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Blog - GAMBLING

Ground Transport (above) could be a value play in the Illinois Derby after a troubled fifth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby. (Photo courtesy of Lou Hodges Photography)

There are 10 Triple Crown nominees sprinkled among the 14 starters in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course, but don’t bother looking for any of them in the opening leg of the series.

Despite its $750,000 purse, the Illinois Derby basically is a prep for the Preakness Stakes and the most interesting horse in the bulky field is Ground Transport.

Fifth behind Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby in his stakes debut, Ground Transport was parked wide for much of the trip and still managed to finish a respectable 5th, five lengths behind the winner. With the expected improvement from such a draining effort, Ground Transport should move forward and could score an upset victory at a solid price.

Departing is the morning-line favorite and deserves respect after finishing third in the Louisiana Derby. He also had a wide trip and races on Lasix for the first time, further enhancing his chances.

On paper, Departing even appears to hold a slight edge over Ground Transport, but as the 7-2 favorite from post 13, he does not offer the same value as an 8-1 shot like Ground Transport.

Siete de Oros spent his winter racing against Vyjack and Revolutionary in New York and, based on his competitive efforts against them, he can’t be overlooked here.

Rounding out the main contenders, Abraham took a big jump in class while moving from a maiden race to the Sunland Derby. He showed some promise in finishing third and has enough speed that he just might be the target for the stretch runners in the final furlongs of this Triple Crown prep which has all roads leading to … Baltimore.

Ehalt’s selections

1. Ground Transport

2. Departing 

3. Siete de Oros

4. Abraham 

 

$750,000 Illinois Derby

Saturday, Hawthorne Race Course, Race 8, 6:15 p.m. ET

3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1

Bells Big Bernie (MD)

T. Thornton

S D Mullins

2

Dewey Square (KY)

C.J. Lanerie

D L Romans

3

Street Spice (KY)

J. Sanchez

G Geier

4

For Greater Glory (KY)

S. Bridgmohan

S Hobby

5

Ground Transport (KY)

M. Guidry

M Stidham

6

Taken by the Storm (KY)

A. Garcia

K G McPeek

7

Dakota Mac (KY)

S.B. Martinez

H H Robertson

8

Abraham (KY)

J. Castellano

T A Pletcher

9

Show Some Magic (KY)

M. Mena

H Dominguez

10

Fordubai (KY)

D. Sanchez

G Geier

11

Stormin Monarcho (KY)

F. Geroux

J Berndt

12

Siete de Oros (PA)

A.S. Arroyo

R Preciado

13

Departing (KY)

B.J. Hernandez Jr.

A.M. Stall Jr.

14

Narvaez (KY)

P. Lopez

A C Bezara

All runners carry 122 pounds

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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