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Steve Asmussen killed two Birds with two distinctly different stones over the weekend. Just to pile it on, he added a Warrior's Reward in the Jim Dandy with KENSEI.
First up came arguably the pebble of Asmussen's trifecta of three-year-old boulders. The previously unheralded SOUL WARRIOR outfinished Kentucky Derby hero MINE THAT BIRD to nab the exhausted BIG DRAMA in the waning strides of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. While the Derby winner lost some luster in defeat, it must be noted that the top two finishers of the West Virginia Derby had the recency advantage over the plucky gelding. Mine That Bird fans shouldn't jump off the bandwagon just yet as he should be tighter for the Travers at Saratoga. As for Big Drama, he went fast but that was the plan all along...to take the race to Mine That Bird, and use his early speed to his greatest advantage. He simply didn't stay the nine furlongs. There is no questioning Big Drama's courage as he tried all the way to the wire, but I do wonder how sound the injury-plagued colt really is. He looked uncomfortable on the far turn as he made his final lead change very, very early.
Asmussen didn't have much time to celebrate Soul Warrior's upset victory. Six minutes later, Kensei toyed with his opponents in the Jim Dandy, the local prep for the historic Travers. The Mr. Greeley colt, making his first start around two turns, pressed the unlikely pacesetter WARRIOR'S REWARD before taking over at will turning for home. Warrior's Reward may be a bit more comfortable coming from off the pace, and third-finisher CHARITABLE MAN ran well enough in his first start after a grueling run in the Belmont Stakes. Both deserve consideration next time along with the impressive winner.
But no star shined brighter than RACHEL ALEXANDRA in a rain-soaked rendition of the Haskell Invitational. As expected, Todd Pletcher's stretchout sprinter, MUNNINGS, assumed the role of pacesetter in the nine-furlong, Grade 1 event. What no one could have expected was the early positon of Belmont winner SUMMER BIRD. Jockey Kent Desormeaux had Summer Bird, normally a late-runner, right up on the early lead, and pressing Munnings from the rail. Rachel, like a hawk ready to swoop, tracked the leaders while three wide, and the race was over three furlongs from the finish. As has been the case all season, when Rachel goes, no one can go with her. Simply brilliant.
From the Monmouth Park press department:
Tim Ice: "I didn't tell Kent anything...He was going real comfortable throughout. That's Rachel Alexandra. That's what everyone came to see. I'm very proud of how my horse dug in...We'll take a look at the Travers. If she's in there, she's in there. I'm not going to invite her."
On running against Rachel Alexandra again, Ice said, "Not if I don't have to."
Kent Desormeaux: "I might have taken my horse out of his game today."
Todd Pletcher: "I thought the early pace was a little quick, but he was doing it well and had the main contenders close to him. We thought he ran very well and we're very pleased...We'll see how he comes out of it, and wouldn't be against running him two turns again in the future."
Joe Bravo (rider of Atomic Rain): "I could tell at the break that he was not himself. He came back safe and sound. He is an aggressive horse but he didn't even bite at the pony today. The stress of this week may have got to him..."
If Rachel does return in the Travers, it will be interesting to see if Asmussen points his two colts to run against her. Mine That Bird is scheduled to try her one more time. As a one-run closer, he always has a puncher's chance.
Somewhere in Southern California, Zenyatta waits.
