July 3, 2020

Lynq Sports

bet on it

Road to the Kentucky Derby! 2/1/20 Preps:

As much as I love the Super Bowl, my favorite sporting event every year is the Kentucky Derby! I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s just divine. You’ll see millionaires in $5,000 suits, degenerate gamblers, white trash dressed to the nines, preachers trying to spread the word on the evils of gambling and much much more. It’s the one time a year I turn in my bourbon old fashioned for a mint julip (which are surprisingly strong btw…) I’ve won money in 3 out of my 4 derbies despite never winning the derby race itself.   I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last 4 runnings and I plan on going every year for the rest of my life. This year however, I may have to miss it since my wife’s due date is the first Saturday in May. So, whether I’m watching from the backstretch at Churchill Downs or from a hospital bed, I cannot wait to enjoy the best 2 minutes in sports.

            This weekend there are 3 Kentucky Derby preps at 3 different tracks. The top 3 finishers in each race will earn points towards the derby. The top 20 horses in points will make the starting gate. Now lets handicap these races!

Robert B Lewis Stakes G-3; Santa Anita Race 6:

Distance/Surface: 8.5 Furlongs Dirt

Full Field with Morning Lines (**Favorite:):

  1. Encoder 8-1
  2. **Thousand Words 4-5
  3. Tizamagician
  4. Royal Act
  5. High Velocity
  6. Zimba Warrior

Pace Scenario/Initial Thoughts:  High Velocity and Thousand Words are going to fight for the early lead with High Velocity likely setting the pace. The other 4 horses will be right behind trying to get the perfect stalking trip. The small field favors the front runners.  

Horses I like:

  • Encoder: I’m going to try to beat both Baffert’s to get a good payday! To do that, we’ll have to take some chances. That being said, I think we are taking a great chance with Encoder. This is a great horse. He is 8-1 on the money line for two reasons. The big reason is the heavily favored Bafferts in the race. The second reason is the public’s fear of this horse moving from turf to dirt. Encoder’s pedigree does favor turf since his sire is English Chanel. But his Dam is Nono Rose who is by Hard Spun! This Dam has produced 1242 starts on dirt winning 17% of those starts… In other words, I think Encoder will do just fine on the dirt. The horse just ran its best speed figure winning last out. Interestingly hall of fame jockey Mike Smith gets the mount which can do nothing but benefit the horse. I also like the sharp workout on January 25th. In with a big chance!
  • Tizamagician: This horse was knocking on the door during his 2 year old season getting 2nd place in 3 straight races before breaking his maiden last out. His maiden win was super impressive though, stalking close to the pace before putting on the burners to win by 1 ½ lengths. This horse is bred to run all day. Mandella would not step up in class with this horse if he did not think he was ready.
  • Royal Act: He is lightly raced but has improved speed figures in both starts. He was sold at auction for $500,000 as a yearling. Clearly this was a well thought of horse. Bred out of American Pharoah, there is no reason to think that this horse can’t improve moving to dirt.

Horses I’m Playing against:

  • Thousand Words: 4-5 is too low of a price on this horse, and he might go off at a lower price. He’s won both races, but both were by less than half a length. His recent workouts at Santa Anita have not been impressive at all. The exercise riders have asked him to pass horses and thousand words seemed to struggle to do so. At such a short price, I am trying to beat.
  • High Velocity: This horse seemed to regress at the longer distance last out. He was leading the Los Al futurity coming down the stretch and just tired. He ended up getting 3rd losing by 5 ¼ lengths. He’ll be the second choice on the board and I want no part of it.

Top Pick:

I will use all 4 of the horses I like to try to beat the two Baffert favorites in horizontal wagering. For those just picking a horse to win, my top pick will be Encoder. I think he has the best chance to take a step forward with the switch to dirt!

Holly Bull Stakes G-3; Gulfstream Race 11:

Distance/Surface: 8.5 Furlongs Dirt

Full Field with Morning Lines (**Favorite:):

  1. Toledo 7-2
  2. Uncork the Bottle 12-1
  3. **Tiz the Law 3-5
  4. Ete Indien 6-1
  5. Clear Destination 20-1
  6. Relentless Dancer 8-1
  7. Mayberry Deputy 15-1

Pace Scenario/Initial Thoughts: 

Ete Indien, Uncork the Bottle, and Relentless rider will be your early leaders going around the 1st turn with the rest stalking behind the pace. No real closers in this race. The small field again will favor the front runners.

