Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
A11 - Gotham, T-Bay Derby
Welcome to “Anthony’s Eleven,” your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 145 on May 4th at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In the coming weeks, Anthony Stabile, best known for picking 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide at odds of over 12-1, will break down the top contenders for this years’ Run for the Roses on VegasInsider.com, culminating on Friday, May 3 with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 3 and May 4, Kentucky Oaks and Derby Day, you’ll be able to purchase Stabile’s Pick Packs, full of selections and plays for two of racings’ most exciting days of the year. Click here!
Three races of Kentucky Derby points value, two 50’s and a 20, remain this Saturday across the eastern half of the country after the G2 San Felipe, which was set to feature a showdown between Bob Baffert’s top two Derby hopefuls, Game Winner and Improbable, was canceled along with racing, indefinitely, out at Santa Anita. Hopefully, they get things back on track at the Great Race Place soon!
The toughest of the three fields assembled for this weekend is at Aqueduct for the G3 Gotham going a one-turn mile. All eight runners are stakes placed, five have won stakes and two already have G1 wins on their resume. We’ll start with the horse a lot of people have been waiting on since last summer, Instagrand.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer announced his intentions to ship Instagrand to New York for his seasonal bow long before the racing stoppage in SoCal. Last year, Instagrand made headlines not only for his pair of explosive, gate-to-wire victories but for the headlines his owner made in regards to his stopping on the colt in August and saying the Kentucky Derby essentially wasn’t the be-all, end-all.
After breaking his maiden by 10 lengths in his late-June debut at Los Alamitos going five furlongs, Instagrand returned in early August at Del Mar to win the six-furlong, G3 Best Pal by just more than 10 lengths before going to the sidelines. Javier Castellano comes up from his winter base in Florida to ride the even money, morning line favorite from post 6.
G1 Hopeful winner Mind Control makes his first start in over two months having taken the Jerome going this same trip at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day for his trainer Greg Sacco.
After losing his debut to eventual multiple stakes winner Call Paul, Mind Control broke his maiden then won the Hopeful at 10-1 before a bad post caused him to scratch from the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and to run in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile off of an unintended two-month break. He found some trouble at the break in the Juvenile and was never a factor when finishing seventh.
In the Jerome, John Velazquez put Mind Control in front from the start and after taking pressure for most of the way through fairly sensible fractions, edged away slightly through the stretch to win by a length and a half. He’ll break from post 3.
Not That Brady ran too good to lose when second by a neck in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct going nine furlongs last out for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Claimed out of his debut then beaten a whopping 80 lengths in his first start for the barn, Not That Brady has thrived since stretching out in distance. Switching to front-running tactics, he finished second then broke his maiden by over 11 lengths and scored in the New York-bred Damon Runyon Stakes by three lengths, all at a mile at the Big A.
Most recently, Mind That Brady battled on bravely after losing the lead in deep stretch to re-rally himself to a photo-finish defeat under Reylu Gutierrez, who’s back aboard from post 7.
After the Withers, part-owners Mike and Libby Imperio announced that Not That Brady would be running for the backstretch children in the Gotham as they are donating 10% of his earnings from the Gotham to the Backstretch Child Care Association. The rest of the owners along with his rider and his agent quickly joined the cause. Anna House is the only backstretch school and day-care center on the grounds of a U.S. racetrack and does an amazing job. Check out belmontchildcare.org to learn more.
Haikal is looking to make it three in a row and give his trainer Kiaran McLaughlin back-to-back wins in the Gotham after taking it down last year with Enticed.
A one-run closing type, Haikal flew from last to miss by just a neck in his debut then made a similar move while racing along the rail to break his maiden in his second start, his first under Rajiv Maragh.
Most recently, Haikal managed to stay a touch closer to the pace over a course that was favoring inside speed and parlayed his ground saving trip into a Jimmy Winkfield Stakes tally, when he snuck up the inside to win by a neck. He’ll break from post 5 and should have plenty of pace to close into in his first start at this distance.
Knicks Go has tailed off since a pair of juvenile efforts that had some people thinking he’d be a major player in the division this year. Most recently, he closed out his juvenile season with an abysmal eleventh place finish in the G2 KJC before chasing the pace and tiring to fifth in the G3 Sam F. Davis in his sophomore debut at Tampa Bay Downs.
Knicks Go will need to harken back to his upset score in the Breeders’ Futurity at 70-1 or second-place finish in the Juvenile at 40-1 to get a piece in here for trainer Ben Colebrook. Jose Lezcano rides for the first time from post 2.
Much Better ships in for Baffert off of a sharp win in an allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita when blinkers and Mike Smith were added last out. He’s won both of his starts on dirt around one turn with his lone main track blemish being a third-place finish after setting the pace in the G3 Sham at this distance. He’ll break from post 4.
Tikhvin Flew broke his maiden in his debut before racing a bit wide against the track in the Winkfield for trainer Steve Asmussen. Dylan Davis rides from post 8.
Family Biz held off Haikal when he broke his maiden but is winless in three starts since, including a third-place finish in the Jerome and fourth place finish in the Winkfield. Kendrick Carmouche rides for Eddie Barker from post 1.
At Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Florida, eleven sophomores are set to go 1 1/16 miles in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, led by recent Pasco winner Win Win Win.
Trained by Mike Trombetta, Win Win Win will be making his first start beyond seven furlongs. A couple of wins followed by a second-place finish in the Heft, all at Laurel, preceded the ship to south Florida for the winter. Sent off as the 8-5 second choice in the Pasco, Win Win Win came with a big late rally to win by a drawing away seven lengths.
Ridden perfectly in his first four starts by Julian Pimentel, Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Win Win Win for the first time in here. They’ll break from post 7 and will seemingly have to deal with the karma police as well as their rivals in here.
Well Defined will look to take another Tampa Bay Downs points race having went gate-to-wire in the G3 Sam F. Davis, the traditional prep for this spot, last out under Pablo Morales.
Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Well Defined won twice as a juvenile, including a financially lucrative division of the Florida Stallion Series before getting beat a long way in the B.C. Juvenile to close out last season.
This year, Well Defined beat just one horse home in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream before his career-best effort in the Davis, a race he won by almost three lengths. He’ll break from post 5.
Dream Maker started this year like he did his career last year, with a powerful win, for trainer Mark Casse. It’s the in bewteen that’s been his problem.
After Dream Maker won his debut at Churchill by three lengths from off the pace, he came back to get beat nearly five lengths in the Hopeful then had a rough trip in the Breeders’ Futurity when he was beaten a proverbial pole as the 5-2 favorite.
Dream Maker returned with new rider Florent Geroux a month ago at the Fair Grounds where he promptly scored in an entry level allowance/optional claimer by over eight lengths. He’ll break from post 4.
Casse will also send out Sir Winston from post 2 with Julien Leparoux in the saddle. Winner of the Display over the Tapeta at Woodbine two back, Sir Winston finished fourth in the Withers last out.
Outshine invades for Todd Pletcher with Joel Rosario in the boot. Rosario has recently moved his tack back east and will ride down in Florida until Keeneland opens in early April, with some Arkansas and Dubai trips sprinkled in.
After breaking his maiden in the slop at Belmont back in May of last year, Outshine finished fifth in the Tremont before heading to the sidelines. Most recently, off of an eight-month layoff, he rolled in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claimer when adding blinkers for the first time. Outshine will break from post 6.
Zenden gets Tampa’s leading rider Sammy Camacho for his local debut for trainer Victor Barboza, Jr. Zenden broke his maiden and won the Buffalo Man in his two starts as a two-year-old before finishing a solid second to Call Paul in the G3 Swale. He’ll have to deal with a new surface and two turns for the first time, as his three prior starts have come in Gulfstream Park sprints, when he breaks from outside post 11.
Tacitus returns from a four-month break for Bill Mott off of a hard-fought maiden win by a neck going a mile at Aqueduct in his second start. He’ll get Lasix for the first time in his two-turn debut and will break from post 10 under Jose Ortiz. He’s the first foal from multiple G1 stakes winner Close Hatches.
Dunph won his first two starts and was third in the Springboard Mile two back for Mike Maker but struggled in his two starts when he was beaten a long way in his two graded stakes tries, the KJC and G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds, last out. Daniel Centeno rides from post 9.
Admire broke his maiden second out when stretching out to nine furlongs three weeks after his sprint debut, both at Churchill, for Dale Romans before returning from an over two-month respite to finish fifth in the Withers. Robby Albarado rides from post 1.
The Right Path broke his maiden in his November debut at Aqueduct before retuning from a three month break to finish second behind Outshine at Gulfstream for Jorge Duarte, Jr. Joe Bravo rides from post 8 in his two-turn debut.
Lord Dragon shed blinkers for the first time to break his maiden going this trip over this course in his sixth start for trainer Jordan Blair last out. Jose Bracho rides from post 3.
Finally, at Turfway Park, Somelikeithotbrown, winner of the Battaglia Memorial most recently will look to make it two consecutive stakes wins on that all-weather surface and grab 20 Kentucky Derby points in the process when he takes on 10 others in the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at 1 1/8 miles. Tyler Gaffalione rides from post 10 for Maker. His main threat figures to be the undefeated Skywire for Casse and Gary Boulanger. Skywire broke his maiden on the Tapeta at Woodbine before taking an off-the-turf, entry level allowance/optional claimer in the slop at Gulfstream last out. He’ll break from post 6.
Prep Play of the Day
In the Gotham make a $5 exacta box and $5 trifecta box using Not That Brady, Haikal and Instagrand. In the Tampa Bay Derby, bet $40 to win on Tacitus. Total bets are $100. Good luck!!!!!
Bankroll: minus $160
Anthony “the Big A” Stabile can be heard regularly on the Horse Racing Radio Network from 3-6PM ET on Wednesday and 3-7PM ET Thursday and Friday. Tune in on Sirius 219, XM 201 or streaming live at horseracingradio.net. He also is a contributor on NYRA-TV as the co-host of Talking Horses and a backup racetrack announcer. Follow him on Twitter @thebigastabile