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  1. #16
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    don't forget about the oaks tomorrow
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    At the Gate - Friday
    May 5, 2017


    The action starts early this morning with a 10:30am ET first post at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Oaks Day, with the finale on the 13-race card slated for 7:23 pm. That is a nine-hour day with no overtime pay.

    On Kentucky Derby Day first post is again 10:30am ET with the last race on the 14-race card going off at 8:10 ET, nearly 10 hours later.

    Playing the ponies is not for those with short attention spans I guess.

    The weather forecast for the next few days is still up in the air. As of Thursday night, there was a 60% chance of showers both on Friday and Saturday, but those numbers have fluctuated for most of the past two days.

    As I said in a NESN interview yesterday, if weathermen had to wager on their forecasts they would all be living in a cardboard box.

    Both my Oaks and Derby Day cards are now posted. There were not enough hours in the day to do Belmont Park’s Friday card, but I will have Saturday’s report available later today.

    The highlight on Friday is the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) and it drew a full field of 14 going with the Richard Mandella trained Paradise Woods the 5-2 morning line favorite and she may go off even shorter.

    She won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) by 11 ¾ lengths but I am going to give the runner up Abel Tasman a look to turn the tables and we should get a much better price.

    The Oaks Day card features five supporting stakes— the Grade 3 $150,000 Edgewood, Grade 2 $200,000 Eight Belles, Grade 2 $400,000 Alysheba, Grade 2 $300,000 La Troienne and the Grade 3 $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint.

    There is plenty of national television coverage coming up over the next two days. NBC Sports Network is live from noon ET to 6:20 on Oaks Day and from noon to 2:30 on Derby Day.

    NBC picks up the action from 2:30 to 7:20 ET.

    The Oaks post time on Friday is 6:12 ET and the post for the Derby is 6:46 ET

    Now would be a good time to get my Monthly Package, which includes Kentucky Oaks Day, Kentucky Derby Day and Preakness Day as well as my daily Belmont Park Reports and Best Plays each weekend.

    Here is the opening race from Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:

    CD Race 1 Alw $67,000N1X (10:30 ET)

    6 Pageant Material 5-1
    4 Naylor 6-1
    3 Song of Spring 7-2
    1 Loom 7-2

    Analysis: Pageant Material prompted the early pace and weakened in the stretch to finish fifth last out at Oaklawn Park going two turns versus Alw-1 optional claimers. The runner up Anythingyoucando came back to beat $50,000 starter allowance foes in her next outing on May 2 here. Our top pick was right in the mix at this level two and three back in Hot Springs in a game second two back and a close up third three back. The cut back to a one turn mile should suit this gal. She has a strong off track pedigree and ran a decent fourth in the slop last December in her lone go in her career over a wet track.

    Naylor is back on dirt after pressing the early pace and tiring to finish seventh last out on turf in her first start against winners. She broke her maiden two back on poly at Turfway Park by 11 1/2 lengths. She ran here twice last year, both third place finishes at seven furlongs. The $370,000 Ocala purchase has a solid off track pedigree, by Afleet Alex out of a Yes It's True mare.

    Wagering

    WIN: #6 to win at 4-1 or better.
    EX: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6
    TRI: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6

    Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

    CD Race 11 The Kentucky Oaks G1 (6:12 ET)

    13 Abel Tasman 5-1
    10 Miss Sky Warrior 9-2
    4 Paradise Woods 5-2
    12 Daddys Lil Darling 20-1

    Analysis: Abel Tasman will have to make up 11 3/4 lengths to turn the tables on the favorite here, no easy task and would be the first since Rags to Riches in 2007 to prep in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). And she does not have a great post. On the bright side she figures to improve off her last outing where she was off a beat slow and came with a five-wide run to finish in the runner up spot2 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. She rallied to finish a good second behind Unique Bella in the Santa Ysable. That filly was the early favorite for this race but a shin injury sent her to the sidelines. She makes her third start off the bench here for Baffert who has won this race twice most recently with Plum Pretty in 2011. Blinkers go on and she should get an honest pace to run at. She is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track and we should catch a fair price.

    Miss Sky Warrior took the field gate to wire to win the Gazelle (G2) last out at Aqueduct in a sharp effort, drawing away to win by 13 lengths. It was her fifth win in a row, all in graded stakes company. She came from just off the pace two back in her victory in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park which was off a 3 1/2 month break. She does not appear to need the lead and she likely will not mind a wet track.

    Paradise Woods freaked last out in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1), taking the field gate to wire to win by 11 3/4 lengths and earned a 107 Beyer Speed Figure, higher than any of the Derby starters tomorrow have earned. It was 24 points higher than her maiden score which came at 5 1/2 furlongs. She has just one start going long and she is going to see some pace pressure here. The 5-2 morning line looks fair but have a hunch she will be shorter.

