March Madness is in full swing and I am not talking about hoops.
The betting action starts early this morning with the Dubai World Cup card, which includes five Group 1 races including the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Then we have a couple of key Derby preps on tap later this afternoon.
The Dubai World Cup drew an international field of 16, and the two likely favorites both look vulnerable. Ruler of the World is the 9-2 morning line favorite but is making his first start since last October. Ron the Greek has earned $2.7 million in his career and makes his second start since getting purchased privately. He drew the far outside post, which will not be easy to overcome.
The feature at Gulfstream Park is the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), one of eight stakes on an outstanding 14-race betting card.
Cairo Prince is the 9-5 favorite, making his first start since winning the Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25. We should see a fast early pace as Wildcat Red and General a Rod, the one-two finishers of the Fountain of Youth will renew their rivalry.
Weather wiped out racing at Fair Grounds on Friday, with heavy thunderstorms hitting the area. The weather will be on the improve for Saturday, but the turf races may end up getting shifted to the main track.
The feature is the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), with the Todd Pletcher trained Intense Holiday the 2-1 morning line favorite off his win in the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 22. Seven of the 10 in the field are coming out of the risen Star.
Another intriguing race on the card is the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) which will match up last year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice against Normandy Invasion, who makes his second start off the layoff for the Chad Brown barn.
The big races will be nationally televised this afternoon. The Dubai World Cup will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 as part of the Jockey Club Tour on Fox, the 90-minute telecast getting underway at 1:00 (ET). The Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby will be televised on the NBC Sports Network at 6:30 (ET)
My Multi Track Report for Saturday includes my full card reports for BOTH Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park and my Best Plays which include selections for the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby and the Dubai World Cup.
To purchase my full card report for Aqueduct for Saturday click here.
Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $25,000N2L (1:20 ET) 1 Zimbabwe Lady 4-1 4 Missed Count 7-5 5 Heiressofthecrown 6-1 3 Datts Da Boss 5-2
Analysis: Zimbabwe Lady tracked the early pace, came with a four wide bid and finished evenly in a fourth place finish last out at this level. The filly was claimed out of the race by the Nevin barn that is 38% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. The former Dutrow assistant claimed this gal off a chilly Barbara barn that was 1 for 46 at the inner track meeting. She broke her maiden two back for a $16,000 tag in her fifth career start and still may have some upside. She has a decent off track pedigree and the 4-1 morning line looks more than fair.
Missed Count chased the early pace from the outside and had to settle for the runner up spot, unable to catch the gate to wire winner over a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. She makes her second start for the Micelli barn after this gal was previously in the care of Nevin and Jacobson. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and has run well in each of her three starts over a wet track.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 1,4 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Broadway (4:43 ET) 1 Risky Rachel 4-1 4 La Verdad 4-5 9 Sunny Desert 5-1 2 Hot Rendezvous 12-1 Analysis: Risky Rachel returns from Tampa where the mare came off a 15 month layoff with sharp wins in the Minaret and Manatee. She has had plenty of success in the New York bred ranks including winning this race back in '12 by 6 1/2 lengths. She earned a career top speed fig in tat win and has landed wet tracks as well. She is going to need the chalk to get some heat early to set things up for her, but is going to offer more value than our second choice in here.
La Verdad had a six race win streak snapped last out when she shipped to Laurel Park for the Barbara Fritchie (G2). The filly set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late, beaten a length for the top spot. She has won three of her four starts against state breds and is perfect in two starts over the Big A main track. She is perfect in three trips over wet tracks and we may see some rain today. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and will be the one to catch but her price is going to be on the light side.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,4,9
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,4,9 / 1,2,3,4,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 13 The Pan American G2 (6:11 ET) 1 Slumber 5-1 10 Newsdad 8-1 5 Admiral Kitten 3-1 2 Vertiformer 6-1
Analysis: Slumber looks primed for a top effort here in his third start of his current form cycle for the Bill Mott barn. The six-year-old is coming off a third place finish last out in the Mac Diarmida (G2) where he lacked room in traffic on the far turn and finished up well when clear. He has lost four in a row but faced some tough foes including a fourth in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) last fall at Belmont Park. Note Mott has two in here and Johnny V sticks with this guy.
Newsdad is the other Mott trainee and makes his second start off an 11-month layoff. He won this race back in '12 and last year ran third which was coming back off a five-month layoff. He has won three times over the turf here and has a couple of wins at the 1 1/2 mile distance. The Mott trainee came up short in his comeback race but he figures to move forward off that effort. The barn is 25% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
Admiral Kitten won the nine furlong John Connally (G3) at Sam Houston. The colt has landed in the exacta in all line of his starts on turf including winning the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park last summer. The Maker trainee is going to be tough but the price is going to be on the light side.
WIN: #1 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,10 / 1,2,5,10
TRI: 1,10 / 1,2,5,10 / 1,2,4,5,10
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.
R2: #1 Bold Runner 12-1
R2: #6 Simply Mas 30-1
R5: #2 Gloria Victoria 8-1
R7: #5 Bound by Humor 10-1
R8: #2 Hot Rendezvous 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 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. 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 Belmont and Churchill Downs or capture the 2nd jewel in the Triple Crown with Mike's Preakness Stakes package. You can also 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. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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