Saturday, September 24, 2011

Million Dollar Derby Value Play

This year’s Grade 11 Pennsylvania Derby, with a purse of a million dollars, will be run at a mile and 1/8, and features a pretty decent group of three year olds.
 The morning line favorite is Ruler On Ice (5-2), this year’s Belmont victor. Though he may get his preferred wet track, a mile and 1/8 is not his distance. And he is giving a lot weight to the entire field  in here. I am looking elsewhere for some value.

To Honor and Serve (Bernadini) (3-1) is coming off a decent win after being taken off the Derby Trail with a suspensory injury. His comeback race was going short, and set him up for a romp against older allowance horses. He is in light with 114. But will he return to his earlier 3 year old form?

Rattlesnake Bridge, a Tapit colt (4-1), never fails to run a good one and appears to be figuring it out. Not excited about his drifting in the late stages of theTravers, although it was a very good effort. He has had two nice works since then and should have recovered from that game second.

The horse I like in here is Arthur’s Tale. He is coming off a 6 month layoff, so he is being discounted at 12 to 1. By Bernadini, out of the multiple graded stakes winner Owsley, he was originally on the Triple Crown trail till he developed a stress fracture, though another report read that he originally popped a splint. Either way, both are relatively minor injuries which horses can come back from, many times, with no ill effects.

Arthur’s Tale was originally pointed to the Travers, so he was clearly “almost” ready to run. He has been given another month and three more works. This should have him dead fit. Giving time to a talented three year old never hurts. He showed improvement in his last two races in the spring, one- a win on an off track, and another game second, by a neck, to Toby’s Corner in the Wood Memorial, while still beating the bigger than life, Uncle Mo.

I don’t think we have seen the best of Arthur’s Tale yet, I think there’s still upside potential there.  And he is getting in light with 114. That’s TEN POUNDS less than the favorite. Arthur’s Tale at 12-1 is clearly, to me, the value play.

I look to see a big effort from this colt on his return to the races. And an off track should not hurt his chances. Will he “need” the race? At double digit odds, I’m taking a chance that he will be ready to roll.

Lots of good racing luck to all who are wagering today and a safe trip for all our equine friends.

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