GI $1 Million “Arkansas Derby” is last of the GI’s “Derby Trail” Preps!

Oaklawn Park scene of the 2011 Arkansas Derby!

The last of this year’s GI “Derby Trail” Prep’s is coming up this Saturday at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby going 1 1/8 mile! We’ve highlighted the field for you below!

Some thoughts from DRF on this GI!

See Free PP’s! 

Arkansas Derby
Purse: $1 million; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 1

1. Nehro, Corey Nakatani, 5-1
2. Elite Alex, Calvin Borel, 8-1
3. The Factor, Martin Garcia, 7-5
4. Brethren, Ramon Dominguez, 10-1
5. Sway Away, Patrick Valenzuela, 6-1
6. Caleb’s Posse, Eddie Razo, 10-1
7. Truman’s Commander, Israel Ocampo, 30-1
8. Alternation, Luis Quinonez, 10-1
9. Dance City, Javier Castellano, 15-1
10. Archarcharch, Jon Court, 12-1
11. J P’s Gusto, Cliff Berry, 15-1
12. J W Blue, Joe Rocco Jr., 30-1
13. Saratoga Red, Terry Thompson, 30-1

The 7/5 favorite here is The Factor coming out of a surprisingly good performance in the GII Rebel Stakes here last month in a pulling away from the field victory. He should be in your exotics somewhere!

Six other Rebel Stakes finishers are here too in Caleb’s Posse at 10/1 who finished up a strong 2nd that day, Archarcharch at 12/1 finished 3rd, Saratoga Red at 30/1 here finished 4th, J W Blue also at 30/1 here finished 5th, the speedy Sway Away at 6/1 here finished 6th that day and J. P.’s Gusto whose 15/1 here finished way back in 7th that day!

Alternation and Elite Alex were scratches that day and are 10/1 and 8/1 respectively here!

Alternation and Caleb’s Posse may be a paired entry here on Saturday!

The new shooters here are Nehro at 5/1, is the 2nd place finisher in the Louisiana Derby a few Saturdays ago and 2nd choice here on Saturday!

Brethren at 10/1 is here still smarting from his Tampa Bay Derby debacle and in need of some redemption here on Saturday.

Dance City at 15/1 is coming off a big-time allowance win to be here, much like Alternation is!

Bring up the rear is Truman’s Commander at 30/1 is a recent mile maiden winner and should be no factor here on Saturday!

So if The Factor can go 1 1/8 here on Saturday he will be a top Derby favorite on May 7th, if not, than a big pace collapse is coming here, so look for Nehro, Caleb’s Posse, Archarcharch, Alternation, Dance City and whoever has improved over their last very dismal performances will come and get him in the last 1/16. This race is all about whether The Factor can do that front running act of his for 1 1/8 mile and our guess is he can’t!

It has been a very tough Derby Trail so far with long shots and maiden’s having their way in almost all of them. So box everything you do, spread the risk around to as many different runners as makes sense to you in dime supers and hope you can hit it right!

 This one has that same upset feel to it, as someone with long odds has a very good chance of a surprise win here!

So Oaklawn Park makes its final contribution to the “Derby Trail” here Saturday with the Arkansas Derby and maybe 2, 3 or 4 of these starters can make it to Louisville on the first Saturday of May after their efforts in this contest.

So the GI portion of the “Derby Trail” will be in the books here on Saturday and we’ll give that descriptor a rest until the 2012″ Derby Trail” starts up in earnest early next year.

From here on out we are on the “Triple Crown Trail”!

First stop is Louisville, Churchill Downs and the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby in just 3 more Saturdays now!


Trainer “Rick Dutrow” Denied Licensing to race in Kentucky!

Trainer Rick Dutrow (seen here) was denied a racing license by the Licensing Review Committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission today!

This means all of his horses can’t run  in the State of Kentucky! So he will have to scratch, Court Vision from the Maker Mark mile on Friday, Amen Hallelujah in Thursday’s Vinery Madison Stakes both at Keeneland!

 This also means his prize 3yo and possible Kentucky Derby bound star in Flashpoint can’t run here either!

So Flashpoint comes off the list of possible derby runners as this list keeps getting shorter and shorter!

