After catching the Louisiana Derby today, I still think Uncle Mo, Soldat and The Factor are the most visually impressive three-year-olds. Mucho Macho Man did not need to win the race, and Pants On Fire got a jockey winning at a higher percentage right now but barely beat a huge long-shot, so I am not sold on anyone from that race among the horses prepping for the Kentucky Derby. Just my two cents, though I'm very happy for Kelly Breen in having a player on May 7.
Since there are no NHC feeder contests for me for at least the next month, I'm still focusing on Del Mar's "for free" handicapping contest. Today's race has some compelling long-shots against 8-to-5 M/L favorite Rumor in Race 7, a 6-furlong $80k optional claimer on dirt. Assuming a full 10-horse field reaches the gate, I placed my mythical $100 win wager on #2, Moonstruck Maya, at a hefty 15-to-1 M/L, arguing that she needed the March 4 tuneup from an 8-month layoff.
Joel Rosario gets the mount for trainer John Sadler, and the connections placed this horse aggressively in a $100k stakes (The Landaluse at Hollywood Park) after her debut win in a $41k maiden special weight, and the video shows that Maya ran an even 5th on the downhill turf at a slightly lesser condition. With that effort under her belt, a switch to the lightning-fast dirt course, and with an inside post against a race with a ton of early speed, I think Maya can save ground and run a credible race. Otherwise, Rachel Jones, the #10, caught my eye as well at 8-to-1, despite facing tougher here. The past performances discredit Rachel Jones a bit in that, two back, in the $75k Sweet Life Stakes, the horse started badly when another contender threw its jockey and interfered with half the field. It seemed to me that Mike Smith knew he had no chance heading into the stretch and simply eased the horse, so I think that one is an excusable effort.
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