by GLEN GALLIVAN
Wire To Wire Racing Editor
Big 3 Pick 3 Analysis
This yearís Big 3 Pick 3 is a handicapperís dream come true. It includes three competitive, fields of contentious 3-year-olds. Value is written all over this proposition. So, clear off your plate and dig into this juicy treat.
The bet starts to off in New York with a deep group of runners that includes two of the early Kentucky Derby favorites ó Fusaichi Pegasus and Red Bullet. These two have simply looked awesome to this point in their young careers, each showing signs of stardom. Fusaichi Pegasus on the West and Red Bullet in the East have attracted a number of enthusiastic followers, who believe Ētheir horseĒ is easily the best around.
I consider myself a fan of both horses. They both have incredible talent, but being a fan is one thing, while being a smart player is totally different. When the 12 runners are loaded into the starting gate, I believe the odds on either of the top two will be around to 8-5. This is where you have to ask yourself, are you willing to take a price that short on such untested athletes? The smart answer is no.
Exchange Rate heads into this affair coming off a pair of good tries at the Fair Grounds. In his last effort, the son of Danzig finished a close fourth in the Louisiana Derby. After that disappointing effort his handlers discovered he was suffering from a lung infection, which has since cleared up. In his race prior to that, he was victorious in the Risen Star Stakes, defeating Mighty, the eventual Louisiana Derby winner.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trainee drilled four strong workouts in preparation for the Wood, which should have him sharp as a knife. Also, this time out he will have the services of Jorge Chavez, whoís aggressive riding style virtually guarantees this fella will be toward the front end. Last weekend, early speed held well at the Big A and with this being a huge weekend at the Jamaica oval, itís safe to expect another fast strip.
Donít misunderstand, Fusaichi Pegasus and Red Bullet are probably the best runners in here, but this race just sets up perfectly for Exchange Rate. Throw in the fact that heís likely to go off at a square price and it doesnít take a rocket scientist to realize what the play needs to be.
Letís take Exchange Rate and throw in Red Bullet for the simple reason that heís trained well over the track.
Now weíre off to Kentucky for the Blue Grass. This affair is loaded with early speed types that should force a lively opening pace. Florida-bred Halís Hope and More Than Ready are speedsters that have yet to prove they can win without being on the early lead. Each has produced brisk morning workouts, so itís doubtful either will be rating today. However, that doesnít mean that you should totally dismiss their chances.
Although Keeneland isnít as speed-biased as Gulfstream is, itís still a speed-favoring oval that could help this front-running duo stay ahead of the competition all the way to the wire. A more likely scenario is that a stalker will get the perfect trip and pounce on the leaders down the lane ó High Yield fits this role to a tee.
Itís well documented how the Storm Cat colt doesnít like to pass runners down the stretch, and yes, this is an obvious concern. But, you have to believe that Lukas will have his charge ready to take his game up a level and thereís no better time to do that than now.
Hereís where a little wagering strategy will come into play. Whenever playing a pick 3 or pick 6, itís usually necessary to find a race (or races) to single or else your bet will become awfully costly. The Blue Grass is screening out to be singled, so, letís just take High Yield in here.
I know itís scary to have all of your hopes resting on the shoulders of the inconsistent High Yield, but once he gets his picture taken in the winnerís circle you will be thanking me. And trust me, you will need the extra space on your ticket to complete the Arkansas Derby.
The Oaklawn classic has enticed some intriguing sophomores from all across the land. This event should offer great value if youíre able to pick out the winner among this heap of horseflesh. At first look, it appears that this race will have a similar pace scenario to that of the Blue Grass. But, the main difference in this contest is that many of the early runners in here havenít been tested, therefore thereís no guarantee that they will be able to match the early strides of some of the other proven runners.
Florida-bred Snuck In is expected to be the favorite, but he will be anything but an overwhelming choice. The son of Montbrook exits a sensational score in the Rebel Stakes on the Hot Springs surface. If he can avoid getting caught up in a potential suicidal speed duel, he could have a big chance turning for home. However, we need to find the ones that will be coming from further off the pace.
Scottish Halo, Polish Miner, Ronton and Graeme Hall all have the preferred mid-pack running style. While the cheap speed goes crazy up front, these four classy runners should settle into an ideal position. Each has also proven they can generate mammoth performances anytime they step onto a track.
Ronton is the only one of this group thatís expected to receive any significant attention at the windows, as heís coming off a stakes victory at Turfway Park and has the look of an improving horse. But, the other three should get ignored by a majority of the betting public, so they will offer great value in here. By singling the Blue Grass we can include all of them on our ticket in an attempt to close this bet out with a big score!
Glenners Big 3 Pick 3: Wood Memorial ó Exchange Rate and Red Bullet
Blue Grass Stakes ó High Yield
Arkansas Derby ó Scottish Halo, Polish Miner, Ronton and Graeme Hall
Also see Glenners' Keeneland Picks.
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