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Next Stop Kentucky

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/6/2011 5:20:51 PM

The winner of this week’s Santa Anita Derby will be hoping to become the seventh SA Derby winner that parlayed to a victory in the Kentucky Derby but whoever wins, will punch his ticket to Churchill next month.

The Wood Memorial will go Saturday at Aqueduct and Uncle Mo will be trying to become the 12th runner in history to win the Wood and then win the Kentucky Derby.

Mo has not really been challenged yet and would not expect an upset this weekend but he may have to race over an off surface for the first time and that can be an equalizer.

Since there seems to be little value in the Wood, lets look to the wide-open race in California.

Some real stars have won this race in the past. Swaps took the 1955 running while I personally watch Affirmed win the 1978 renewal. Winning Colors and Sunday Silence won back-to-back runs of the SA Derby and Point Given was the hero in 2001.

Last year, Sidney’s Candy was coming off a win in the San Felipe to post a 100 Beyer drawing away in the SA Derby.

A full field is in prospect and the race is wide open.

Premier Pegasus will take his fair share of action and rightfully so. He has trained fast since taking the San Felipe Stakes.

Anthony’s Cross will be making his first start since taking the February 12 Lewis by a nose. He has thrived routing and should get a nice stalk and pounce kind of a run.

Comma to the Top has speed and he’s won half of his 12 outs.

Bench Points got a reality check when he failed by 9 lengths in the San Felipe and with limited speed; he is at the mercy of how the race sets up and if he can find a lane to rally into in time.

Indian Winter comes off a troubled trip. He acted up in the gate before being placed second in the Turf Paradise Derby but he has a lot to prove.

Midnight Interlude just broke his maiden for fun but has trained ultra fast for this race.

Mr. Commons is in the right hands of John Shirreffs. He had a valid excuse in his debut, was game in victory beating winners and he has a nice stalk and rally style.

If you want to take a walk on the wild side, Offlee Wild Boys might by your ticket. The reformed claimer turned the corner when finally stretched out but he has been beating some small fields in Northern California.

Silver Medallion did something to start his career that is not easy and that is to win long at first asking. He upset in the Eddie Logan on grass, and then won on the synthetic in NoCal taking the El Camino Derby with a 94 Beyer. The concern is he has never been on real dirt.

Quail Hill was hung out in post 10 last time and only got involved late. He is yet another that demands a hot pace. 

Bob Baffert was on the fence about entering Jaycito and that is always questionable. He was troubled in Uncle Mo’s BC Juvenile win and did need the last race. From his marooned post on Saturday, look for his rider to take a little hold, try to save ground and they make the one run.

So how does it unfold?

Offlee Wild Boys has to be sent from the inside slot. P. Val will have Indian Winter well placed. Comma to the Top has regressed in his last pair but will muddle the pace too.

As will Midnight Interlude with Premier Pegasus biding his time mid pack.

At the top of the lane a full contingent of runners will line up like the Rockettes at the top of the lane while Pegasus and Jaycito with start to make their moves.

Pegasus gets first run, but Jaycito, under a great ride by Martin Garcia, will tag him on the wire with Anthony’s Cross and Quail Hill completing the superfecta.

Good luck here and in Kentucky.

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