Mets, Pharoah come off Amazin’

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Is football here yet! Baseball has been very choppy so far in this young season with the exception of a few teams that have stormed out of the gate and some limping.

The “Amazing” Mets have stormed out and won eight straight games heading into their home series on Tuesday with the Braves, who began the week 1-1/2 games behind NY in the NL East. The Mets look to keep their home win streak (7-0) alive and their overall victory run to 9 in a row.

In the NL Central, the Cardinals are in their usual spot sitting on top and another team very hard to beat at home, having gone 5-1 at Busch. They hit the road on Tuesday to start a road trip that takes them to Washington and Milwaukee. It looks to be a log jam behind the Cards with the Buccos, Cubbies and Reds in the chase for second.

In the NL West the Dodgers sit atop the perch, only playing three road games and they have gone 8-1 at home. The boys in blue will be hitting the road this week as they travel to play the slumping Giants, who have really stunk it up so far this year, and then off to play a big series with the second place Padres.

The AL East has a complete log jam with no separation so far from the top to the bottom. In the AL Central the Tigers have started strong and I like the fact they have gone 5-1 both on the road and at home going into Monday’s series in Detroit with the Yanks.

The Royals will be right there if the Indians continue their disappointing start. Many, myself for one, thought this is the year of the Tribe. I do keep dreaming of a World Series with the Pirates and Indians.

What a pipe dream that is!

In the AL West there is not much to talk about. The Astros sit atop the West with a 6-6 record. This division looks wide open.

Did I ask the question is football here yet?

Horsing around

The Kentucky Derby is less than two weeks away, so here are a few notes to keep everyone abreast of some things taking place.

This past Saturday was the 58th running of the Grade 3 $400K Illinois Derby. Mostly because of politics, there are no Kentucky Derby points awarded for this race but that didn’t stop trainer Bob Baffert (who already has three horses in this year’s Run For the Roses, including the probable two favorites in Dortmund and American Pharoah) from sending Whiskey Ticket to run. Low and behold Whiskey got the nose win and took home a cool $240K.

Not a bad day’s work.

As for American Pharoah, well this handicapper thought it was great to see him out galloping around in the rain at Churchill Downs. It shows Baffert has him ready, rain or shine.

The only thing that will not have him ready would be the death nail – the dreaded No. 1 post position. Baffert’s other big gun the undefeated Dortmund, who has rattled off six straight wins including a victory at Churchill Downs, worked a bullet at Santa Anita in 58.4. Dortmund will get one more breeze at Churchill before the Derby.

Three-time winning Kentucky Derby jockey Calvin Borel acquired the mount on El Kabeir, a hard hitting colt who has gone to the post nine times getting four wins, two seconds and two thirds. Kabeir also owns a win at Churchill Downs and Borel was aboard.

In what was a real nice work longshot Danzig Moon worked 5 furlongs in 58 flat. He looks to be coming to the Derby on the uptick.

Leading Southern California jockey Raphael Bejarano acquired the mount on longshot Bolo. We may need to put a BOLO out after the race to locate him. Just kidding.

In next week’s column I will go over all the runners and make a few predictions before posts are drawn. Remember all of the great seminars around the city, especially the one at Palace Station on Thursday, April 30 at 6 p.m. with yours truly, Ralph Siraco from the very popular radio show Race Day Las Vegas and legendary professional handicapper Professor Gordon Jones.

Everything is free, the seminar, food, soft drinks along with cocktail service. Always remember, get out and make a bet. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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