Maiden Focus for Santa Anita (Saturday, April 3)

0-for-1 on Friday, with GIGI B going off @ 8/1 odds but failing to hit the board.

Santa Anita – Race 4

#5 BOBBY BO (9/5 ml)

I first noticed this colt a few weeks ago while researching the big MISSY P. debut  (write-up available here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/48657990 ). REEM was a pretty speedy older opponent who looked fine in her Feb 22 drill with BOBBY BO, but it was BOBBY BO who really caught the eye there, drifting way outside on the turn but just gobbling up the ground with huge strides in the middle of the track to thoroughly outwork the older filly. Just a big, powerful chestnut colt that actually reminds me of POINT GIVEN a little bit. He was kept solo next time out and made to hug the rail all the way around the track (no doubt to teach him a lesson after blowing the turn in previous drill), and he looked fantastic one again, galloping out very sharply while blowing past an unsuspecting horse who was working in front of him. Came out of that drill to blast barnmate LAUREL RIVER (also entered here), who ran once last October and finished mid-pack as a 6/5 favorite. BOBBY BO followed  up that drill by completely overwhelming the good older stakes mare QAHIRA, who is 5-for-9 lifetime, most recently running third in the G2 Santa Monica. All of this eye-catching activity will unfortunately go to waste, as this Baffert-trained NY-bred (don’t see many of those) brought $1.1 million at the April OBS (which for some reason isn’t showing up in the Brisnet PP’s?) will very clearly be no secret today. Much as with the MISSY P debut, he figures to win this race easily but will very likely get bet down to 3/5 odds or shorter. I’d be remiss not to give this colt out for obvious reasons, but this post is for informational purposes as much as any gambling angle.

Maiden Focus record:
Win record: 31-for-117 (26% winners)
Total mutuels: $261.60 ($8.44 average win price)

Regarding the 3 big Kentucky Derby preps today, I’ll offer my opinions below, but won’t include them in the Maiden Focus record for obvious reasons:

WOOD MEMORIAL:

I like PREVALENCE (3/1 ml) very much. He just looks like the best East Coast colt I’ve seen on the Derby Trail this year, although today’s race will mark his stakes debut. Very naturally speedy colt who has done everything very easily thus far; can race on the lead but also can relax enough to just bide his time behind a target and then finish very strongly. Very tractable colt who should be able to make his own trip. Two turns and a new racing surface are always potential issues, though I’ve seen nothing to suggest he shouldn’t win this race from a mere talent aspect. I suspect he’ll get it done today, and should be playable in the 2/1 or 5/2 range. There are some others in here who figure to attract support, so perhaps he’ll even be a little higher (but not much). Fwiw, I think he’s one of the Derby contenders who figures to benefit most from LIFE IS GOOD’s defection. Figures in the top flight of the Derby pace, assuming he gets there.

BLUE GRASS:

The race clearly goes through ESSENTIAL QUALITY (3/5 ml). No secret there.

SANTA ANITA DERBY:

This is where it gets interesting. The favorite here (perhaps heavy favorite) will be the hard-knocking Baffert colt MEDINA SPIRIT, but I feel DREAM SHAKE (7/2 ml) is the superior animal. He had been training extremely well prior to his debut, in a long series of drills available for viewing on XBTV. Proved he was for real when making a big middle move where he swept to the lead at 20/1 odds and continued widening through the stretch (I’ll never forgive myself for not handicapping that race, due to the presence of the heavy favorite BEZOS, whom I had no interest in due to his ridiculous 10/1 Kentucky Derby price here in Las Vegas). I thought he was the main challenger to LIFE IS GOOD in that one’s scintillating San Felipe score, but he was really in a tough spot there, giving away a lot of experience (including both two-turn and stakes experience) to the established Baffert colts, while being forced to battle along the rail inside of MEDINA SPIRIT behind the incredible fractions that LIFE IS GOOD was laying down in front of him (much faster than older stakes-types elsewhere on the card). Despite all that, he stuck to his task and did not wilt, battling hard all the way while taking all the worst of it for the reasons stated above, just finally tiring a bit late as MEDINA SPIRIT outlasted him to finish a well-beaten second behind the impressive winner. DREAM SHAKE appears almost certain to improve today with that race under his belt, and very likely with a much more favorable trip (though unfortunately he drew inside again). I think we’ve already seen what MEDINA SPIRIT has to offer, and though that one clearly must be respected, I feel DREAM SHAKE has already more than  matched that one under unfavorable circumstances, and offers far more upside given the expected improvement, while at the same time offering a much better price.

That brings me to the other horse I like in here, ROCK YOUR WORLD (4/1 ml). I gave this colt out in his debut (write-up available here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/45685608 ) back on New Year’s Day, and he delivered with a very impressive performance, showing good speed before powering away down the stretch with a beautiful reaching stride. Based on that performance, I liked him in his late-February stakes debut vs. the established stakes winner CATHKIN PEAK, and even mentioned to PTF via private message that I was surprised they weren’t taking a shot with him on dirt in a traditional Derby prep (especially considering his mom CHARM THE MAKER was fine on the main track, though it was synthetic back then). ROCK YOUR WORLD then went out and ran another big race, appearing just a touch shaky for a split-second while turning for home and trying to keep CATHKIN PEAK boxed inside, before really taking off once again as he got his feet under him through the straightaway, drawing away very impressively and galloping out so strongly that his rider appeared to have trouble pulling him up. Sure enough, he has now been switched to the main track, and I guess the patience paid off as he now has a nice two-turn win under his belt before tackling Derby types (unlike DREAM SHAKE in the San Felipe). Figures closer to the pace than DREAM SHAKE today, and if he does take to the dirt (he’s trained well over it, as mentioned in the above-posted write-up), he could very well be tough to hold off in the lane, as he really seems to lengthen his stride down the straightaway and figures to enjoy the added distance here. I’ve been really kinda torn between he and DREAM SHAKE for this race over the last few weeks, but just feel DREAM SHAKE is more proven vs. this kind of company (though as mentioned CATHKIN PEAK was no slouch), while also being proven on dirt. Expecting both colts to run well, and each should offer value behind the likely overbet favorite.

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Further reading

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