Getty Images

Royal Mo romps to win in Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita

Leave a comment

ARCADIA, Calif. — Royal Mo won the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 3+ lengths Saturday at Santa Anita, giving owners Jerry and Ann Moss a second contender for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Royal Mo ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.48. The 3-year-old colt trained by John Shirreffs earned 10 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby’s 20-horse field.

The Mosses’ other 3-year-old, Gormley, won the Sham Stakes by a head last month at Santa Anita. The couple won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with 50-1 Giacomo, tied for the second-longest shot to win the race.

“We haven’t had two horses in this position in a long time and it’s fun,” said Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records. “We don’t really see anyone else coming up that scares us.”

Royal Mo paid $5, $3.40 and $2.20. The colt’s sire is Uncle Mo, who was undefeated as a 2-year-old but got knocked out of the 2011 Kentucky Derby because of illness.

Irap returned $4.20 and $2.60 while 7-5 favorite Sheer Flattery was another neck back in third and paid $2.20 to show in the Grade 3 race.

“Royal Mo just ran lights out,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Irap, fourth-place Term of Art and last-place Dangerfield. “When you give a horse like Royal Mo an uncontested lead, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Breaking from the rail in the field of five, Espinoza took Royal Mo to the early lead. Irap pulled even with Royal Mo heading into the stretch turn, but soon fell back.

“He’s such a big, heavy horse,” Espinoza said. “He doesn’t have that quickness for the first couple of strides. As soon as he gets into a rhythm though, he’ll keep going.”

Royal Mo ran second in his first two starts and then won by 1\ lengths at Del Mar on Nov. 27. The Mosses purchased the colt for $300,000 at auction.

“He’s improving a lot,” Espinoza said. “From the last few races to this race, he’s really coming along. He’s going in the right direction. Hopefully, we keep going all the way.”

Moss said he wants to separate Royal Mo and Gormley, who is being pointed toward the San Felipe Stakes on March 11 at Santa Anita.

“I like Arkansas and it’s been great for us,” said Moss, whose superstar mare Zenyatta won at Oaklawn Park. “We’ll take one of them back there.”

Sheer Flattery was floated four-wide into the first turn, moved up inside leaving the second turn and just missed finishing second.

In the $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes, 3-5 favorite St. Joe Bay won by 2\ lengths under Kent Desormeaux.

The 5-year-old gelding ran six furlongs in 1:08.75 and paid $3.40 to win in the Grade 2 race.

Moe Candy was second and Ike Walker took third.

Predators take 2-1 lead into Game 4 vs. Ducks as clear betting favorites

Getty Images
Leave a comment

As great as their record at home in the playoffs is, the Nashville Predators also consistently take care of business when installed as a big favorite, be it home or away.

The Predators are -140 betting favorites against the +120 underdog Anaheim Ducks with a five-goal total in their Game 4 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Nashville is 10-0 straight-up in its last 10 home playoff games and the OddsShark NHL Database also reveals that the team is 12-3 in their last 15 games as favorite of -135 to -500 on the moneyline. Eight of the last nine games within that sample have gone under. Nashville is also 5-2 SU in its last seven home games against Anaheim, including a win on Tuesday that gave it a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final.

Anaheim, who is 13-7 overall in its last 20 games, faces a virtual must-win situation. The Ducks will need to do a better job screening and obscuring the sight lines of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne than they did during Game 3. The trend in the series has been that Anaheim, whose forward corps is led by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg, has been getting fewer shots on goal and fewer shot attempts than Nashville. Perry scored in Game 3, but had only two total shots.

John Gibson will start in goal for Anaheim, which will be missing Kevin Bieksa, Patrick Eaves and Logan Shaw due to injuries.

Nashville, which is 12-8 overall in its last 20 games, might well be the smart-money choice to win the Stanley Cup even though they had the fewest points in the regular season of any playoff team.

The Predators have a deep cadre of offensively astute defensemen in Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban. During Game 3 on Tuesday, the Predators’ defensemen took more shots on goal (21) than the entire Ducks team. Filip Forsberg has scored in all three games of the series and has a total of 13 shots on goal.

While the Predators seem to have all the momentum, Anaheim has lost back-to-back games only twice within its last 30 games overall.

The total has gone over in five of Anaheim’s last seven games on the road heading into the Game 4 matchup on Thursday. The total has gone under in nine of Nashville’s last 12 home games, with two pushes. Overall, the team scoring the first goal is 48-25 during the playoffs this year.

Pittsburgh Penguins Game 3 betting favorites facing the Senators in Ottawa

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins keep losing players without being any worse for wear, but a general assumption of that continuing could boost prices on the underdog Ottawa Senators.

The Penguins are a -130 moneyline favorite against the +110 underdog Senators with a 5-goal total in their Game 3 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the last five seasons the Penguins are 7-4 straight-up in 11 games as a road favorite during the month of May, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. While some offensively gifted teams can get frustrated by the suffocating defensive tactics deployed in playoff hockey, the Penguins have had seven of their last nine games in May go UNDER and have managed to go 5-4 in those contests.

The Eastern Conference final is tied 1-1 heading into the Game 3 matchup, with the two teams having combined for a paltry four goals. Pittsburgh has also come away with injuries to D Justin Schultz (shoulder) and RW Bryan Rust (upper body). Ottawa could have LW Viktor Stalberg (lower body) back as it looks to generate more offense.

The Penguins, 13-7 in their last 20 games overall, did not score during the first two periods of either of the series’ first two games as they struggled to solve Ottawa’s 1-3-1 defensive alignment. It was not for lack of trying, as Crosby and Malkin’s respective lines generated a lot of shots and effectively played keepaway.

If Schultz is unable to play, Pittsburgh will be ever more reliant on D Olli Maatta to help create offensive rushes that negate Ottawa’s trapping techniques.

The Senators, 10-10 in their last 20 games overall, had just 29 even-strength shot attempts in Game 2, when they were shut out and barely tested Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. However, they are 6-3 in their last nine home games as an underdog of +110 or more on the moneyline.

The change of venue to the Canadian Tire Centre means Ottawa’s most reliable offensive players such as RW Bobby Ryan, C Kyle Turris and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau will have more favorable line matchups. And, of course, Ottawa has an X-factor with playmaking defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Ottawa is 9-1 over its last 10 home games against Metropolitan Division teams, but trends such as that are hard to sustain in the parity-driven NHL. The total has gone UNDER in these teams’ last four meetings.