Even with California racing on what I’d call a brief hiatus and Saratoga and Del Mar on the horizon, and Churchill Downs winding down, I thought there were some interesting spots on Saturday. Specifically, there was a race at Belmont and a race at Thistledown, The Ohio Derby that drew my attention.
I’ll start with the Ohio Derby. This might be the only day during the year I look at this track. Nothing against Thistledown, or Ohio racing; I just gravitate to the meets I favor, follow, and do best at.
The Ohio Derby drew 11 horses which is a good start. The morning line favorite is only 7-2, so the race looks wide open from that perspective, and coupled with the field size, it could turn out to be a nice race to wager on.
I lean to #8 Keepmeinmind. Interestingly, I do not believe I have liked or wagered on this horse before. He has been in some tougher spots and comes from well off the pace, so he is often up against it. That said, he gets first-time Lasix here and puts the blinkers back on after having them off for his last two starts. Two back, he was off slow and wide while making up ground in the Kentucky Derby won by a front runner. Last out, he hit the gate and still tried but didn’t seem to take to the Pimlico track in the Preakness. He gets a mile and an eighth here keeps regular rider David Cohen who knows him well and has some pace in front of him to help. His main problem might just be #1 Promise Keeper from the Pletcher barn may just be a nice horse and better than him. That remains to be seen, but I think Keepmeinmind gets a good shot in the perfect spot to show his best on Saturday at what should be a fair price.
Pletcher’s horse will be tough from the rail, but I think Keepmeinmind gets a little edge here. Ethical Judge, Proxy, and Masqueparade are all in this but should round out the numbers if I am right about Keepmeimind firing a big one.
Over at Belmont, I thought the one-mile Wild Applause was really interesting. For those who don’t know Wild Applause was a lawn mower from one of the best female grass producing families I have ever seen.
I think Sussex Garden can run really big here at a big price as well. Delacour is sneaky good with imports. This filly ran with Mother earth and Miss Amulet overseas and they are both of this caliber. I think she will like the stretch-out to a mile, and I also think she may improve on firmer ground than she got over there. Leparoux is in to ride, so I expect patient handling and I’d prefer that for her in here. If he does let her go however, as she does have speed, then I hope he just lets her roll and doesn’t fight her.
One horse I respect is the returning Lovestruck. She can run and figures to have gotten better, and if she didn’t, I doubt we’d be seeing her in a stake to start her three-year-old campaign. Minuan and Bubbles on Ice will round out the numbers there for me.
This is a good time, and I am hopeful two good spots to build those Saratoga and Del Mar bankrolls. Let’s see if we can do some damage.