Sensory overload to the max Saturday on racing’s biggest day with an 11-race card at Hollywood Park starting at 11 a.m. and the $2 million Kentucky Derby (Grade I) from Churchill Downs set for just before 3:30 p.m.
The local trio of Rousing Sermon, Creative Cause, and I’ll Have Another have major negatives against them, which makes them tough to play for me.
Rousing Sermon is too slow, but can pick up some pieces, Creative Cause appears to have physical issues catching up with him, but has never been more than a length behind at the wire, and I’ll Have Another drew poorly in post No. 19 with the inexperience Mario Gutierrez aboard, but is the most talented of the local runners.
Other local stars are on the big stage undercard that features five graded stakes races, with Smiling Tiger and Amazombie in the $400,000 Churchill Downs (Grade II), City to City in the $200,000 Churchill Distaff Mile (Grade II), Mildly Offensive and Switch in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (Grade I), and Boxeur des Rues and Slim Shadey in the $500,000 Turf Classic (Grade I).
A competitive local feature goes as race ten, with nine older horses at 1 1/16-miles in the Mervyn Leroy Handicap (Grade II) and the grizzled 9-year-old veteran Awesome Gem the 3-to-1 favorite looking for his 11th win in career start No. 49.
As usual, Bob Baffert sends a pair, but we’re tepid on their chances with Brice Blanc aboard 6-to-1 shot Jaycito and Jose Valdivia Jr. on 8-to-1 shot Prayer for Relief.
With lots of early speed signed on, including 7-to-2 second choice Morning Line debuting for John Shirreffs after earning over $1.1 million on the East Coast, things should set up for Kettle Corn to make it a perfect 3-for-3 over Cushion Track at 9-to-2.
Oh, who do I like in the Derby? Well, perfection is tough to argue with, especially with Todd Pletcher in the corner of a son of Tiznow, so we’ll look to Gemologist to win the Run for the Roses.
And, Calvin Borel can never be ignored on the first Saturday in May, so we’ll make our second pick the Florida Derby (Grade I) winner Take Charge Indy.
We’re off to the races!
Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 8 (1,2,8) – A tepid early pace should make it difficult for the deep runners to close into, so we’ll go with the forwardly-placed trio of No. 1 Oilisblackgold, No. 2 Admission and No. 8 Nextdoorneighbor.
Leg 2 – Race 9 (7,9,12) – The sharpest horse and favorite is stuck outside with No. 12 Hidinginplainsight, but with two speedsters scratched we’ll include him.
However, the top pick is No. 9 Starship Flare cutting back to a sprint. In his only try over this turf course, he missed by just a nose in last year’s Miesque Stakes (Grade III).
We’ll also throw in No. 7 Lady Fairbanks, who could sit the perfect trip and wasn’t too far behind the favorite in their last.
Leg 3 – Race 10 (3,5,7) – No. 5 Kettle Corn is the top pick and we’ll also use No. 7 Awesome Gem and No. 3 Great Warrior, who returned with a surprising win in a sprint and should move forward back to his preferred routing game.
Leg 4 – Race 11 (1,6,9,10,12) – Five-deep in the in the finale with runners that have never won twice using No. 1 Wild Gray, No. 6 Cragmont, No. 9 Merlin Z, No. 10 What a Rush and No. 12 Private Bounty.
Recap – (1,2,8) w (7,9,12) w (3,5,7) w (1,6,9,10,12) – Total cost of ticket = $67.50
Yesterday’s Result – (-$120)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (-$504.45)
Total from 12/26/10-4/22/12 – (+$588.70)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (1,4,6) – Wesley Ward sends No. 4 Shrinking Velvet out from Keeneland and can never be ignored with babies, but our top pick is No. 1 Unusual Way, who has trained sharply and breaks from the advantageous inside post for these abbreviated sprints.
Also use No. 6 Awesome Annie, who has a solid foundation and a bullet drill six days ago for a sire that has come out smoking with his debut runners.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (1,4,6,7) – A tricky maiden claimer and we’ll toss favored No. 3 American Tanker and use No. 1 Bi Flash, No. 4 Noble Kent, No. 6 You Know I Know and No. 7 Soi Phet.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,3,4) – We’ll use the Sadler duo of No. 1 Privlaged and No. 3 Domonation, along with Golden Gate shipper No. 4 Domonation.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (1,2,4,5,9) – Spread with maiden claimers using No. 1 Chibita, No. 2 Indicator, No. 4 Zuboff, No. 5 Bay Street and No. 9 Chicago Hero.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (2,5) – Already stakes tested, we’ll use No. 2 Graser and No. 5 Byrama in the $100,000 Senorita Stakes (Grade III).
Recap – (1,4,6) w (1,4,6,7) w (1,3,4) w (1,2,4,5,9) w (2,5) – Total cost of ticket = $180
Yesterday’s Result – (-$108)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (-$400.25)
Total from 7/20/10-4/22/12 (+$2,150.80)
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