This Friday brings us the GI “Maker Mark Mile”!

“Maker Mark Mile Stakes” is here on Friday!

At Keeneland (seen here) this Friday we have a GI Turfer for you, in the Maker Mark Mile Stakes for 4yos & up for a GI type purse of $300,000!

Free PP’s! and video picks!

Keeneland always draws top-turfing-talent for its Spring meet every year and this field of 8 top-flight turf runners is no exception!

So lets meet and greet this elite field of turfers, starting with the morning line favorite here at 8/5 in Court Vision.

The 6yo Court Vision is out for his first run of the 2011 season with his last outing coming at Hollywood Park in the GI Citation Hcp last Nov., where he finished 4th. Court Vision will run in his 16th straight GI contest with 4 of them being wins! So he is no stranger on big-time turfing. So out of respect, we think a place in you tri’s and supers would befits his resume, just remember it is his first trip of the year and there is still some wintering on his bones, so don’t look for a win here!

At 7/2 is Get Stormy. This one is a multiple graded stakes winner with a passion for early speed. Loves to run this mile distance too but has trouble winning at the GI level. His last outing was the GI Gulfstream Park Turf Hcp where he finished a good 3rd. So you can start him in your tri’s and supers too!

At 9/2 is Society’s Chairman another wily veteran of the graded turfing ranks. His last outing was a very good 2nd in the GIII Canadian At Gulfstream this Feb. He also finished 3rd in this race last year and a good 2nd to Gio Ponti here in the Shadwell Mile last fall. So tri’s and supers for him too as he takes another crack at the GI ceiling! 

At 5/1 are a pair of our favorite turf-runners in Furthest Land and Working for Hops!

Furthest Land was a holy terror in 2009 winning 5 of 6 including the B/C dirt mile title, but 2010 saw no board hits at all as he started to look like the horse that came out of the claiming box for the Ramsey’s. In 2011, his seen something of a resurgence with a win and a 3rd in two very high-powered Gulfstream Aoc’s! Is he back? Well super him at least!

Working for Hops was one of last year’s 3yo turfing’s rising super-stars along with Paddy O’Prado. This year, so far, he has but a pair of 4th showings in the Fair Grounds two biggest Hcp turf races of their just completed season! Hop’s will have to win us back here with a strong performance or sit in the super box for the rest of the season. No rust here, so super him up!

At 12/1, 15/1 and 20/1 are the final trio of turf runner for this GI outing in Zif Zaf, Bim Bam and Turallure respectively!

Zif Zaf does have G/S experience in his last 3 outing with just a 3rd in the GII Fourstardave Hcp at Saratoga last summer! We think maybe his a super fill and 12/1 sounds about right here. You might try him in a super but we wouldn’t in this top-flight field!

Bim Bam was another 3yo rising star last year but in 2011 has shown us nothing and nothing is probably a good bet here on him!

Turallure stair-stepped his way up the turfing food-chain last year to finish out the season with a good 3rd in the GIII Commonwealth at Churchill last Nov. We think that 20/1 would look really fine in a super play for you in this turfing dust-up!

So Court Vision, Get Stormy and Society’s Chairman make great sense in your first-tier thinking followed up by Hop’s and Furthest Land then Turallure to sweeten up your supers! Sounds to use like a recipe for winning here.

So Keeneland opens up its GI turfing season with some really good names who’ll put on a good show for us here in the GI Maker Mark Mile Stakes!

Why “Big Race Days” are so wild and how to profit from them!

"Scene of some wild race days"!

We promised you an expose’ on big race day’s after this last weekend’s debacles and some explanations on why they are so wild!

First, lets take a trip into why these big race days can be so unpredictable, then we’ll toss around a few idea’s on how to profit in them!

“Why are Big Race Days so Wild” ?

Big race days are to the casual bettor, what St Patrick’s day is to the casual drinker. In both cases, they over-do for the sake of the day! They over bet favorites, pay no attention to scratches, track conditions, surface switches, known names coming off long layoffs or anything else that the everyday track-junkies know by verse! They are the sheep waiting to be sheered by the racetrack and you! Want to be the sheep or do the sheering?

