Archive for April 6th, 2012

Santa Anita Derby 2012 Preview – Creative Cause a slam dunk?

Southern California’s top Kentucky Derby 2012 contender Creative Cause is the strong 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Is he worth trying to beat in Santa Anita Park’s showcase event?

Creative Cause

Creative Cause looms large in SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Creative Cause (6-5) has been a major Derby top ten player since I began my list last September and he continues to go strong for trainer Mike Harrington.  The tactical gem of consistency removes the hood and the only weakness he has is losing focus and goofing around in the stretch. He qualified for the Kentucky Derby on graded earnings long ago and does not need to win this. The main thing is to keep his mind on business and finish up strong with a quality top three performance.

#8 Midnight Transfer (10-1) is capable of giving the aforementioned favorite a scare if he improves off his San Felipe show finish. He is training well for this and has the numbers to make a dent if he handles today’s added ground. Not sure he really wants to go this far but he projects a decent tactical trip under new rider Mike Smith and the price figures to be right.

#2 Liaison (8-1) capped off a productive juvenile season with a game win in the G1 CashCall Futurity but everything has gone wrong this year. He clipped heels and fell in the G2 Robert Lewis and got no pace help in G2 San Felipe 4th place effort. He reunites with winning pilot Bejarano and should offer value.

#4 I’ll Have Another (5-2) surprised off the shelf in the G2 Robert Lewis at 43-1 but that race has not been productive and he offers no value at 5-2. The fresh colt is an early-pressing player at the very least.

#5 Longview Drive (12-1) is 0-for-3 in the graded ranks and will probably be aggressively handled by Russell Baze, who rides him well.

#3 Holy Candy (8-1) makes his third start in five weeks for Sadler. The promising son of Candy Ride looked good in local flat mile graduation run March 23 but he shows up in a tough spot and is light on numbers. Does Drew Brees have a Kentucky Derby horse?

#10 Brother Francis (20-1) is a stakes placed maiden trying to make the Derby cut. He does not have the numbers to win but another minor award is not out of the question. Garrett Gomez ends up here.

#6 Paynter (6-1) looked good graduating against three rivals at 5.5 furlongs at Santa Anita Feb 18. The Baffert trainee is probably not up to this type of company at this stage but is worth following.

#7 Senor Rain (15-1) exits an optional claiming extended sprint tally here and should make his presence felt from the outset. He seems a cut or two below the best in here.

#9 Blueskiesnrainbows (20-1) is a Baffert outsider. He removes the hood and should stalk the pace before throwing in the towel.

The Plays:

$20 to win #8

$10 Exacta Box 1-8 ($20)

Wood Memorial 2012 Preview – Will Gemologist remain unbeaten?

Saturday’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is worth a cool $1 million and provides New York sophomores a final chance to qualify for Kentucky Derby 2012 on graded earnings.

#6 Gemologist (8-5) is 4-for-4 and needs a top two finish to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The sharp early-pressing type exits a romping tally over G3 Illinois Derby favorite Currency Swap in his Gulfstream return and tries to avoid a bounce while returning in three weeks.

#3 MY ADONIS (8-1) might be a cut below but he looks like the value play in this spot. The Kelly Breen trainee should sit a decent tactical journey and his numbers are on the rise. He gets away from Hansen after finishing behind the juvenile champ in the G3 Holy Bull and G3 Gotham.

Alpha horse

Alpha shoots for 3rd straight win on Saturday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Alpha (5-2) enters fresh and projects a ground saving tactical trip for the productive Dominguez/McLaughlin team. He was my original top ranked Derby contender when I began my list last September and I like the progress he is making this season.

#7 Tiger Walk (15-1) deserves a longshot look. He finished a solid 3rd in the G3 Withers and was hung out to dry from post 13 in G3 Gotham (missed 3rd by head).  His stablemate Millionreasonswhy is a strong contender in the G3 Comely earlier on the Big A program.

#5 Street Life (4-1) showed a nice late kick on the inner dirt in his last pair despite not getting much pace help. The son of Street Sense is on the upswing and will be finishing.

#8 The Lumber Guy (8-1) easily captured a pair of sprints to begin his career and looms a pace player at the very least. He will probably find this company and distance a bit beyond his scope at this stage.

#2 Casual Trick (20-1) is trying to rediscover his GP Derby form for Zito. He reportedly flipped his palate in his last pair and had surgery to correct the breathing problem.

#4 Teeth of the Dog (15-1) is getting better for Matz but this is a tough spot for a horse exiting a head maiden victory.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$2 Exacta Box 1-3 ($4)

$4 Exacta 1-3/6-7  ($16)