Let's take a look at the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:
*Haskell Invitational (Mth): RACHEL ALEXANDRA (S. Asmussen/C. Borel) - 116
*Jim Dandy (Sar): KENSEI (S. Asmussen/E. Prado) - 106
*Louisiana Cup Turf Classic (LaD): STAR GUITAR (A. Stall Jr./C. Bourque) - 105
*Schuylerville (Sar): HOT DIXIE CHICK (S. Asmussen/R. Albarado) - 103
*Fourstardave (Sar): JUSTENUFFHUMOR (K. McLaughlin/A. Garcia) - 103
*Pennsylvania Governor's Cup (Pen): CARDASHI (T. Kreiser/D. Cora) - 102
*Wickerr (Dmr): COLONEL JOHN (E. Harty/G. Gomez) - 102
*West Virginia Governor's Cup (Mnr): SHADOWBDANCING (T. Gore/R. Meier) - 102
*Diana (Sar): FOREVER TOGETHER (J. Sheppard/J. Leparoux) - 101
*San Diego (Dmr): INFORMED (D. O'Neill/T. Baze) - 101
*Quick Call (Sar): AWAKINO CAT (L. Rice/A. Garcia) - 100
*Femme Fatale (Pen): BOLD UNION (K. Breen/J. Velez Jr.) - 100
*Harvey Arneault Memorial (Mnr): RAVALO (D. Barr/M. Smith) - 99
*Teddy Drone (Mth): FLEET VALID (S. Volk/P. Morales) - 98
*James Marvin (Sar): GOLD TRIPPI (S. Hough/C. Velasquez) - 98
*Louisiana Cup Sprint (Pen): BROTHER BEAN (V. Arceneaux/B. Patin) - 97
*Jenny Wade (Pen): CASANOVA KILLER (S. Klesaris/D. Cohen) - 97
*Royal North (WO): GLITTER ROX (I. Black/G. Olguin) - 95
*West Virginia Derby (Mnr): SOUL WARRIOR (S. Asmussen/D. Beckner) - 95
*West Virginia Secretary of State (Mnr): TEQUILAS DAYJUR (J. Jackson/T. Houghton) - 95
*West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Cup (Mnr): YATE'S BLACK CAT (D. Romans/C. Lanerie) - 95
*Majestic Light (Mth): ACTIN GOOD (R. Dibona/K. Desormeaux) - 94
*Curlin (Sar): BLAME (A. Stall Jr./H. Theriot II) - 94
*Go for Wand (Sar): SEVENTH STREET (S. bin Suroor/R. Maragh) - 94
*Lake George (Sar): BE FAIR (D. Lukas/R. Maragh) - 93
*Oceanport (Mth): GET SERIOUS (J. Forbes/P. Fragoso) - 93
*East Hanover Township (Pen): PASHITO THE CHE (S. Lake/A. Castellano Jr.) - 93
*Seattle Slew (EmD): PEACEFUL REIGN (V. Belvoir/G. Mitchell) - 93
*Rossi Gold (AP): RUMOR HAS IT (D. Hinsley/E. Perez) - 93
*Leeward (PID) - FRISKY THUNDER (T. Keefe/E. Rodriguez) - 92
*Chesapeake (Cnl): AH DAY (K. Leatherbury/S. Russell) - 91
*Osunitas (DMR): MEYDAN PRINCESS - IRE (J. Cassidy/D. Flores) - 91
*West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup (Mnr): PIRATESONTHELAKE (J. DiVito/M. Smith) - 91
*High Rock Spring (Sar): R CLEAR VICTORY (S. Asmussen/R. Dominguez) - 91
*Jersey Derby (Mth): ENDYMION (C. Clement/J. Bravo) - 90
*Mountaineer Juvenile (Mnr): PRINCE ROONEY (S. Asmussen/C. Lanerie) - 90
*West Virginia Senate President's (Mnr): TIZFIZ (J. Good/C. Lanerie) - 90
*Lake Luzerne (Sar): CHESTORIA (W. Badgett Jr./R. Maragh) - 89
*California Dreamin (DMR): DEWEY'S SPECIAL (R. Ellis/J. Valdivia Jr.) - 89
*Lady's Secret (Mth): DEVIL HOUSE (B. Levine/C. Lopez) - 89
*Regret (Mth): D'WILD RIDE (J. Orseno/C. Marquez Jr.) - 89
*Middleground (LS): GRAND SLAM ANDRE (S. Asmussen/E. Tejera) - 89
*Ontario County (FL): SMOKIN HERO (C. Englehart/J. Davila Jr.) - 88
*Mongo Queen (Mth): LADY ALEXANDER (B. Alexander/D. Centeno) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Derby (LaD): MILWAUKEE MIRACLE (B. Young/C. Bourque) - 86