  1. There aren’t many mismatches on big-time racing days. Most of the big Graded Stakes are bringing together the best horses in their division’s race, that day. So there’s little talent differential here and it’s pretty much a matter of who gets the best ride on that day! Not a lot of non-maidens or maiden-winner-only’s will get into these races either. So there’s not much difference between a 5/2, 3/1, 7/2 and a 5/1 or 6/1, as a 10/1 gets over-looked and wins. This happens quite a bit more than you’d think on a Big Race Day. It’s the combination of these first 2 notions that will set your head to reeling on Big Race Days! Stay calm!
  2. Undercards are important too! They can set the tone for an entire day of racing or what we call at this blog, the “Theme of the Day“. Example: Sometimes certain jockeys, trainers or barns are having good luck in the early undercard races, ever have a hot run playing poker, blackjack, slots, days at the track or too many relationships in your life, so to speak! So the “Trend is your Friend until it comes to an End”, is our adage here! Know the theme for that racing day and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in “fleece”! This isn’t an easy thing to do as every big race day is different but go to enough of them and you’ll start to see it!
  3. Undercard’s are loaded with under the radar horses, so let me explain this notion. Under the radar horses are good horses who show up in lesser races to get the chance at winning some purse money for their connections but most folks will miss this. Under the radar horses have many varying definitions to them but the easiest way to spot them is they generally look out-of-place on your program for the race they are entered in. They too, add their piece to a wild race day!
  4. Any 2-year-olds or even these early season 3-year-old contests can go in off in the strangest of directions and for one reason. These youngsters are still growing up, still learning how to race. These aren’t the handicap division thoroughbreds with long racing resumes. Horses like “Uncle Mo” for instant whose had but 5 lifetime starts hasn’t even really been tested yet! So if this year’s Derby Trail seems to be all over the map, well it should be, it’s what the Derby Trail is for, a time of testing and we are the ones expecting consistence. All these races should say “Caution youngsters at work”! 

No, the simplest way to explain why “Big Race Days” are so wild is that Big Race Days are simply different from the average race day’s predictability that requires a different set of ideas about handicapping these kinds of days and a different set of wagering tools to take advantage of!  There’s just so much more going on in Big Race Days and you will need a whole new mindset to deal with them too!

“How to profit from this phenomena”!

  1. This type of day requires what we call, Defensive-Betting! Defensive-Betting is a term we coined here to describe some ways of wagering on big race days to take advantage of the underlying value in every race, with less risk, as every field will be full thus more money in every wagering pool!
  2. Start with, at least, 3 or 4 horses in every race then use Boxed exotics, as trying to pull off a single-win-ticket cash will turn painful for you in a heart-beat. Multiple win tickets will work better on days like this, just make sure the lowest odds cover the entire amount you will wager on this race! You will pop a big one or two each big race day and hold on to your wallet, as well!
  3. Look for good horses being over-looked by the wagering public, example: the 2010 GI Acorn Stakes on Belmont Stakes day was won by a 38/1 shot but she had a couple of very good Graded Stakes wins to her name that year already and shouldn’t have been 38/1. Your amateur wagers miss this one! This horse should have been 15/1 or less here and in your boxed exotics too. Look for crazy under-betting like this! It’s a winning notion!
  4. We talked about “Themes” before, well the answer is, don’t tempt fate if you find that flow to the day. Stay with it until it turns. If favorites are ruling the day early, stay with them.
  5. Got a 1/9, 1/5, 1/4,  2 or 3/5 favorite in a race then start looking for another answer, as the public is probably over-betting here, “this is a key tool you well find useful on Big Race Days. Secretariat and Zenyatta are not racing anymore, so there is no one out there today who cannot be beaten! re. “Uncle Mo everyone!

So Big Race Days are indeed different from average ones.  As the rules for average daily wagering will get skewed by the upgraded talent levels in each race and the track bias for that day. Use the above tools, plus our “10” rules for better wagering on our wagering for dummies page under the Racing Information tab at the top of our homepage!

These tools should help you bypass most of the Big Race Day pitfalls but you’ve got to stay cool and think you way through each situation as it arises!

Good Luck out there everyone!

“You Asked” and “Buddha Provides” !