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Key Stops On The Kentucky Derby Trail This Weekend

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 2/24/2012 4:47:55 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Mr. Bowling, Mark Valeski, El Padrino, Algorithms, Discreet Dancer, Union Rags
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Risen Star, The Fountain of Youth
Where:Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park
When:Saturday and Sunday, February 25th and 26th

El Padrino appears to have the Risen Star field over a barrel, judging by his lofty last-race Beyer Speed Figure of 100. That figure towers over the competition’s next-best number of 87, earned by Shared Property in his Arlington Washington Futurity score. However, before plunking down your hard-earned cash on the chalk, take a closer look at the Brereton Jones/Larry Jones entry of Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski. In the Fountain of Youth, the two best Derby prospects, Algorithms and Union Rags, may take a back seat on Sunday to the morning-line third choice, Discreet Dancer (3-1). Find out why below.

#7-El Padrino (2-1) launched his 3YO campaign with an impressive score vs. entry-level allowance foes at Gulfstream Park nearly a month ago, and gets in light in The Risen Star at 116. He’s the most likely winner, but there are hurdles. This is his Fair Grounds debut, and he’ll be tackling a talented local contingent. Also, the pace is expected to be a tepid one, so the field could be bunched up and traffic could be a problem. #1-Mr. Bowling (4-1) is coming to hand nicely for trainer Larry Jones. The colt’s sparkling bullet breeze on Monday in 59 4/5 (fastest of 62 at the distance) signals a strong move forward off his winning effort in The Grade 3 LeComte. And you’ll get two-for-the-price-of-one with entrymate #1a-Mark Valeski (4-1), a very talented runner in his own right. Jones is confident that this son of Proud Citizen will have no problem stretching out…he may lead this field on a merry chase. I’ll take a shot with the home team entry at odds of 3-1 or better.

Union Rags, unlucky runner-up in The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to a wide trip, makes his sophomore debut in The Fountain of Youth as the current Kentucky Derby Future Book consensus favorite. He’s followed closely in futures wagering by the undefeated Algorithms. Roles are reversed on Sunday, however, with #2-Algorithms (8-5) a slight choice over #7-Union Rags (2-1). Both colts have tactical speed, but will be hard-pressed to catch probable pacesetter #5-Discreet Dancer (3-1). Discreet Dancer and stablemate Algorithms will both be making their two-turn debuts, and both should be up to the task. While Algorithms may be better on the first Saturday in May, Discreet Dancer should be very tough at 1 1/16th miles, especially with Gulfstream Park’s short stretch, which measures only 898 feet. Nobody really knows how good Discreet Dancer is yet…and they probably won’t know after Sunday’s race either, if, as I expect, he wins the Fountain of Youth in relatively easy fashion. I’m betting on Discreet Dancer to win, and I’ll key him over Algorithms and Union Rags in the exacta.

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

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