Road to the Kentucky Derby is starting to pick up steam
February 14, 2017 3:06 AM
by Dave Valento
The road to the Kentucky Derby is starting to pick up steam. McCraken took his turn in the spotlight over the weekend when he roared home to win the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.
That made him four-for-four to start his career and he is now on the short list of Derby favorites. But this might be the year to dig deep for a ripe future bet. At this stage, no one has looked too imposing.
An interesting angle to consider is to glance over the maiden and allowance races over the next few weeks and look for a runner who might be a late developer but with big potential. The trick is to identify a runner yet to make a splash and get boxcar odds before he does. One such runner might be a first timer scheduled to run on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.
SOUPER TAPIT is listed 225-1 at the Wynn to win the Kentucky Derby in May. The high odds are due to the fact he has yet to run. He is a first time starter by Tapit and out of the Grade-1 winning route mare, Zo Impressive.
Zo Impressive took the G-1 Mother Goose in 2012 and was second in two other G-1 races in her short seven race career. The second dam on the female side, Zoftig, was also a G-1 winner in Canada and was beaten a nose in the G-1 Ashland in 2000. Souper Tapit is by Tapit, one of the most prominent sires in North America.
Mark Casse is the trainer of Souper Tapit and coming off a career season. Casse is also the trainer of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Classic Empire. The works have been sensational in preparation for the unveiling.
Souper Tapit is the 5-2 morning line favorite on Saturday and if he runs to his works and pedigree, he might just jump into stakes company next out. At 225-1, he makes a decent flyer. At the very least, his debut on Saturday will be fun to watch.
SA void of horses
Santa Anita is really struggling to put on a viable racing product. They carded three Grade-2 races over the weekend and drew a total of 16 horses. This can’t be blamed on the wet weather since this is the total amount entered in the three races.
It’s unclear what can be done but a possible retraction in racing days with looser conditions might be in order. This would not help the lack of runners in graded stakes but might beef up the field sizes of the other races. This is not your dad’s Santa Anita racing product. All of racing suffers when Southern California isn’t carding deeper, more interesting racing.
Play of the Week
It comes at Oaklawn Park in the 6th race on Thursday, a $40k maiden claimer going 1M-1/16. No. 6 STAND GUARD closed in well for 3rd in a common race on Feb. 2.
The track that day was heavily favoring speed and the top two finishers set the pace. He has faced much better company in the past and now catches a field full of early speed. It should set him up well for his late kick.
Stand Guard is 5-1 on the morning line. Post time for race 6 is 1:46 PT.