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Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia
By Dan Illman
Two undefeated champions are slated to face each other, as well as a slew of other top fillies and mares, in this year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita.
*AWESOME FEATHER made it ten in a row with her authoritative score in the $83,000 Nasty Storm Stakes contested around a one-turn mile at Belmont on September 20. Awesome Feather, the champion juvenile filly of 2010 when trained by Stanley Gold for breeder Jacks or Better Farm, was sold for $2,300,000 to Frank Stronach at the end of that season and has battled tendon problems and various other nagging ailments ever since.
For Stronach and trainer Chad Brown, Awesome Feather has only raced four times over the past two years but she remains perfect. On November 26, 2011, Awesome Feather took down the Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes at the Ladies' Classic distance of nine furlongs. On January 28, 2012, Awesome Feather began her season with a facile victory in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, also at nine furlongs.
"Coming into this race," Brown mentioned to NYRA Publicity after the Nasty Storm, "we felt at the barn that she was carrying more weight and her coat was better than we’ve ever seen it. Her other three wins, she was nice and sound, but we never had her looking weight-wise and coat-wise the way we wanted. This race, coming in, was the best she ever looked to me."
If Brown can keep Awesome Feather healthy, she looms a strong presence in the Ladies' Classic along with MY MISS AURELIA, the undefeated champion juvenile filly of 2011. Trained by Steve Asmussen, My Miss Aurelia skipped the first half of this season while recovering from shin issues but has returned to remain flawless after six starts.
Last weekend, in the Grade 1 Cotillion Handicap at Parx, My Miss Aurelia wore down multiple Grade 1 winner QUESTING during a thrilling stretch drive. Considering the Cotillion was only My Miss Aurelia's second race of the year and that she was stretching out off one sprint prep, she deserves a ton of credit for running down the loose-on-the-lead Questing. Nine furlongs may be pushing it for My Miss Aurelia at Santa Anita and it must be noted that she received seven pounds from Questing at Parx, but there's no denying her class and heart. As for Questing, she also looks like a "go" for the Ladies' Classic. Although she set glacial fractions that usually benefit pacesetters, Questing may have been better-served by a more aggressive ride. Perhaps if she put some separation between herself and My Miss Aurelia by setting a stronger pace, the Stonestreet filly may not have nipped her on the wire.
Add in defending Ladies' Classic winner ROYAL DELTA, IT'S TRICKY, INCLUDE ME OUT and AMANI and the feature race on the Friday Breeders' Cup card looks like an awesome event.
Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from (9/17/12 - 9/23/12):
1. AWESOME FEATHER - 108 - Nasty Storm Stakes - 1 Mile - Belmont
2. WELL SPELLED - 105 - Gallant Bob Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Parx
3. ANGELICA ZAPATA - 103 - Stage Door Betty Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
4. GUAM TYPHOON - 101 - Changing Times Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
5. DUST AND DIAMONDS - 100 - Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Belmont
6. SAGINAW - 98 - Promenade All Stakes - 1 Mile - Belmont
7. ASSOCIATE - 97 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Belmont
8. GALLANT FIELDS - 96 - OC 75k/N3X - 1 Mile - Belmont
8. HELLO LOVER - 96 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
8. MY MISS AURELIA - 96 - Cotillion Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - Parx
8. NAGYS PIGGY BANK - 96 - Pete Condellone Memorial Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fairmount
12. DANCE CARD - 95 - Belle Cherie Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
12. PIANIST - 95 - Given Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
14. BRINGINGDOWN BABEL - 94 - Alw 6250s - 6 Furlongs - Calder
14. JAMES STREET - 94 - Alw 77433NC - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
14. RESOUNDINGLY - 94 - Clm c-25000N3L - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Arlington
17. HANDSOME MIKE - 93 - Pennsylvania Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Parx
17. THIRD CHANCE - 93 - Addison Cammack Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
17. ULLAPOOL - 93 - Alw 70000N1X - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
20. BIG BUSINESS - 92 - Clm 35000B - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
20. OPTIMIZER - 92 - Kent Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Delaware
20. WORTH REPEATING - 92 - Ralph M. Hinds Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Fairplex
23. BOOK REVIEW - 91 - Charles Town Oaks - 7 Furlongs - Charles Town
23. CRUSHING - 91 - Alw 96500N1X - 1 Mile - Parx
23. TAPANNA - 91 - OC c-20k/N1X - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Turfway
*AWESOME FEATHER's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.
