The week starts with four racecourses available for wagering at BetOnline. There aren’t any big names on the schedule, but hopefully some winning horses out there to be cashed. It was a productive Saturday in the two biggest races of the weekend. The $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Gr. 2) and $750,000 Southwest Stakes (Gr. 3) were both winning events for us.
Greatest Honour won his third straight win to complete a hat-trick in the Fountain of Youth. That effort comes with 50 points for the Kentucky Derby, while Essential Quality was able to score 10 points for his win. That is unlikely to be the only points that Essential Quality secures on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality looks like a top contender to win the whole thing in my book.
We will get started at Delta Downs in Louisiana on Monday afternoon. The Vinton based track owned by Boyd Gaming has ten races on the card for a total of $217,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Delta Downs picks for March 1, 2021.
Post Time: 1:22 p.m. CST
Race 2 covers a mile on the dirt for a $38,000 purse. This is the feature race at Delta Downs on Monday afternoon. Six horses are scheduled to participate, with big performances expected from Britts a Closer and Dodger. Britts a Closer is a one-time winner in 15 races, with a victory on September 19 at the $22,500 level by a half length as the favorite.
Since that quality performance, Britts a Closer has finished 5th, 4th, 4th, 2nd through four outings. In his most recent showing, Britts a Closer placed 2nd behind Reluctant Warrior by a head for a $20,000 purse on February 5. He was the second favorite in that race, and finished where the money expected her to go. While more money is up for grabs in Race 2 on Monday, he should run well in this event.
Dodger should offer some resistance to Britts a Closer and the rest in this field. Dodger has been in nice form recently, including the first win of his career two appearances ago on November 16. A transfer to Delta Downs from Indiana Grand has done him well. He’s gone 1st and 2nd in his last two. Dodger beat Our Blue Jay by a neck in a $35,000 assignment.
He was unable to follow up with another win, but was still in good form in January to place 2nd in a $36,000 race behind Muffin Nuts by a length. Two workouts from Dodger in February were promising, with a time of 49.60 seconds at 4 furlongs and 1:00.80 at 5 furlongs. I’m on Dodger on Monday afternoon. Everything points to a bold bid.
Post Time: 2:43 p.m. CST
Race 5 covers 5 furlongs on the dirt for a $37,000 prize. Seven horses are scheduled to run in this contest on Monday afternoon. This should be a good one between Verrazano First and Bertie’s Galaxy. Verrazano First is 5 for 9 in his career and a terrific 2020 with five wins in six attempts, finishing 2nd in the other race. He ranked in the top-100 of wins in 2020.
However, since winning on December 20, he’s been held out of the winner’s circle. Verrazano First beat Defender by 3 ½ lengths in the $32,500 event in December. Following that win, Verrazano went 4th and 3rd most recently on February 10 at Sam Houston Race Park. He showed 3rd in the $38,000 event. It wasn’t the worst performance in the class. Verrazano drops slightly to the $37,000 level on Monday. Bertie’s Galaxy will provide him with a big challenge in this race.
Bertie’s Galaxy is 5 for 15 in his career, with plenty of stakes experience to his name. In his previous five attempts, Bertie’s Galaxy has finished 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 2nd in his last five, four of which were stakes races. Bertie’s Galaxy placed 2nd behind No Parole by 3 lengths in his most recent showing on February 10 in the $100,000 LA Bred Premier Sprint Stakes. He is well suited for this assignment, and should romp down in class.
Post Time: 3:11 p.m. CST
A mile on the dirt will close out our day at Delta Downs on Monday afternoon. Sunny Empire and Chicken Or the Egg look like two horses that should compete for the top prize in this $14,000 event. Sunny Empire is a one-time winner in six attempts. That was a recent win for Sunny Empire, as he continued to show improvement and was finally rewarded for the hard work. Sunny Empire placed 2nd behind With a Whisper by 4 ¼ lengths in a $13,000 assignment on December 30.
She showed a little more in her next race, with a 1 ¾ length win over Crider Chase in a $13,000 race. After a slow start with finishes of 5th, 8th, 10th, 5th, Sunny Empire is going in the right direction. Not exactly where a $75,000 horse would like to be competing for in a small class like this, though. Sunny Empire must win a $14,000 race before consideration for a class hike is in order. Expect her to be thereabout at the wire in Race 6.
Chicken Or the Egg has finished 8th, 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st in her career. The mare has looked good in three straight to place and win. She placed 2nd on December 21 before striking. In that performance, Chicken Or the Egg was a length off a win in a $13,000 event. Chicken Or the Egg showed improvement in his next outing to beat Bear Tooth Pass by a half length in a $13,000 event. This should be close between Sunny Empire and Chicken Or the Egg. Better value should be with Sunny Empire at post time over the $9,500 Chicken Or the Egg.