The Road to Kentucky Week 3 Recap

muscle

Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California, was the contest track for the Week 3 Road to Kentucky contest. The featured El Camino Real Derby marked the return of Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens, who made his first Golden Gate Fields appearance since winning the 1998 San Francisco Mile aboard Hawksley Hill. After retiring in 2005 due to chronic knee-pain and burnout, Stevens returned last year rejuvenated to ride Oxbow, Mucho Macho Man, Beholder, and She’s a Tiger in a brilliant comeback campaign. Stevens was named on El Camino favorite Enterprising, for trainer Tom Proctor.

However, the more things change the more they remain the same. While Gary Stevens is the national star, Russell Baze is the local hero. Northern California racing has been dominated by jockey Russell Baze for decades, and Saturday was no different. In Russell The Muscle’s seven mounts on the card, the “other” Hall-of-famer secured 4 wins, 1 second and 1 third, generating 729 contest points on his own. Considering the maximum contest points available for the entire card was 1,671, it would be foolish to argue otherwise that the “Baze” angle wasn’t the best way to go on this Saturday. Playing Baze, and then correctly selecting the winner in the two races that Baze wasn’t riding would have generated a score of 1,209, a likely overall weekly winner.

Of the 27 in-the-money horses on Saturday, only 2 went postward at odds of 10-1 or higher and they both hit the board in the same race. The 8-1 winner in Race 2 was worth 314 contest points which was tops on the day. Three favorites and four second choices were victorious, rendering the bomb-tossing strategy useless on this day. The winning score will likely fall in the 1,100-1,200 point range and scores figure to be pretty bunched.

Baze got the better of Stevens in the featured El Camino Real Derby, winning with 2-1 second choice Tamarando, while Stevens only managed third aboard 6/5 favorite Enterprising. Neither of these runners was on my radar, as I had selected Craftsman (12-1) who was no factor. Once again I was outside the box with my selections, and managed only 1 second and 1 third place finish on the day. But I will keep the faith!

Next week the contest is at Gulfstream Park, featuring the Fountain of Youth Stakes. There is also an additional bonus race at Fair Grounds, the Risen Star. Hope to see you here!

The Oracle

 

Road to Kentucky, Angela at Hawthorne & More

R2KThe $30,000 Road to Kentucky Tournament continues Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The double point bonus race Derby prep is the $200,000 G3 El Camino Real. Post time is 2:45pm for the nine-race card and entries to this free contest are due before that.

Only three of the nine entered in the El Camino Real are nominated to the Triple Crown – #1 Wildcat Moon, #4 Manando, one of two from the Bob Baffert stable, and #5 Zeewat trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who has won three of the last seven El Camino Reals.

Manando, 9/5 ML favorite, looks like a need-the-lead type who has two victories from five starts and both came when he established a clear lead. Wildcat Moon from the rail likely goes for a run and challenges early.

Zeewat, under Russell Baze, should sit a perfect trip just off the pace, getting a classic Baze ride. The Hall of Fame jockey has won six of the last eight renditions of this prep. The price won’t be huge but he figures to be right there.

Baffert’s other colt, #8 Carving, is worth a long look too. He is a closer that crawled home to win the Real Quiet Stakes but he too will close into the pace if Baffert’s rabbit comes to a halt.

If you are looking for an R2K bomb, how about #3 Counting Days at 30-1 on the line? He was a maiden claimer at Saratoga in his debut and won in his third start, also for a tag, at Keeneland on the synthetic. Carla Gaines took over the conditioning and tried him in a G3 race where he ran a respectable yet non-threatening seventh. He followed that up with a dismal 15-length drubbing in a sprint. He is rested and double digits. This just has the feel of a horse that could get better. You win R2K contests by hitting a bomb in the bonus race. Swing away.

Hawthorne Spring Meet Begins Friday

A sure sign that spring is on the way is the return of racing in Chicago-land. Hawthorne fires up its meet Friday at 1:35pm. Racing at Hawthorne usually attracts large and competitive fields and offers wagering value. Plus you will see several horses and trainers that will be in Shakopee this summer including Clay Brinson and Joel Berndt. Hawthorne offers a pair of 50-cent pick 4s each day as well as rolling $1 doubles and $1 pick 3s.

Canterbury’s track analyst Angela Hermann will be at Hawthorne for the meet offering race analysis on-air and online. You can find her selections each day here.

The Hawthorne meet concludes at the end of April so Angela will be back to Shakopee before the Kentucky Derby and ready for the opener at Canterbury May 17.

Gorg Preposterous?

Canterbury’s former track handicapper Kevin Gorg gets a lot of air-time these days on Fox Sports North and on the radio at KFAN 100.3 FM. During the course of his work day, he talks for a living… after all, he may on occasion stretch or embellish the truth or make it up as he goes along. He is a pro.

That wasn’t lost on Dan ‘The Comman Man’ Cole when yesterday he released the brackets for his annual and brilliant Preposterous Statement Tournament. Cole installed Gorg as a #1 seed in the National Windows region. Have a look here at what statement allowed Gorg to capture the #1 Seed (Hint: It’s a horse racing statement) and get ready to vote online early and often.

Paul Allen, our beloved track announcer, is a Preposterous Statement Hall of Famer, and has numerous entries in this year’s PST including a #2 seed in the Canterbury Park region. He is odds-on each and every day from 9 to noon on KFAN to utter something tournament worthy.

This blog was written by Canterbury Media Relations Manager Jeff Maday. Maday has filled multiple positions including Media Relations and Player Relations Manager since the track reopened in 1995.