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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Looking forward to the first 100-point Kentucky Derby qualifier, especially since we don’t know for sure whether it will be the last one for now, for quite a while, or if ever in 2020.

Hope my “hunches” are wrong. But I might be right; I’m right a lot…tongue-in-cheek emoji here).

At once, today’s Louisiana Derby is a great race on paper and a great betting race, too. Whoever you like, even if on favorites, chances are you will be rewarded with fair value.

The skinny on today’s field, listed on post position order with early line odds:

  1. MAJOR FED (8-1): Had a good trip in slower division of Risen Star but still liked the way he finished up. In this group, bettors would need at least morning line quote.
  2. MAILMAN MONEY (15-1): In close quarters at the start of same race, long-striding colt too keen into lower first turn, then saved no ground at any point. Live price shot with clean break, given inside draw.
  3. 3. WELLS BAYOU (8-1): Posted strong early fractions in Oaklawn’s Southwest, nicely rated down backside and placing gamely to Silver Prospector. Can prove the speed of the speed; beware the super trainer.
  4. CHESTERTOWN (15-1): Got a great education in last, hard held inside at the back of the pack, crying for run most of the way. Shook clear midstretch and finished well despite slow pace, finishing up on wrong lead. Not a question of if but when; right now this good colt a tad too slow.
  5. SOCIAL EVENT (50-): No.
  6. SHAKE SOME ACTION (15-1): Rated nicely in about the three path off moderate fractions throughout, confidently handled moving outside in the lane and won because he pulled the rug at exactly the right moment. Different ballgame today.
  7. SHARE CROPPER (20-1): This is trainer Albert Stall’s game at his hometown track; 23% in LAY-2 scenarios. He was hindered by slow tempo and some stretch turbulence behind ‘Shake’. Still requires leap of faith.
  8. ROYAL ACT (10-1): True definition of a “dark horse,” Shipping cross-country for Peter Eurton off good-finish placing behind the ‘good’ Thousand Words in graded Robert Lewis. Pointed, meaningful workline, and Abel Cedillo along for the ride. Very intriguing.
  9. PORTOS (8-1): Late developer graduated in slop on New Year’s Eve, winning by a pole, then was a good third in the Withers. (Runnerup Shotski returned to run well in Fountain of Youth). It’s Todd, who does well shipping here, it’s Irad (maybe), but prefer to have seen more.
  10. ENFORCEABLE (7-2): Yes, a deep closer in a large field but a worthy favorite. Has experience, loves this track, and comes off excellent placing in faster division of Risen Star, losing ground throughout on surface kinder to inside and speed. Extra sixteenth fits like OJ’s glove.
  11. Ny TRAFFIC (15-1): Was a very good third chasing pace throughout from the outside in slower Risen Star beneath perfect Castellano handling. Switch to Saez suggests more aggressive early tactics but can’t envision him stealing this; beware the super trainer.
  12. LYNN’S MAP (30-1): Morning line is out of line and likely unavailable at post time. Early trouble had him much farther back than usual, then went inside, outside and around a rival leaving headstretch, finishing well too late before galloping out energetically. (With Tyler taking suspension this week, don’t know if he’s exempt to ride–note).
  13. SILVER STATE (6-1): Tough trip when an excellent second to Enforceable in season’s debut then was hustled to maintain close contact while wide in faster Risen Star. Optimum form cycle making third off the layup, pointed carefully here with unusually aggressive Asmussen works. Added sixteenth is what pedigree ordered. Ready, set…
  14. MODERNIST (6-1): Yes, took advantage of dynamics and heads-up Alvarado handling to win slower Risen Star but was pressed all the way and was very strong at the finish, as if there were more in the tank. Right pedigree and body type to keep developing but killed by the draw.
  15. AE Mr. Big News
  16. AE Farmington Road

Listed in order of preference; choices can move up and down vertically, preferable one level at a time




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4 Responses

  1. I’ve said my piece(s) about the propriety of racing continuing during the pandemic. Time to move on.

    Fair Grounds will probably have a huge handle today with NY out of the picture but something significant from last week will be missing–the race book action from Las Vegas.

    My feeling is if Gulfstream gets through this weekend without any positives showing up, as they did at Aqueduct, the Florida Derby will be a go next weekend. Alas, we (or anyone else) won’t be able to see it live because even the media is barred from the grounds.

    The Florida Derby is such a big deal locally I don’t know why it can’t be moved back, as Oaklawn did with the Arkansas Derby. I know a lot of horses will be shipping north soon. Or will they? The Wood Memorial is off. Keeneland isn’t opening, so the Blue Grass and all the other Keeneland stakes are off, too.

    More cases of Coronavirus are showing up in Florida but NY is the eye of the Coronavirus storm. Some outfits might not want to ship into that., especially if Gulfstream continues to race while NY remains dark.

    BTW, the glove didn’t fit. That is why they had to acquit.

  2. Yes, the glove was too tight, which oddly expressed was my point.

    Didn’t think about moving the Florida Derby but not fair to the horsemen who trained their horses for MAR 28. Sadly, yes, a local opportunity lost, which is the fate of communities everywhere in the U.S.

    But I did think how the situations in Lexington and New York could be a boon to Florida racing.

    Funny, was looking forward to watching Florida Derby from the viewing stand behind the winners’ circle, writing about how very strange it will be watching Gulfstream’s signature race with an empty apron.

    Ironic, watched from the apron last year in the company of Jim and Sally Hill of Seattle Slew. Sadly, fame is not the only thing that is fleeting.

  3. JP–
    Thank you for your comprehensive review of today’s entrants in the Louisiana Derby. I note that you had the comment “beware of the super trainer” on only two horses–who ran 1, 2 for a $156 exacta! And if you had a “beware of the super trainer” comment for the Fairgrounds Oaks, you would have had the $14 winner and a $67 Oaks/Derby double. It’s an easy game!

    PS Does the FBI publish a tip sheet yet??

    Chuck from Saratoga

  4. Chuck,

    I have only one word in my defense: Duh!

    Eh, make that two: Duh-my!

    FBI Tipsheet: Great line. Are you here every day?

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