By Ed DeRosa
If you’re the type who thinks that racing needs its stars to keep racing to increase interest, then this is the Saturday for you!
The one-two finishers and beaten favorite in America’s richest race all make the second start of their season on Saturday at Santa Anita Park in the Santa Anita Handicap, and last year’s Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday and Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice make their four-year-old debuts in the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
Mucho Macho Man won the Breeders’ Cup Classic over Will Take Charge, but the latter went on to defeat the aforementioned Classic favorite Game On Dude in the Clark Handicap, a win that gave Will Take Charge champion three-year-old male honors—a distinction for which Palace Malice was a finalist. And though Game On Dude is on a three-race losing streak, he is a back-to-back Big Cap winner and Southern California’s most famous horse since Horse of the Year Zenyatta and dual classic winner I’ll Have Another.
The exciting part about all this isn’t necessarily that these horses are racing this weekend, or even against each other this once—it’s that they’re all around to earn a championship, and that will mean facing each other again down the line.
Throw in the Kilroe Mile, which features horses more used to seeing the backside of two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, and there is plenty to look forward to both in the short-term of great racing on Saturday and long-term on what could happen the rest of the year.
For a complete list of handicapping products for Big Cap day, including PPs, data files, analysis, and workout reports, visit Brisnet.com.
These dream races never happen (e.g. Rachel Alexandra versus Zenyetta), but the thought of a Woodward Stakes with Itsmyluckyday, Mucho Macho Man, Palace Malice, Will Take Charge, and Wise Dan plus whoever else shows up (Alpha, probably) is the type of race we’ve all waited a long time for.
And all this discussion doesn’t even address racing’s glamor division, the current three-year-old males who are blazing the Triple Crown trail in a pair of 85-point races on the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby Championship Series: the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.
Both are part of the TwinSpires.com Road to the Kentucky Derby SHOWdown with 255 players still live to the $1-million with 14 races to go, including these two. After starting with the first four, I’ve missed the next two (Rise Up in the Risen Star and Harpoon in the Gotham), and if I were playing would be one of 422 players tied in 671st behind the 415 players with five and the aforementioned group live to the $1-million.
My picks for this week are Hy Kodiak Warrior in the Tampa Bay Derby and California Chrome in the San Felipe. The former race features a bunch of horses all capable of Brisnet.com Speed Ratings in the low 90s, and I refuse to take a short price on equal talent. Hy Kodiak Warrior is a “P” type in terms of running style, and he’ll have plenty of targets here while his bullet workouts at Calder Race Course tell me he’ll be tractable and put in a good position.
The San Felipe trio of California Chrome, Kristo, and Midnight Hawk easily cover the most likely winners of this race, and I’m hoping California Chrome is third choice against the Sham Stakes exacta, as he’s comfortably my top pick and would be value for me at 3-to-1 or better.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the big-time action actually starts Friday night in the States with the simulcast of three Group 1 races from Australia, including the Darley Australian Cup featuring last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorentine in a rematch with top three-year-old Shamus Award plus the Newmarket and Norton Stakes as well.
For analysis of all three races plus information on TwinSpires.com Lucky 7s $21,000 promotion throughout the Autumn Carnival Down Under, click here.
by Brisnet.com Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa