Another golden ticket to the Kentucky Derby will be handed out this Saturday at the San Felipe Stakes, where a crowded field is seven legitimate contenders believe they'll cross the line first.
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1: Uncle Lino 8/1
2: Danzing Candy 4/1
3: Mor Spirit 2/1
4: Cupid 12/1
5: I Will Score 10/1
6: Smokey Image 4/1
7: Exaggerator 5/2
As is always the case, the field at Santa Anita preparing for the Kentucky Derby is stacked with legitimate hopefuls. Four of these seven will get valuable Derby Points, but only two will get enough to stake a legit claim to a spot in the field heading into the Santa Anita Derby next month.
To think that a colt like Danzing Candy, who would probably be the favorite against the fields in locations like Arkansas and Louisiana, is the 4 to 1 co-third choice to win the San Felipe Stakes is astounding to us.
Exaggerator and Mor Spirit are essentially to co-favorites, though Mor Spirit is getting the slight nod at 2 to 1 over Exaggerator's 5 to 2.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
For our money, Exaggerator is the best horse in this race, though the margin between him and Mor Spirit is small and either could easily win the San Felipe Stakes.
Exaggerator won the Delta Downs Jackpot in November, and in his first offering in 2016 as a three-year old, he lost out to Nyquist in the San Vincente Stakes by a mere length and a half. He had a good run from start to finish, and that 101 Beyer Speed Rating is a good sign for him going forward.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
We'll really have to see what Smokey Image is going to bring to the table now that he's running up against the big boys. It's really tough to imagine a colt like this rising from the ranks of running maiden races at a tiny track called Oak Tree to get into the Kentucky Derby field, but he's 6-for-6 in his races and really hasn't been challenged anywhere he has gone.
Smokey Image won the California Cup Derby here at Santa Anita at the end of January by a stunning 8 1/2 lengths, and he could've done better than that had he been ridden all the way out by Victor Espinoza instead of just coasting to the finish line.
Espinoza knows a thing or two about good three-year old horses, as he has ridden American Pharoah and California Chrome in recent years, so this could be a good sign going forward.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
Mor Spirit might have four wins in five starts under his belt, and Exaggerator might be the horse with the best shot to win the Kentucky Derby here in this field, but give us a shot at 4 to 1 with the undefeated Smokey Image.
It's a longshot play in which we're probably not getting the best value in the world, but it's entirely possible that he was just undervalued at the start of his career and is just now blossoming into a legitimate contender for the Kentucky Derby. Don't be stunned if he goes wire-to-wire.
Play Smokey Image to win the San Felipe Stakes
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BookMaker's live betting platform means you always have access to odds and lines to every sporting event. Click here, and start wagering right now! Bet on horse racing today with the San Felipe Stakes, which goes to post on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. ET at Santa Anita Park.