Top Long Shots Highlight Busy Derby Prep Week - Gotham, Tampa Bay - Super Screener
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Top Long Shots Highlight Busy Derby Prep Week – Gotham, Tampa Bay

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Gotham (G3)

Weyburn winning the Gotham was not much of a surprise as the Super Screener Top Long Shot pick that was used in 1st and 2nd in suggested wagers. The gargantuan odds of 46-1 and the running line he laid down in winning this race were surprises, however.

Check out those 94+ BRIS Pace/Speed Rating figures thrown down throughout this race including that very impressive 2nd call figure of 110. In addition, note that he earned these prodigious figures while dueling from gate to wire and then coming back on the rail, tenaciously, to repel the bid of Chad Brown’s Crowded Trade. 

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens always held this Pioneerof The Nile colt in high regard and has been patient with him… which paid off handsomely in this penultimate Kentucky Derby prep race. 

Now, this race was conducted going around 1-turn and at just a mile. Also, all of his success has come on the Aqueduct surface and we have seen other horses over the years that could not parlay that success over to another track, including Churchill Downs.  

With the huge pace figure earned in this race and the new lifetime top that was 13 points higher than his previous top, the risk for a bounce is very high especially if he tries two turns for the first time and runs outside of New York in his next start. The added ground, which he should readily handle, is not of concern, but going 2-turns on a new surface will be. You can bet connections are not going to look a gift horse in the mouth so watch for this talented colt to come back in the Wood Memorial here on the Aqueduct surface to win now and bag at least one more race before heading to Kentucky. 

Not ready to include this one as a viable Kentucky Derby contender just yet. Show us you can run this kind of race going 1 1/8 miles on another surface and I’ll be a believer.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2)

This turned out to be the weakest of the three Derby prep races this weekend, but certainly not the least interesting as Helium and Hidden Stash engaged in an epic battle down the stretch. Hidden Stash overtook his rival for a brief moment but Helium dug in and came back on the rail to prevail for the hard-fought win.

While this was a visually impressive win, the “numbers” came back on the weak side. However, for his first race off the 5-month layoff, to knock out nearly 90+ BRIS Pace/Speed Rating figures throughout in his first race on dirt and going a two-turn route, you can anticipate that he will build on this effort. Form cycle analysis is already projecting a very significant move forward for a colt that will relish more ground.  

He passed a lot of tests in this heat and, if in his next start (if they choose to run him again which is unlikely according to Mark Casse), he’ll need to pop a 100+ BRIS Speed Rating figure and do so going 1 1/8 miles if he is to have a shot at being at least a board-hitting, long shot contender in the Kentucky Derby. 

The suggested Exacta with Helium over Hidden Stash paid $425.

San Felipe (G3)

Life is Good… is really, really good. To date, the top Derby prospect in Bob Baffert’s barn is clearly the best of the West. He just dominated here in a stellar performance that featured nearly 100+ BRIS Pace/Speed Ratings from mid-race to the finish.

Once again, he found no challengers in the early going as the anticipated pressure from The Great One never materialized, so, out on the lone lead he went and then never looked back while opening up on the field. 

The added training Baffert added to this Into Mischief colt’s regimen to try and get him to harness some of that early energy, really paid off. That highlighted running line shows a very balanced release of his energy reserve. 

This race sets him up well for another move forward while going 9 furlongs in the Santa Anita Derby before going on to the Kentucky Derby. You can count on a small field in the Santa Anita Derby as not many will try to take this beast on. Hopefully he’ll be challenged and tested early in that race to secure that valuable experience. 
Medina Spirit finished 2nd to his stablemate again and is clearly the 2nd best 3 year-old on the West Coast. The venue of his next start is undecided but the Arkansas Derby would be a likely target based on Bob Baffert’s historical Derby prep strategy.

Top Value/Top Long Shot Picks Highlights

It was another strong showing this weekend for the Super Screener Top Value and Top Long Shot picks. Here are some of the highlights:

TAM 9th – G2 Hillsborough

Top Value Pick – Miss Teheren – 4th at 9-2

Top Long Shot Pick – Morning Molly – 2nd at 11-1

 TAM 11th – G2 Tampa Bay Derby  

Top Long Shot Pick – Unbridled Honor – 4th at 21-1

Vulnerable Favorite – Candy Man Rocket – 11th at 8-5

AQU 9th – Grade G3 Gotham 

Top Long Shot Pick – Weyburn – 1st at 46-1

SA 10th – G1 Santa Anita Handicap

Top Value Pick – Idol – 1st at 5-1

Vulnerable Favorite – Maxfield – 3rd at 1-1

The Super Screener was spot on with this race taking a stand against Maxfield with our lone “A” horses Express Train and Idol locking up the Exacta.  Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about these horses prior to the race:

The Super Screener rated Maxfield as “vulnerable” as the odds-on favorite having to over come the ship to CA and without training on a very tiring track, going 1 ¼ miles for the first time while facing much tougher competition.

The spotlight shifts now to Oaklawn Park this Saturday with the running of the G2 Rebel Stakes which is the key local Derby prep heading into the G1 Arkansas Derby. That race will be supported by other stakes races including the G2 Azeri. Santa Anita will feature the G1 Beholder Mile while Laurel Park will be host to several non-graded stakes races. Plenty of action to take in before heading to the Fair Grounds for the G2 Louisiana Derby the following weekend.

Until this coming weekend…Go Fast and Win! 

Mike