    Wagering
    WIN: #13 to win at 9-2 or better
    EX: 10,13 / 4.10,12,13
    TRI: 10,13 / 4,10,12,13 / 4,10,12,13,14

    Live Longshots:
    These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

    Churchill Downs
    R4: #9 She’s a True Beauty 10-1
    R4: #6 Sweet Tapper 8-1
    R5: #1 Eskenformoney 8-1
    R5: #6 Streamline 8-1
    R7: #5 Maniacal 12-1
    R8: #1 Benner Island 10-1
    R8: #4 Pretty City Dancer 8-1
    R9: #1 Naval gazer 12-1
    R9: #9 Decorated Soldier 8-1
    R11: #12 Daddys Lil Darling 20-1
    R12: #1 Ministry 8-1
    R13: #2 Saburo 10-1

    Good luck today!
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #18
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    Paradise Woods the favorite in Oaks
    May 4, 2017


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Bob Baffert knows a good horse when he sees one.


    And the Hall of Fame trainer likes what he sees in Paradise Woods. All he had to do was watch her run away from his Abel Tasman in the Santa Anita Oaks.


    ''Paradise Woods is an extremely talented filly,'' said Baffert, who trained 2015 Triple Crown winner of American Pharaoh. ''I watched her school the other day at Santa Anita and, wow, she's imposing. She's really, really special.''


    She is the 5-2 favorite for Friday's $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs on the day before the Kentucky Derby.


    She has had back-to-back runaway victories, including an 11-length romp in the Santa Anita Oaks. The daughter of Union Rags was also second in her debut at the California track. Paradise Woods will start from the No. 4 post position in the 14-horse field.


    Trainer Richard Mandella thinks that's a great spot for the horse as he goes for his first Oaks win in four tries.


    ''We're here to do the best we can,'' he said. ''I've been here and know the obstacles involved with a race like this. The crowd, the competition. And I haven't had a lot of luck at Churchill.''


    Paradise Woods faces a strong field in the 1 1/8-mile race.


    The second choice is Miss Sky Warrior, who is listed at 9-2 and has won five of six starts, with four straight graded stakes triumphs. There was no catching her in last month's Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct, where she won by 13 lengths. She drew the No. 10 post.


    ''I don't know if I could've drawn it up any better,'' trainer Kelly Breen said. ''If they let me draw the (post position) pills and decide who went where, the 10 post is probably the best spot for us. Paco (Lopez) is a great gate rider with a good head on his shoulders. He'll be able to see what we're going to do.''


    Miss Sky Warrior's 160 points earned toward the Oaks were just 10 behind leader Farrell, who has five wins and a third in seven starts. He has won four in a row by a combined 15 1/2 lengths. Farrell will make her longest start from the No. 7 post as the 5-1 co-third choice with Abel Tasman.


    The distance doesn't concern Farrell trainer Wayne Catalano.


    ''She's had a few under her belt, so I don't think that's going to be a problem,'' he said.


    Abel Tasman has three wins and two seconds in six starts with Baffert. Salty carries 6-1 odds and, like Paradise Woods, has won two of her last three starts.


    Post time is 6:12 p.m.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #19
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    Sloppy track awaits Kentucky Oaks
    May 5, 2017

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Rain is falling Friday morning at Churchill Downs, producing a sloppy track for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks later in the afternoon.

    Track officials have posted conditions as ''sloppy'' for the main track and ''good'' for races over the grass course.

    The Oaks, the premier event for 3-year-old fillies, headlines the second-best attended day at the track.

    Last year's Oaks Day attracted a record 124,589, the third best total in the sport topped only by the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

    As for the Derby, the National Weather Service offers a glimmer of hope. The latest forecast calls for the rain to clear out by 2 p.m. Saturday, leaving about five hours until post time for the track to dry out.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #20
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    Abel Tasman wins the Kentucky Oaks
    May 5, 2017


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Left without a horse in the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert sought to make the most of his lone entry in the Kentucky Oaks.

    Abel Tasman rewarded the Hall of Fame trainer with a surprising victory that made Baffert and son Bode strike a pose in celebration.

    Abel Tasman rallied from last and charged late to win the Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths Friday and give Baffert the victory with his lone entrant in the weekend marquee races at Churchill Downs.

    As Miss Sky Warrior charged past favorite Paradise Woods through the far turn, Abel Tasman and Daddys Lil Darling also began making their moves on the sloppy track. Abel Tasman got clear in the stretch to win the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies and make up for her distant second to Paradise Woods in the Santa Anita Oaks.

    ''About halfway down the backside, man, she got it all together and she made it up quick,'' jockey Mike Smith said as the filly was draped in a garland of pink lilies. ''I knew we were alive then, and once we straightened up it was a matter of keeping her held together, staying busy and she did it all.''

    Celebratory dabs from the Bafferts soon followed.

    ''That was just a release,'' the trainer joked. ''We don't dab for every stakes race.''

    The Bafferts' impromptu gesture was fitting, considering Abel Tasman was far back at one point before regrouping to reshuffle the running order in the 14-horse field entering the stretch.

    The Kentucky-bred bay filly also had to atone for losing by 11 lengths to Paradise Woods at Santa Anita last month. That filly's dominating performance offset a relatively short resume compared to several of her challengers and made her the even-money choice.

    Baffert himself praised Paradise Woods earlier this week and agreed that she was the filly to beat, though also he liked his horse's chances as well with Smith aboard. Abel Tasman and Farrell were the co-third choices at 5-1.

    Smith credited blinkers with improving Abel Tasman's focus, which showed as she overcome the slow start, rain and mud flying in her face. Once she got clear in the middle by the eighth pole, her second Grade 1 win and fourth career victory in seven starts was assured.

    ''That stretch was so long here and I thought it was going to be forever to get the finish line,'' said Baffert, who also credited Smith's handling. ''It (winning) never gets old. It's exciting, especially when you're not the heavy favorite to sneak in there and win one like that.''

    Abel Tasman ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.62 and paid $20.40, $9.20 and $6.40.

    Daddys Lil Darling returned $11 and $6.60, and Lockdown paid $18.40.

    Paradise Woods and Miss Sky Warrior, the 9-2 second choice, finished 11th and eighth, respectively.

    ''She just wasn't herself today,'' said Paradise Woods' jockey, Flavien Prat. ''She never ran on a sloppy track before and she didn't run good today, so maybe that had something to do with it.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #21
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    Unpredictable Derby expected Saturday
    May 5, 2017


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Two trainers saddling three horses each. A horse trying to win for the first time. The early favorite whose training was interrupted. Another attempting to overcome irascible behavior.

    The 20-horse field for Saturday's Kentucky Derby lacks a dominant runner. The winter prep races did nothing to establish a clear favorite.

    Classic Empire is the 4-1 pre-race choice. Two horses, Always Dreaming and McCraken, are the co-second choices at 5-1. Toss in the threat of rain early in the day, which could soak well-dressed racegoers wearing fancy hats, and it all makes for a most unpredictable Derby.

    Todd Pletcher will saddle three horses - 5-1 shot Always Dreaming, 20-1 Tapwrit and 30-1 Patch, the one-eyed horse. Pletcher is 1 for 45 in the Derby.

    With no left eye, Patch will only see the crowd as he breaks from the far outside spot in the gate. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione figures to hustle him over to the rail to save ground as the field makes its way to the traffic-choked first turn.

    Steve Asmussen also has three runners, and they're all longshots: 15-1 Hence, 20-1 Lookin at Lee, and 30-1 Untrapped. He is winless in 15 tries, the only hole in his Hall of Fame resume.

    ''The Kentucky Derby would look really good to add to the list,'' he said.

    Don't look for four-time winner Bob Baffert. The white-haired trainer doesn't have a horse this year, but like everyone else, he has an opinion.

    ''There's a lot of parity. There are some nice, solid horses,'' he said. ''I think Classic Empire is probably the best horse in the race. Todd's horse has brilliance, Always Dreaming. If they can get him figured out, he could steal it. The rest are bombers.''

    The rain is predicted to end hours before the race goes off in the early evening. The last Derby run on an off-track was 2013 when Orb splashed home in front.

    Favorites have won the Derby the past four years, the longest such streak since the 1970s.

    Sonneteer will try to overcome that bit of history. He's 0 for 10 in his career. He would be just the fourth maiden and the first since Brokers Tip in 1933 to wear the roses.

    Classic Empire sure looked like the early Derby favorite last year when he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was named 2-year-old champion. He made his 3-year-old debut with a third-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes in February. Then came two more months off caused by hoof and back injuries. Twice, the bay colt didn't want to train.

    ''We're happy to be where we are today given the last couple of months,'' trainer Mark Casse said. ''I love being the favorite. Let's just enjoy the ride.''

    Always Dreaming had been fractious in morning workouts leading up to the Derby. In an effort to harness the colt's energy, Pletcher switched to longer reins, and Always Dreaming resisted. He has since calmed down and John Velazquez will be in the saddle Saturday to lend an experienced hand.

    Girvin has battled a quarter crack in his right front hoof that limited his workouts. Trainer Joe Sharp and his assistant-wife, former jockey Rosie Napravnik, had the colt swimming and using a hyperbaric chamber to make the race.

    Gunnevera's trainer, Antonio Sano, was kidnapped twice in his native Venezuela before relocating his family to Miami. Jockey Javier Castellano, also from the violence-wracked nation, is trying to snap an 0 for 10 skid in the Derby. Gunnevera is the cheapest horse in the field. He was bought for $16,000 at auction.

    ''Every day, I stop to think, `My horse can win the Kentucky Derby,''' Sano said. ''It would be a big gift for the people of Venezuela at this moment. In Venezuela, people are killing people. People have no food. Very sad.''

    Thunder Snow carries the hopes of Godolphin Racing, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. He's the ruler of Dubai. The stable is winless in nine previous Derby attempts.

    ''There's plenty of speed lined up for this race and nobody's going to get an easy lead,'' said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Battle of Midway.

    Horses coming from off the pace often get dirt kicked in their faces for the first time.

    ''Some horses don't like that and they lose their concentration,'' said Ian Wilkes, who trains McCraken. ''Other horses thrive on the challenge and my horse likes a challenge.''

    Post time is about 6:50 p.m. ET.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  7. #22
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    Get to know each horse in the Derby
    May 5, 2017


    LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) Kentucky Derby starters, from the rail out:

    1. LOOKIN AT LEE

    Odds: 20-1

    Owner: L and N Racing LLC

    Trainer: Steve Asmussen

    Jockey: Corey Lanerie

    Career record (starts-first-seconds-thirds): 9-2-2-2

    Earnings: $452,795

    Points: 32

    Notable performance: Third in Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

    ---

    2. THUNDER SNOW

    Odds: 20-1

    Owners: Godolphin (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, et al)

    Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

    Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 8-4-2-0

    Earnings: $1,621,063

    Points: 100

    Notable victory: Grade 2 UAE Derby in Dubai-Meydan.

