Archive | February, 2020

El Camino Saturday at Golden Gate

13 Feb

The only Bay Area race offering qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (10 to the winner) takes place Saturday with the running of the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. While the winning over the Tapeta surface doesn’t always translate to success on dirt, the 10 Derby points can make the difference between making the starting gate at Churchill Downs or staying home and watching it in the barn. And even if the El Camino winner doesn’t make it to the Derby, he’s guaranteed an automatic berth to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on the 3rd Saturday in May.

Suffice to say, quite a bit is on the line in the 1 1/8 miles test for three-year-olds over the Tapeta oval that straddles Albany and Berkeley this Saturday. So much so that the powerhouse barn of “Derby” Bob Baffert is expected to saddle the favorite in Azul Coast (2/1), who exits a second place finish in the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. Having shown an affinity for rallying from of the pace in his previous two starts on dirt, it will be interesting to see how the son of Derby winner Super Saver takes to the Tapeta.

Azul isn’t the only shipper with his eyes on leaving town with 10 Derby points, however, as Czechmight (6/1) ships in off a blowout work (four panels in :47 2/5) at Santa Anita for the Richard Baltas barn. He was last seen breaking his maiden at Keeneland on Oct. 13. And while it might seem counterintuitive to back a horse named The Stiff (8/1), he does boast a recent win over the track and surface, taking an optional 40k claimer here on Jan. 19.

Among the top local contenders is Indian Peak (7/2), who owns a win over both the Tapeta and the turf course, Sacred Rider (9/2), who boasts a win and three seconds from nine starts, and Ajourneytofreedom (12/1), who hails from the same barn as last year’s winner, Anothertwistafate.

The El Camino is slated at the 7th of nine races on Saturday’s card, and will go to post at approximately 3:52pm. First post at Golden Gate is 12:45pm.

Stakes Duo Saturday, San Vicente Sunday

7 Feb

Three-year-old fillies with their sights set on the Kentucky Oaks get the top billing Saturday at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). As one might guess, it’s a five filly affair with Bob Baffert holding a pair of aces in Gingham (6/1) and Stellar Sound (5/1). But not so fast pardner, as it’s trainer Richard Baltas who’s holding the nuts in Venetian Harbor, who’s been installed as the heavy 2/5 morning-line favorite after a runaway 10-length win in her main track debut on Dec. 29.

Having drawn just a field of five, the Las Virgenes is carded as the 5th of 9 races and will go to post at approximately 2:28pm.

The real main event for horseplayers is the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes for four-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf course. Contention in this 10-horse field runs deep with last year’s winner, True Valor (7/2), being installed as the tepid morning-line favorite.

Among a number of potential price plays includes Northern California invader, Mugaritz (8/1), who hails from the powerful Jonathan Wong barn and gets “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle. Mugaritz is an impressive 8 for 14 lifetime and two-for-two on turf, and seems unlikely to remain at his sticker price of 8/1.

Back class belongs to River Boyne (5/1) who is seeking his first win in over a year, but boasts an impressive 6 for 11 record over the track and is 7 for 20 at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. And in a field with an abundance of front-running speed, the tactical advantage could belong to closer Frontier Market (4/1), who joins the John Sheriff’s stable after a couple of in-the-money finishes for Chad Brown in stakes company back East.

Post time for the Thunder Road, which is carded as the 7th of 9 on Saturday, is approximately 3:31pm. The Rainbow 6 Jackpot stands at $135,744 heading into the weekend at the GRP.

NADAL, STORM THE COURT CLASH IN SAN VICENTE

The SoCal Road to the Kentucky Derby heats up Sunday when Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Storm the Court squares off against Bob Baffert’s latest impressive maiden winner, Nadal, in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2). The seven furlong test is the first stepping stone on the road to the Santa Anita Derby on April 4, with the middle rock being the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) on March 7.

The San Vicente six-pack also includes Cal Cup Derby winner Fast Enough, and maiden winners Ginobili, Party Town, and Ra’ad, who also hails from the powerful Baffert Barn. Sunday’s main event is carded as the 7th of 8 races, and goes to post at approximately 3:30pm.

CA Update: GGF, Santa Anita, Los Al

6 Feb

After an unexpected hiatus for pipeline repairs, Golden Gate Fields resumed racing Thursday and will field cards of 9, 10, and 10 races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

The added demand has increased the field sizes nicely, as Saturday’s Late Pick 4 features fields of nine in each race, and Sunday’s 10-race card offers five races with fields of nine or more, including 10 and 14 in the Late Double. Golden Gate has typically been guaranteeing its Late Pick 4 pools at $100,000 on Saturdays, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it do so again this weekend.