*San Clemente (Dmr): STARLARKS - IRE (P. Gallagher/A. Solis) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Distaff (LaD): SUPERIOR STORM (R. Jackson/L. Quinonez) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (LaD): MASTER LINK (M. Nicks/P. Valenzuela) - 84
*Capital City (Pen): DR LARGE (J. Jones/G. Saez) - 83
*Sanford (Sar): BACKTALK (T. Amoss/M. Mena) - 82
*R. J. Speers (AsD): GROW UP (A. Blake/R. Bowen) - 82
*Arapahoe Park Classic (ArP): MR CHARLYPOTATOES (T. Klenakis/T. Wales) - 81
*Minnesota Derby (Cby): PERFECT BULL (B. Rhone/D. Butler) - 81
*Breeders' (WO): PERFECT SHOWER (R. Attfield/J. Jones) - 80
*Tyro (Mth): PHIL'S PROSPECT (G. Capuano/T. Maragh) - 77
*Humphrey S. Finney (Lrl): TARGET SIGHTED (F. Campitelli/J. Joyce) - 77
*Taylor Made Matchmaker (Mth): CAPTAIN'S LOVER - SAF (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 76
*Minnesota Oaks (Cby): CHICK FIGHT (M. Robertson/D. Butler) - 76
*Red Carpet (Pen): DATTTS OUR GIRL (M. Hennig/J. Rose) - 76
*Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies (Mnr): FOR ROYALTY (T. Pletcher/M. Smith) - 76
*Graduation (Dmr): WOLF TAIL (D. O'Neill/J. Rosario) - 76
*Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies (LaD): DELTALICIOUS (C. Hassenpflug/D. Simington) - 75
*Count Lathum (NP): COOL DIABLO (C. Anderson/R. Simard) - 74
*Turf Starlet (Pen): LETTER OF THE LAW (R. Potts Jr./H. Vega) - 72
*Louisiana Cup Oaks (LaD): LIGHTLIGHTLIGHT (S. Asmussen/S. Sellers) - 71
*Iowa Stallion (PrM): REACH ONE MORE (D. Anderson/M. Ziegler) - 69
*Jamestown (Cnl): TOCCET'S CHARM (K. Furlong/M. Franklin) - 68
*Ann Arbor (Pnl): HAKUNA MATATA (L. Uelman/A. Stanley) (**Moon Charmer finished first with 69 Beyer, but was disqualified and placed third**)
*Horizon (RD): RAISE THE REWARD (T. Hamm/H. Rosario Jr.) - 67
*Hall of Fame (Cls): COBLE AVENUE (R. Mitzner/W. Arroyo) - 66
*Madamoiselle (NP): SUMMER SONG (A. May/M. Gutierrez) - 65
*Louisiana Cup Juvenile (LaD): KING OF THE BAYOU (J. Hodges/R. Eramia) - 62
*Vernon Cup (Kin): POLAR BLUE (L. Gregoire/C. Stinn) - 61
*John Franks Memorial Sales (EvD): BAILEY'S CHARM (T. Young/D. Saenz) - 57
*Nandi (WO): OISTINS (T. Jordan/J. McAleney) - 53
*North Dakota Stallion (AsD): WHATCHA GONNA DO (A. Sayler/R. Singh) - 43
*John Franks Memorial Sales (EvD): THE RUMOR'S TRUE (S. Duke/R. Eramia) - 42
*Harlequin (MD): BESNARD (F. Zdunick/N. Stephenson) - 27
*Gold Strike (MD): DIANATION (B. McDonald/N. Stephenson) - 22
*Cavonnier Juvenile (SR): OUR MINESWEEPER (M. Lenzini/W. Antongeorgi III) - N/A
*Joseph T. Grace (SR): SHEM (S. Specht/F. Alvarado) - N/A
Here are the lifetime past performances for the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers of the weekend:
Is there any way to see Easy Goer's career Beyer Speed Figures?
The Beyers weren't published in the DRF when Easy Goer was racing. I'm sure the numbers are out there somewhere. In "Beyer on Speed," Andy Beyer mentions that Easy Goer ran a 116 in the Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old. He also notes that Easy Goer ran a 110 in the Cowdin, a 113 entry-level allowance in his third lifetime start, and a 102 for his maiden victory in his second race. I believe he ran in the 120's when he spoiled Sunday Silence's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes.