*RESOUNDINGLY was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Tammy Domenosky from trainer John Good.
*TAPANNA was claimed for $20,000 by trainer Joe Woodard from trainer Michael Maker.
Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park. It's Part 17 and 18 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.
"Anatomy of a Race"
In episode 17, Tim breaks down a winning race, taking you through his decision-making process. He evaluates the turf, assesses the competition and finally takes you step-by-step through the race itself. Follow along as Tim explains in detail why he made the decisions and moves he made and how it all came together to land Tim and Wicklow into the Winner's Circle.
"A Good Week"
Episode 18 is all about the turf and it served Tim well. Join the ride as Tim squeezes thru some tight spots and glides through the grass right to the Winner's Circle...three times. Then, Tim takes on the G3 Pucker Up Stakes on Treasured Up.
All episodes, 1-18, can be found here:
Dan Deputed Testimony lived to be 32 years old. That's awesome! Will you please post some other good horses who lived to be old? Maybe even some of their past performances? Thanks.
At the bottom of this blog post, you can access the lifetime past performances for some of the older residents at the Old Friends retirement facilities.
*Clever Allemont (multiple stakes-winner, 30-years-old)
*Creator (multiple Group 1 winner, 26-years-old)
*Crusader Sword (Grade 1 winner, 27-years-old)
*Gulch (Champion Sprinter, 28-years-old)
*Marquetry (multiple Grade 1 winner, 25-years-old)
*Ogygian (multiple Grade 1 winner, 29-years-old)
*Prized (multiple Grade 1 winner, 26-years-old)
*Sunshine Forever (Champion Turf Horse, 27-years-old)
Can you post the PPs for Heatherten, Pearl Necklace, Love Sign, Tizna, and Windys Daughter?
Windys Daughter is a bit old for our system. The others are available at the bottom of the blog post.
Congrats to Jayzz82 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.
Penn National Rick's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.
Let's go with Friday's Eddie D Stakes at Santa Anita for this week's HandiGambling exercise.
PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.
PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.
Best of luck to all.
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Bernard Downes It was Mark Twain All Does it appear certain that Fort Erie will be carding its last races ever at the end of this month? Any wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks.
Oh no, the Arc on Sunday is in danger of being a fairly ordinary race (albeit a very valuable one). In the last seven days we have lost 3 of the top 6 favourites. Snow Fairy last week; yesterday it was last year's winner Danedream; and today Britain's best chance, Nathaniel, is out. Although it means that the winning chances of my two Futures bets are much improved, I truly wish it wasn't achieved in this manner. On both sides of the Pond, 2012 has proved a very hard road for the top horses to travel. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Turnbackthealarm, Wow, a family involvement in a major international sporting event. As a non Golf expert I am not certain precisely what a Marshal does, presumably he tries to control the crowd (noise?), (behaviour?). Do they have authority to have people removed from the course, or is your husband 6 foot 6 and imposes his own unofficial authority? Medinah did look nice. Please excuse the heresy, but didn't some wag once remark that golf was a good walk spoiled? Pity about the aircraft noise. It was not helped by one of the British Bookies hiring some planes to sign write messages in the sky. I liked your point about Phil Mickelson's generous attitude towards his opponent. Interestingly, that attitude featured prominently in most of the post match TV reports. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
DavidM9999, Whatever caused the turnaround Ryder Cup loss, I doubt it was lack of interest. Certainly on the Friday and the Saturday the US were pumped up and going for it. If you don't mind me saying so, its a pretty lame excuse on the part of your media. As to your Breeders Cup point, I think nearly all the races seem wide wide open. I will be happy to post any Euro BC news, but I have to say that, as of now, there are few if any definite plans worth mentioning. One thought for early consideration is the Turf Mile (or whatever they call it). The French are pretty keen that Moonlight Cloud is a worthy successor to Goldikova, and I always bet French fillies racing in the US. Which race is Wise Dan going for? Could be a good clash. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Bernard, Regarding golf etiquette, in a word, during the Ryder Cup, it is SUSPENDED. Although no one would yell or be rude during a player's swing, the cheering and carrying on as the ball lands is typical of every other major sport. But what makes the Ryder Cup different, is that this is the one time that golf is a team sport. Thus the raucous cheering. However, I don't like it at all. One nice thing about golf is that sportsmanship and good manners are prized 99% of the time. A great example to demonstrate that point, is watch Phil Mickelson's face as his competitor holes three birdies in a row and defeats him. Mickelson had the grace to applaud those incredible putts. My husband marshalled the 4th hole and had a blast. He said that in the earlier rounds, quite a few people did not know how to behave, but as the week went on, the most hard core golfers were in the gallery and they were better behaved, with some exceptions. I've had the privilege of playing Medinah and it is incredible!
