2013 Triple Crown Trail Update- March 6
The following is a brief look at a couple of graded stakes races on this Saturday’s slate along with my free insider’s horse racing pick for each.
San Filipe Stakes- Saturday, March 9
The San Filipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a Grade II stakes race for 3-year old thoroughbreds. It is run on turf over a distance of 1 1/16 miles and has a total price purse of $300,000. More importantly, Saturday’s race is a major prep for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby that will be run here on April 6.
Given that the San Filipe is also a major prep race for a few legitimate Kentucky Derby contenders, it is no surprise that trainer Bob Baffert has decided run his unbeaten colt Flashback in this race. The morning line for this race has yet to be released but it’s a good bet that he will be one of the favorites. Flashback has already won his first two starts including the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes in his last outing on Feb.2. He will be ridden by Julien Lepardoux for this race.
There is little doubt that Flashback is a quality thoroughbred, but my free pick to win this race is Goldencents, who is coming off of a victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan.5 in his first and only race as a 3-year old. Trained by Doug O’Neill, this colt has already shown the speed and the stamina over distance to be one of the top contenders for the upcoming Triple Crown racing season and win on Saturday could actually make him an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
If you are interested in a solid entry that should go off at fairly decent odds in light of the two heavy favorites above, take a close look at Omega Star, who will making his first start in a graded stakes race. This 3-year old colt is trained by John Shirreffs and although he has made three previous starts, this will be his first real test to see if he can compete with the likes of Flashback and Goldencents. He is expected to be ridden by Joe Talamo for Saturday’s race.
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Tampa Bay Derby- Saturday, March 9
The other big prep race scheduled for this upcoming Saturday is the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. This stakes race will be run on dirt over a distance of 1 1/16 mile and carries a total prize purse of $350,000. The attractive aspect of this race is that the winner will also earn 50 points towards qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.
There are a pair of heavyweight 3-year olds scheduled to run in this race as well starting with Todd Pletcher’s Verrazano. He has yet to compete in any of the previous prep races this season but has been slowly brought along with a maiden win at Gulfstream in early January and an allowance race victory at the same track last month. This colt is a prototypical Fletcher prospect with good speed and size along with the ability to move well in a pack. I am going chalk in this one by making him my free pick to win this race.
The second Kentucky Derby prospect that is looking to get one step closer to making the field of 20 with a win this Saturday is Dynamic Sky, who is expected to be ridden by Joel Rosario in this race. This colt started off his 3-year old campaign with an impressive victory in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay on Jan.12. In his last outing, he finished second to Falling Sky in the Sam F. Davis Stakes which was also run at Tampa Bay. He is likely to open as the second favorite to Verrazano on the morning line.
A couple of other entries in this race that could make some noise if both of the horses listed above falter are Falling Sky, who is fresh off the victory in the Sam F. Davis, Purple Egg, Java’s War and Honorable Dillon, who posted a victory on Feb.2 in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream.