Aqueduct will probably be a mess on Saturday so it's a good time to focus on the mudlarks. I think the proficient horse in the slop is one that is being overlooked and he might have had a great shot regardless. Executive Fleet has been in great form recently. His last two races were stellar and although they were against much lighter class sprinting is the easiest division to bypass the class levels. At to this the fact that only Bustin Stones and maybe Spring at last look truly first class. Bustin Stones has a poor post and has never been on a bad surface. He looks good but not overpowering. Horses like Premium Wine and Lord Snowden should be closing hard but I always prefer speed or tactical speed in the slop. Executive Fleet will likely settle just off the speed. His trainer Linda Rice is also very hot with all of her last 9 runners making the exacta.
I don't have a link online to the Past Performances so I was hesitant to feature this race but I do have what I feel is a strong fancy at a decent price so I'm including it anyway. The attention of this race will center around Daytona who is by all accounts a very nice turf horse. But one of the plays I love is to oppose good turf horses who are proficient at 9-10f when they cut back to 8f. He has also travelled back and forth across the country twice this spring and perhaps those exertions will catch up with him. Hyperbaric makes his turf stakes debut in this race but has already shown the ability to run very well at a mile. He has the look of a specialist with a quick turn of foot and the ability to settle either near the pace or off of it. He didn't run at all in 2007 but his first race back from injury was a good one where he was just beaten on the line. Canani is as shrewd as they come with a grass horse and this seemingly ambitious placement may look like a stroke of genius on Saturday night.
Santa Anita Derby
Colonel John is the horse to beat in this race. He's got the class and despite a narrow margin of victory in his last against El Gato Malo I think he'll handle that rival easier this time. He looked to be holding him safe at the line and should be all the more cranked for this race. The added distance will play more into his hands and I think El Gato Malo will struggle all the more as the race gets longer. The pace should be good with Bob Black Jack and Polonius, On The Virg could also add some spice up front. If I had to pick an upset in this race I'd definitely take Coast Guard. He looked like he had all the promise in the world in the Robert Lewis but he came totally unglued in the El Camino Real. His last sharp work indicates a real readiness and he may just get first run on Colonel John who may be more concerned with horses behind him. His figures show a good pattern for a possible bounce back and I'll use Coast Guard on all tickets as an alternative to the favorite.
I'm going back to the well in hopes of catching a play that worked last time. I think Eaton's Gift is a first rate sprinter and he has the chance here to avenge his only sprinting loss which came at the hands of Kodiak Kowboy. Kodiak Kowboy might be odds on in this field because there is a general feeling that this is the Kings Bishop winner in waiting. Kodiak Kowboy is very tough and does not exactly appear vulnerable on paper but I think there is a general underestimation of Eaton's Gift. He is the controlling speed, he loves Polytrack, he's razor sharp and he might be 3/1 or more. One can only hope at least. This is not really looking for an upset I'm actually thinking that Eaton's Gift can prove he's the better sprinter.