Entering Week 4, the bankroll shows a $2 loss. Let’s see if I can make hay in the Gotham Stakes.

Gotham Stakes

As usual locals, lightly raced horses and underperforming Floridians inhabit the Gotham. Sunny Ridge, winner of Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes, will battle Shagaf, who has 2 wins in 2 starts, for lukewarm favoritism. And either would be a favorite worth betting against. The problem lies in predicting which rival will demonstrate the necessary improvement to pull the upset.

When faced with doubt in early-spring Derby prep races, history shows it pays to visit Planet Pletcher. And as with all things money related, it pays to consistently insist on value.

Todd Pletcher enters 2 horses here: Mo Power and Rally Cry. Rally Cry is saddled with jockey Junior Alvarado, not one of Pletcher’s usual go-to guys. His troubled trip last time out is drawing lots of attention among pundits and will likely lower his odds below the 5-1 morning line.

I see greater value in backing Mo Power. After breaking poorly in his sprint debut, he absolutely flew down the stretch to miss by just a neck. Next time out, he broke well, tracked the leader and secured a 1-length victory, posting a mile time superior to all other entrants in this race.

Mo Power gets the services of Pletcher’s #1 jockey, John Velazquez, who abandons his mount in the richer Gulfstream Park Handicap to fly in for the ride. Best of all, the 6-1 morning line seems more likely to go up than to go down. Because I rate him as one of the top 2 horses in the field, I’ll get a bet down at odds of 5-1 or higher.

THE BET: $20 Win/Place on Mo Power at odds of 5-1 or higher


Roger LeBlanc