Triple Crown Throwdown: Holy Bull, Withers & Bob Lewis


Ed DeRosa of takes on TDN's Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap Triple Crown prep races plus the big three races themselves. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets in the preps and $200 Win/Place bets in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Highest bankroll at the end wins.

DeRosaGIII Holy Bull S. – What a way to kick off the Brisnet Triple Crown Throwdown: three races coast to coast with at least a pair of vulnerable favorites.

I'm all for taking another shot against Tiz the Law after being against him at 3-5 in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Sure, there's bound to be improvement from two-three, and the morning reports are glowing, but he's regressed in each of his last two starts, and even his fastest race–the winning debut–is no cinch to win this. We're on Toledo, whose draw inside for his first two-turn try is beneficial and should help him turn the tables on Ete Indien. Selection: #1 Toledo (7-2).

GIII Withers S. – In the Withers, I can't resist Max Player as the only entrant who is not an “E” or “E/P” type. Being by Honor Code, he should handle the stretch out just fine and be rolling late to pick up the pieces. Selection: #3 Max Player (9-2).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S. – The Lewis features my most likely winner of the Derby points trio this weekend in Thousand Words, who not only returns after a Los Alamitos victory, but also brings the pacesetter he overtook along with him in stablemate High Velocity. Looks like a similar trip and win to me given the running style of a field that includes two horses making their dirt debut. Selection: #2 Thousand Words (4-5).

Sherack GIII Holy Bull S. Tiz the Law could obviously just prove too tough for these, but I was disappointed enough in his first try around two turns in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club–off track and traffic troubles and all–that I'll take a shot against him at a low price in his first attempt off the bench.

Relentless Dancer did all the dirty work battling through sharp fractions before hanging on to dead-heat for his maiden victory with the subsequent unlucky GIII Lecomte runner-up Silver State at Churchill at second asking last September. He proved rateable–something that he will need to be on the stretch out in distance to be effective here–while beating up on fellow Louisiana-breds in the $100k Legacy S. going a two-turn, seven furlongs most recently at Delta Oct. 19. He's been working bullets at Gulfstream for this and picks up Jose Ortiz. The price will certainly be right. Selection: #6 Relentless Dancer (8-1).

GIII Withers S. – The lightly raced Max Player couldn't have been more green in his first two attempts going a two-turn, mile at Parx–cornerning poorly and climbing early–but he's finished off his races like there's some ability there. The runner-up from his last out mid-December maiden breaker in the slop returned to graduate by a pole at Laurel and the added distance should suit the son of Honor Code well if he's done some growing up in the interim. Selection: #3 Max Player (9-2).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S. – The unbeaten Thousand Words hasn't exactly wowed in his first two wins, but has certainly showed some guts on both occasions. Not the kind of horse you want to take a low price on, but just don't see any other options worth rolling the dice on. Selection: #2 Thousand Words (4-5).

DiDonatoGIII Holy Bull S. – First off, thanks to Ed for having me on this week's How to Bet Horse Racing Podcast. I hope it wasn't just an attempt at some early reconnaissance to find out who I was picking this week. Tiz the Law should win this race. He may very well have been the most talented juvenile colt to compete last season, and his trip in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. wasn't ideal, even though he did have every chance to get up late. He's going to get the right set-up here, and Barclay Tagg should have him ready to show back up with his best. Any improvement from two to three makes him extra tough. Selection: #3 Tiz the Law (3-5).

GIII Withers S.Max Player, the world's wise guy pick, needs to improve to contend here, but he seems to one who should with more experience and real estate. He traveled very awkwardly early on in both of his previous outings at Parx, but came with big runs both times. The horse he beat last out was one of three subsequent graduates and that one won by 10 1/4 while taking a jump up on speed figures. The Honor Codes should step forward as they stretch out, and Max Player's dam is a half to GII Louisiana Derby winner International Star. Selection: #3 Max Player (9-2).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S.Tizamagician looks a lot like his former stablemate Omaha Beach, who also took a number of starts to finally break through despite running good races in maiden company each time. Once Omaha Beach earned his diploma, he took his next two at the graded level to establish himself as the would-be Derby favorite. The lightbulb looks like it might've come on for Tizamagician as well, and he looked great here on New Year's Day dueling his pace foes into submission before drawing away. More ground certainly shouldn't hurt the son of Tiznow out of a mare who was second in the 2014 GII Azeri S. behind Close Hatches. Selection: #3 Tizamagician (3-1).

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