Weekend Stakes Action: Verrazano Looks to Score

Can Verrazano carry his speed over two turns? - Kelvin Kuo

Well, Matt's in Vegas, so he turned the keys over to me today to get us going.

And by "turned the keys over to me" I mean I'm hijacking the open thread post. Lots of great action today, including some nice racing at Meydan in Dubai this morning. In fact, Dullahan just finished near last in his prep over the Tapeta at Meydan and Little Mike is moving towards the gate to face a really tough field. But juding by history, Little Mike will set every fraction and will probably surprise some of the Euro-style runners over there. But no worries, since the races today are merely a prep for the World Cup.

Current conditions:

Tampa: Fast/Firm; Partly Cloudy

Oaklawn: Thunderstoms possible

Gulfstream Fast/Firm; Partly Cloudy

Santa Anita: Partly Cloudy (and Equibase says humidity is at -999%, that's impressive)

The G3-Hillsborough is first up for race 9 at Tampa Bay for fillies and mares 3 yo and up over 1 1/8 miles on the Turf. Tampa is currently rated as Fast/Firm. Matt really turned me on to the 5-Forces of Darkness here. But I also like the 6-Appealing Cat. If you toss the start that was on the off surface, she looks a lot more competitive. She should be a nice price too with a M/L of 12/1.

Following that is the G3-Honeybee which is Race 7 at Oaklawn park for 3yo fillies at a mile and a sixteenth. The 8-Flashy Gray looks much the best. I really like the 4-Awesome Mama. She was impressive enough in her last start that I immediately added her to my Virtual Stable and I've been waiting for her to start again. She's off a layoff, and I'll play her at right around 9 or 10 to 1.

Next up is the G2-Tampa Bay Derby for 3yos at 1 1/16 miles. Lots of colts making their first run around 2 turns, 5 in total, to include our hero, a bridge named 6-Verrazano. He's going off at insanely low odds. I really think there is a chance to beat him though, since pace figures to be hectic with the 1, 6, 7, and 9 all looking for a piece of the lead. I'm going with 2-Purple Egg. I've loved this colt for a while now and he should go off a really juicy odds. But the smart play is 5-Dynamic Sky coming from way back to get a piece of the purse at the wire.

After watching Verrazano, we're treated to the comeback of the BC Classic winner, Fort Larned, in race 10 at Gulfstream in the G2-Gulfstream Park Handicap at a mile. 3-Fort Larned is going to be hard to beat, but since I'm an idiot, I'm going to play 4-Discreet Dancer. He's much better around 1 turn, had a great 5f work two works ago (and his most recent work was most likely not all out), and Pletcher is really good 2nd off a layoff.

Swinging back out to the Vegas of Arkansas, The G3-Razorback is race 9 at Oaklawn Park at 1 1/16 miles for 4yo and older. I found this one really tough to handicap, but I settled on the 9-San Pablo at M/L of 9/2. I also think you're getting alot of value in the 7-Najjaar at 20/1.

In the last graded stakes action of the day, the G2-San Felipe rounds out the Graded Stakes action for the day at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. To me, it looks that 2-Flasback is much the best, but 3-Goldecents has been working like a world beater, plus Itsmyluckyday has made the form of the Delta Jackpot look really solid. But in my never ending quest for value picks, I'm looking at 4-Kochees since the pace could completely fall apart with 4 of the 9 runners wanting to be at or near the lead.

I have some off-track picks too for Oaklawn, but we can talk about them in the comments.

Date Track Race Gr. Age Sex Dist. Surf.
9-Mar GP Gulfstream Park Handicap 2 4up 8.0 Dirt
9-Mar SA San Felipe Stakes 2 3yo 8.5 Dirt
9-Mar TAM Tampa Bay Derby 2 3yo 8.5 Dirt
9-Mar OP Razorback Handicap 3 4up 8.5 Dirt
9-Mar OP Honeybee Stakes 3 3yo f 8.5 Dirt
9-Mar TAM Hillsborough Stakes 3 4up f&m 9.0 Turf
9-Mar FG Duncan F. Kenner Stakes 3up 6.0 Dirt
9-Mar FG New Orleans Ladies Stakes 4up f&m 8.5 Dirt
9-Mar TAM Suncoast Stakes 3yo f 8+40 Dirt
9-Mar AQU Fred "Cappy" Capossela 3yo 6.0 Dirt
10-Mar SA Las Flores Stakes 3 4up f&m 6.5 Dirt
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