Matt’s Blog — Weekend Preview March 3 – 5

Posted March 02, 2017 | Racing News

Road to the Roses Gotham and FOY

Two stops on the East Coast on the Derby trail this weekend, one at Aqueduct and the other at Gulfstream. Both of the races are worth 50-20-10-5 Kentucky points to the first four finishers. Let’s start with head to the shadows near Arkham and have a look at the Gotham.

EL AREEB has been uncatchable since breaking his maiden in October. He has streaked to four straight wins, the last two being Grade 3 events at Aqueduct. He has handled the stretch out without any problems, and has arguably gotten better with the added ground. EL AREEB laid down a bullet work since his latest and will be less than even money to beat this crew. J BOYS ECHO may have needed his latest as it was his first since the middle of November. Unfortunately he was up against the pace scenario in the Withers and never got much to run at. He should have a much more favorable pace scenario in this one and should be running on late. SO CONFLATED scratched from the Risen Start last weekend after drawing an outside post. He won the $100k Cal Derby at Golden Gate in his latest and appears to have good tactical speed which should get him first run on the closers in the field. CLOUD COMPUTING broke his maiden at first asking as the betting choice and now will have to handle a stretch out in ground and a big jump up in class. The sire Maclean’s Music has been hot and it’s wise to never discount Chad Brown who hits at high percentages in all applicable categories. May be worth a look if he is 10-1 or higher. ACTION EVERYDAY ships up from Tampa Bay following a pair of victories and will add blinkers for this one. It appears he is quick enough to find a good spot even after drawing the outermost post. At 10-1 on the morning line it is possible he floats a little higher and may be worth a stab then.

EL AREEB is the one to beat, and until he shows some vulnerability, it’s hard to try and beat him. Expect a better performance from J BOYS ECHO, and if youre looking for a price try ACTION EVERYDAY.


Post time for the Gotham is 2:50 MST.

Moving down the coast to Gulfstream Park the Grade 2 $400k Fountain of Youth will cap the 13 race card. The race looks top loaded with stars as the undefeated IRISH WAR CRY meets the dual Grade 1 winner PRACTICAL JOKE. ‘WAR CRY has more recent form with a win in the local prep the Grade 2 Holy Bull. He keeps improving with each start and the added ground. IRISH WAR CRY added Lasix for his last and looks like the one to top. PRACTICAL JOKE won the Hopeful and Champagne last season but has yet to hit the track as a three year old. It doesn’t appear to have affected him as he has been laying down bullet drills at Palm Meadows and starts for a trainer who hits at 25% off a layoff. GUNNEVERA got his legs under him last time out in the Holy Bull and rallied up for 2nd behind IRISH WAR CRY. He should be able to move forward off that effort and should make some noise in the stretch. TAKAFUL is an interesting horse as he really needs to bounce back. He was sensational in his debut winning off by eight lengths. He then then stretched out in the Remsen and was a tiring 3rd – his Jerome was worse as he was basically eased to the wire. His latest five furlong drill should have him on his toes, and he will actually offer some value after getting topped at even money in his last two. Look for him forwardly placed away from the gate. MADE YOU LOOK has never tried dirt before, but it looks like he should be able to handle it based on his breeding. With three wins from six starts in his young career he has a nose for the wire and could be the dark horse in this bunch.

This race seems to be a little more interesting than the Gotham. IRISH WAR CRY is the most likely winner in the field, and may still offer some value. PRACTICAL JOKE is a big threat if he can run back to his two year old form and GUNNEVERA can move forward. For outsiders MADE YOU LOOK is in with a shot and TAKAFUL has some talent buried in there somewhere.


The Gulfstream card is loaded with other stakes. The 9th is the Grade 3 Palm Beach on the turf which features the return of TICONDEROGA – a fast closing 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. MISS SIX WARRIOR leads the way in the 10th, the Grade 2 Davona Dale. Race 11 and 12 are both added money turf events the Grade 3 Canadian Turf and Grade 2 Mac Diarmida. There is an all stakes Pick 5 which kicks off in Race 9, all stakes Pick 4 in Race 10.

Make sure to watch and wager at Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino, at your local OTB or via HPI.