Going to do an extra blog for CD Saturday for those that want to try and hit the Oaks, Turf Classic, Derby Pick 3. Damn tough wager. First of all this race is only 9F. We need to see what distance horses have been running previously and see if there are horses with an advantage at 9F. The PFDS% column is a big clue. There is heavy rain coming down the past couple days so the course could have some give in it. Some horses like that and it definitely makes the race seem longer. There is also very little speed in the race so am going to prefer horses that run in striking distance of the lead. Looking at the sheet the race gets a Bet Score of *4* which is good. The favorites are not on top of sheet. With that said, 6 of 9 horses get a letter grade so it's not going to be easy to pick a winner.
1. Masteroffoxhounds - Cutting back from solid effort going 12F. Rail draw is probably ok, but distance is likely way too short with Dam sire of Galileo. A closer in race with little pace. Going to look elsewhere.
2. Count Again - Another deep closer. After winning G2 at DMR, flopped as favorite at SA. Comeback race going a mile in a G1 was impressive. Has won races at 8.5F and 10F. 9F should be fine. This one will finish with a flourish at a huge price. Definitely use in vertical exotics.
3. Colonel Liam - Has won 3 in a row including Pegasus going 9.5F without LASIX which was a superstar effort. Gets lowest PFDS Odds in field and fits race perfectly with PFDS% of 1.0. Short price is the only problem and horse likely goes off at EVEN money.
4. Ivar - This horse has never run without LASIX and is coming off a 5 month layoff. Could inherit the lead early and has won wire 2 wire. Not a fan of his connections but does have a G1 win to his credit. Think he will need the race. Positives are his price. Gets A+ grade and $9 of value.
5. Domestic Spending - Another coming off a long layoff but this one can fire fresh for excellent connections. Deep closer needs to save ground. There are 5 closers in the race with 9 horses making it tough. Looks like an underlay and tries older horses for the first time.
6. Digital Age - 2 for 2 at 9F and can definitely fire fresh for Chad Brown. Sits on top of my sheet with a solid B grade. Another deep closer.
7. Smooth Like Strait - Likely gets the early lead or stalks Ivar close. This horse has a win at the distance and is making 2nd start of 2021 on 8 weeks rest. Narrowly lost G1 mile race in last start without LASIX. Been running on hard California turf courses. Rispoli has 3 wins on him. Strong contender.
8. Cross Border - Getting a little long in the tooth at age 7. Was no match for Colonel Liam in Pegasus. 9F distance is probably preferred with BEST odds improving to 4.5-1.
9. Ride a Comet - Soundly beaten in Kilroe by others in here and don't see a reversal.
Bottom Line - Colonel Liam may be a beast and if you think so, single in verticals and horizontals. If you are trying to beat Colonel Liam, take a shot with Ivar or Smooth Like Strait hoping the pace and surface turn out to be advantages to horses running near the lead. Smooth Like Strait is my choice. Think his odds could drift up as both Chad Brown horses are going to take money. Good luck!