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Kentucky Derby Preps Galore on Saturday

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 2/3/2012 5:08:37 PM
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Who: Thoroughbreds – Alpha, Reveron, Prospective, Liaison, Sky Kingdom, Rousing Sermon, Empire    Way, Chips All In
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Withers, The Sam F. Davis, The Robert B. Lewis
Where: Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita
When: Saturday, February 4th

The road to the Kentucky Derby passes through Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs and Santa Anita this Saturday. Legitimate contenders for this year’s renewal of the Run for the Roses are expected to emerge from The Withers at Aqueduct, The Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and The Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. Let’s take a look at the “live” horses in these Derby stepping stones.

In The Withers, #7-Alpha (1-1) will be tough to beat. The son of Bernardini overcame a troubled trip in the Count Fleet to win going away, and is expected to move forward off his 3YO debut. New York-bred #3-Swag Daddy (10-1) will try open company for the first time in the Withers, but trainer Rick Dutrow is confident that his colt is up to the task. Swag Daddy is 2-for-2 going two turns on Aqueduct’s Inner Dirt, and his versatility should serve him well in this spot. I’ll play a straight 7-3 exacta…Alpha over Swag Daddy.

The Sam F. Davis appears to be a wide-open affair, but upon closer inspection, #11-Prospective (6-1) has lots going for him. He’s bred to go long, and has already won a graded stakes going two turns. He fetched $250K as a yearling, so you know he’s got quality. He won his Tampa Bay Downs debut last out, so you know he can handle this somewhat quirky surface, and he did it rather easily, despite the half-length margin of victory. An honest pace is expected, with the speedy #4-Ecabroni (7-2) stretching out and #3-Battle Hardened (12-1) as well as #10-Reveron (3-1) in close attendance. If Prospective can avoid too much ground loss from his outside post, I’ll look for him to prevail in the late going at odds of 4-1 or better.

#5-Sky Kingdom (6-1) is trainer Bob Baffert’s “other horse” in the Robert B. Lewis, with #2-Liaison (9-5) garnering most of the attention. The modest Beyer Speed Figure (73) that Sky Kingdom earned last out in his entry-level allowance score won’t scare any of these, but he won easily and did it the right way. Note that rider Martin Garcia is 2-for-2 aboard this colt, both times at the 1 1/16th-mile distance, and the trainer/jockey tandem has clicked at a 28% win rate in 2011-12. That bullet breeze last Friday (:58 2/5, 1/68) signals Sky Kingdom’s readiness as well. Contention runs deep with the aforementioned Liaison, #6-Rousing Sermon (5-2), #7-Empire Way (6-1) and #8-Chips All In (6-1) signed on, but that’s what assures a square price on Baffert’s “other horse”. I’ll bet on Sky Kingdom to win and place at odds of 5-1 or better, and I’ll key him top and bottom in the exacta with the horses mentioned above. The exacta tickets look like this: $1 Exacta 5/2,6,7,8…risk of $4; $1 Exacta 2,6,7,8/5…risk of $4.

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

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