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To Honor and Serve Ready to Roll

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/1/2011 5:48:33 PM
  • Who: Thoroughbreds – Soldat, To Honor and Serve, Stay Thirsty, Dialed In, Flashpoint
  • What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Florida Derby
  • Where: Gulfstream Park
  • When: Sunday, April 3rd

Sunday’s Florida Derby shapes up as the deepest and most talented collection of 3YO’s to meet this year on the Triple Crown trail. Plenty of thoroughbred racing’s heavyweights will be on board for the 60th running of this key Kentucky Derby prep. The equine athletes include Soldat, To Honor and Serve, Stay Thirsty, Dialed In, and Flashpoint, all of whom are graded stakes winners. These five contenders will be piloted by Alan Garcia, Garrett Gomez, Ramon Dominguez, Julien Leparoux and Cornelio Velasquez, respectively…some of the best in the business. Oh…and the trainers aren’t too shabby either…Kiaran McLaughlin, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Nick Zito and Rick Dutrow are all in the sport’s upper echelon. So which team will emerge victorious? Let’s break down the field:

#1-Soldat: I really liked this guy to win The Fountain of Youth, and used him in my multiple race wagers. I couldn’t see betting him to win though, at underlaid odds of 7-5. He got the job done in fine style, but may find this spot significantly tougher. It’s unlikely he’ll be on the lead early, like he was in his last pair, due to the presence of new shooter Flashpoint in Post 8. With several other pressers to his outside, Soldat may find himself squeezed back in the early going. I’ll pass on the morning-line favorite (9-5) this time around.

#2-To Honor and Serve: This high-priced son of Bernardini surprised Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott when he finished a tiring 3rd in The Fountain of Youth off a three month layoff. Note the improvement this colt made in his second career start…he rebounded with a huge win, and his Beyer Speed Figure improved by 20 points (75 to 95). I think the multiple-Grade 2 winner will be much tighter for this, and is primed for a huge move forward. The presence of Garrett Gomez in the irons for the first time doesn’t hurt his chances either. Mott will be pleasantly surprised this time. I’ll bet To Honor and Serve to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better.

#3-Arch Traveler: This guy passed his two-turn test last out vs. entry-level allowance runners, but will find the class hike daunting. Pass.

#4-Bowman’s Causeway: This colt appears to be stuck in a narrow Beyer range (78-85)…and that range won’t cut it here.

#5-Shackleford: Not sure what he’s doing here after that last debacle.

#6-Stay Thirsty: Pletcher’s “other horse” (besides Uncle Mo) did what he had to do in The Gotham, and should pick his game up a notch here…he’ll need to. Maybe the addition of blinkers will help. Fringe player.

#7-Dialed In: There’s been a buzz about this horse from day one. He’s got talent, and can be forgiven for losing to his older stablemate last out. The pace scenario should suit him in this spot, and he’s been training sharply. I think he’ll be overbet here, though, and I’ll be using him strictly underneath in exotics.

#8-Flashpoint: The outside post shouldn’t be a problem…he should clear the field heading into the first turn and Velasquez will try to slow things down from there. Still, he’s picking up six pounds and going from seven furlongs to 1 1/8th miles…no easy task at this level. The challenges will begin to mount before he turns for home…I’m betting against him getting the job done.

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



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