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Wow what a day of racing across the country with Kentucky Derby Prep races at Keeneland, Aqueduct, and Santa Anita. It’s gearing up folks as we are getting closer and closer to the first Saturday in May. So let’s see if we can find a few winners at Oaklawn and take a stab on the Men’s Final Four today and tonight in Indianapolis.
Let’s start with Oaklawn:
My pick is the #2 Alex’s Strike from the Asmussen barn. It is never a mistake going with a horse from this barn and this one seems like a very good bet. The only problem is what will the final line be? If it stays around even money bet it.
I’m going to play a 50 cent pick 3 starting in this race. I’m going to single #2 Alex’s Strike in the 2nd race and use the 6,7,1 in race 3. I’ll finish up with 1,2,4,5,6 in the 4th. It’s only a $7.50 ticket and it all depends on the #2 winning the first leg.
The Bet: $20 to win on #2
The Bet: .50 Cent Pick 3: 2 / 1,6,7 / 1,2,4,5,6
This a solid group of stakes horses for 3-year-old fillies going one-turn. It’s a short field with a case that can be made for all of them. I like the #2 Windmill trained by Larry Jones who has a special knack for getting fillies to the winner’s circle.
Ron Moquett sends out #3 Cabot who had a good victory two back in a $25,000 claimer and a respectable 4th in his last outing in a $30,000 Starter Allowance. If he is ready to run he should win here and the morning line is 7/2.
The Bet: $10 to win on #3
Let’s take a shot at the feature race of the day the $600,000 fantasy for 3-year-old fillies. This should be a good one headed up by #7 Pauline’s Pearl. Steve Asmussen sends her out and she ran 2nd in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) beaten only 3/4’s of a length by Will’s Secret, who is in the Ashland Stakes (G1) today at Keeneland. The #6 Sun Path was third in the same race and is also a threat. I’m also keeping my eye on the #3 Sylvia Q, trained by Phillip Bauer, whose horses are running well. She is 6/1 and I like the price.
The Bet: .50 Trifecta BOX 1,6,7
Finally, the NCAA Tournament has been narrowed down to 4 teams. On paper, the games look like mismatches but games aren’t won on paper.
In game one, No.1 seed Baylor takes on the Houston Cougars, which has been my sentimental favorite from the start of the tournament. The Cougs are coached by Kelvin Sampson who coached at Oklahoma (my favorite school), and he’s was fantastic there. But Kelvin doesn’t play the game, so is his team good enough to take down a great Baylor team? It certainly doesn’t look like it but the oddsmakers think different. Baylor is favored by 5½ points and that isn’t that big a spread. Maybe that’s a lack of respect for the Bears and their lack of tournament history of success. I have no doubt that Houston will defend and they will rebound like they always do, but can they score enough points to win. That’s the question.
The Bet: Baylor (-5.5) (But I’m rooting for the Cougs)
In the other game we have what appears to be a super team in Gonzaga against a Cinderella bunch from UCLA. The oddsmakers agree as Gonzaga is a 14½ favorite over the Bruins. Has there ever been that large a point spread in the Final Four? UCLA is an 11 seed that had to win a play-in game just to join the others! They got to this game by knocking off top seeded Michigan. They have been tremendous on defense and have made big shots and big plays along the way. But, can they make a game of it against the Zags? It sure doesn’t look like it by the way Gonzaga has played. They have barely broken a sweat to get here with their closet game an 87-71 victory over Oklahoma. But 14½ points is a bunch to win by.
If I have to pick which I will do for this column, I’ll take Gonzaga to cover the 14½ spread. I believe Baylor is the stronger of the two plays.
The Bet: Gonzaga (-14.5)
That’s it for today. Enjoy a great day of racing across the country and try and hit some winners!
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