Horses I like:

  • Toledo: I know he lost his last race as a favorite, but he still got a massive speed figure from that effort. In fact, he has increased his speed figures in his last 2 races. Clearly this is an improving colt and Irad Ortiz remains on board to ride. Chad Brown places his horses well and he would not Take Toledo here to face a heavy favorite if he wasn’t live.
  • Ete Indien: Well if I like Toledo then I have to like Ete Indien who upset Toledo in his last start. Look at how Ete Indien has been campaigned. After winning a $60,000 MSW at 5 furlongs, he is sent immediately the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at 8.5 furlongs. He runs 8th losing by 5 lengths. After that defeat, they run him in a very competitive $75,000 optional claimer where he wins at 14-1 odds! Clearly the connections think highly of this horse with these confident placements. He has shown the ability to win on the lead and by closing off the lead. His speed figures are impressive and there is no reason he can’t upset again here.
  • Relentless Dancer: The public is going to dismiss this horse as a sprinter and nothing more. I’m not so sure about that. He won his last race at Delta Downs by 10 lengths! Even though it was only 7 furlongs it was a 2-turn 7 furlong race which points to this horse’s stamina. Sired by Midshipman, I don’t think he will have distance limitations. If the field lets Relentless Dancer get the early lead, good luck catching him!

Horses I’m Playing against:

  • Tiz the Law: This is your heavy, heavy favorite and I’m trying to beat! I was not impressed with his last race where he also went off as the 3-5 favorite. Tiz the Law’s speed figures have now regressed in two straight races. Now don’t get me wrong, he had a tough trip in the Kentucky Jockey Club. But as the 3-5 favorite you are supposed to overcome adversity in a race like that. I have the feeling he may be a better 1 turn horse than a 2 turn. He might make me look foolish, but I’m going to let Tiz the Law beat me.   

Top Pick:

Relentless Dancer is my top pick in the race! Tiz the Law is a bad favorite and I’m going to try and beat him with this one on top. He’s run 2 monster races in a row and has been working out fantastic at gulfstream. He’s fired 2 bullet workouts in January alone. Mike Maker has this horse ready to fire. I expect him to go the front and never look back.

Withers Stakes G-3; Aqueduct Race 8:

Distance/Surface: 9 Furlongs Dirt

Full Field with Morning Lines (**Favorite):

  1. Mr. Shortandsimple 30-1
  2. Monday Morning Qb 4-1
  3. Max Player 9-2
  4. New Comission 15-1
  5. **Shotski 2-1
  6. Prince of Pharoahs 8-1
  7. Vanzzy 8-1
  8. Portos 3-1

Pace Scenario/Initial Thoughts:  Your early pace setters will be Shotski and Monday Morning QB. Vanzy, New Comission, and Mr. Shortandsimple will be the next tier of horses trying to stalk. After that, Max Player and Portos will hope to close off a hot pace.

Horses I like:

  • Max Player: This colt has a great closing kick in a race that should have a decent pace. Lightly raced, he broke his maiden last out by over 4 lengths. This horse is screaming for more distance and gets it here! Watch out for this one running on late.  
  • Prince of Pharoahs: In a weak field, your telling me I can get an American Pharoah colt at 8-1?! Sign me up! Last out he got second losing to a very talented Independence hall. If IH was in this race, he’d be a massive favorite. He has shown improvement in every race he’s ran and there’s no reason he can’t improve again here.
  • Portos: He could not have been more impressive in his last start, stalking the pace early and then drawing away to win by 10 lengths! This colt clearly loves the distance and got a great confidence boost after that last race. Jose Lezcano stays on to ride which is a great sign this horse is live.

Horses I’m Playing against:

  • Shotski: He is a good horse winning the Remsen stakes last out. But he got a perfect trip in that race where he was allowed to run very slow fractions on the front end.  Despite the easy fractions he only beat the weak field by half a length. He should have much more pace pressure in this one and will find it much tougher to hang on this time.
  • Monday Morning QB: At a short price I question whether or not this horse will like the 9 furlong distance. He’s won 2 of his first 3 starts, but those were against far weaker fields at Laurel and Parx. In his last start he didn’t even change leads on the final turn. He’s still green and stepping up in class. I’m playing against.

Top Pick:

Portos is my top pick in this one. He should have the perfect pace setup to pounce on the hot pace. He’s improving at the right time and has the most experience at the 9 furlong distance. He arguably has the best jockey in the race and Pletcher is always dangerous at these derby preps! Take Portos at 3-1 or better!