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Alpha, Hierro the Plays on Saturday

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 1/7/2012 10:32:41 AM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Alpha, Hierro, Secret Circle
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Count Fleet, The Sham
Where: Aqueduct, Santa Anita
When: Saturday, January 7th

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha kicks off his sophomore campaign as the heavy favorite in Saturday’s Count Fleet at Aqueduct. On the left coast, Secret Circle figures to be odds on in the Grade 3 Sham at Santa Anita, but will get a stern test from Steve Asmussen trainee Hierro. Let’s take a brief look at these early stepping stones to the Triple Crown.
Alpha takes a huge class drop in The Count Fleet, having last raced in The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He left his race in the starting gate that day, so put a line through that non-effort. His second-place finish behind the highly-regarded Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne provides a truer gauge of this colt’s ability. Alpha was sent off at 2-1 in The Champagne, so you know he’s got ability. Trainer McLaughlin adds Lasix to the mix, and the colt has trained well leading up to this engagement. Recent entry-level allowance winner Speightscity is worth a look underneath in the exacta. Il Villano is on a three-race win streak, but this will be his two-turn debut. Shkspeare Shaliyah tries dirt for the first time, but is a graded stakes winner on the lawn. I’ll bet on #5-Alpha to win at odds of 3-5 or better.
I’m not willing to take short odds on Secret Circle in The Sham, as he’s trying two turns for the first time. That’s also true of Hierro, but that runner will be closer to 3-1, and at least he’s got a three-race foundation at seven furlongs to build upon. They paid $350,000 for this son of Hard Spun, and judging from his last race, it looks like he’s starting to put it all together. Workout reports from Santa Anita have been very positive as well, so another move forward is anticipated. Also note that Julien Leparoux, not exactly a fixture on the West Coast racing scene, retains the mount on Hierro. I’ll bet on #3-Hierro to win at odds of 5-2 or better, and box him in the exacta with #4-Secret Circle.

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

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