At the Gate - Thursday
April 30, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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The countdown to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby has begun, and while this week is usually a busy and somewhat stressful week, I feel like I have already won.
Down here in northwest Florida, we were deluged over the past 48 hours by 16 inches of rain. It was hours and hours of non-stop rain, thunder and lightning. I was just waiting for the power to go off, but the Racing Gods were looking out for me.
Not so much for my neighbors two blocks south. There are at least four homes that were destroyed by the flooding. So I feel like I am playing with house money starting today with the opening day from Belmont Park.
The weather does not look good in New York for today, and I am guessing we are going to be off the turf and the track will likely have some moisture in it.
The opening day feature is the $100,000 Elusive Quality which was carded for seven furlongs on the turf, but likely will get switched to the main track. With four main-track-only entrants we still should have a good field.
As I am writing this on Wednesday afternoon, California Chrome just drew the five post for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1). I’ll take a look at how the post positions may affect the race in tomorrow’s column as well as have my selections and analysis for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) which drew a strong field led by Untapable, who drew the far outside 13 post and could be worth taking a stand against at a short price.
My Kentucky Oaks Report is now available. My Kentucky Derby Report will be available no later than Friday morning. To purchase my full card reports click here.
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:20 ET)
7 Cape Song 7-2
1 Guilty Verdict / 1a Gasparilla Inn 5-2
2 Make It Anywhere 3-1
5 Kate Greenaway 6-1
Analysis: Cape Song makes her first start since her debut last year where she ran a good second at 13-1 at Aqueduct going a mile. The third place finisher Barbie Song came back to graduate in her next outing and then won the Astronomia. She returns here for the Clement barn that is 10% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. The filly is out of the stakes winner Capeside Lady ($809,540). This gal is bred to like a wet track.
Guilty Verdict makes her first start since last September where she faded to finish fifth. She showed some promise in her debut in a runner up finish. She comes back here with lasix and blinkers and bred to like a wet track. Entrymate Gasparilla Inn was a decent third in her debut behind repeat winner Bridled Heiress, who bat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,5,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Elusive Quality (4:57 ET)
13 Cease 5-1
12 Integrity 2-1
15 Tenango 4-1
5 Summer Breezing 8-1
Analysis: Cease gets the call if this race comes off the turf. The gelding is one of four in here sent out by the Jacobson barn, three of them MTO's. The gelding was a game second last out against $40,000 optional claimers at Laurel Park going seven furlongs on the main track. The gelding beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his last start over the main track here and he has won three of his five starts over wet tracks.
Integrity took Alw-3 optional claimers gate to wire last out at Philly going a mile. The colt owns solid early and mid pace numbers and she has a win over the main track here, beating Alw-1 foes in the mud earning a career top speed fig. He is reunited with Castellano who was aboard this guy two back when he beat Alw-2 company at Gulfstream Park at today's seven furlong distance.
WIN: #13 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 12,13 / 5,12,13,15
TRI: 12,13 / 5,12,13,15 / 5,12,13,14,15
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: #8 Buckeye Hearty 12-1
R3: #5 Majestic Marquet 15-1
R4: #9 Island Therapy 12-1
R4: #7 King Gattigun 10-1
R5: #8 Private Irving A 10-1
R7: #4 Sky Blue Mongolia 8-1
R7: #6 Joan’s Choice 8-1
R8: #5 Summer Breezing 8-1
R9: #13 Saturday Appeal 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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