02/03/2009 2:09AM

3 Down, 112 to Go


T he first three Grade 1 races of 2009 were run last weekend and each was won by a Breeders' Cup winner: Albertus Maximus (2008 Dirt Mile) won the Donn, Ventura (2008 F&M Sprint) took the Santa Monica and Kip Deville (2007 Mile) prevailed in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. All three of them also received Eclipse Award votes last year: Ventura got 88 votes finishing second to Indian Blessing for champion female sprinter; Kip Deville got five votes for champion male turf horse; and Albertus Maximus got one of the three votes cast against Curlin for champion older male.

The Donn made Albertus Maximus ($8.20) an official Grade 1 winner; the Dirt Mile was ungraded last year, as was the F&M Sprint, but both will be Grade 1's this year. Albertus Maximus is obviously a nice horse,and it was nice to see him replicate his synthetic-track form on dirt, but it's still unclear that he's up to the level of what it usually takes to vie for leadership of the American handicap division. The Dirt Mile field he beat was a distinct cut below the Classic lineup (and earned a Beyer of 102 as opposed to a 110 for the Classic.) The Donn earned a Beyer of only 101. In the Holy Bull on the Donn undercard, Saratoga Sinner ran only half a second slower than Albertus Maximus (1:51.45 vs. 1:50.96), a smaller difference than you'd expect between a G3 for newly-turned 3-year-olds and a G1 for older. 

Ventura wasn't cranked up for a peak effort and didn't have to be to beat stablemate Jibboom and four other overmatched opponents in the Santa Monica. She won by a comfortable length at 3-10, and figures to be odds-on in her next start, the newly-G1 Madison at Keeneland April 9, the second of the year's three G1 synthetic-track sprint for older fillies. (The third is the F&M Sprint at Santa Anita.) It will be interesting to see if she tries actual dirt between April and November, and whether she can win a female-sprinter Eclipse if she doesn't.

Kip Deville ($7.00), faced the most accomplished field of the weekend's three Grade 1's, including G1 winners Court Vision (3rd at 2-1) and Red Rocks (8th at 3-1). The question with Kip DeVille was the nine-furlong distance: Coming into the race, his grass record was 8-for-14 at a mile and 0-for-5 at more than a mile. Pressed only mildly early by longshot Pick Six, Kip Deville held on through the ninth furlong to score by three-quarters of a length over 24-1 Just As Well, who carried 11 fewer pounds.

Only two more Grade 1 races this month: the Las Virgenes for 3-year-old fillies at SA Feb. 7 and the Santa Maria for older fillies Feb. 14.

--Here's how those two big Saturday multirace wagers turned out:

Both sequences paid nicely, roughly double the parlay. I passed on the Magna 5 because of the two firster-heavy Santa Anita maiden races in the sequence, and instead got involved at Gulfstream. Although I did use Warrior's Reward ($63) as one of five in an anti-Nicanor (10th at 5-2) play, it was academic by then because I hadn't used Saratoga Sinner in the Holy Bull.

Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
To flipdawsonthebird--I want to thank you for the negative comments. It just makes me want to work harder. I'm serious! In this world, we can be positive or negative. I choose the positive side. You don't have to bet my picks. A lot of bloggers tell me that they like the humour. I'll try to do better for you later this week, if it rains.
Tim B. More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised that there is no mention of the passing of Dr. Howard Sartin over the weekend. He was the innovator of the Sartin Methodology of pace handicapping, and was featured in Tom Brohamer's Modern Pace Handicapping.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Thursday at Santa Anita We have to get away from all this chalk. In race 1, play $20.00 tri of 2-9-7.These nags are well meant, and will not be chalkers. Then, take all profits and play in race 6 this horse: Jaylo's Mark. The ML is 7-2, and as such is second choice. I am hoping that the odds will be around 3-1. Chantal Sutherland rides for trainer Mullins. He uses her when the horse is ready. Note, if the horse in race 6 is favorite, stay off JAYLO'S MARK. You are only risking $20.00 here, and if it rains later this week, I'll have some dandies for you to play. Note, if you detect rain at any track later on this week, call me at 905-579-1116, and let me know, as it takes a lot of time to check the weather report at all tracks. Good luck on Thursday.
Flipdawsonthebird More than 1 year ago
Finally we have an intelligent blog about racing on the internet and now it is being flooded with constant drivel from some bad handicapper. Even if the opinions were decent the incessent babbling that has nothing to do with the topics are enough to make any sane person's head explode. I feel like I'm trapped on the subway, the car has broken down, and some clown is screaming about Jesus.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
No bets at the Big A on Wed., in Race 4 as #2 Knot News was scratched.
mpm101 More than 1 year ago
bombsawaybob_grant, The Magna has no guarantee any longer as they halved the cost to only $1 this year. they are actually getting more play now as the pools are not that far off the previous years when the cost was double. mpm101
bank account empty More than 1 year ago
Flip Dawson, Race 4 at the Big A was a bloodbath allright!! Thanks for the "inside info" I'm off to see if I can secure a loan!!
BombsAwayBob Grant More than 1 year ago
Is "The Magna Five" still a $500,000 guaranteed Pool? Seems Magna would be gagging hard at swallowing almost a $90,000 shortfall in the wager pool! (PS- Steve, very sorry for your recent loss.)
Bank Account Empty More than 1 year ago
Flip Dawson, Sorry I can't get involved in your Tampa Bay plays. I'm tapped out from playing your "sure" things at Gulfstream last week!!
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Wednesday at Santa Anita. Race 1- Frankelstein #6 is 3-1 in the ML and could knock these off. Play this onto April Pride at 2-1 ML in Race 2 for the Early Double. Your numbers are 6-1. Then, to make up for this chalky Double (sorry), take an Exactor of $20.00 and play numbers 1-6 in the Exactor. Miss Redoubled is saddled by Mark Casse with Husbands up, and the ML is a generous 10-1. If Race 2 comes off the turf, eliminate all bets linked to Race 2. -------------------------- In Race 7, you might have an exactor paying $25.00. Play # 6 QUEENOFALLDIAMONDS with Husbands up at 3-1 ML onto #3 CARMEL COFFEE at 5-2 ML. Trainer Frankel won with Patrick Husbands and liked what he saw on the weekend, as he names Husbands once again to get the job done. I would play this wager cold, but suit yourself. ------------------------- In the nightcap, the Super High 5 is sitting there to be taken. Best numbers to use in YOUR order are 1-2-3-5-8-9-10. Special consideration goes to jockey Chantal Sutherland who is up on 15-1 SUSPECT. This jockette (a new word I just invented!!) is one of the most under-rated riders on the grounds. She will pay $35.60, and not blink an eye. Does well with trainer Mullins. #2 will be the favorite (LASER POINT) at 7-2 ML. I have studied the outcome of favorites here in the Super High 5, and the Fave usually runs 2nd or 5th in this feature. -------------------------- Best of luck today. flipper D.