    ---

    3. FAST AND ACCURATE

    Odds: 50-1

    Owners: Kendall E. Hansen, Skychai Racing (Harvey Diamond, Jim Shircliff), Bode Miller

    Trainer: Mike Maker

    Jockey: Channing Hill

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-3-1-0

    Earnings: $340,362

    Points: 50

    Notable victory: Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.

    ---

    4. UNTRAPPED

    Odds: 30-1

    Owner: Michael Langford

    Trainer: Steve Asmussen

    Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

    Career record (starts-first-seconds-thirds): 6-1-3-1

    Earnings: $259,658

    Points: 34

    Notable performances: Second in Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, LeComte Stakes; third in Grade 2 Rebel Stakes.

    ---

    5. ALWAYS DREAMING

    Odds: 5-1

    Owners: Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing

    Trainer: Todd Pletcher

    Jockey: John Velazquez

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 5-3-1-1

    Earnings: $648,900

    Points: 100

    Notable victory: Grade 1 Florida Derby.

    ---

    6. STATE OF HONOR

    Odds: 30-1

    Owners: Conrad Farms (Manfred and Penny Conrad)

    Trainer: Mark Casse

    Jockey: Jose Lezcano

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 10-1-4-2

    Earnings: $382,548

    Points: 62

    Notable performances: Second in Grade 1 Florida Derby, Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby; third in Grade 3 Sam F. Davis.

    ---

    7. GIRVIN

    Odds: 15-1

    Owner: Brad Grady

    Trainer: Joe Sharp

    Jockey: Mike Smith

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 4-3-1-0

    Earnings: $874,400

    Points: 150

    Notable victories: Second in Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Risen Star.

    ---

    8. HENCE

    Odds: 15-1

    Owner: Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley)

    Trainer: Steve Asmussen

    Jockey: Florent Geroux

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-2-1-1

    Earnings: $462,601

    Points: 50

    Notable victories: Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

    ---

    9. IRAP

    Odds: 20-1

    Owner: Reddam Racing

    Trainer: Doug O'Neill

    Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 8-1-3-1

    Earnings: $760,000

    Points: 113

    Notable victory: 33-1 long shot became first maiden to win Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland.

    ---

    10. GUNNEVERA

    Odds: 15-1

    Owner: Peacock Racing Stables (Solomon Del-Valle, Guillermo Guerra, Jaime Diaz)

    Trainer: Antonio Sano

    Jockey: Javier Castellano

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 9-4-2-1

    Earnings: $1,170,200

    Points: 84

    Notable victories: Grade 1 Fountain of Youth.

    ---

    11. BATTLE OF MIDWAY

    Odds: 30-1

    Owners: WinStar Farm, Don Alberto Stable

    Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

    Jockey: Flavien Prat

    Career record (starts-first-seconds-thirds): 4-2-1-1

    Earnings: $290,000

    Points: 40

    Notable performance: Second in Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

    ---

    12. SONNETEER

    Odds: 50-1

    Owner: Calumet Farm

    Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

    Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

    Career record (starts-first-seconds-thirds): 10-0-4-2

    Earnings: $284,445

    Points: 30

    Notable performances: Second in Grade 2 Rebel Stakes; fourth in Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

    ---

    13. J BOYS ECHO

    Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

    Trainer: Dale Romans

    Jockey: Luis Saez

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-2-1-1

    Earnings: $349,600

    Points: 63

    Notable victory: Grade 3 Gotham Stakes.

    ---

    14. CLASSIC EMPIRE

    (asterisk)Odds: 4-1 (favorite)

    Owner: John C. Oxley

    Trainer: Mark Casse

    Jockey: Julien Leparoux

    Career record (starts, firsts, seconds, thirds): 7-5-0-1

    Earnings: $2,120,220

    Points: 132

    Notable victories: Has won last three Grade 1 starts including the Arkansas Derby and last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

    ---

    15. McCRAKEN

    Odds: 5-1

    Owner: Whitham Thoroughbreds

    Trainer: Ian Wilkes

    Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

    Career record: (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 5-4-0-1

    Earnings: $410,848

    Points: 40

    Notable victories: Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes; Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as a 2-year-old.

    ---

    16. TAPWRIT

    Odds: 20-1

    Owners: Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners

    Trainer: Todd Pletcher

    Jockey: Jose Ortiz

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-3-1-0

    Earnings: $343,902

    Points: 54

    Notable victory: Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.

    ---

    17. IRISH WAR CRY

    Odds: 6-1

    Owner: Isabella De Tomaso

    Trainer: Graham Motion

    Jockey: Rajiv Maragh

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 5-4-0-0

    Earnings: $699,460

    Points: 110

    Notable victories: Grade 2 Wood Memorial and Holy Bull, both by at least three lengths.

    ---

    18. GORMLEY

    Odds: 15-1

    Owners: Jerry and Ann Moss

    Trainer: John Shirreffs

    Jockey: Victor Espinoza

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-4-0-0

    Earnings: $920,000

    Points: 125

    Notable victory: Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby by a half-length over Battle of Midway in second of three starts as 3-year-old.

