The Grade 2 $150,000 features what appears to be a very evenly-matched field of ten horses in what is basically a lower-level Kentucky Derby prep race. I find it most unfortunate that my top pick is only 5-2 on the morning-line, but that is the price offered on #10 Nextdoorneighbor. I was really hoping he would be at least 5-1 off just a maiden-breaking win, but that win was tremendous on January 24 at 1 1/16 miles. Mike Smith will ride on Saturday and the last two workouts have been extremely speedy. For second, I will insert a price with 10-1 shot, #4 Outlaw Man. His last win was at today's distance of 1 1/8 miles, albeit on the grass at Santa Anita. The trainer, Ken McPeek, has a 25% success race going turf to synthetic and the price certainly seems to be right. I will put the Bob Baffert trainee, #1 The Program, in third. He was a winner last time out on February 3, but has lost to one he faces in here that didn't really impress me in #2 Kettle River. He has run with some distinguished possible Derby company in the past and wouldn't be a surprise. Finally, I will go with #5 Setsuko in fourth. He won on the synthetic around two turns to break the maiden on December 17 and followed it up with a closing second on the turf on January 27. Rafael Bejarano has the ride. Here is the play for the Grade 2 $150,000 Sham Stakes:
$5 WP #10 and $1 EX BOX 1-3-4-5-10
They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers made in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!