After a brief stint at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, jockey Kent Desormeaux recently announced he is shifting his tack to the Bay Area for an extended period of time. His aim is to supplant Hall-of-Fame rider Eddie Delahoussaye as the leading Cajun rider of all time. As of today, Desormeaux stands 354 wins shy of passing Delahoussaye’s career total of 6,384. Desormeaux has two mounts on Friday’s program for trainer Arnold Torres, aboard Kenji’s Journey (10/1) in the second race and On The Wings Of (8/1) in the ninth and final.

STAKES DUO ON THE DOCKET SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA

Three-year-old fillies with their sights set on the Kentucky Oaks get the top billing Saturday at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). As one might guess, it’s a five filly affair with Bob Baffert holding a pair of aces in Gingham (6/1) and Stellar Sound (5/1). But not so fast pardner, as it’s trainer Richard Baltas who’s holding the nuts in Venetian Harbor, who’s been installed as the heavy 2/5 morning-line favorite after a runaway 10-length win in her main track debut on Dec. 29.

Having drawn just a field of five, the Las Virgenes is carded as the 5th of 9 races and will go to post at approximately 2:28pm.

The real main event for horseplayers is the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes for four-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf course. Contention in this 10-horse field runs deep with last year’s winner, True Valor (7/2), being installed as the tepid morning-line favorite.

Among a number of potential price plays includes Northern California invader, Mugaritz (8/1), who hails from the powerful Jonathan Wong barn and gets “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle. Mugaritz is an impressive 8 for 14 lifetime and two-for-two on turf, and seems unlikely to remain at his sticker price of 8/1.

Back class belongs to River Boyne (5/1) who is seeking his first win in over a year, but boasts an impressive 6 for 11 record over the track and is 7 for 20 at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. And in a field with an abundance of front-running speed, the tactical advantage could belong to closer Frontier Market (4/1), who joins the John Sheriff’s stable after a couple of in-the-money finishes for Chad Brown in stakes company back East.

Post time for the Thunder Road, which is carded as the 7th of 9 on Saturday, is approximately 3:31pm. The Rainbow 6 Jackpot stands at $135,744 heading into the weekend at the GRP.

LOS AL RETURNS FRIDAY NIGHT

After a brief hiatus for Super Bowl weekend, thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing resumes at Los Alamitos starting at 6:00pm Friday night. There will be a Pick 6 Carryover (straight, no Jackpot) of $6,774 over races 3-8 on Friday night’s program.

Friday night’s simulcast lineup is probably the best so far of the new year with harness action from Cal Expo, Meadowlands, Woodbine-Mohawk, Miami Valley and Yonkers all on the docket, along with six Australian tracks combined (A-B-C-D, Caulfield and Morphettville).

Post times for Saturday and Sunday cards at Los Al are 6:00pm and 5:30pm, respectively.

Don’t forget, Blue Devils Bingo is in the house every Saturday night starting at 6:30pm. Bingo games routinely pay $1,000 or more and a $40 buy-in gets you up to 10 games a night. Bingo doors open at 4:30pm.

 

Sam Davis, Derby Future Wager Weekend

6 Feb

The $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) is the next hurdle for the undefeated and relatively untested Derby prospect, Independence Hall (6/5), this Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. Having won all three of his starts by four or more lengths, he figures to be the prohibitive favorite in a field of eight, and the horse to beat for anyone trying to extract value out of Tampa’s main event.

Top candidates to pull the upset are Remsen (G2) runner up Ajaaweed (4/1) and fellow unbeaten rival, Premier Star (3/1), who’s making his stakes debut in this 1 1/16 miles test over the Oldsmar dirt. Top pilot Jose Ortiz has ridden both Independence Hall and Premier Star, and has chosen to ride the former, while John Velasquez takes the call on the latter. Punters looking to back an off-the-pace type runner with a big figure, might consider Sol Volante (8/1), who exits a late-running third place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream, after winning his first two races on the turf by open lengths.

The Sam F. Davis is just the tip of the iceberg on a 12-race card that also includes the $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3-T), $175,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3-T), and $150,000 Suncoast Stakes. All four stakes races are part of the Late Pick 5, which starts in the 8th race – the Endeavor (G3) – at approximately 12:59pm. The Davis goes to post as the 11th of 12 races, at approximately 2:29pm.

Pleasanton OTB will pick up Tampa’s 12-race program in progress, starting with its 3rd race at 10:16am.

KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL #2 OPENS FRIDAY

The second pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Friday and we will be accepting wagers until 3:00pm Sunday. If you have a good lead on a Kentucky Derby bound three-year-old, be sure to check out the prices as we get close to the three o’clock hour on Sunday. You might find a price you like.

If you don’t like any of the 23-named horses, you can always back the 24th betting choice, the Field. By betting the field, if none of the 23 named horses wins the Derby on May 2nd, you win!

Keep in mind the odds are not final until the pool closes at 3:00pm Sunday.

Click here for the Official KDFW #2 Program and morning line odds.

For Past Performances for all of the 23 named entrants, click here.