    ---

    19. PRACTICAL JOKE

    Odds: 20-1

    Owner: Klaravich Stables, William H. Lawrence

    Trainer: Chad Brown

    Jockey: Joel Rosario

    Career record (starts-firsts-seconds-thirds): 6-3-2-1

    Earnings: $1,015,800

    Points: 74

    Notable victories/performances: Grade 1 wins in Champagne and Hopeful Stakes as a 2-year-old. Consecutive seconds in Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass as a 3-year-old.

    ---

    20. PATCH

    Odds: 30-1

    Owner: Calumet Farm

    Trainer: Todd Pletcher

    Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

    Career record (starts-first-seconds-thirds): 3-1-2-0

    Earnings: $230,020

    Points: 40

    Notable performance: Second in Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  8. #23
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    Kentucky Derby day begins in cold and wet conditions
    May 6, 2017


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Three races are in the books leading up to the Kentucky Derby, where cold and wet weather has forced spectators to bundle up and use colorful hats for function rather than fashion at Churchill Downs.

    A third straight day of rain has dampened fans gathered Saturday under the Twin Spires in 48-degree weather. Track conditions are rated sloppy for horses slogging through the mud in a light but steady drizzle.

    The weather is forecast to improve by the time the Derby is run around 6:46 p.m. Eastern time. Always Dreaming is the 4-1 favorite in early wagering.

    Some women are covering their elaborate hats in plastic and wearing rubber boots to protect against the soggy weather.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    At the Gate - Saturday
    May 6, 2017


    The Friday Oaks card was contested in a bit of a quagmire, with a sloppy racing strip that was playing to inside speed most of the day, but we came up with a profitable afternoon with seven winners on top.

    The winners paid: $6.20, $15.20, $8.60, $15.20, $8.80, $20.40 and $8.20.

    Speed was holding most of the day and when I saw my top pick Abel Tasman sitting last in a field of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) I did not have much confidence.

    However, Miss Sky Warrior and Paradise Woods battled through sharp early fractions and my top pick came rallying form the back of the pack to get up and win, paying $20.40.

    Daddys Lil Darling rallied for second and we knocked down a recommended exacta that returned $203.00.

    We could see some morning showers on Saturday as there is a 70% chance of rain. But I have a hunch if the rain ends before noon we could have a good or possibly a fast track by post time of the Kentucky Derby, which comes at 6:46 ET.

    We have an outstanding 14-race card that feature six supporting stakes races, and after such a big day on Friday I am hoping I don’t bounce.

    To purchase my Kentucky Derby, Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.

    Now would be a good time to get my Monthly Package, which includes Kentucky Oaks Day, Kentucky Derby Day and Preakness Day as well as my daily Belmont Park Reports and Best Plays each weekend.

    Here is the opening race from Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:

    CD Race 1 Md Sp Wt (10:30 ET)

    #5 What a Star 8-1
    #2 Saved be the Swell 7-2
    #6 No Fault 2-1
    #3 Seventh Tee 4-1

    Analysis: What a Star showed some promise with a runner up finish in her debut, then she regressed in her second start, checking in fourth when stretching out to a mile. The top pair in that race came back to win next out while the third place finisher ran second in her next outing. Now she goes a one turn mile which should suit her. She is out of a Victory Gallop mare that has dropped three winners, top earner stakes winner I'm a Looker ($255.480). Decent value if this gal goes off near her 8-1 morning line.

    Saved by the Swell raced at the back of the pack early and made a good middle move to get into the mix but could not get past the winner late in a runner up finish going a mile at Gulfstream Park. The filly caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. She looks headed in the right direction for the Wilkes barn. She is 0 for 2 on wet tracks but has a strong off track pedigree and there is some rain in the forecast for today.

    Wagering
    WIN: #5 to win at 9-2 or better.
    EX: 2,5 / 2,3,5,6
    TRI: 2,5 / 2,3,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6

    Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

    BEL Race 11 The Ft. Marcy G3 (7:07 ET)

    #8 Time Test 2-1
    #2 Jay Gatsby 5-2
    #4 Messi 6-1
    #9 Highland Sky 5-1

    Analysis: Time Test makes his U.S. debut here and his first start since winning the York Stakes (G2) last July in the UK. He ran third two back in the Eclipse Stakes (G1) at Sandown Park, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. He has run over all types of ground and with rain falling yesterday there should be some give to the ground today. The Brown barn is 24% winners with runners coming back off +180 day layoff.

    Jay Gatsby stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to get up and beat $75,000 optional claimers last out at Gulfstream park going nine furlongs. The runner up Security Risk came back to bet Alw-3 foes in his next outing on April 19 at Keeneland. He ran well here over yielding turf last October in the Knickerbocker (G3), beaten just a half-length. he has landed in the exacta in 9 of his 15 career starts on turf and 3 of 4 over the turf here.