Did I miss the boat about the former Bulls and Bears?
The former Bulls and Bears (not the excessively green juvenile) was a foal of 1996, and raced until 2002 when he finished eighth in a $3,200 claiming race at Turf Paradise. He never competed in a stakes race.
Dan, I asked you to give the best Beyered races for the Eclipse catagories. Scratch that! If you could just give the best races restricted to 2 and 3 year olds I'll be very grateful
3yo (through 2008):
Travers - 110.32
Preakness - 110.11
Haskell - 109.72
Jim Dandy - 109.00
Kentucky Derby - 108.89
Jerome Handicap - 108.74
King's Bishop - 108.39
Kentucky Cup Sprint - 106.73
Belmont Stakes - 106.53
Pennsylvania Derby - 106.31
Swaps - 106.21
Pegasus - 106.00
Blue Grass - 105.65
Dwyer - 105.50
Carry Back - 105.06
2yo (through 2008):
Breeders' Cup Juvenile - 99.61
CashCall Futurity - 99.06
Champagne - 98.00
Hollywood Prevue - 95.83
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - 95.32
Sanford - 94.53
Hopeful - 94.28
Futurity - 94.22
Hi Dan, could you post the lifetime pps of Japanese champions T M Opera O and Deep Impact (this one the best son of Sunday Silence), and Australian mare Makybe Dive, I think they are the world's earners leaders. Thank you so much!!
Jose Iglesias Garcia
Here's what I have on those three runners:
Could I bother you for a somewhat random PP request?
Broken Vow, Street Cry, Officer, Siphon, Skimming please.
Thanks so much!
Here they are:
Let's play the Cougar II Handicap(8th) from Del Mar on Wednesday, August 5th as the Handigambling 145 race. We don't have many 1 1/2 races on the dirt and it should be wide open.
Congrats to SpartanTom for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling. Here are this week's past performances:
A "Million" little thoughts: Follow this link and you will have the pps for the three G1s on Million Day. A little more searching on the same site will yield you videos of some of the European's last race or two as well as pps for the other stakes races on Saturday's AP card. http://www.arlingtonpark.com/horsemen/stakes-pps Observations on the Euros: Most impressive to me is Cima de Triomphe's (9-2) last (note top three finishers--WOW!) and Stotsfold's (12-1) last two (note race two back--WOW!). Both trainers are top-notch and Cumani came here to win the The Million with Tolomeo (beating John Henry!) 26 years ago this summer. A very impressive field--9 starters and I give at least 6, a real shot. I also like the fact that in the Beverly D, Denomination (8-1) does her best running on "good" ground--the closest equivalent to firm on this side of the pond--and this would seem to be a perfect distance for her. The Irish filly, Mad About You (6-1), has been competitive against colts--the stretch-out would seem a bit odd except for her 2nd in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh last summer; albeit on a yielding course. In the Secretariat, the absence of Battle of Hastings (not originally nominated) is disappointing and somewhat curious ($5 million!!??) but just look at Take the Points (9-2) and see who has beaten him his last two. I might be tempted to lean his way--outside of the Preakness debacle, he's never disgraced himself and I could easily see 6-1. Giant Oak (3-1) had loads of trouble in the American Derby but was unbettable that day at 7-10. Come Saturday he may be as much as 7-2 and for me that might be too good to pass up. As for the Euros, Black Bear Island (4-1) is classy enough but his last effort at Longchamp over a course rated "gs" was subpar and I fear this one may be on a downtrend in cycle. Driving Snow (12-1e )has been very impressive in his two North American starts but this is a huge jump up in class as well as distance. Oil Man's (5-1) numbers seem a bit short but he has a graded stakes victory and he would not be a complete shock. My dark horse might be Clement's Laureate Conductor (10-1) who has seemingly put it together and would also seem to relish the added distance. Early Festival P3(R7): 4,7,10/8,4,5/2,4,8 (who else goes to the lead?) Good Luck and Good Racing
The 7 horse gets some class relief and is 2nd off the layoff for a high percentage barn. 6 horse is always the bridesmaid. $7 Tri 7/6/234589-10 $49 $7 Tri 7/234589-10/6 $49 $2 for some peanuts
HG 145 Based on ML odds, my focus will be on two horses: #2 Zappa - Last years Cougar winner is still looking for his first win of '09. His last three 7f workouts seem to indicate that today could be the day. #10 Sir Dave - Although this horse cannot put together more than four races without a layoff, he always seems to show up when he does race. He has won on three different surfaces, fast dirt, slop and turf. Today he could add synthetic to his resume. Wager: $20 Ex 2/10 = $20 $10 Ex 10/2 = $10 $40 Win 2 = $40 $30 Win 10 = $30 Total = $100 Good luck to all and to those of you heading to the SPA this weekend, have a profitable and fun time.
