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Pete’s Picks: Harpoon in The Gotham, No Nay Never in The Swale

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 2/28/2014 8:20:39 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – In Trouble, Uncle Sigh, Samraat, Extrasexyhippzster, Harpoon, Havana, No Nay Never

What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Gotham (Grade 3), The Swale (Grade 2)

Where: Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park

When: Saturday, March 1st

Contention runs deep in Saturday’s 62nd Running of The Gotham at Aqueduct, while the same cannot be said for The Swale at Gulfstream Park a bit later in the afternoon. In Trouble, Uncle Sigh, Samraat, Extrasexyhippzster and Harpoon all figure to attract support in The Gotham, while The Swale looks like a two-horse race between Havana and No Nay Never. Let’s take a closer look at these Kentucky Derby preps below.

Starting from the rail in The Gotham, #2-In Trouble (5-1) figures to get a cozy, stalking trip in his first start around two turns. With a perfect 2-for-2 record, including the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park last fall, In Trouble could be any kind. He’s bred to handle the distance, and has been training sharply at his Palm Meadows base. Ignore him at your peril. #4-Uncle Sigh (3-1) and #1a-Samraat (5-2) staged an epic duel last out in The Withers, with Samraat prevailing by a length in the end. This time around, I prefer Uncle Sigh, who will benefit from a 5-pound weight shift and the presence of jockey Corey Nakatani, who takes over the mount from youngster Pablo Morales. #8-Extrasexyhippzster (4-1) is a two-time stakes winner, taking the Don Rickles here two back and The Miracle Wood last out at Laurel. His Beyer Speed Figures place him squarely in the mix. Regular rider Julian Pimentel retains the mount. #10-Harpoon (10-1) is marooned on the outside, so jockey Irad Ortiz will have his work cut out avoiding ground loss on the first turn. Still, you’re talking about a highly-regarded colt that fetched $500,000 as a yearling and hails from the powerhouse barn of Todd Pletcher. Harpoon just missed last out in The Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, and figures to move forward after a couple of sharp works at Palm Meadows in the interim. He’s never been worse than second (5-1-4-0), so I’ll bet on #10-Harpoon to win and place at odds of 5-1 or better, and key him top and bottom in exactas with the aforementioned 1,2,4 and 8 .

A pair of top-class three-year-olds will knock heads in the 32nd Running of The Swale. #1-Havana (9-5) won the Grade 1 Champagne in his second start, defeating the highly-regarded Honor Code, then finished a bang-up second in The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to close out his 2YO campaign. His training schedule has been interrupted, however, and this race is strictly a prep for a major two-turn event sometime prior to the first Saturday in May. #3-No Nay Never (2-1), on the other hand, is training lights out for his dirt debut. Trainer Wesley Ward says this is the best horse he’s ever trained, which is easy to understand based on his perfect 3-for-3 record, including a Group 2 score at Ascot and a Group 1 victory at Deauville last summer. By Scat Daddy out of an Elusive Quality mare, there’s no reason to believe he won’t excel on dirt as well. I’ll bet on #3-No Nay Never to keep his unbeaten streak intact in The Swale at odds of 6-5 or better.

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

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