last out at Indiana Downs off a three month break. She was third two back in her lone go over the main track here after a fifth on poly in her debut. She figures to move forward in her second start off the shelf for the Romans barn that is 21% winners with runners making their second start off a 45-180 day layoff.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
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.
R2: #1 Master Lightning 10-1
R4: #3 Concealed 12-1
R7: #1 This Guy Is Blue 12-1
R7: #2 Roman Paradise 10-1
R9: #10 Wickepecko 12-1
R9: #5 Queen of Mambo 12-1
Mike DempseyMike 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. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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 also had past success 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. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqeuduct and Del Mar or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis. Join Jerry everyday with daily picks from
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