Saturday, April 6, previews, picks, and jokes

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Ed DeRosa

April 6th, 2013

If it's possible for American Thoroughbred racing to pack this much action into a weekend then I might as well do my part and pack as much as I can into this blog.

If you're wondering why I'm blogging at 1 a.m. EDT after a full day at Keeneland it's because I'm still coming down from the high of live racing returning to Lexington and a solid day of wagering that ended with a "lone 'A'" horse streaking home at 9-to-1 and the Players Pool turning a profit on the Rainbow^6. Others probably had a better ROI for the bet, but I doubt anyone generated ~$65,000 in gross profit on a bet that "only" paid $4,234.01 for a dime.

This game can knock you down in a hurry, though, so rather than rest on my laurels (or rest at all), I've been busy preparing for Ashland Stakes day at Keeneland (ABC grid appears at the bottom of this post)--a great card of ten races that will conclude just in time to catch the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park as part of the Derby Championship Series presented by For FREE Ultimate Past Performances of the DCS races, click here.

Not that racing does this anymore, but if there were a double linking the two prep races this weekend and the two next weekend (the Wood-SA Derby & the Blue Grass-Arkansas Derby, respectively), then I think most people would assume that this week's double would pay less.

Even if you don't love Verrazano and/or Flashback, the alternatives in both races this week are logical whereas the Blue Grass is likely to attract a full gate of evenly matched horses with the added Polytrack equalizer.

But are this weekend's preps that much of a gimme? Of the two favorites I prefer Verrazano, but if things go according to my plan I won't even mind if "the favorite obliges" as John G. Dooley is fond of saying.

In the Wood, Go Get the Basil and Freedom Child will be big prices and either seems capable of at least getting a sliver slice of something. I'd rather try to beat the likes of Vyjack underneath than try to beat Verrazano on top.

I plan a similar approach in Santa Anita Derby where any of the Bafferts make sense, and I'm sick of hearing about Tiz A Minister who seemed to have every chance in the San Felipse and couldn't get the job done. Summer Exclusive and Storm Fighter both ran nice races to break their maiden last out, but this is a HUGE step in class for both of them. The price needs to be right here, but it should be.

In the give credit where it's due department, kudos to Joel Cunningham who has had Revolutionary on top of his Derby watch list for quite some time, and he looked good gutting out a win in the Louisiana Derby. Let's see what Joel thinks of this weekend's races.

Speaking of what people have to say, Jill Byrne has her usual great insight into each prep this weekend.

As for my thoughts on this weekend's races, my biggest play will be on Air Support in race 4 at Keeneland, a graded stakes-caliber field where the two morning line choices--Turralure and Al Khali--are plays against for me in all multi-race wagers.

The ABC grid below is subject to change with scratches forthcoming, but the other horse I'm really hoping the morning line holds up on is #7 Gathering in race 8. Good luck!