    Wagering
    WIN: #8 to win at 2-1 or better.
    EX: 2,8 / 2,4,8,9
    TRI: 2,8 / 2,4,8,9 / 2,4,8,9,10

    Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

    CD Race 11 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic G1 (5:25 ET)

    #7 World Approval 6-1
    #2 Divisidero 4-1
    #4 Conquest Panthera 8-1
    #8 Beach Patrol 5-1

    Analysis: World Approval was beaten just a neck in this race last year by our second choice in a tough beat at 10-1. The gelding came out of that race to run third in the Manhattan (G1) and win the United Nations (G1) in his next two starts. Last out the Casse trainee came back off a 5 1/2 month layoff with a solid win in the state bred Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs which should serve as a good prep for today. he has run well with turf with some give to it and that will be the case today. Decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.

    Divisdero is the defending champ of this race. The five-year-old is 0 for 4 since then, last out coming up a nose shorter versus allowance foe sin his first go off a two-month break. This guy ran four consecutive triple digit Beyers last year including over good ground in a runner up finish in the Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The extra ground here will suit and he looks capable of moving forward off his last effort.

    Conquest Panthera just gets better with each turf start and last out was beaten just a neck and a nose in a third place finish in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland at 27-1. He was a decent third two back in the Canadian Turf (G3) in his first stakes try on the lawn. He will be competitive in this sport if he can run back to his last effort and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a look.

    Wagering
    WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
    EX: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8
    TRI: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8 / 2,4,6,7,8

    Live Longshots:
    These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

    Belmont Park
    R1: #1 War Bond 8-1
    R1: #7 Cheyenne Bull 8-1
    R2: #4 Musicality 10-1
    R3: #8 Hoboe 15-1
    R5: #3 My Won Love 8-1
    R7: #12 Rappel 10-1
    R8: #9 Branded Hand 8-1
    R10: #1 Greenpointcrusader 8-1

    Good luck today!
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #25
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    Best Bets of the Weekend: Kentucky Derby Day Focus

    America’s Best Racing and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend in a regular feature blog that will run on Fridays.

    For some posts, Vág will try to identify a longshot play of the weekend, a nice opportunity to swing for the fences on a win bet or to take a shot with a show bet. She also will look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or occasionally try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

    This Weekend’s Bets

    Saturday, May 6

    Exacta Box

    Churchill Downs, Race 5, 12:35 p.m. ET


    #1 Forge: This colt had an impressive North American debut trying Lasix (furosemide) for the first time narrowly missing after closing from 8 1/2 lengths back. He’s exceptionally bred for the turf, seems to race his best at this one-mile distance and has done well enough through the stakes ranks to warrant my top honors. Definitely seems like the one to beat.

    #2 Irish You Well: The 20-1 morning-line price is enticing on this horse, who definitely races his best on the wet turf. He’s put in some decent efforts, has a nice turf pedigree and I think fits in well with this group. It’s hard not to imagine connections praying for rain to make the turf softer and to his liking. His chances increase dramatically if that’s the case. He races for a claiming tag today.

    #5 Sir Dudley Digges: Last year’s Queen’s Plate winner has put in some pretty solid efforts on the turf in his last four races. There’s not a lot of speed entered today, which means this horse could work out a nice trip sitting close to the pace and not having much ground to make up in the stretch. I like how jockey Julien Leparoux reunites with this colt, and I think he’s definitely capable running his best race.

    Best Bet

    Churchill Downs, Race 7, Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S. Presented by Longines, 1:55 p.m. ET


    #2 Miss Temple City: Few females accomplished more than her last year with a win in the Shadwell Turf Mile over males and a gutsy performance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. There’s no denying her talent and her ability to win multiple Grade 1 races. I think she meets a relatively soft field today and should work out a nice trip behind front-runner Believe in Bertie.

    Longshot Play

    Churchill Downs, Race 8, Pat Day Mile S. Presented by LG&E and KU, 2:45 p.m. ET


    #11 Sonic Mule: This colt started his career out very nicely and put together a three-race winning streak that included a pair of stakes races. In his most recent effort, he finished a disappointing eighth in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby after being interfered with at the start. He never really looked like he settled in at all, and I think I’m certainly willing to excuse his poor performance and lack of effort. I like how he’s racing at this one-mile distance, and I anticipate he’ll be involved early on and help to set the pace. He’s definitely better than the 10-1 morning-line odds, and I’ll be taking a shot.

    Best Bet

    Churchill Downs, Race 10, Churchill Downs S. Presented by Twinspires.com, 4:28 p.m. ET


    #2 Masochistic: This ultra-talented sprinter is probably happy not to meet many others from last year’s Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint. I think he draws an ideal post-position today, and I anticipate he’ll be left uncontested on the lead. He seems to be the lone speed in here and that’s exceptionally advantageous for him. I think there’s a lot of talent in this field, but I think this gelding will get it the way he wants it — setting fractions early — may prove to be super tough to pass late if rated well.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #26
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    Using Stats to Pick the 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner

    One of the easiest ways to pick your horse for a given race is a hunch bet – based on the weather, or your sister’s birthday, or the fact that a certain jockey has won three races in a row. Very little (if any) real handicapping is involved, and if your horse is a longshot it can pay handsomely.

    Here, I decided to take a shot at a statistical hunch bet for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, eliminating one horse at a time until the field is whittled down to one, using Derby statistics and facts. Follow my “logic” below, but be sure to take it all with a grain of salt – this method is far from scientific!

