Starr: Best Bets For Weekend Kentucky Derby Preps, Derby Dollars Contest

The goal of the Derby Dollars Contest, sponsored by Stats Race Lens, 123bet.com and the Paulick Report, is to score points as if we were wagering to win, place and show. 

This week's races are the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Scoring for both is based on a mythical $2 win, place and show payoffs. As with last week's Gotham Stakes, where we tabbed $14.80 winner J Boys Echo, the strategy should be one of finding contenders that have good chances and are not likely to be the top betting choices.

Tampa Bay Derby contenders:
Beasley has never been worse than second in three starts and has improved his Equibase figures with each start, going from 97 to 102 to 106 last month when racing at the distance of the Tampa Bay Derby for the first time. He was scratched out of the Fountain of Youth Stakes last week to run here and that makes sense as his last race 106 figure is the best last race figure in the race, even better than the 101 figure Tapwrit earned when second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes last month as well. Better still, Beasley should improve in his second route as he's a son of Shackleford out of a mare whose progeny has won 19 of 78 dirt route starts according to the deep dive statistics available in Stats Race Lens. One of those runners was Mr. Palmer, who earned over $600,000. With a best of 58 half-mile workout last Saturday in lieu of running in the Fountain of Youth, it appears Beasley is set for a winning effort in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Tapwrit returned from two months off in the Sam F. Davis, rallying for second behind unbeaten McCraken and earning a career best 101 figure. That was his first two-turn race and so improvement should be expected in his second two-turn race. Of particular note, the Stats Race Lens angle regarding Todd Pletcher's success with horses second off a layoff of 45 days or more reveals a 29% win rate and takeout beating -8% profit, which means many of these runners pay nicely. As such, Tapwrit would be no surprise being in the thick of the action on the wire in this race.

Tale of Silence appeared to have run poorly in his two route races last year, but the first of the two was deceptively good as he rallied from seventh on the turn to get within a head of the leader with an eighth of a mile to go before fading a bit to be beaten a length on the wire. He ran poorly in the Remsen after that, then ran poorly again when shortened up to seven furlongs in his 3-year-old debut in January. However, Tale of Silence improved nicely in his most recent start when trailing early in sixth and rallying to second into a runaway seven-length winner. Being a full brother to 2008 Wood Memorial winner Tale of Ekati, Tale of Silence should have no problem going long and now that his form is on the upswing with a career best 97 figure last out, he could post the upset. Additionally, the individual research statistics from Race Lens tells me trainer Barclay Tagg has been winning at nearly a 30% clip in dirt routes over the last six months, with $3.08 returned for every $2 bet.

San Felipe Stakes contenders:
Iliad has yet to run two turns yet, but that's really the only question mark I can find. He ran extremely well off a two-month layoff last month when victorious in the San Vicente Stakes and as a son of Ghostzapper, the distance should be no issue. Iliad had earned a 109 Equibase figure in December before the rest and came back with a similarly strong 108 figure bound to be improved upon in his second start as a three year old. The San Vicente win came after the private trainer change to Doug O' Neill, with Santa Anita leading jockey Prat aboard for the first time. Iliad has shown a lot of maturity sitting just off the pace in his last two races, both wins, and that kind of tactical speed allows him to be in a perfect spot to move on the pacesetters in the stretch to win the San Felipe.

Gormley made his 3-year-old debut a winning one with a very strong effort in the Sham Stakes over the track in January. The 116 figure earned was one of the best by any three year old in North America to date and as he also won the Front Runner Stakes at the distance over the track last fal,l he's proven to be a top caliber horse so would be no surprise if earning the 50 Road to the Derby points and stamping his ticket to Louisville.

Mastery won as he pleased in the Los Alamitos Futurity by seven lengths to remain undefeated (three-for-three) and makes his 3-year-old debut here. His recent workout over the track signaled he hasn't lost a step but it must be noted that last race 103 Equibase figure would need improving upon to get to where Iliad and Gormley should be in this race. An interesting Stats Race Lens angle is in play here, one I didn't believe would be profitable, but it is. When trainer Bob Baffert has a starter in a Grade 1 stakes race and when that horse won its most recent start, over the last year those horses have won 20 of 50 races for a 15% flat bet profit.

My Derby Dollars contest play in the Tampa Bay Derby will be Beasley

My Derby Dollars contest play in the San Felipe Stakes will be Iliad

The Derby Dollars Contest is free to play and offers $2,500 in cash prizes. Sign up now!

The post Starr: Best Bets For Weekend Kentucky Derby Preps, Derby Dollars Contest appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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