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Learning From The Best In Horse Racing
Idol after winning the Santa Anita Handicap; the Racing Dudes team gave out his upset victo on the pre-race live stream (Credit: Benoit Photo)

Learning From The Best In Horse Racing

The last two weekends were especially great for horse racing fans.

Several Kentucky Derby (G1) prep races showcased potential developing superstars, Monomoy Girl made her successful return, and Will’s Secret won the Honeybee Stakes (G3) to establish herself as a possible Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender.

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I had the privilege to join the Racing Dudes and their sensational team on the past two Saturdays’ live feeds. I’ve done nothing in the handicapping world to deserve this opportunity, but I do have an advantage because I’m Aaron’s father. I’ve always said, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know – and that sure is true in this case.

Ricky Pasternak has done a fabulous job hosting and keeping the entire production moving, and the team of Aaron, Jared, Saratoga Slim, Magic, Mike, Dr. Miranda, and Vinny are a joy to be alongside. I’m no match with any of them (and I have a feeling they know it), but they put up with me anyway.

I want each of them to know how much respect I have for the work and the time that they put towards making this site and these shows possible. I just hope that I add something that fans enjoy.

“Papa Dude” joins a recent Racing Dudes Saturday Livestream

I consider myself some who knows more about this sport than the average horse racing fan, but when I get around the Racing Dudes team, I’m in awe of their knowledge.

What makes this site different is that when they discuss a race, they don’t care who wins, as long as they get it right for the listeners. Sure, they have their favorite horses, trainers, and jockeys, which can influence their selections, but they strive to help fans make money AND they have fun doing it.

That’s what this sport is all about: enjoying the thrill of watching horse racing with your friends and celebrating when someone makes money.

Papa Dude’s Derby Thoughts

Of the 5 Derby preps from the last 2 weeks, I think we saw 2 legitimate contenders, 2 so-so contenders, and 1 with a minimal chance to win on the first Saturday in May.

Life Is Good looked as good as it gets winning at Santa Anita. The strength of that field remains to be proven, but he made them all look very, very average. If he continues developing in the next two months, then he’ll be tough to handle. The other legitimate contender was the Brad Cox trainee Essential Quality. He beat Jackie’s Warrior, a good horse trained by Steve Asmussen, very easily, and Cox is a proven trainer and the next superstar.

I’m probably not giving Greatest Honour (trained by good old Shug McGaughey) enough credit, but I don’t see him in the same category as the top 2 at the moment despite winning 2 Gulfstream Park preps. The Mark Casse-trained Helium pulled off a surprise in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3); he’s undefeated and shows promise. The Gotham Stakes (G3) upset winner Weyburn has to be considered an outsider at this point.

Any talk of the Derby winner at this juncture is still premature; it’s like picking the national champion college football team after 3 games. So much can happen in the next 2 months, and let’s not forget how much the draw impacts things. A lot of great horses didn’t win the Derby because they had the misfortune of drawing dreadful starting positions. The Derby is sometimes decided on the Wednesday afternoon before, when they draw the post positions.

At any rate, the horse racing is heating up and the Rebel Stakes (G2) is this Saturday at the greatest race track in America, Oaklawn Park.

Have a great week, everyone, and good luck at the track.

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