HG 145 Long Distance Runaround (aka Cougar II) Trainer & Tomlinson play for me... Baffert, Baffert, Desormeaux, & Carava Wagers: $4 Exacta box: 4,7,8,10 $1 Tri box: 4,7,8,10 $0.20 SF Box: 4,6,7,8,10 $1 SF P/W: 4,10 // 4,10 // 7,8 // 7,8 Good Luck to All!
Did anyone see this link: http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jul/22/ex-chrb-boss-having-second-thoughts/ Said Shapiro: “If most of the industry wants to go back to dirt, they should go back to dirt. But I think that racetrack surfaces have become somewhat of a scapegoat for the problems of horse racing. “Racetrack surfaces are not the sole cause of breakdowns. There are many other factors including medications and breeding practices.” Really? You're kidding! The good news is, I really don't think synthetics are here to stay. Dirt WILL eventually return to California and other venues. The bad news is, he didn't think of this before retiring.
Lets try to catch up. Van Savant, Congrats, sir on your outstanding prognosticating @ the Spa Saturday. 6 winners is indeed rarified air! C, Agree wholeheartedly about Quality Road in the Travers. Kensei keeps improving and Summer Bird, charitable man, and MTB should be ready to run 2nd off the layoff. Uncle Steve, Jumping on the Quarter Moon bandwagon again in HG145? Speaking of which, #1GHETTO: part of the pace only. #2ZAPPA:T. Baze/Sadler combo batting .41 at Delmar last 2 yrs. Form seems to be off however. Questionable. #3BIG BOOSTER: Can run all day. Horses from the Gold Cup have run well @ Del Mar. Global Hunter, Mast Track, Informed... should be in mix. #4MR.BIG: Explosive win last out. Regression? Should get 1st run on the closers. Definite Contender. #5 QUARTER MOON: Seemed to enjoy the 11f last out. Now shoots to 12. should be close to thpace as well. Class hike but contender I think. #6 CHURCH SERVICE: always seems to run into one better. Consistent and in the mix. #7 RICHARDS KID: Stone cold closer. Untestetd on poly, but should like it. One of several closers. #8 GANGBUSTERS: Shipper should be threatening. Under only #9 UNUSUAL SUSPECT: No thanks #10 SIR DAVE: 1st time poly, lousy post, no thanks. Against my better judgement I'll play the #4 MR. BIG on top to catch the frontrunners and best the closers. $45 win #4 $10 ex.4/3,5,6,8 $5 ex. 3,5,6,/ 4 Good luck!
