At this moment, I’m undergoing a crisis of confidence when it comes to picking winners, so forgive my feeble attempts for today’s big races (that is, unless I’m right—then you must worship me for the handicapping goddess I am). Seriously, with the snow finally melted here, temperatures in the 60s, the sun peeking out, and the next week off for Spring Break, I’m feeling playful (dare I say frisky) so take all I say with good humor and a heaping bucket of salt.
How bad is it for me? I’m failing to follow my gut. For example, in the fourth at Aqueduct today I was immediately drawn to Sassification, not only for the name (I always tell my dog to stop sassing me, because she does), but also for those three little words—“first time Lasix.” It was a weak field of maiden claimers, so there was no real excuse for me to pass on her, but I did. Sassification went off at 49-1, and won going away, paying $100.50. Urgh! That’s the kind of betting luck I’m having right now.
So, let’s throw it all out there with today’s picks, which come from the gut.
In the G3 Gotham, the architectural historian in me loves Naos for his name, but I also love his sire Lion Heart. He comes in off a big win at the PHA, but had absolutely no luck in the Jimmy Winkfield here, so there’s no reason to think he can win this—other than Todd Pletcher, the rail post and his late kick. But there’s a lot of early speed here, with Haynesfield and Mr. Fantasy, and I’m intrigued by I Want Revenge and Axel Foley who shipped in from California to try real dirt for the first time, as well as Imperial Council who will attempt to route (his breeding certainly suggests that shouldn’t be a problem). Longshot flyer: the “other” Pletcher horse, Masala. A Lion Heart exacta?
In the G3 Toboggan, it’s hard to ignore the red-hot Driven By Success, and I believe the Rodney Dangerfield of American horse racing, Einstein, can transition to Pro-Ride and win the G1 Santa Anita Handicap (especially with Colonel John now scratched). Ventura’s my girl in the G1 Kilroe Mile, and down at Gulfstream in the G3 Honey Fox, Wild Promises looks a sure-thing, but I’ll take my chances with Flibberjibit. Say that three times.