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Spiral, Sunland Derby Appear Wide Open

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 3/22/2013 7:27:33 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Balance the Books, Uncaptured, My Name Is Michael, Mac the Man, Capo Bastone, Abraham, Shakin It Up, Govenor Charlie
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Spiral, The Sunland Derby
Where: Turfway Park, Sunland Park
When: Saturday, March 23rd

While perhaps not the premier stops along the Kentucky Derby trail, The Spiral at Turfway Park on Saturday and The Sunland Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday will probably determine the Kentucky Derby eligibility of each race’s morning line favorite. The highly-accomplished Uncaptured (3-1) makes his sophomore debut in The Spiral, and will need to finish at least second (worth 20 points, giving him a total of 30) to have a realistic shot to make the Derby field. Sunland Derby morning line chalk Shakin It Up (5-2), find himself in even shakier position. He’ll need to win (worth 50 points) to work his way into the derby mix. Let’s take a closer look at each race below.

All the Spiral contenders have question marks. #1-Balance the Books (7-2) is always right there (4-2-1-1), but this will be his first start on poly, after four previous starts on the lawn. #3-Uncaptured (3-1) is far and away the most accomplished horse in the field…if he’s ready to fire his best shot, he should get the job done. Still, he’s coming off a 4-month layoff, so fitness may be an issue. #7-Mac the Man (10-1) is a perfect 3-for-3 at Turfway, but will be tested for class in The Spiral. I’ll take a shot with Florida shipper #5-My Name Is Michael (10-1). His connections are strong…the Mott/Rosario combo has clicked for 33% winners with an ROI of $2.48 in 2012-13. He probably needed his last start in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, in which he finished a fast-closing third, and has trained smartly at Payson Park of late. His second in The Display at Woodbine in December indicates he should handle the Turfway Park surface. I’ll bet on My Name Is Michael across the board (Win, Place, Show) at odds of 7-1 or better.

Stretch-out sprinter #4-Shakin It Up (5-2) is the Sunland Derby’s lone graded stakes winner, but I’m not sure he wants to go long. He’ll be carrying the highest impost of his career (122 pounds) around two turns for the first time over an unfamiliar track…not what I’m looking for in a short-priced horse. The “other” Baffert horse, #7-Govenor Charlie (6-1) actually has a bit more appeal, having passed the two-turn test last out in just his second career start, and earning a solid Beyer (94) in the process. I’m going to dabble with the regally-bred #2-Abraham (4-1), with the Pletcher/Velazquez connections in his corner. He’s got very good tactical speed, and can carry it a long way, as he demonstrated last out when breaking his maiden going 1 1/8th miles at Gulfstream Park. This chestnut colt by Distorted Humor out of an El Prado mare has been heavily favored in both starts, and appears to have a very bright future. I’ll bet on Abraham to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better.

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

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