Friday, July 17, 2009

The Grade 2 Virginia Derby

OK, we gave you the 9-1 winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup last week, we just forgot to mention that you should have had a straight bet on him to win (like the author did). That is simply an error of omission. Won't happen again this week with the Grade 2 $750,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Barbaro's brother, Nicanor, is 7-2 on the morning-line and the favorite off of back-to-back turf wins at Delaware Park. While I think Nicanor is impressive thus far on the turf, I cannot put him on top at that price against this company with that resume'. Instead, I will go with #1 Affirmatif. He is 8-1 on the morning line (a price to like) and has never been worse than 2nd in four previous efforts. The Pletcher trainee's only graded effort was taken off the turf at Belmont and run in the slop on June and he still finished 2nd. The distance of 1 1/4 miles might be a question, but I am willing to gamble if I am getting 8-1 on an animal of his obvious quality. Next comes #9 Battle Of Hastings, who was a winner last time out in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup over this course. He is only adding an extra sixteenth of a mile to that effort here and his two July workouts have both been bullet efforts. He is certainly live today and I expect him to be the favorite when all is said and done. For third, I will put #4 Nicanor. I think he might get caught up in what I think will be a decent speed battle in here. There is plenty of early speed in this field and that is why my top two picks seem to like to sit just off the pace. The other issue I have is that Nicanor really hasn't beaten any top-flight competition yet, so I prefer to take a wait and see attitude. An attractive longshot in here also might be the Colonial Turf Cup runner-up, #6 Straight Story. He is 10-1 on the morning line and he did overcome a monumentally wide trip to just miss in that earlier Colonial effort. Here is the play for the Grade 2 Virginia Derby:

$5 WP #1
$1 EX BOX 1-4-6-9

TOTAL- $22

Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers made in conjunction with these suggestions. Tune in again on Monday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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