West Coast takes Kentucky Derby again

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The West Coast dominates again in the Kentucky Derby, even more so this year, finishing first with American Pharoah, second with Firing Line and third with American Pharoah’s stablemate Dortmund. The others never made an impact and now the Triple Crown talk begins.

So why all of a sudden the last two years have West Coast horses won the Kentucky Derby? Better training conditions with the great weather? 

My thoughts are that since the wise men at Santa Anita and Del Mar, starting in July, went back to a conventional dirt surface it has made all the difference. And we will see more trainers shipping to California to run in the winter and also take a shot at the ship-and-win bonus money.

This will happen unless those crazies in the California political arena decide they need more tax dollars to crap away. We hope not as the racing at Santa Anita has been first class since the move back to dirt and we will be looking at the same when Del Mar opens Thursday, July 16.

Just a few of my personal thoughts on this year’s Kentucky Derby: The bettors were lined up in the race books and it reminded me of back in the 70’s when the race books here in Vegas were always jam-packed, and then friends and I headed to my humble abode to take in the Kentucky Derby, eat, drink and have a good time. But NBC put a damper on that as they were treating this race like some Hollywood award show. Watching it was like going to the dentist and getting a root canal with no novocain; in fact I would have preferred the root canal. Just another bad effort by the PC crowd at NBC.

Now it will be on to the Preakness in just a short two weeks and the question will be can American Pharoah stay healthy through the grueling Triple Crown’s last two legs and how many will take a shot at him in the Preakness?

Will Firing Line take another shot at this shorter distance? We think so. Will Baffert take another shot with Dortmund? We think so as he will need to run with Firing Line. We could see a rematch of the top three and that would be a good thing.

As of Monday Baffert looks like he will try Dortmund in the Preakness as will Simon Callaghan send Firing Line for the rematch. Trainer Mark Casse, who had 5th place finisher Danzig Moon ready for a big race, said he will most likely send Danzig Moon to Woodbine to run in the Queens Plate.

Todd Pletcher who now has gone 1 for 43 in the Kentucky Derby will likely pass with his three runners. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of the 4th place finisher Frosted said he ran the best race of his life but will pass the Preakness. The Preakness will have a few new shooters but it is rounding out to be a short field.

Sunday morning I strolled into Palace Station after 6:30 a.m. Mass and as usual the first person I saw was GiGi Burdette in the race book getting the daily race sheets out. I knew she purchased the fight and since I had not yet read how the fight went (I did know Mayweather won), I asked her how she liked it. GiGI’s answer: “I thought I was watching ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ two pretty boys waltzing around the stage. People should demand a refund as they can watch ‘Dancing’ for free on Monday night.” I don’t think GiGi thinks she got her “money’s” Mayweather worth!

The big story in baseball last week was as Butch Cassidy said to the Sundance Kid (or was it the Kid who said it to Sundance), “Who are those guys?” Can the Houston Astros, who won 10 straight games and opened up a commanding 7 game lead in the AL West, continue the hot streak? They started a three game home stand yesterday against rival Texas, so we will find out.

The Pirates just cannot win a close game as they dropped all three games in Saint Louis (2-1, 2-1 and 3-2), losing the last two in extra innings.  Their mental state could be messed up after those three horrid losses. The Yanks swept their hated rival the Boston Red Sox at Fenway and the Sox fans were not a happy group. We will be waiting for the Red Sox to travel to New York for some revenge.

We will be going over the Preakness in next week’s GamingToday and I will be doing a horse-by-horse handicap. And always remember, don’t be a couch potato, get out and make a bet even if it’s a $5 parlay or $2 across on a nag. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it, as my dear old dad “Broadway” Bennie would say to my mother Mary when she asked him why he had to go to Waterford Park every night.

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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