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San Felipe Stakes Best of Two Kentucky Derby Preps this weekend

The 2017 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita only has 7 horses scheduled to go the 1 1/16 miles distance but of the two Kentucky Derby Prep races on tap for tomorrow, it’s far and away a better match-up than the Tampa Derby that will run in South Florida.

G2 San Felipe Stakes

Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Purse: $400,000

From the rail out, here’s a quick rundown of the entrants that will be led by the 6-5 favorite Mastery who is undefeated in three career starts for trainer Bob Baffert.

1. Term of Art – 20-1 for trainer Doug O’Neill. Two-time winner broke maiden here by a nose going 1 mile. Crushed in the BC Juvenile in next out. Lost the hood in last to earn his highest BRIS speed figure 88 and gets the rail which is winning at 27% clip. Good spot for deep ticket players.

2. Vending Machine – Started career in O’Neill’s barn but was claimed by current connections for $50K from successful maiden outing. Has won twice over the track and switches back to dirt after three alternative attempts including a loss as the favorite in the Cal Derby at Golden Gate over the fake stuff.

3. Ann Arbor Eddie – Hit the board in all 5 lifetime starts for O’Neill including three trips to the winner’s circle vs. state breds. Beaten a 1/2 length last time as the favorite over the GG synthetic in the G3 El Camino Real Derby.

4. Mastery – Undefeated in three starts for Baffert and looks the legit 6-5 favorite in here as the speed of the race. Sitting on a couple of 6f bullets but comes in off a 3 month layoff making him vulnerable if pressured.

5. Gormley – Three-time winner from 4 starts whose only loss was a 7th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Classic Empire. Has this fields highest BRIS speed 102 in a head win on the slop going 1 mile here in the G3 Sham last time out. Listed as second choice at 9-5 but can’t see him keeping up with horse to his inside. We’ll find out what he’s made of today.

6. Iliad – Has the speed to make Mastery run faster than he needs to go all the way on the lead. Has won his last two including maiden score when sent out by Baffert two back. But was transferred to O’Neill for his G2 San Vicente win here last time out. Third place finisher Battle of Midway in that one came back to win two days ago in a two-turn OC beating heavily favored Reach the World. Here’s your winner.

Bloodhorse.com has the video replay of Battle of Midway’s victory

7. Bluegrass Envy – Maiden vs. multiple winners.

San Felipe Stakes free past performances can be found on the Brisnet trainer pps page.

Tampa Derby: 50 points to the winner will be more then he deserves

The 2017 running of the Tampa Derby will be run on Saturday for a purse of $350,000 and 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby.

Ten have been entered to go in the G2 event at 1 1/16 miles and will be led by Tapwrit who was second in the G3 Sam Davis here in his last start on February 11.

Tapwrit is a two-time winner that broke his maiden in a Gulfstream Park maiden special weight last November going 1 mile. And then returned a month later to take a $75K overnight in the slop.

State of Honor, who wore blinkers for the first time in the Sam Davis while setting all the pace, returns for what will be only his third career start on dirt. He’s a son of To Honor and Serve that has only one win from eight starts. He’ll have company on the front-end this time around and will have to improve “bigly” to get home first in here.

No Dozing will be making his second start off a 3 month layoff after finishing 6th in the Sam Davis. He won his first two career starts last fall before finishing fourth behind Classic Empire, who subsequently went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In the Remsen, No Dozing was second behind Mo Town at 1 1/8 miles. And if anyone has the right to “wake up” it’s this guy but he’ll have to do it in here if he wants to make the Derby field because this is an easy spot.

Another to keep an eye on is Beasley who’ll be making his first graded stakes start off back to back seconds in OC$75K NW1x. He’s the son of Shackleford and you can expect him to be part of the pace from the start.

All-in-all this is a weak bunch and further demonstrates the overall strength, or lack thereof, of this year’s crop of 3 year old Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

Free past performances for the Tampa Derby

 

Gotham Stakes: El Areeb Takes the “Easy” Road to the Derby

The Gotham Stakes is the “other” race this weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Ten runners will go postward in the G3 Gotham in what appears to be a rerun of the last months Withers won by El Areeb.

In the Withers El Areeb entered the starting gate as the heavy favorite off 4 consecutive victories and did not disappoint at $0.50 on the dollar. He’ll face the Withers runner-up and third place finishers in True Timber and J Boys Echo respectively. But neither appear to be any match for El Areeb who is looking for his 5th win in a row and the lions share of the $300,000 Gotham Stakes purse.

If El Areeb is successful, he’ll add $180,000 to his prize money and earn the 50 points he’ll need to take the top spot from the Risen Star winner Girvin on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

Interestingly, of the other nine runners in the Gotham, True Timber, second in the Withers to El Areeb, is not the second choice in the field. That stat goes to Cloud Computing (5-1) who’ll be making his second lifetime start off a 6 furlong maiden score here on February 11.

Cloud Computing is the son of Maclean’s Music and trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables, et al. and will again be ridden by Manuel Franco. He’ll be making his first start around two turns.

True Timber, second in the Withers, is listed at 6-1 in the field for the Gotham. And J Boys Echo, third-place in the Gotham Stakes last time out, will open at 8-1 for the jockey and trainer combination of Robbie Albarado and Dale Romans.

The G3 Gotham Stakes will be El Areeb’s third start over the Aqueduct inner where history tells us that not since 1973 when Secretariat won the Gotham has the winner gone on to take the Kentucky Derby.

And it’s a long stretch to imagine El Areeb going on to win the Roses by taking the “easy” Road to the Kentucky Derby over the inner track at Aqueduct.

The forecast for South Ozone Park, NY is for temperatures in the 30’s with 0% chance of rain.

Free past performances for the Gotham Stakes