    Just one Sunland Derby runner has ever won the roses, so Hence probably won’t.
    No sire has had more than one Kentucky Derby winner in the last 15 years. That means the horses with sires who’ve had recent Derby success (Classic Empire [Pioneerof the Nile] and Gormley [Uncle Mo]) can be removed from consideration.
    Only two horses since 1929 have won the Derby with 42 or more days of rest, which means Thunder Snow and Fast and Accurate, who won the UAE Derby and the JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes, respectively, can be eliminated.
    Horses with the first initial “I” have only a 5.4 percent win rate in the Kentucky Derby, allowing us to cross Irap and Irish War Cry off our list.
    The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes has produced 23 Derby winners but only one since 1995, which means Practical Joke, J Boys Echo, Tapwrit and McCraken probably won’t win.
    In case you haven’t been keeping track, the field has been cut to nine potential winners from 20 starters. Continuing …

    Trainer Steve Asmussen is winless in the Kentucky Derby from 15 tries, so we’ll remove his two remaining runners, Untrapped and Lookin At Lee, from consideration.
    Jockey Mike Smith has one win from 22 mounts in the Derby, so his mount Girvin probably won’t win.
    No maiden (horse with zero career wins) has won the Derby since 1933, so Sonneteer can be eliminated.
    Just one horse this century (California Chrome) won the Derby having already made 10 or more career starts, so State of Honor probably won’t wear the roses.
    We have our superfecta: Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, Battle of Midway and Patch.

    Every Kentucky Derby winner after Apollo in 1882 has raced as a 2-year-old. Patch didn’t, so he can be crossed off our list.
    It’s been 12 years since a horse won the Derby without a graded stakes win under his belt, so Battle of Midway is eliminated.
    In the last 21 years, just two Derby winners finished worse than second in their final prep race, meaning Gunnevera probably won’t be successful.

    And now, we have a winner: Based on a few statistical hunches, Always Dreaming will win the 2017 Kentucky Derby. But remember, as Evan Esar said, statistics is the science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  12. #27
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    MY DERBY PICKS

    WIN: 18 - GORMLEY / 15 -MCCRAKEN

    EXACTA: 18 GORMLEY /15 MCCRAKEN WITH/ 14 Classic Empire / 7 Girvin /20 Patch /10 Gunnevera

    TRIFECTA: 18 GORMLEY /15 MCCRAKEN WITH/ 14 Classic Empire / 7 Girvin /20 Patch /10 Gunnevera
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  13. #28
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    2017 Kentucky Derby Results

    143RD KENTUCKY DERBY RESULTS

    PP Horse Jockey Trainer Odds Win Place Show

    5 Always Dreaming John R. Velazquez Todd A. Pletcher 9/2 $11.40 $7.20 $5.80

    1 Lookin At Lee Corey J. Lanerie Steven M. Asmussen 33/1 - $26.60 $15.20

    11 Battle of Midway Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 40/1 - - $20.80

    14 Classic Empire Julien R. Leparoux Mark E. Casse 6/1 - - -

    19 Practical Joke Joel Rosario Chad C. Brown 27/1 - - -

    16 Tapwrit Jose L. Ortiz Todd A. Pletcher 27/1 - - -

    10 Gunnevera Javier Castellano Antonio Sano 10/1 - - -

    15 McCraken Brian Hernandez, Jr. Ian R. Wilkes 6/1 - - -

    18 Gormley Victor Espinoza John A. Shirreffs 22/1 - - -

    17 Irish War Cry Rajiv Maragh H. Graham Motion 5/1 - - -

    8 Hence Florent Geroux Steven M. Asmussen 15/1 - - -

    4 Untrapped Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steven M. Asmussen 58/1 - - -

    7 Girvin Mike E. Smith Joe Sharp 22/1 - - -

    20 Patch Tyler Gaffalione Todd A. Pletcher 14/1 - - -

    13 J Boys Echo Robby Albarado Dale L. Romans 47/1 - - -

    12 Sonneteer Kent J. Desormeaux J. Keith Desormeaux 39/1 - - -

    3 Fast and Accurate Channing Hill Michael J. Maker 41/1 - - -

    9 Irap Mario Gutierrez Doug F. O'Neill 41/1 - - -

    6 State of Honor Mark E. Casse Jose Lezcano 54/1 - - -

    2 Thunder Snow (IRE) Christophe Soumillon Saeed bin Suroor 16/1 - - -

    Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta Resuts:

    $2 Exacta 5-1 paid $336.20

    $2 Trifecta 5-1-11 paid $16,594.40

    $2 Superfecta 5-1-11-14 paid $151,949.00
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #29
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    Always Dreaming off early to Pimilico
    May 7, 2017


    Always Dreaming, coming off an impressive win at the Kentucky Derby, will get an early start on preparations for the May 20 Preakness.

    The colt is expected to arrive at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Tuesday morning, hoping to avoid some early struggles adjusting to Churchill Downs when he arrived in Kentucky.

    Always Dreaming ran through a soggy track to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.

    Always Dreaming opened a clear lead in the stretch and finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2 minutes, 3.59 seconds. He paid $11.40 as the 9-2 favorite.

    "It feels awesome," Pletcher said Sunday morning, via the Baltimore Sun. "I think it's still sinking in. The first one's special but this one is just as good or even better. We felt coming in we had a good chance and we had some anxious moments during the week. But we were just happy to see him deliver the performance we felt he was capable of."

