The Gotham Stakes is here and that means the field of horses is narrowing fast to qualify and be legitimate contenders for the 137th Kentucky Derby on May 7th 2011. The morning line favorite in the Gotham Stakes is Stay Thirsty who is the stable mate to Uncle Mo and trained by Todd Pletcher so he must be a lock to win right?
Gotham Stakes post positions and morning lines:
||The Fed Eased (FL)
||J Valdivia, Jr.
||R A Violette, Jr.
||Nacho Saint (KY)
||K J Breen
||Starship Caesar (FL)
||E R Da Silva
||Toby’s Corner (FL)
||H G Motion
||Stay Thirsty (KY)
||R A Dominguez
||T A Pletcher
||Isn’t He Perfect (KY)
||G C Contessa
||Norman Asbjornson (PA)
||C W Grove
||C H Velasquez
||S M Asmussen
Gotham Stakes – The Pretenders: Horses not worth laying a dollar or two of your hard earned money on.
Isn’t He Perfect : Morning Line 30-1 – Isn’t He Perfect has raced twice in 2011 finishing third on February 4th in a field of five but was nowhere near the 1st and 2nd finishers. Raced again on February 17th and finished dead last in a field of 7, now is racing again? 3 races in a month is ridiculous!
Starship Caesar : Morning Line 15-1 – Starship Caesar has won twice in 2011, back on January 3rd at Calder where he was claimed by new owner Sherry Parbhoo, new trainer Bisnath Parbhoo from Starship Stables & Laurence Leavy. His second win, 1st under new owner Sherry Parbhoo came on February 4th at Gulfstream Park. In both wins Starship Caesar chased the lead and took the win in the straight or just before the wire.
Gotham Stakes – On the Bubble: Horses that could finish in the money but not win.
Norman Asbjornson : Morning Line 20-1 – Has raced once in 2011 at Parx Racing where he finished 1st in a poor field. In his last two races he has finished 1st both times and has experience with the distance as most horses do by this time of year. He runs out front and will push for the lead which gives some hope for this 20-1 shot.
The Fed Eased : Morning Line 8-1 – The Fed Eased ran twice in January, finishing 2nd to Crossbow on January 2nd which brought him onto most people’s radar and then finished 1st on January 29th against a poor quality field. Both of his previous races this year have been at Aqueduct and both times had trouble getting out of the gate.
Dawly : Morning Line 12-1 – Dawly raced once this year back on February 6th taking a first place finish running middle of the pack then making a move at the top of the straight moving from 5th to 2nd and responded well when asked to push through for the win.
Preachintothedevil : Morning Line 6-1 – Preachintothedevil has run twice in 2011 with 1st and 3rd place finishes to his credit. On January 1st he won the Champagneforashley Stakes against a moderate field coming from 3rd at the top of the straight for the win. Last outing was February 5th in the Whirlaway Stakes where he was running well and keeping up with the pace but came out flat on the stretch with nothing to give for a 3rd place finish well behind 1st and 2nd.
Gotham Stakes – The Real Deal: Horses that are in it to win it!
Toby’s Corner : Morning Line 5-2 – Toby’s Corner has won twice out this year, first at Laurel Park on January 12th against a poor field and then again on February 5th for the Whirlaway Stakes where he defeated J J’s Lucky Train, Preachintothedevil, Arthur’s Tale and Rescind the Trade which is a solid field. Toby’s Corner was first out of the gate but held back by jockey Eddie Castro who eased him near to the back of the field and then brought up to the front and squared off versus J J’s Lucky Train to the sixteenth pole where J J’s Lucky Train yielded to Toby’s Corner and Toby’s Corner went on for the win.
Nacho Saint : Morning Line 6-1 – Nacho Saint has only run once in 2011 with a win at Aqueduct on January 28th against at poor field that he took wire to wire and pulled away from down the stretch. It should be noted that he drifted wide down the stretch and still pulled away, maybe they taught him how to run in a straight line since his last race.
Stay Thirsty : Morning Line 9-5 – Stay Thirsty will make his 2011 debut in the Gotham Stakes and hasn’t run since being part of the field who other than Boys At Tosconova was obliterated by Uncle Mo who runs March 12th. Since it has been so long since his last race and tired down the stretch finishing well behind the 4th and 5th place finishers back in November it’s hard to really know what to expect here with the morning line favorite. He did finish second to Boys at Tosconova back in September in the Three Chimneys Hopeful but was no match for the winner.
Here is how I see this playing out:
1) Win: Toby’s Corner
2) Place: Nacho Saint
3) Show: Norman Asbjornson
4) Wild Card: Stay Thirsty – I know he is the favorite and it is insane for me not to follow ever other handicapper out there and make the safe call and put him in the top one or two but here is why I can’t commit to him. It is one thing for Uncle Mo to show up late to the dance but Stay Thirsty got waxed his last time out. I also don’t think this race is going to setup the way Pletcher is expecting it to as I think this race is going to be won pushing the pace and on the lead, not coming from off the pace and I think the three horses listed in my WPS are going to push the pace, battle for the lead and try to take this wire to wire. From what I have seen Stay Thirsty simply isn’t set up to do that nor do I think he can do it, a terrific sprint horse but just can’t handle the distance. There is one last thing, being the stable mate of Uncle Mo and often training together at times, do you think he ever wins? I would bet no and that has to mess with a horse’s head!