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Location: Stockton, California, United States

Some call me OlRailbird.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zenyatta Saturday

I have nothing to say about the Derby except the winner shocked me. The cowboys pulled a fast one. The cat was out of the bag in the Preakness, but the filly still beat him.She didn't look like she wanted another quarter mile, though. Could have 3 different winners in 3 races.

Nice filly though, huh? Like the males, she's probably more valuable in the shed than on the track.

Speaking of fillies, may we present the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park. A mile and a sixteenth on whatever track this is – cushion track? It's remarkably better for bettors than the Santa Anita crap. Fillies and Mares, 3 and up.

An ungraded $150K purse seems like peanuts to Zenyatta, who is looking to tune up after a seven month layoff. Her average money per start is $238K and a win here is only worth $90K. She appears head and shoulders better than what usually competes in such races, but will she turn in a good effort off the long layoff?

While Zenyatta rested, Life Is Sweet assumed the mantle of most feared female by reeling off two Grade 2 wins and a Grade 1. Both are trained by John Shirreffs but are not a betting entry. Strange how often the longest shot of an uncoupled entry wins. I think that's why they used to be coupled.

The rest of the horses appear to be a fairly humble group of turf horses, several trying this artificial surface for the first time. I think turf horses react favorably to artificial surfaces. Look for some of these guys to step up their game.

They are up against the best female in the world, as measured by the Breeder's Cup. Is anything these horses can do going to be enough? It's doubtful, but they're offering long odds.

There's little room for error playing 2 to 5 five shots. I can make excuses for practically any of these horses winning, as shocking as that might seem at first. A loss here risks Zenyatta's undefeated stature, but if you run her long enough she'll get beat. Is it today? Today's the best excuse she'll get for losing.

It's tempting to bet everyone except the top two, that's six win tickets because I'm sure Hot N Dusty is scratched. One of them might turn the trick for a tidy profit. I don't think of trying stuff like this very often, because its usually a bad idea to back more than one horse to win. You need long odds and live horses along with the hope that something goes wrong for the favorites.

Zenyatta is using this race as a workout. Shirreffs has the next best thing if the big horse somehow falters. On paper, they are 1-2 by a city block. They don't run on paper, so there's a chance to upset.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Derby Picks

Here are my 2009 Kentucky Derby picks:

Ra 11 Horse ML FAIR
13 I WANT REVENGE 3.0 3.90
7 PAPA CLEM 20.0 9.20
2 MUSKET MAN 20.0 10.50
5 HOLD ME BACK 15.0 12.40
11 CHOCOLATE CANDY 20.0 14.30
3 MR. HOT STUFF 30.0 14.50
1 WEST SIDE BERNIE 30.0 16.70
10 REGAL RANSOM 30.0 20.30
19 DESERT PARTY 15.0 20.30
6 FRIESAN FIRE 5.0 20.50
12 GENERAL QUARTERS 20.0 22.70
15 DUNKIRK 4.0 24.30
20 FLYING PRIVATE 50.0 32.80
14 ATOMIC RAIN 50.0 38.40
17 SUMMER BIRD 50.0 38.40
9 JOIN IN THE DANCE 50.0 46.50
8 MINE THAT BIRD 50.0 47.00
4 ADVICE 30.0 49.00
18 NOWHERE TO HIDE 50.0 58.50

Here's a video of the top three in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Pioneer of the Nile looked like a monster that day and he hasn't done anything wrong since.

I'm not saying this is going to be a two horse race, but the top two look pretty strong against these. If money gets spread around, a simple exacta box might pay well.

If you're looking for longshots, don't expect Papa Clem to reach his morning line. He might be less than 10-1. Musket Man and Hold Me Back could get a piece at a price.

Good Luck and Safe Racing!