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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: Is it Alpha day? or does he follow Hansen

Last weekend kicked off the Derby run with the Holy Bull at GP and Hansen one of the top 3YO’s had a tough day.  Stumbled at the start and couldn’t hold off a determined Algorithms.   Today we have another 3YO affair the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct.  This race will be a tad longer going a mile and a sixteenth over the inner track.  Seven horses are entered for the Purse of $200,000.  The top horse today will be Alpha and he deserves to be there, but like last week, you never know about lightly raced 3YO’s.  Our goal today is to find the horse that can upset him, and we have a decent field to do just that.

Contenders:

#7 Alpha ML 1/1

Other than a terrible day in the BC Juvenile, his record is outstanding.  His last effort here at Aqueduct in the Count Fleet shows he lost no confidence in his abilities.  He carries the best Beyer’s and is the class of the field.   The only vulnerability is not with the horse so much but that McLaughlin has a miserable graded stakes record.  There is no doubt it is his day to send a message to all Derby contenders.

#1  Hakama ML 5/1

This colt has the breeding and speed to take this race.  He has won at this distance on this same course; Trombetta is taking him through his conditions and ton of upside.   Will be the front runner and should hold his own against Alpha.  There is other speed in this race, so Pimental has to be careful; if he rides  him right he will be there at the end.  If those odds hold would be hard not to take him.

#6  Tiger Walk ML 6/1

This 3YO is a X factor, his first route effort he won coming off the pace and popped a 83 Beyer, that makes him competitive right off.  I like barns that run small strings and do well with what they have, and this crew is no exception.  He has shown he will rate off the leaders and if a speed duel materializes he would be in position to take over.  His workouts have been good and Karamanos knows how to get the most from him. Dangerous horse.

Dark Horse:

#4  King Kid ML 4/1

One of Dale Romans youngster moves up in class after a respectable showing in the GP Derby, finishing third.  His speed figures have improved and a big switch to Luzzi.  I agree with DRF, that Dale sees something with this colt going from a maiden win to a $100K stakes and right back to a G3.  We will see j

Bombs Away:

#3  Swag Daddy ML 10/1

He has won his last two, both stakes races here at Aqueduct over the inner track.  His Beyer’s have improved modestly, but not strong enough to stay with some of these boy’s.  He shows versatility by going to the front or laying off, so it will be interesting to see the tactics Dutrow and Alavarado use here.   I like him for the horse for course angle, and just how much upside does he have? This might be the race he really opens up; we’ve seen it countless times before with 3YO’s.  One more minor note, Dutrow wins 35% with winners last out, a strong record.

Selections:

7 – 1 – 6  

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