Two stops on two days on the Road to the Roses this weekend, one on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields and one on Monday at Oaklawn Park. Let’s start in California.
The 7th on Saturday is the Grade 3 $200k El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. A field of seven has been assembled and the edge appears to go to the shippers over the locally based runners.
ANN ARBOR EDDIE goes for the two time Kentucky Derby winning connections Reddam Racing, Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez. He comes into this race a winner in three of his four starts, all with California breds. His lone defeat came when he took on open horses in the Bob Hope at Del Mar, and he ran into the top two year old in California, MASTERY. ANN ARBOR EDDIE came back to win his next two starts the King Glorious and Cal Cup Derby – a la CALIFORNIA CHROME. ‘EDDIE appears to have great tactical speed, and clearly gets along very well with rider Gutierrez. He should be ideally placed, and goes for a barn that hits at 44% with horses on a synthetic surface.
SHEER FLATTERY was installed as the morning line choice off his 3rd place effort in the Robert B Lewis. That was his first start with winners, and he was just even paced as the betting favorite. He is another who has taken on the toughest ones in the division in the state with MASTERY and AMERICAN ANTHEM showing up through his running lines. SHEER FLATTERY likes to make one run from the middle of the field, and will be hoping that someone goes after ANN ARBOR EDDIE away from the gate.
MORE POWER TO HIM and TRIBAL STORM looked to be the most likely upsetters in the field, if it were to happen. MORE POWER TO HIM has really come around of late, and hasn’t missed the board in his last four. He just missed in the local prep for this race, and has never raced outside of Golden Gate. TRIBAL STORM kicked off his career with a pair of victories sprinting, and now stretches out for the second time. He chased around ANN ARBOR EDDIE in the Cal Cup Derby, and has every right to improve in just his fourth career start.
#3 ANN ARBOR EDDIE – #2 MORE POWER TO HIM – #5 SHEER FLATTERY
Moving to Arkansas, the Grade 3 $500k Southwest goes as the 9th race on Monday at Oaklawn Park.
UNCONTESTED looks like the one to beat with a pair of blowout victories on his page, and the other being a defeat at the hands of an unbeaten three year old in MCCRACKEN. He has shown to be very fast, but does pick up five pounds off his last effort, and will find some others who want the front end as well. LOOKIN AT LEE isn’t one of them. He has zero speed away from the gate and does all of his running in the lane. ‘LEE kept good company as a two year old, finishing his season in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. There is also a connection to Alberta, as his mom LANGARA LASS ran at Northlands Park and won the $100k Sonoma in 2006.
Finally getting some luck was COOL ARROW. In five of his six starts he has drawn the outside or next to the outside post – the last two being the worst in 12 horse fields. ‘ARROW wants to be forwardly placed, and shouldn’t have a problem getting there from the inside. There seems to be plenty of talent there, with three wins and two runner up finishes from those six starts. PETROV is another who is yet to run a bad race, and seems to be progressing well. He took plenty of money in his latest, which also featured UNCONTESTED. He has great tactical speed and gets to keep Jose Ortiz. ONE LINER goes for the always hot Pletcher barn, and is unbeaten after two starts. This will be his first start around two turns, but he is bred to handle it without any issue.
#3 UNCONTESTED – #8 PETROV – #4 LOOKIN AT LEE
Make sure to join us on Saturday as it is the final day of the harness meet. 9 races are on tap, and the first post is at 1pm as always.
Monday is a holiday in both Alberta and the United States, so there is a full schedule of simulcast racing. All of the major tracks, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Santa Anita and more are all racing with full fields great wagering opportunities. Make sure to join us on track to watch and wager on the first holiday Monday of 2017.