Rebel Review and La. Derby/Sunland Preview

21 Mar

By Lucky Kalanges

It didn’t take long for me to realize I took my Rebel stand in the wrong race.

The first division of the Rebel was one of those times when the horse you key in second in the Exacta was better than the horse you assumed was going to win. Of course, I am talking about Long Range Toddy running down Improbable to prevail by a neck.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was interested in Long Range Toddy as an underneath Exacta horse and I played it exactly that way, Improbable over Long Range Toddy straight up. Basically, I was settling for an 8-to-1 return on my money, which I thought was acceptable for betting for the best horse in the field other than Improbable to finish second.

Of course, in my infinite wisdom, I had no interest in the 22.80-to-1 payoff in the unlikely event my key horse proved best. Nope, didn’t need it. Improbable was going to win!

And as I was listening to the race call, I got that dreaded feeling you get when your longshot is closing fast and – like an idiot! – you didn’t box that Exacta!

While it wasn’t the best way to kick off my day, I’d been here before and we still had the second division of the Rebel to come. I had high hopes that Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Champ, Game Winner, was going down and this Braintrust was going to clean up with his straight Win bet on the nose of Our Braintrust, who was sent to post at a generous 9/1.

What happened was another case of “Right Idea, Wrong Horse.” Game Winner did lose by the slimmest of margins, a nose, to 9/2 second choice Omaha Beach, while Our Braintrust got a wide trip, folded like a cheap suit and staggered home last. I am bit slow to catch on, but I think it’s now safe to assume the Withers – the race that Our Braintrust exited – is extremely suspect, as none of its top three finishers have performed well in their next starts.

On To New Orleans and Sunland Park

This week the Road to the Kentucky Derby stops Saturday in New Orleans and Sunday at Sunland Park, New Mexico. On Saturday, War of Will attempts to sweep the Bayou Route to Louisville in the $1 million Louisiana Derby. And on Sunday, El Camino Derby winner Anothertwistafate seeks to punch the Blaine Wright barn’s ticket to Churchill Downs in the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby.

Since switching from turf to dirt, War of Will has been as impressive as any horse I’ve seen thus far on the Derby trail, winning both the Lecomte and Risen Star relatively easily from a wide, stalking position. Check out the replay by clicking the link above. He’s a big, imposing figure, and seems to catch a bit of a break without an abundance of early speed in this heat as well. He should be able to secure his usual stalking trip just behind the leaders, and open up on the closers as he’s done the last two times around the Crescent City oval.

There are a couple horses who could put War of Will’s three-race winning streak in jeopardy, however, and I’ll be back Friday with a quick look at this race, and to assess our local hero’s chances in the Sunland Park Derby. As usual, you can watch and wager on both races this weekend at Pleasanton OTB.

FREE NIGHT ADMISSION as Los Alamitos Takes A Week Off

Los Alamitos recently announced that it will be closed this Friday through Sunday night for track maintenance. With the late announcement, we’re going to take the opportunity to offer FREE Night Admission this week at Pleasanton OTB. Come out Friday, Saturday or Sunday night after 4 p.m. and admission is FREE OF CHARGE.

If quarter horses are your game, we’ve got Remington Park both Friday and Saturday night. They have among the fullest fields of quarter horses I’ve seen recently, which makes for a great betting product.

Japanese racing also returns Saturday night, and we’ve got full fields of horses on the grass from Australia, as always, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

If the sulkies are your game, Cal Expo, Meadowlands and Woodbine-Mohawk are the main course on Friday and Saturday nights. We hope to see you out at Pleasanton OTB this weekend.

Come say “hi” to Linda and Yours Truly behind the counter.


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