When the March Madness picks are set each season, it's never surprising to see the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the shortlist of potential NCAA Tournament champions.
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2018 Sunland Park Derby Odds, Picks
Sunland Park Derby Preview and Odds
While several of the horses in the field for the Sunland Park Derby have already accumulated a few Kentucky Derby qualifying points, none of them hold enough points to make the extra 20 awarded to the second-place finisher enough to guarantee a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate. That being the case, and with time starting to run out, winning the race takes on greater importance.
In a very evenly matched field, All Out Blitz has been made the lukewarm morning line favorite at odds of 4-1. Based in California for trainer Simon Callaghan, he got his maiden win in his third lifetime start and then jumped up to the graded-stakes ranks where he has had some success, running second in the (G3) Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, and then third in the (G3) San Vincente, also at Santa Anita.
It's worth noting that the horse he finished ahead of in the Sham, My Boy Jack, will be racing on Saturday in the (G2) Louisiana Derby as one of the favorites, and how that one does could be an indication of where All Out Blitz rates against the top colts in the country. While deserving of contender status, he's also beng asked to stretch out past a mile of the first time, and how he handles that challenge is yet to be seen.
Hollywood Star Needs Return to Juvenile Form
Breaking from the #4 gate, Hollywood Star (6-1) had a very good juvenile campaign, running first or second in three races before finishing sixth in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He made his debut for 2018 running fourth in the (G2) Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay, finishing behind the very highly regarded Catholic Boy. This seems to be a very good spot for him to take another step forward off the layoff, and he's one that should benefit from the added distance.
Second choice in the ML at 9-2, New York Central has been in the money in all four of his lifetime starts, with a pair of wins. A well-bred son of supersire Tapit (who produced three of the last four Belmont Stakes winners) he has the pedigree to get the distance and his recent form makes him competitive in this group, so now he has to show that he's able to handle the step up in class.
After scoring his first stakes win in a restricted race in his home state of Pennsylvania, Prince Lucky (6-1) stepped up to open company and finished seventh in the (G3) Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. He had a terrible trip that day, racing three to five paths wide for the entire race, and if he can get a better trip here and a decent pace to run at, the Todd Pletcher trainee should be coming on strong as they make the final charge to the wire.
The Sunland Park Derby goes Sunday, March 25 from El Paso, Texas. It's race #11 of 12 on Sunland's race card, and follows the Sunland Park Oaks, which is a qualifying race for the 2018 Kentucky Oaks. Expected post time is 5:15 PM Mountain.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- All Out Blitz (4-1)
- Dark Vader (15-1)
- New York Central (9-2)
- Hollywood Star (6-1)
- Peace (12-1)
- Shane Zain (15-1)
- Prince Lucky (6-1)
- Seven Trumpets (6-1)
- Choo Choo (8-1)
- Dream Baby Dream (10-1)
- Runaway Ghost (8-1)
- Fortified Effort (20-1)
Sunland Park Derby Picks
- 1) #4 - Hollywood Star
- 2) #3 - New York Central
- 3) #1 - All Out Blitz
- 4) #7 - Prince Lucky
If you're not going to be at Sunland Park for the race, you can still make a bet on the full day of racing and all other 2018 Kentucky Derby qualifying races through a top-rated online betting account.
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