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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: Take Charge Indy in Tampa Bay Derby

Last Sunday, in the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream our "Bombs Away" selection, Inspired, won that race going off at around 4/1. That isn't necessarily a "Bombs Away" price, but I do subscribe to Mark Cramer's philosophy, over 4/1 should bring fair value.  However, she went from 8/1 to 4/1, is that still fair value? I would have said, yes. Due to the money was spread all over those entrants, and if you liked the Iwinski trainer angle, why not?  The key is not to over handicap.

Today, we stay in Florida and head to the gulf side and will play the 32nd running of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Purse $350,000.  This race is for 3YO's going a mile and sixteenth on the main course.  This race is one of those Derby hopeful opportunities and we 12 entered (there were no scratches at this time).  I will say right now, I can't make up my mind who I like more, #7 Battle Hardened or #10 Take Charge Indy. I know many will say, what about the #9 Spring Hill Farm? Well, let me answer that in the analysis, so here we go ...

Contenders:

#10  Take Charge Indy ML 3/1

Some will say he has only won one race, his maiden, and that is true.  However, his next three outings were at the Graded level (G3,G2,G1) and ran up against some of the toughest horses out there. I won't name them here, but look at the PP's and you will see them.  The point is he ran well in those races, except maybe the BC Juvenile were he got steadied at the 7/8 pole and finished 5th, six plus back. He comes back at a 3YO and has a good race yielding late to El Padrino, who won the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds.  Out of that race, you see a strong Beyer improvement to 93, it was on a good track not fast, and Borel has taken over.  Throw in his racing style of going forward, and workout tab is strong, he just looks good here. Now if we can get 3/1 or better!

#7 Battle Hardened  ML 9/2

Took the big step from maiden victory to capture the Davis (G3) here Tampa Bay.  Kennealy is bringing him along nicely, this would be the natural progression for him.  Every race shows improvement in speed and racing style.  He has raced gamely in each event and it looks like Leparoux is the man going forward.  I agree with the DRF report, "should be right there when the smoke clears".

#9 Spring Hill Farm ML 5/2

Has won two in a row, moving through conditions, shown good improvement in Beyers (79-85) and trained by Pletcher.  Today, will be his first real test, and he is going up against horses with more experience, also for me a big jockey change with Castellano taking over for Velazquez (not sure why?).  In his last he weakened a bit at the end going a mile, it was a sloppy track that day, so not sure if that affected him. But in the end, I'm not feeling it with him.

Dark Horse:

#1 Prospective ML 8/1

This 3YO had a really nice 2YO campaign going until he hit the Hansen buzz saw (toss in Union Rags and Creative Cause that day) in the BC Juvenile.  In his first three races, he showed nice speed progression, after the BC mess, he starts his 3YO season with the same progression, but better.  I think Mark Casse has a good one here, and I like him in this race.  He started the season winning a $65K stakes race and then almost caught Battle Hardened in the Davis (G3), all here at Tampa Bay. It is interesting that Casse is adding blinkers today for the first time, and Casse has a solid record with this move.  At 8/1, he would be my play today.

Bombs Away:

#12 Cajun Charlie ML 15/1

Shipping in from Delta Downs, with three wins in a row over stakes company. He has shown excellent speed in both sprints and a route.  His running style says he will go to the  lead with Spring Hill Farm, and could just runaway with it.  Some discount horses coming in from DeD, but for me they are some of the toughest ones out there.  The connections are staying with Herbert, so that says they are serious with him, and Brian House is one crafty trainer.  The only issue is his post, for a front runner he will have to hustle and that might be tough with this group of forward runners, but it will be interesting.

Selections:

10 - 7 - 9

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