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Verrazano, Flashback: Tough to Go Against

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 3/8/2013 4:40:17 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Dynamic Sky, Verrazano, Flashback, Goldencents
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Tampa Bay Derby, The San Felipe
Where: Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita
When: Saturday, March 9th

A pair of Grade 2 routes for three-year-olds on Saturday should go a long way toward cementing the status of two highly-regarded colts: Verrazano and Flashback. Verrazano will be odds-on in the Tampa Bay Derby, while Flashback should be a solid favorite over second-choice Goldencents in the San Felipe at Santa Anita. Price shoppers beware…both colts will take plenty of beating.

True, #6-Verrazano (4-5) has yet to try two turns and will be running over Tampa Bay Downs’ quirky surface for the first time. Still, he appears to be head-and-shoulders above this bunch talent-wise…it will take a sub-par effort on his part to knock him off his perch as the Kentucky Derby future book favorite. Consider that he won his debut by nearly eight lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 93 in the process. The next-best career debut Beyer in this field is 78…a whopping 15-point difference! In his second start, Verrazano beat first-level allowance foes by more than 16 lengths, earning a lofty Beyer of 105. The next highest mark in this field is the 94 posted by #3-Honorable Dillon (6-1) in his Grade 2 Hutcheson victory. Verrazano is bred to love two turns, has been training swiftly, and is in the expert hands of Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez…as good a trainer/jockey combo as there ever was. With the jockey switch to Joel Rosario along with a positive 4-lb. weight shift, I’ll be looking for #5-Dynamic Sky (4-1) to turn the tables on #9-Falling Sky (10-1) and round out the exacta. I’ll bet on Verrazano to win and a straight 6-5 exacta, Verrazano over Dynamic Sky.

The San Felipe shapes up as a two-horse duel between #2-Flashback (8-5) and #3-Goldencents (2-1). Goldencents is more seasoned, and has had to contend with much quicker pace scenarios in his two-turn races, winning both by comfortable margins. He’s been firing bullets in the a.m. since December. Some may argue that Flashback had it easy in his Robert B. Lewis victory, setting comfortable fractions before drawing away in the stretch. That’s true, but he demonstrated in his career debut that he doesn’t need the lead to win. He probably won’t get it here, but that may be a good thing. I’m expecting stretch-out runners like #5-Hear the Ghost (6-1) and #7-Salutos Amigos (6-1) to keep the pressure on Goldencents in the early going, setting things up for the long-striding Flashback. The Bob Baffert-trained Flashback does things easily…a move forward in his third career start should vault him past the quick and gritty Goldencents when the real running begins. He’ll be around even money…which could look like a bargain when the dust settles. I’ll bet on Flashback to win at odds of 4-5 or better.

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

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