Ed DeRosa of TwinSpires.com takes on TDN’s Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap each prep race leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets–highest bankroll after the Lexington S. wins.
DeRosa: GII Rebel S. – Turning for home in the Rebel, I was feeling pretty good about my selection of Malagacy–not only because he looked like a winner, but also because he was a decent price as the 3.3-1 second choice with 8-5 favorite American Anthem nowhere to be found. Glory is as fleeting as my lead in TDN’s Throwdown contest, however, as any joy of adding 760 “points” to my mythical bankroll quickly dissipated after 112.3-1 Sonneteer won the photo for second to give Steve Sherack 2,910 points–more than I’ve earned all year–and a good lead among the handicapping trio. Bankroll: $2480.
G2 UAE Derby – The good news is, there’s plenty of racing left, including three events this weekend beginning with the first 170-point race (with 100 to the winner): The U.A.E. Derby. Is a challenging puzzle of horses coming from all over the world at different interims. Some are making their seasonal debuts, others have raced locally, etc. I’m going to go to the same angle as Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Futurity and bet the horse who threw his jock in his last start after showing promise in his first two starts: Fawree. His form on Bee Jersey puts him in the mix enough against likely favorite Thunder Snow to take a shot at a bigger price. Selection: #6 Fawree (8-1).
GIII Spiral S. – The impulse with the Spiral S. is to reach for a price, but I can’t make a good enough case for any one horse not to take Kitten’s Cat, who has both the speed and class edge here and should get a good trip behind the Maker pair (Fast And Accurate and En Hanse who both figure to be on the front end). The “wide open” nature of the race might help us get the morning line of 4-1. This horse is worth an actual bet (i.e. not just a mythical contest play) at 3-1 or better. Selection: #8 Kitten’s Cat (4-1).
DiDonato: GII Rebel S. – Well, I guess this thing’s over… at least for me. Great job by Steve and Ed to land on the 112-1 runner-up and winner, respectively. Silver Dust didn’t run terribly, but I expected him to step forward a little more than he did. Guess it’s time to start swinging for the fences. Bankroll: $1330.
G2 UAE Derby – He’s clearly got some mental stuff to work out, but Fawree seems pretty talented. The son of Kentucky Oaks and Spinster winner Keeper Hill was dominant when breaking his maiden here in January, and was favored against a couple of these in Mar. 4 Al Bastakiya, but he reared up when the assistant starter took off his blindfold in the gate and dropped his rider. Fawree has reportedly been working with “South Africa’s leading equine behavioral therapist” since that debacle, and it sounds like he’s much more comfortable in the gate now. If he breaks ok, I expect him to give a very good account of himself. Selection: #6 Fawree (8-1).
GIII Spiral S. – Considering how much his near miss in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile S. last year cost me, I can’t not take Parlor here. The Eddie Kenneally trainee was super impressive breaking his maiden first out on the Ellis lawn last summer, and I’m pretty sure he had trouble or something at Kentucky Downs–I can’t actually bring myself to watch that replay, though. His ‘TDN Rising Star’-garnering comebacker over the Tampa turf was excellent. He was practically never asked, but got his final quarter in just :23.12, according to Trakus. Synthetic is the obvious question mark, but not enough to scare me off. Selection: #9 Parlor (5-1).
Sherack: GII Rebel S. – Sonneteer put in the kind of effort I was hoping he had in him and won a wild photo for second at 112-1 (?!) to put me back on top here… Come and catch me fellas. Bankroll: $4390.
G2 UAE Derby – Will take my best guess with Fawree. Trainer Mike de Kock has done extremely well in this race and Fawree, an impressive local maiden winner two back, deserves another shot after his Al Bastakiya debacle. Candy Ride (Arg) colt out of GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Keeper Hill still has plenty of upside. Selection: #6 Fawree (8-1).
GIII Spiral S. – This may be the right time to give four-time beaten favorite Soglio another chance. His come-from-behind maiden win at Del Mar and closing second in the Eddie Logan put him right in the mix if his turf form translates to synthetic for the always dangerous Graham Motion. Like the inside post, too. Selection: #2 Soglio (6-1).