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Zeewat Ready for Baffert Invaders

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 2/15/2013 5:09:29 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Zeewat, Manando, Carving, Wildcat Moon
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The El Camino Real Derby
Where: Golden Gate Fields
When: Saturday, February 16th

Locally-based three-year-old Zeewat appears primed to take on the challenge of two well-regarded Bob Baffert-trained invaders in Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. While the Baffert duo of Manando and Carving holds the edge in terms of speed figures, Zeewat figures to benefit from the home field, the race shape, and his familiarity with regular rider Russell Baze. Let’s take a closer look at the race below.

#1-Wildcat Moon (6-1): This guy nearly stole the Cal Derby last out on the stretchout, but Zeewat ran him down. He picks up five pounds off that effort, while Zeewat drops one. The Jeff Bonde runner should tangle with Manando early, which could compromise both their chances.

#2-Rush In (12-1): He was no match for Zeewat three back in the Gold Rush, and that rival was making his two-turn debut. I don’t see him turning the tables here.

#3-Counting Days (30-1): The Carla Gaines runner ships in from Santa Anita after beating one horse in an entry-level allowance race last out. Hmmmmm. You’ll note he broke his maiden at Keeneland by more than ten lengths, so maybe he’ll appreciate the surface switch. An interesting longshot play to round out Tri’s and Supers.

#4-Manando (9-5): The morning-line chalk cost $300K as a 2YO, and owns the field’s top two Beyer Speed Figures (91, 89). He’s got quality, and can carry that speed a long way. Still, the rail horse may give him fits, setting things up for Zeewat. Aaron Gryder will be riding him for the first time. I’ll pass at odds of less than 2-1.

#5-Zeewat (5-2): I’ve already made a bit of a case for this Jerry Hollendorfer trainee, but you should also consider that he breaks outside both speed horses, and should get a nice stalking trip. He leads the field in earnings ($177,700) and stakes wins (3), and has been training smartly. I’ll bet on Zeewat to win at odds of 8-5 or better.

#6-Nina’s Dragon (12-1): I’m tossing him into the same category as Rush In, who beat him by a half-length last out…a notch or two below the top runners.

#7-North Pacific (30-1): A notch below Nina’s Dragon…connections may be hoping for a minor award.

#8-Carving (3-1): The “other” Baffert horse has a pair of stakes wins to his credit, and figures to make his presence felt in the late going. Victor Espinoza sees fit to ship in for the mount. I’d use him to round out the exacta.

#9-Dice Flavor (20-1): All of his starts have come on the lawn, where his figures have been on the low side. Looking elsewhere.

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

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