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Baseball a nice change from hoops

Spring is in the air and there is a full schedule of baseball, but the question persists what do you get when an NBA player wakes up on a nice sunny spring day; well you get six more weeks of basketball, as if anyone really cares.

I haven’t watched an entire NBA game since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson battled it out. If you enjoy seven foot tattooed overpaid men lumbering down the court, the NBA is your cup of tea.

The good thing is that spring is in the air and the boys of summer are playing baseball every day and before you know it we will be betting football parlay cards. But you never know, they could still be playing NBA playoff games.

I did enjoy watching the NCAA tournament as it was one of the most balanced and exciting that I have ever watched; I wonder how far the U-Conn women would have gone?

I hope all you baseball bettors have all of your betting tips cut out and pasted that I passed on in this column but the most important is just stay away from those big favorites and take every run line you can find +1½ runs plus money (+1½ +105 for higher).

And I love those home dogs; we will keep track of how these betting strategies are doing and also see if any trends are developing.

There were three major Kentucky Derby prep races this past week: the Santa Anita Derby, the Illinois Derby and The Wood Memorial at the Big A. The Wood and the Santa Anita Derby are both Grade 1 races and the Illinois Derby is a Grade 3. The Illinois Derby was won by American Lion who captured the lead out of the gate, he did turn back a bid by the Richard Dutrow trained Yawanna Twist and drew off while Yawanna Twist was more than 14 lengths clear of the rest, none of these will be in the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

In the Wood, the odds-on Eskendereya cruised to the front on the turn with jockey J R Velazquez looking over his shoulder for some competition but there was none and he went on to win by almost 10 lengths in what looked to be a very scary performance, albeit in a not so fast time. But as easy as he won I am sure he could have gone much faster with some better competition. I am not sure if this was a tough enough race for him to be ready for the grueling 1¼ mile Kentucky Derby versus the best of his age group.

But he may give trainer Todd Pletcher his best shot at winning his first Kentucky Derby. Pletcher could have almost half the field in the Derby; well, he could have eight of the 20 if he wants and if he started all eight that would give him a total of 32 total starters in the Derby without a winner.

At Santa Anita it was Sidney’s Candy who was allowed to set some pedestrian early fractions to win with ease after the odds on Lookin At “un” Lucky got in all kinds of trouble while down on the rail. Jockey Espinoza got a three day vacation for the his ride on Who’s Up when he cut off Lucky and Gomez who rode Lucky just got a $750 dollar fine for punching Espinoza in the mouth.

Trainer Bob Baffert was not happy about the ride Gomez gave Lucky as he said it was “horrendous” but he also said Gomez would ride him in the Kentucky Derby but I am not sure if this race did enough for Lucky. The horse that ran super was the second place finisher, the Richard Mandella trained Setsuko who came from last making a five wide run into the stretch and just stormed down the middle of the Santa Anita stretch and just has the looks of a 1¼ horse.

He did get $150k for the second place finish but I don’t know if it will be enough to get in the field of 20; if so go to Super Pawn with your best watch or gold bracelet and get some cash to bet on this guy and use him first and second at what will be a big price, if he doesn’t get in the Derby look for him at Belmont Saturday June 5 for the Belmont Stakes, that will give you time to come up with some of that baseball money that you will be winning.

Don’t forget about the big Kentucky Derby seminar Thursday, April 29, at 6:3.0. p.m. in the Palace Station race and sports book featuring myself, Vic Vivio, race book supervisor at Palace and the all knowing Ralph Siraco.


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