A few weeks ago I responded to a few Thoroughbred bloggers on the silliness of trying to pick against odds-on favorite Georgie Boy. I argued that sometimes we spin our wheels going against logic trying to pick against dominant types like the '72 Big Red Machine, '86 Bears or Pete Sampras of the early 90s. But today, I spin and contradict myself.
Sure, Stardom Bound will likely be the heaviest favorite of the day. There is no doubt this filly is talented and already good enough to take on the weak crop of California three-year-old colts in next month's Santa Anita Derby. To date, she's displayed the scary, push-button type of acceleration that defines a champion. The only reason to take a stand against her today is her reliance on the one big move to get past her opponents.
In this afternoon's Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, Stardom Bound casts a deep shadow over her nine rivals. The two-year-old champion filly has won four straight Grade I events; her competition zero. Her morning line is an absurdly low 2-5 and will probably creep closer to the bottom line 1-9 odds that mark all champions.
I am not saying to bet the house against Stardom Bound, just take a shot. So who's worth a modest play - let's say a $20 win wager - against the champ? I say, if you going to go, you might as well go long. I'm taking Burg Berg.
Burg Berg is a total unknown at the 1 1/16 mile distance, on the synthetic surface and in graded stakes company. With only two wins from three turf races, she also comes into today very lightly raced. (Haven't exactly won you over yet?) But what I do like is her ability to get to the front and lead from start to finish - a difficult undertaking on the grass, but something that's been happening with a little greater frequency of late on Sanita Anita's fake stuff. I also love her jockey, Tyler Baze, on the front-end, nursing the fractions.
If, and it's a big if, Baze can lull the competition to sleep traveling unabated through a half in :49 and three-quarters in 1:13 with just a enough left in Burg Berg's tank, he may just get the jump on Stardom Bound and hold her off until the wire. Stardom Bound's jockey Mike Smith, another great front-end rider, may have to deal with traffic, getting his filly off rail and moving sooner than normal.
Hey it's just a thought for a small win wager and inclusion of Burg Berg in some Pick 3s. If you beat the single everyone is playing (Stardom Bound) you'll be in for a decent score with a small bet. My $18 Pick 3 for races 7-9 at Santa Anita will be 1-2/1-3-7/5-7-11. If you check the entries, you'll see I'm picking against the other favored lady of the day - Ventura.
Along with the races 7-9, I see Santa Anita's Pick 3 sequence in races 8-10 providing an opportunity for a score, if you can get the Big 'Cap winner. I'll be playing a $1 Pick 3 of 1-3-7/5-7-11/5-7-9-11 for $36.