Friday, April 6, 2012

Time for the Wood!

I can't believe it's already time for my favorite race of the Aqueduct meeting: the G1 Wood Memorial! It's going to be 61 degrees and sunny at the big A tomorrow. Hooray!

Two of the horses that have made most of the experts' ten-most-likely-to-win-the-Derby lists are going to be there: Alpha (shown above winning the G3 Withers at Aqueduct in February) and Gemologist who has 4 wins and no losses, including a victory in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last fall. Gemologist has been installed as the morning line favorite at 8-5 and Alpha is the second choice at 5-2. I'll be backing Alpha.

Gemologist would be my clear choice if there weren't a horse called The Lumber Guy (you have to love that one) in the #8 slot. Gemologist is pure speed - a wire to wire type. I love to bet this type of horse at Aqueduct, and I probably might still have have considered it if he had the rail spot. But The Lumber Guy is also an inveterate speedball, and I think he and Gemologist are going to wear each other out before they get to the stretch.

Alpha is just the type of close-up stalker that tends to benefit from this kind of speed scenario. And if the odds hold in the neighborhood of 5-2, I would consider that to be a square price for that horse.

If you're a lover of longshots, I might call your attention to the horse in between Gemologist and the Lumber guy: Tiger Walk. He's a kind of plodding closer, but if there's enough speed in this race that just about everyone else, with the exception of Street Life, could get caught up in the excitement and wear themselves out. Big pace meltdowns open the door for outsiders, and at 15-1, Tiger Walk offers a nice price for the risk. As I mentioned, Street Life also fits that profile, but 4-1 is way too stingy, and unlike Tiger Walk, Street Life has no graded stakes experience.

So here's how I see the triple

1 - Alpha
7 - Tiger Walk
6 - Gemologist

Also tomorrow: Creative Cause is the heavy favorite in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, coming off his powerful win in the San Felipe Stakes last month. Tune in to No Hassle at the Castle tomorrow night for video and recaps.