    Pletcher had to make adjustments with the workouts leading up to the Derby as Always Dreaming refused to relax.

    The trainer has decided to give the champion almost two weeks to adjust to Pimlico. Pletcher said Always Dreaming will gallop daily at Pimlico rather than a harder, timed workout.

    "He was so headstrong when he got here (for the Derby) that I don't think staying here for another week is going to be an advantage," Pletcher said Sunday morning. "I don't think going to Belmont for a week and then moving again is an advantage. So just looking at what the options are, I think Pimlico, there aren't usually a lot of horses training there, and it'll be a quiet environment. It'll give us time to settle in and if we need to, make any adjustments."

    Pletcher is winless in eight attempts at the Preakness. His previous Derby winner, Super Saver, finished a disappointing eighth at Pimlico in 2010.

    Always Dreaming will be in Stall 40 at Pimlico, the corner spot traditionally reserved for the Derby winner.

    "I think we want to follow the tradition," Pletcher said. "That stall's been successful plenty of times. And Pimlico is usually great. They're very accommodating."

    The field for the 142nd Preakness is already taking shape.

    Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee is "definitely a possibility" to run, trainer Steve Asmussen said.

    Classic Empire, the morning-line favorite and fourth-place finisher in the Derby, was bothered by a swollen right eye Sunday, trainer Mark Casse said, adding if the condition doesn't linger, he will strongly consider a shot at the Preakness.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #30
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    POST HORSE/SIRE TRACK ODDS WATCHMAKER ODDS BEST BEYER DERBY FINISH, BEYER JAY PRIVMAN AND MIKE WATCHMAKER COMMENTS
    - designates Keeneland Sales graduate


    Multiplier 30-1 20-1 88 ** JP: Has won last two with moderate figs. Needs significant improvement to be a factor vs. these.
    by The Factor MW: Not only does he need around a 15-point Beyer jump, he also needs pace to set him up, too.
    Owner: Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel & George Kerr; Trainer: Brendan Walsh; Jockey: Joel Rosario

    Cloud Computing 12-1 12-1 96 ** JP: Like that lightly raced colt bypassed Derby to point for this. Final work, on video, quite good.
    by Maclean's Music MW: His third in the Wood is better than it looks on paper. He ran against a speed bias that day.
    Owner: Klaravich Stables & William Lawrence.; Trainer: Chad Brown; Jockey: Javier Castellano

    Hence 20-1 15-1 97 11th, 77 JP: Lost position early in Derby, had to go around tiring rivals on far turn. Has a right to improve.
    by Street Boss MW: Still not sold on his Sunland Derby win two starts back as he was perfectly set up. Not for me.
    Owner: Calumet Farm; Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Jockey: Florent Geroux

    Always Dreaming 4-5 4-5 102 1st, 102 JP: Unbeaten in all four starts since Pletcher took over, all around two turns, and all by daylight.
    by Bodemeister MW: Easily best at CD, especially when you consider the other pace players were soundly beaten.
    Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, et al; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: John Velazquez

    Classic Empire 3-1 7-2 102 4th, 90 JP: Brutal trip in the Derby. Mugged at the start, forced to rally wide on final turn to avoid traffic.
    by Pioneerof the Nile MW: Since he had just one representative effort in five months, it makes his Derby try remarkable.
    Owner: John Oxley; Trainer: Mark Casse; Jockey: Julien Leparoux

    Gunnevera 15-1 15-1 97 7th, 84 JP: Was wide final half of Derby but never really fired. Wonder if he's over the top at the moment.
    by Dialed In MW: Maybe he didn't like the track, maybe that's reaching. Declining Beyers, might be tailing off.
    Owner: Peacock Racing Stables; Trainer: Antonio Sano; Jockey: Mike Smith

    Term of Art 30-1 30-1 92 ** JP: Fanned wide into late in SA Derby, but considering hot pace, should have made bigger impact.
    by Tiznow MW: Has had four starts this year and wasn't remotely close to winning in any of them. An outsider.
    Owner: Calumet Farm; Trainer: Doug O'Neill; Jockey: Jose Ortiz

    Senior Investment 30-1 30-1 89 ** JP: Has crossed wire first in four of last five starts, got ideal trip and ride to annex the Lexington.
    by Discreetly Mine MW: Lucky to win the Lexington. Third place finisher No Dozing was best, and he has since lost.
    Owner: Fern Circle Stables; Trainer: Kenny McPeek; Jockey: Channing Hill

    Lookin At Lee 10-1 10-1 98 2nd, 98 JP: Had plenty of pace into which to rally, got dream run along rail, best part of the track in Derby.
    by Lookin At Lucky MW: Several horses ran well away from the rail on Derby Day, but agree on his incredibly easy trip.
    Owner: L and N Racing; Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Jockey: Corey Lanerie

    Conquest Mo Money 15-1 15-1 93 ** JP: Repelled all challengers in Ark. Derby before Classic Empire nailed him late. Can be pace factor.
    by Uncle Mo MW: You could make a strong case that he ran the best race in Ark. Derby. Beyers are light, though.
    Owner: Judge Lanier Racing; Trainer: Miguel Hernandez; Jockey: Jorge Carreno
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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