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Pletcher, Baffert have Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby Surrounded

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/5/2013 7:57:38 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Normandy Invasion, Elnaawi, Vyjack, Mr Palmer, Verrazano, Flashback, Super Ninety Nine
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Wood Memorial, The Santa Anita Derby
Where: Aqueduct, Santa Anita
When: Saturday, April 6th

The Todd Pletcher-trained Verrazano will be heavily favored to capture The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday. If successful, he’ll head to The Kentucky Derby as the horse to beat. On the left coast, Bob Baffert will saddle the powerful trio of Flashback, Power Broker, and Super Ninety Nine in The Santa Anita Derby. With morning line second choice Hear the Ghost scratched due to injury, an upset appears highly unlikely. Let’s take a closer look at these key Kentucky Derby preps below.

Year after year, trainer Todd Pletcher enjoys an embarrassment of riches in the three-year-old ranks…male and female. So when he speaks in glowing terms about one of his youngsters, as he has in the case of the undefeated #8-Verrazano (4-5), you had better take notice. This colt appears to have it all…speed, class, breeding, top speed figs, and a good mind. I’m expecting another tour de force from him on Saturday, and will be concentrating on the gimmicks. The unbeaten #5-Vyjack (4-1) is a very nice horse, but won’t offer much value underneath in the exacta, so I’ll be looking elsewhere. #4-Elnaawi (12-1) has gotten progressively better with each start, and his bullet breeze on March 30th may signal a breakout performance. The trainer/jockey combo of McLaughlin/Castro has clicked at an astounding rate of 39% winners at the Big A, with a lofty ROI of $3.94. Everything about this horse looks live. #6-Mr Palmer (12-1) is another improving type for Hall-of-Fame trainer Bill Mott. Look for him to be rolling late. #2-Normandy Invasion (5-1) probably needed his last, and should make his presence felt in the lane. I’ll bet on Verrazano to win at odds of 3-5 or better, and use him over the 2, 4 and 6.

After getting caught up in a speed duel last out, #1-Flashback (9-5) will get a new pilot…the outstanding Garrett Gomez. While trainer Bob Baffert is not pleased with Flashback’s inside post, Gomez should be able to work out a ground-saving, stalking trip. The horse I give the best chance to knock off the talented Flashback is another Baffert runner, #6-Super Ninety Nine (6-1). He disliked the tiring Oaklawn Park strip in The Rebel last out, and could rebound in a big way back at his home base. He’s rateable, and owns the field’s top two Beyer Speed Figures (102, 100), the second of which he earned right here at Santa Anita. Jockey Rafael Bejarano gets off Super Ninety Nine to stick with the third Baffert trainee, #3-Power Broker (5-1), who is making his 3YO bow. That shouldn’t deter Super Ninety Nine, however. He’ll be ridden by Martin Garcia, who was aboard for the winning career debut. In a tossup between Flashback and Super Ninety Nine, I’ll go with the higher-priced SNN to win and place at odds of 4-1 or better.

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

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