Bernard Downes: Sorry for the gambling loss! Europe earned the title of the best golfers in 2012 in a photo finish on Sunday. I heard some American pundit on TV rationalizing the Ryder Cup means less to the U.S. than Europe hence our loss. I suspect all parties were focused and playing their games to the best of their many abilities but again I know little having given up my clubs up 15 years ago for the safety of others. The Breeders Cup is upcoming so things are still to be decided on the course at least at Santa Anita. The U.S. appears to have a legitimate shot in the BC Turf with Point of Entry but we shall see what quality horses come over in from your part of the world. May be a gambling opportuity on nice Euro if POE takes the expected tote action. Any insights you have on what you are hearing would be interesting reading. Racing with Golfing Twist: Some nice BC preps were held this weekend with a few more at KEE this weekend. I saw a few birdies; a few pars and a few well regarded horses put up bogeys. Birdies – Marketing Mix, Royal Delta, Flat Out, and Game on Dude, Bill Mott and Bob Baffert. Par – Point of Entry, Executiveprivilege, Power Broker, Love and Pride, and Todd Pletcher. Bogeys – Richard’s Kid, Amani, To Honor and Serve, It’s Tricky, Little Mike, Ron the Greek, and Dale Romans. Is it me or have about all the hyped South American imports been bombing in SoCal. I generally make them show me they belong. Lately that has worked but nothing is forever. The Baffert freight train continues to roll. I have said it since March but this seems extraordinary even by his lofty standards. Dan – who are this man’s lieutenants? Even thru the heart attack this barn rolls. Might be nice to give the barn crew some love. Royal Delta behaved fine pre-race and simply cruised. How do BLOG folks intend to use her horizontally in the BC? She could be washed out like in Personal Ensign making her an underlay. Iffy in Pick 3’s and Pick 4’s because you are playing a temperamental animal on mostly brilliant past performance only at low odds. I suppose I do it every day. Punch the ticket David. Call me crazy but I am not sold on Executiveprivilege as heavy favorite in BC. I have not bet a nickel on Little Mike in 2012 (bad move on my part) but he will like the firmer ground at SA. The SoCal older female dirt division appeared weak and was exposed on Saturday. Love and Pride won easily with Joyful Victory, a grade 2-3 type coming off loss at Ellis Park, running second. The Vosbrough field and race itself did not wow me. I needed Caixa Electronica for nice Pick 3. Instead got an impressive late run and no cash. Sour grapes I suppose but I won’t be playing any horse out of that field at SA at any price. Why are the Matron and Futurity 6F sprint now in 2012? What happened to mile distance? Stay Thirsty finally fired big in 2012… then Repole announced retirement and stud deal plans in near future. More of the same but he did get 16 starts, iron horse by modern day standards. 16-4-5-1, $1.7M.
Thanks for the Golf sympathy. I will have recovered my positivity before the weekend and will be back into the horses bigtime by then. Calvin - yes, a great weekends racing coming up. Interesting racing on Friday; much better on Saturday in Britain, with Group 3 action at Ascot and two very valuable 2 yr old races at Newmarket. In France, at Longchamp, it is easily the year's best racing. Four Group 2 races on Saturday and then 6 Group 1 races on the Sunday, including the Arc. What a pity the Arc has lost Snow Fairy to injury; has almost certainly lost Danedream to a dangerous virus in her home area; and still no final decision on Camelot's participation. Let us hope the other horses put on a show. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Brandon, The results for previous BC races at Santa Anita's synthetic experiment probably won't help you vis-a vis handicapping this year's main track races, but the turf events could help with the grass races. Brian Mulligan Rail Trip comments in 9-29 Closer Look for the Awesome Again: " he is unbeatenin Arcadia.." Irrelevent as all his SA victories were on synth.
My, my Bernard! Dropping a grand on golf? Just think of what you could have done with that on Breeders Cup day. Have to say though, that was a tough beat. They were several lengths clear at the 1/16th pole and got reeled in.
Bernard Downes, Thanks for your thoughts on the Royal Lodge Stakes. There's more Derby preps this weekend and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
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