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Mar 8

Handicapping the 2019 GothamStakes



Enticed, winner of the 2018 Gotham Stakes

This year's Gotham features a budding superstar from the West Coast and several other very nice horses and could be a little more contentious than most people think. Lets look at the field.


1. Family Biz

He's zero for three against lesser this year and this seems like an awfully ambitious spot. He will be sitting at the back of the pack in here so I suppose he could pass one or two of the tiring speeds in the stretch. I think he should be running in allowance races. There is nothing in his record that suggests he could win this. No thanks.


2. Knicks Go

He got good at the right time last year winning the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland and following that up with a second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. His two subsequent efforts have been dismal. Two speed and fade efforts in the Kentucky Jockey Club and the Sam F Davis.

There is some serious speed signed on here and I simply cannot see him getting clear. He has the back class, but the race doesn't figure to set up right for him. No Thanks.


3. Mind Control

If anyone can deal with Instagrand early, this is the one. He really only had one bad race. He had a nightmare trip in the Juvenile and finished far back.


In many ways, he is the key to the race. If he can make Instagrand run a hard 5/8ths, the race opens up a little. If not, Instagrand is probably down the road. There is also the possibility that he clears Instagrand and that would give him a big chance to win. He is a contender.


4. Much Better

He's another speed who will be mixing it up early with Mind Control and Instagrand. Baffert always works his horses fast so his fast workouts are not necessarily as significant here. His only chance is to clear early and wire them and that is asking a lot. I do think we have the possibility of a three horse duel on the front and that makes me like Instagrand less.


5. Haikal

This is the horse who will most benefit from a very fast pace and I think he will get one here. He should sit well behind them early, but he will be passing horses in the lane. He's stepping up in class here, but he has yet to run a bad race.


If we get the 3 or 4 horse duel on the front that I anticipate, he has a great chance in here. He is my pick to win!


6. Instagrand

He has certainly done nothing wrong this far with two straight ten length blowout wins. His last was a grade 2 in the Best Pal so you know he has class. Still there are a few questions.


Where has he been? Gone for seven months after those blowout wins and training hard since December for the Gotham? Shipping across the country for a one mile race? I guess they see this as a soft spot, but there is legitimate front end speed in here. If he scoots down the road I'll be embarrassed, but I'm betting the 5. I'll be using him underneath only.


7. Not That Brady

He has legitimate front end speed, but I think he will sit off the speedsters in here and that gives him a big chance. He's a NY bred so his odds will be higher than they should be. He's a contender and I will definitely be using him on all my tickets.


8. Tikhvin Flew

Another of the early front runners in this race who will be compromised by his outside draw. I can't see him keeping up with all the speed to his inside and he's certainly not going to close. No thanks.


I see this as a very interesting race. I know the conventional wisdom will be Instagrand, but I have a few doubts about him. I'm betting the 5 to win. I'll use 3-6-7 underneath in the exotics. If you're looking for a real bomb for your superfectas, the 1 is not a bad option. Good luck to all who are playing!

Mar 9Edited: Mar 9

I am 101% all in with Instagrand. I like Not that Brady to be the one behind him. Exacta straight play for me in this race.


Good luck! I know he looks like he could be anything, but my antenna is still up. The horse who ran second to him in his maiden breaker is still a maiden after four starts and is now running in claimers, however, the horse who finished 10 lengths behind him in the Best Pal came back to win the San Vicente (Gr 2). That second race definitely stamps him as special. Still, he's beaten a total of nine horses in two races on the engine at Santa Anita and that's not unheard of at all. The other thing that has me wondering is why they're in the Gotham in the first place. They made this decision before all the issues arose at Santa Anita, so they had already decided to come here. I also don't understand 10 weeks of hard training for a one mile race around one turn on the other side of the country. If he sails down the road at 2:5, it won't be the last time I'm wrong, but I have my doubts about him.

I kinda like the fact that they are shipping him away from his comfort zone to prepare for the Derby. If he wins this one it will alleviate any doubts about running outside of the west. Since he sprinted to 2 victories by a combined 20 lengths going so short on those fast tracks, this will be a major test for him at Aqueduct. This guy is not a speed demon in the true sense of the word and I like the spot alot. He certainly has the breeding all the way around to conquer the Triple Crown so if he doesnt connect today then he just isnt running to those numbers. He looks fantastic. With his .50 CD, I think there is no doubt that he has the stamina and he has proven his speed in his first 2 sprinting races. That combo is good. But we shall see how he ships and how he takes to Aqueduct. If he gets it done today, I really think this guy is the top contender for the Derby. Hollendorfer is taking a risk with this move and I'm sure he is thinking ahead. Small bet for me today just to have some fun but I will be watching him like a hawk around that track!

Well I was wrong again with this race. I think I may hold off on betting anything until Derby Day!! I still like Instagrand alot, he has one shot at redeeming himself off that layoff.

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