Laura, LAURA'S PLEASURE is running in the Sorrento at DMR on Fri.! I was saddened to hear that FINALLYMADEIT had to be euthanized because of a training injury, but this one was on dirt (Saratoga). May he rest in peace. Annie
Handisapping 145 Dan, I am going with #9 Unusual Suspect I am going on the hunch that if they are bring him back on such short notice they must know something we dont. $10 Exacta 1,3,5,7,10/9 $50 win #9
Friday at Arlington... Should be a lot of fun with Alan Shuback, cold beer, etc. so here goes nothing as far as trying to make some money! 1st-Erdiston will be 3/5 and even though he's a horse I'll always remember (Annie-people at Canterbury do know how to throw a party!) he's really not in the best of shape. Between bleeding problems and a bum ankle I gotta look elsewhere (although, because of class and heart alone at 5/2 or more I'll bet him despite the problems-unfortunaltly I won' get it) So my pick has to be 6-Glory to Spare who really improved last and should be just off the lead. 2nd-4-Fen could take these wire to wire with 5-Whatsat sitting just off his pace should he faulter. They're 6 and 5/1 respectively and could be a decent exacta. 3rd-6-Stay See Mom is prime top and 5/1 ML. Another trying to go wire to wire. Holi Geri is 7/5 ML and at anything close to that she isn't worth it but is a must use in the gimmix and multi-race wagers. 4th-4-Brookes Star has been running well, bred for the surface and actually won a nw1 allowance here two back. 5-My Best Pal Red probably deserves the favoritism but at 7/5 gotta put my "win eggs" in a different basket. 5th-6-Miss Fontana was a really nice 2yo (3rd in a 50K stake at Prarie Meadow and won a 50K stake at Fairmount where the Arlington horses descend like vultures for those 50K purses) After a dud first out at 3 in a Statebred Stake worth almost 100K they dropped her to 25K claimers nw3 and she won-gets straight 3yos today and may be even higher than her 5/1 price. Also, Magana has an entry in here at 6/1 and both could run well. 6th-5-Tourelle is Mott, by Giant's Causeway and a second time starter who was bet down to 3/1 at Churchill on the grass. 4-Here Oui Go Again is the prime top and this may be her best distance. 7th-8-Class Ack runs well fresh, LOVES this racetrack and at 5/1 really looks like a nice play here. (May actually single if the pick 6 carrys over to friday) 8th-The Visualizer-3rd off layoff and the fact that they paid to ship him to Virginia off that dull effort 2 back tells me the horse is doing well. Last was just too short and he's 10/1. 9th-8-My Drama is a deserving favorite for Janks. 2nd last to a loose on the lead winner. 9-Margaret S. Got a feeling she'll run well here but gotta be concerned about the 0 for 13 record, especially since she's been getting beat at this level. The BOMB for me though is 4 Christi's Pal and this a strictly a combination "gut play/get rich quick play" 5 year old first timer with slow works for a barn that seldom wins races. Unreal Zeal's offspring do ok on the poly though and even though has been working slowly, I do like the fact that the last 2 works were at 6f. I have to believe though that at 5 years old that's an advantage if nothing else because of growth, etc. and other than My Drama Queen she's facing all 3 year olds. She's 30/1 ML and could be 99/1 but as the Old Carney in Abbingdon Illinois used to say "Gotta Hunch, Bet a Bunch!" and I'm guessing that if she's anywhere in the Hifive and I'm able to construct a ticket around her I won't be sharing the pot with anyone!
HG 145 Based on the stats it would appear that Church Service would be the obvious selection, and certainly it is why he is the morning line favorite. I have a hard time though backing horses who frequently finish second, which is what this one has been doing. With the short price, Church Service is not a play against, but a key horse. I will key him for SECOND – a play I have been quite successful with over the past couple of seasons with horse who like to place. I’m going to once again look for value in this one, and I’ll do it with Zappa. Sadler appears to be changing tactics with Zappa, who for a long time was the speed of the speed in most ever race he ran. His past few (unsuccessful) races Zappa has been coming from off the pace. I’m not sure what Sadler will instruct Tyler Baze to do here – send him or sit back – but it looks reasonable that this one will have a chance either way. Zappa has not only won at the distance but won this very race a year ago. Perhaps a return to this race will see a return to form. Big Booster is another, who appears to fit right in at these conditions and should be right there turning for home. Richard’s Kid tries synthetic for the first time. As David H. said the pedigree is key in determining this one’s chances. Richard’s Kid has a big chance here. The Play $15 Trifecta – 2, 3, 7 with 6 with 2, 3, 7 = $90 $1 Superfecta – 2 with 6 with 3, 7, 8 with 3, 7, 8, 10 =$9 $1 Superfecta – 2 with 8 with 10 with 7 =$1