HALLANDALE BEACH — There are three races for three-year-olds today around two turns and one around one but there’s a filly race at Oaklawn Park that you might want to see.
The 2006 Martha Washington went to a filly called Rachel Alexandra. No comparisons yet but Taraz might be, as racetrackers say, any kind–the kind that goes after a 50-point Derby prep vs males down the road, points she can use to race on the first Friday in May, if not May’s first Saturday.
To the matters at hand, here’s the skinny on today’s four races from disparate parts of the country:
AQUEDUCT G3 WITHERS: I checked the past performances for tomorrow, including the fine print, but nowhere did I read that Shotski could not come off the pace, and he likely will have to here as there’s a ton of sprint speed in the G3 Withers.
And did we mention he proved he could handle nine furlongs as a juvenile on this track last fall? Luis Saez is giving up at Saturday at Gulfstream; can’t say he’s coming for the season so he must have a good reason.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Shotski (2-1) PRICE PLAY: Vanzzy (8-1)
GULFSTREAM G3 SWALE: The jury is out with respect to 1-1/4 miles in May, but the Swale is seven furlongs and Green Means Class here. He won the Saratoga Special at 6-1/2 furlongs and was a good, tough-trip second to Tiz the Law in the Champagne.
Jimmy Jerkens will have him fit, not cranked, but he should still show that he has too much talent for the group.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Green Means Go (2-1) VALUE PLAY: Shivaree (6-1)
G3 HOLY BULL: Tiz the Law was a dominating winner of the G1 Champagne, just a terrific blend of brilliance and power.
The New York-bred was never comfortable in the Churchill slop, in close quarters on the deeper inside going. He surged between horses as if the winner but was outrun in the final strides. He gets a mulligan from me.
Barclay Tagg, like Jimmy Jerkens, is old school. Tiz the Law will be fit, not cranked, and if he made any physical progression from 2 to 3 he’ll beat this field.
If he’s a tad short, Tiz the Law will show up in NOLA, or go to some other suitable second prep and, knowing these connections, would not surprised if they returned home for the Wood Memorial.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Tiz the Law (3-5) VALUE PLAY: Toledo (7-2)
SANTA ANITA G3 ROBERT B LEWIS: I’ve looked everywhere but the past performances indicate the Los Al Derby winner Thousands Words wore blinkers than day but the two sets of PPs we saw stated he gets blinkers tomorrow. Had to see for myself but really couldn’t get a good look.
It was so dark and miserable that afternoon in California that if you put a gun to my head I would say yes, he wore the blinkers but I couldn’t pinkie swear it was true. Was that, what, some weird shadow roll or something?
Either way he’s the horse to beat. Anneau D’or had him dead to rights that afternoon but ‘Words’ stared him down. There’s the “other Baffert,” who has a license, but we’ll stay with this guy until he’s beaten. He rates, he stalks, he takes charge and repels challenges. He did last time anyway.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Thousand Words (4-5) VALUE PLAY: Tizamagician (3-1)