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Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2) Preview

Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2) Preview

Alpha Looks to make it Three in a Row

Racing Dudes Picks

Win – #4 Alpha

Exacta – 4,6,7 boxed

Trifecta – 4,7,6/4,7,6/2,6,7,8 boxed

Horse to use in Vertical Wagering – 4,6,7,8

Race Shape

Speed – Csaba

Stalkers – Casual Trick, Handsome Mike, Alpha, Golden Ticket, Macho Macho

Closers – Stehpanoatsee, Junebugred

Racing Dudes Projected Order of Finish

#4 Alpha (KY) – After all the injuries and defections that have haunted this years three-year old crop, Alpha is the only “big dog” left.  He is, without question, the logical choice to win this race.  His tactical speed will be a big advantage in this one considering the pace has a good chance to be slow, and he’s the only one out of this group that has consistently been solid.  My only worry is how will run outside of the state of New York?  His only two starts outside of the state have been total disasters, although they were arguably his toughest races as well.

#7 Csaba (KY) – Pace makes the race…never forget that!  Csaba is not a horse I’m all that crazy about, but I believe he has a shot to get loose on the lead in this one.  He’s the only true speed horse in the race, and I think jockey Rajiv Marah will have a chance to slow the pace down and perhaps get a strangle hold on the race.  Parx can be speed favoring at times, which also makes Csaba appealing.

#6 Golden Ticket (KY) – Would someone explain to me how you can go from letting Skyring beat you on dirt at Churchill, to winning the Travers?  It’s totally mind-boggling, and to be honest I have no idea what Golden Ticket is going to do in this one.  I showed him zero respect in my Travers preview, so I’ve picked him third in this one.  The field isn’t filled with world beaters, and there is no reason he can’t compete here.  However, if he runs back to his Travers form I’d be pretty shocked.  Nice horse who is obviously improving, but can he run two big ones in a row?

#8 Macho Macho (KY) – This horse has developed into an ultra consistent runner, and his win in the West Virginia Derby was well deserved.  The field he beat in that race is highly questionable, but I think you can count on this one showing up and running a his race every time he steps on the track.  He’s got a solid chance of hitting the board in this one, and if everything were to break right he could end up in the winners circle.  Not high on my list, but not one to forget about.

#2 Casual Trick (KY) – Without a doubt this is the most interesting horse in the race.  Nick Zito thought a lot of  Casual Trick this Spring, and took big shots with him in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial Stakes.  Obviously it didn’t work out as he bombed in those races, but after a freshening he’s come back to win two straight allowances at Parx.  The competition will be tougher in this one, but it looks as though Zito has this horse right.  Maybe he was a late bloomer that needed time to develop, or perhaps he had some injury problems.  Either way he looms a dangerous long shot in this race.

#3 Handsome Mike (KY) – You can’t argue with this horses consistency, but unfortunately he’s consistently been a middle of the pack finisher.  There is nothing in this race that will overwhelm Handsome Mike, but I just don’t think he’s fast enough to win this one.  Maybe an outside shot of hitting the board…

#5 Junebugred (KY) – The Racing Dudes will be rooting for this former Oaklawn winner, but it’s hard to throw any money on him in this spot.  The only bright side is this will be his third start off the layoff, which is usually when a horse rounds back into top form.  Much like Handsome Mike, his best race might give him a shot at hitting the board.

#1 Stephanoatsee (KY) – Even though I have Stephanoatsee ranked last, don’t think that I don’t have respect for him!  He was only beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Alpha two start backs, and after a seven month layoff returned to win an allowance at Delaware.  Him running well wouldn’t be a shock, I just feel like the class jump may be too much too soon.

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