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Kick Off Your Super Bowl Weekend at Tampa Bay Downs, Aqueduct and Santa Anita Park
By Steve Davidowitz | There are several good horse races on Saturday, including three for promising 3-year-olds seeking the credentials and Graded stakes money needed to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Here are a few horses to watch or bet on if the prices are right. And then for Sunday... there's the Super Bowl, of course. (Go Giants!)
At Tampa Bay Downs (11th Race) . . . The Grade-3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis at 1-1/16 miles for 3-year-olds.
NECK ’N NECK was respectable second to runaway winner V IDSCREET DANCER in a Gulfstream mile around one turn. Won prior two turn allowance at Churchill Downs last fall. By late developing natural router Flower Alley and had three good workouts at Palm Meadows before shipping for this. Good price likely.
At Aqueduct (9th Race) . . .The Grade-3 $200,000 Withers, at 1-1/16 miles around two turns on the winterized inner track will be run as the 9th race.
There is plenty of speed signed up to set up a strong come from behind winner, even on this track that can favor front running speed.
The favorite ALPHA won the Count Fellet over this track despite a poor start and acting a git green throughout. Has abundant talent, seems suited to route racing and will be held at low odds while trying to overcome a difficult post on a track that had a golden rail last weekend.
KING KID, an interesting longshot, ships up from Florida for Dale Romans after a respectable third in the Gulfstream Park Derby at this distance, Jan 1 and two very sharp workouts.
Bovada's got all the horse racing action from Aqueduct.
At Santa Anita Park (6th Race) . . .The Grade-2, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, at 1-1/16 miles on the very fast Santa Anita dirt track for 3-year-olds.
Bob Baffert’s probable favorite LIAISON has the ability to repeat his win in the Cash Call Futurity on the Cushion track at Hollywood last December and he did win a maiden race convincingly on this track in October. But the horse I believe to watch closely in this race is SKY KINGDOM, one of two slowly developing sons of Empire Maker in this field (the other is EMPIRE WAY). Empire Maker, is a Belmont Stakes winner whose progeny tend to improve with maturity and distance. Should Sky Kingdom look good finishing here and gallop out strongly, he will be a serious Derby horse.
Also at Santa Anita Park. . .The Grade-2, $200,000 Strub Stakes, at 1-1/8 miles, for 4-year-olds pointing towards the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap next month.
TAPIZAR is the pre race favorite based on his wins in nine starts, including his two for three at this track, especially his wire to wire win in the Grade-2 San Fernando last month. But the intriguing potential upset horse might be ULTIMATE EAGLE, a solid turf horse with four wins in eight career starts including the G-1 Hollywood Derby last November. Has worked very well on several racing surfaces including dirt.
As for the Super Bowl, I see the New York Giants winning 31-24, even though the running backs for the Giants are slow enough so that the Patriots probably can use an extra man to rush Eli Manning. That said, Manning has been superb dealing with blitzes while repeatedly connecting with his strong receiving corp.