At the Gate - Wednesday
April 22, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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With just 10 days to go until the Kentucky Derby, if you plan on attending the Run for the Roses I hope you have your outfit picked out.
If you plan on watching the race on television, NBC has you covered. They announced Olympic figure skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinksi have been added to its coverage of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
They are going to be the Fashion Police, so don’t get your Derby hat from the clearance rack.
If you tuned into the Olympic figure skating from Sochi you may have seen a few of the outlandish outfits worn by Weir. Now he is heading to the racetrack.
"Johnny and Tara have an infectious energy that will bring a fun and fresh perspective to our Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks telecasts," said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer for NBC Sports Group. "They will be in their element amid the big-event atmosphere and pageantry of Churchill Downs."
I doubt seriously Weir and Lipinski will discuss the takeout hike that Churchill Downs in putting in at the spring meeting. The take on win, place and show is going from 16% to 17.5% and exotics are going from 19% to 22%.
For us horseplayers looking for odds and probable payouts, the extra festivities at the Derby can be an annoyance. Every time there is a celebrity interview I want to put my foot through the television.
We hardcore bettors really don’t care who Jerry O’Connell plans on betting on. If you want to bet with O’Connell, always take the “Under” on how long before his new television series gets canceled.
We have become spoiled with the “Jockey Club Tour on Fox” which has done a good job of presenting the races, and have talked plenty about wagering.
NBC should have at least give Fox handicappers Simon Bray and Andy Serling a shot of landing a Triple Axel before going with Johnny and Tara.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Alw $50,000s (1:20 ET)
6 Denzel 9-5
3 Dedicated Deal 6-1
1 Reserved Quality / 1a Lieutenant Seanny O 5-2
4 Whatabouthonor 8-1
Analysis: Denzel stalked the early pace and made a good late bid to finish fourth last out while beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the top spot against $20,000 starter allowance foes. The colt is now 0 for 4 since the RRod barn claimed this guy for $35,000 back in December but he ran well two and three back in runner up finish. His last win came at six furlongs and he owns a solid pace profile throughout. He gets a jock upgrade to Ortiz and finds a field he should be able to handle.
Dedicated Deal is coming off a runner up finish at this level last out on the inner track. The third place finisher in the race was Stealth Steed, who came back to beat $12,500 non-winners of three in his next outing on March 20 here. The gelding appears to be heading in the right direction form wise and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough to give this guy a look here in the opener.
WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 Alw $52,000N1X (4:57 ET)
1 Sheriffa 3-1
5 Bileaps and Bounds 7-2
2 Very Accomplished 6-5
6 Sweetest Side 8-1
Analysis: Sheriffa makes her first start since last November where she ran fifth in a New York Stallion Series race in her first go against winners. She broke her maiden two back in her second career outing at Belmont Park in gate to wire fashion. The Goldberg barn usually has them ready to go off works at Colt's Neck and she catches a pretty weak group of state breds here.
Bileaps and Bounds pressed the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish last out at this level in her second start off the claim by the Englehart barn. The filly adds blinkers here and is going to need another jump forward to be in the mix here. The chalk Very Accomplished has the look of an underlay and the jock Husbands is poison to the bankroll when he rides in New York.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
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: #4 Whatabouthonor 8-1
R2: #7 Midnightinpositano 10-1
R3: #5 Sportswriter 12-1
R6: #8 My Pisano 8-1
R7: #5 Rodinia 8-1
R8: #6 Sweetest Side 8-1
R9: #8 Thatza Wrap 8-1
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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