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Big Guns on Display in Saturday’s Derby Preps

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/27/2010 9:17:01 AM
Kentucky Derby Odds
  • Who: Thoroughbreds – Eskendereya, Sidney’s Candy, Lookin At Lucky, Yawanna Twist
  • What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Wood Memorial, The Santa Anita Derby, The Illinois Derby
  • Where: Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Hawthorne
  • When: Saturday, April 3rd

The current future book favorites to win The Kentucky Derby will be in action this Saturday, along with a host of other talented runners. Eskendereya will go postward as the favorite in The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, while on the left coast, Lookin At Lucky will tackle nine opponents in The Santa Anita Derby. Meanwhile, a field of eight evenly-matched runners will contest The Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. Bear in mind that these are preps for the big prize on the first Saturday in May, and trainer intent is a key factor in the handicapping process.

It’s important to note that Eskendereya is not yet assured of a spot in The Kentucky Derby based on his graded earnings of$150,000…he’s on the bubble. He’ll need to hit the board to lock up a spot in the Run for the Roses. That’s seems highly likely, given his talent, sharp recent form, and pace-pressing running style. With a short run to the first turn, he should be no worse than second, with Schoolyard Dreams and Jackson Bend in close pursuit to his outside. Awesome Act may present a late threat, but he missed a scheduled work earlier this week due to a wet track, and could also suffer from the dreaded “Euro-Bounce”. I’ll key Eskendereya on top of Schoolyard Dreams and Jackson Bend in the exacta.

I’m expecting Lookin At Lucky to run his usual good race on Saturday, but a few words of caution are in order. Trainer Bob Baffert has said that this horse does better on natural dirt, and he’s just looking to get past this race and head to Kentucky in one piece. Graded earnings are not an issue. The other main problem is a speedball named Sidney’s Candy. The son of Candy Ride is rateable, and was able to stretch his speed around two turns last out to capture the Grade 2 San Felipe. He’s bred to handle the 1 1/8th-mile distance, and may not face much pace pressure on Saturday. I’ll bet on Sidney’s Candy to win at odds of 3-2 or better. A top-3 finish from the hard-knocking Caracortado should stamp his ticket to Louisville also.

The Illinois Derby appears to be a wide-open affair. It’s hard to know what to expect from horses like American Lion, Stephen’s Got Hope, Boulder Creek and Dave in Dixie, who have yet to run on dirt. Backtalk is the most accomplished member of the field with a pair of graded stakes wins as a juvenile, but his blazing 6-furlong work last week in 1:09 3/5 will have many handicappers wondering if he left his race at Fair Grounds. I’m leaning toward the lightly-raced Yawanna Twist, who finished a solid second in The Gotham after winning his first two starts vs. New York-breds by daylight. His Beyer Speed Figures are on the rise (85, 87, 96), and you know trainer Rick Dutrow can do big things with lightly-raced horses, a la Big Brown. I’ll bet on Yawanna Twist to win and place at odds of 3-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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