Jeff Ruby


This 50 point Derby Prep used to big very significant.  I remember Summer Squall won this race back in 1990 on the way to a 2nd in Derby and victory in Preakness.  This year, with the race on synthetic surface, no horse is part of Future Wager 5 but the winner will be in the Derby and is worth consideration as horses can jump forward first race on dirt.  The pace of the race looks fair (maybe slightly fast) so don't think it is worth consideration.  A full field makes this one a great betting race of *4*.

1.  Like the King - Solid effort in John Battaglia and horse figures to improve in 2nd start of year.  Contender but price is not great.  Bullet 5F work @ KEE, this is a horse who could jump up in Kentucky Derby.  Will get to save ground throughout and is a solid choice to hit the board.

2. Hush of a Storm - Was a logical local choice in John Battaglia and won @ 6.7-1.  Won't get that price today.  Son of Creative Cause who was 3rd in Derby.

3. King's Ovation - Has not run well against winners and would need a form reversal on first synthetic start.  They overpaid $200K for this colt and he's an unlikely long-shot.

4. Awesome Gerry - Respectable 5th position on sheet with 20-1 M/L.  Ranked 3rd on PFDS Odds and gets $3 of value.   Price seems right but this is still a big long-shot that will need a synthetic form reversal.

5. Sainthood - All out to win 8.5F maiden race with LASIX on.  Pletcher is only 9% on synthetic.  Pass.

6. Smiley Sobotka - Huge disappointment in Sam F Davis.  Romans has not been doing well on the Triple Crown trail.

7. Tarantino - Excellent turf form and ran solid in two tough FL dirt preps.  Could improve on synthetic to contend but is the morning line favorite so price is too low.  Use in serials.

8. Moonlite Strike - Ran well at huge odds in Tampa Bay Derby three weeks ago and adds blinkers which should make him more focused on the lead.  One of several in here that will try for lead but bullet work on 3/20 gives added confidence.  Synthetic form is unknown but at 12-1 M/L and second on sheet gets $12 of value.  Playable.

9. Hard Rye Guy - Bet this horse in John Battaglia and he had trouble with bad start closing from far back.  Been right there with Hush of a Storm previously and will be much longer price.  Definitely use underneath.

10. Gretzky the Great - Was a bad favorite wager at EVEN money in John Battaglia but ran well on lead from the rail draw before tiring late.  Will get a target to run at today and should stake the pace from the 10 hole.  Definite contender that figures to improve in 2nd start of year.  Landeros/Casse profitable together.

11. Dyn O Mite - Heavily raced at age 2 but horse improved when moved to turf.  Will try for lead from 11-hole which could cause him to tire late.  Pedigree not geared towards 9F but should handle the synthetic fine.  Drops LASIX but he has run well without it before.  Interesting long-shot but leaning elsewhere

12. Hockey Dad - Horse has won 3 straight against Cal-breds with LASIX on.  Forwardly placed on dirt or turf figures to lose ground into first turn from 12-hole.  Respect O'neill shipping at a big price but this one appears unlikely.

Bottom Line - Major contenders for win are 1,2,7,8,9,10.  With race this wide open definitely look for a price.  #8 will be the win wager and will use #9 underneath.  Must use #2 as well in vertical exotics as this horse will be closing strongly with perfect draw for at least a piece. Watching tote closely to see if other horses get ignored in betting.