Kentucky Derby Preps for Saturday, March 6th

Kentucky Derby Preps for Saturday, March 6, 2010
by Kenneth Strong of

Sham Stakes G3 1 1/8-miles Santa Anita, Race 7

– Gotham Stakes G3 1 1/16-miles Aqueduct, Race 10

The rescheduled Sham Stakes goes Saturday, March 6 at Santa Anita and well be sticking with our original overlay pick from last week.

Alphies Bet has lower numbers than the favorites in the Sham, but hes still learning and he looks like he loves to run. Hell need to improve on the class raise but he has an exciting running style and should be an excellent price.Far back early in all his races, Alphies Bet likes to move out wide leaving the turn and kick it into the gear in the stretch. It will be interesting to see if he can do the same against this better bunch but hes just plain fun to watch!

In his third lifetime start on December 26 at Santa Anita, Alphies Bet finished second beaten 1 -lengths by West Coast division leader Caracortado in the California Breeders Championship going 1 1/16-miles over Pro-Ride while still a maiden. He donned blinkers for his next start and responded with a powerful rallying win in a one-mile Maiden Special Weight race on the turf at Santa Anita on January 15.

Hell need some pace to set up his late run, but there should be enough in the Sham and his runner-up finish behind Caracortado two starts back make us think he belongs despite his lower numbers. Win or lose he should provide some excitement.

Setsuko is the horse to beat and hes proven at the distance, having missed by only half a length to Alfarabi going 1 1/8-miles on the turf at Santa Anita in his last start on January 27. He broke his maiden with a hard-fought win going a mile and a sixteenth over Pro-Ride at Santa Anita in his start previous to that and he is a tryer. Additionally, he gets Santa Anitas leading rider Raphael Bejarano.

Another horse well be keeping an eye on is Kettle River, who moved up off a win in a mile and a sixteenth Maiden Special Weight race over the turf at Hollywood in November to win a N1X allowance race over Pro-Ride at Santa Anita on January 6. The Program, a more experienced runner who is also in the Sham, finished third in that race.

Also expected to be bet down is Nextdoorneighbor, who romped by four lengths going a mile and a sixteenth at Santa Anita in a Maiden Special Weight over Pro-Ride on January 24. But while he looked good winning, he didnt beat much and he moves way up in class for the Sham. At a short price, no thanks.

Well stick with Alphies Bet and Setsuko and hope the price is right on the former!

Also on the Santa Anita card for Saturday is the 73rd running of the Santa Anita Handicap, which goes as Race 10. A well-matched field means youll get your price and well be taking a shot on Jeranimo with leading rider Bejarano up. Listed at 8-1 on the morning line, Jeranimo won the Strub G2 at Santa Anita in his last start and recorded the best Beyer Speed Figure (104) of his career. We think hell be the best value bet in the race. Dakota Phone is another who could run well at morning-line odds of 15-1. Theyll all have to catch the 12-1 Mast Track, who should also be a decent price despite that fact that he looks like the lone speed. Others to consider in the Santa Anita Handicap include Misremembered, who probably needed his last race, a second place finish in the Strub; Neko Bay, who could be peaking for this race, and Loup Breton; who makes his first start on Pro-Ride off a good win in the San Marcos G2 going the todays distance of 1 -miles on the turf at Santa Anita.

The Gotham Stakes G3 at Aqueduct looks like a wait and watch race. If we bet anything in this race it will likely be Turf Melody at morning-line odds of 8-1. He enters the race off a sixth place finish in the Le Comte G3 at Fair Grounds on January 23, but leading Aqueduct rider Dominguez takes the call for the first time and were wondering if theres a reason for that. Peppi Knows, who won the messy Whirlaway at Aqueduct in his last start on February 6, is also worth a look at a price. Others well be including on our exotic tickets in the Gotham are Three Day Rush, Awesome Act and Yawanna Twist.

Good Luck!