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Belmont, Keeneland, Oak Tree (Super Saturday 2)
The winding road to the Breeders' Cup leads through the usual major stops this holiday weekend.
At Belmont Park, there will be three Grade 1 races with much of the focus landing squarely on Uncle Mo, arguably the most impressive juvenile winner of the Saratoga meet. Uncle Mo will be a prohibitive favorite in the historic Champagne Stakes, a Grade 1 event at a mile and an important prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
At Keeneland, underrated mare Proviso and dual champion Gio Ponti head the First Lady and Shadwell Turf Mile, respectively.
And at Oak Tree at Hollywood, the West Coast's top sprinters will attempt to sort themselves out in the Ancient Title at six furlongs.
I must admit that I don't have any strong opinions at Belmont this afternoon, but I'll take a shot with some horses in Kentucky and California.
SHADWELL TURF MILE (Keeneland - Race 10)
The Shadwell Turf Mile drew a nice field with dual champion GIO PONTI turning back in distance following a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Arlington Million at ten furlongs. Gio Ponti is proven at this one-mile distance as he won the Grade 3 Hill Prince, the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort (on Pro-Ride), and the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Handicap over this trip. He's obviously the horse to beat and he'll be very tough if he gets some pace to work with up front.
COURAGEOUS CAT hasn't been out since Dubai and trainer Bill Mott has mentioned that the horse was sidelined with some physical problems. He ran some nice races before being laid up, but this is likely a prep for the Breeders' Cup Mile, and I'd rather play against him at short odds following the long, injury-induced layoff.
If Gio Ponti doesn't get pace, that means GET STORMY will be relaxing on or near the front. Trained by Tom Bush, Get Stormy has won his last seven races around two turns and draws a comfortable inside post for the Shadwell Turf Mile. While he may have been aided somewhat by that speed-favoring Saratoga turf course when winning the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap, it was positive that he rated kindly off the leader before pouncing when the real racing began. If a longshot, such as stretchout sprinter ACTING ZIPPY or Lava Man's little brother, ENRICHED, decide to make the front, Get Stormy can sit a little. He'll likely get the jump on Gio Ponti and Courageous Cat turning for home, and may have enough in the tank to hold them safe.
Selections: Get Stormy, Gio Ponti, Courageous Cat
SPINSTER (Keeneland - Race 9 - SUNDAY)
For the most part, the Spinster over polytrack features a group of good turf horses with a smidgen of synthetic experience. I'm not enamored with the favorites so I'll try for a longshot. HOT CHA CHA is a very useful filly that fires when she receives a good setup. When the scenario isn't ideal or the trip not extremely good, she has a tendency to find one or two better. FUNNY MOON has only raced once on synthetic, and she was outfinished in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare here during the Spring meeting. She chased Life At Ten over speed-favoring tracks in her last two races, and should appreciate the class relief, but has never really shown much explosiveness throughout her career. TIZAQUEENA is a courageous mare, but her synthetic win came after setting fractions of 25.44, 51.53, and 1:16.62. I'm expecting that she'll have to work harder in the Spinster. ZARDANA has been away since June and I'm not convinced that Rinterval will stay the trip.
Instead, I'm going to go with ASKBUT I WON'TTELL, a filly that put up a whopping 107 Beyer when defeating only three rivals in an off-the-turf, restricted stakes race at Arlington on May 15. I'm going to take that number with a grain of salt as she rallied from last over a closer-friendly track, but it's still nice to know she can run fast. She then had a terrible trip when fifth in the paceless Arlington Matron behind Tizaqueena, and then may have been overmatched by the ill-fated Tuscan Evening in the Modesty on grass. Last time out, she mid-moved into moderate fractions, put away the stubborn pacesetter in midstretch, and battled gamely to the wire only to be necked by Biofuel, who returned to win the Grade 3 Selene at 3-10 odds with a 94 Beyer. The fourth-finisher at Woodbine that afternoon, Hooh Why, returned to take the Grade 3 Seaway at seven furlongs with a 93. Askbut I Won'ttell should get some pace to attack in the Spinster and will offer betting value.
Selections: Askbut I Won'ttell, Silver Reunion, Funny Moon
ANCIENT TITLE (Oak Tree at Hollywood - Race 8 - Saturday)
As was the case in the Spinster, I have some questions regarding some of the favorites. I didn't like the way COST OF FREEDOM finished up on turf last time out, and am beginning to wonder if Father Time is catching up with the speedy seven-year-old. He's fast enough to get the lead, but SMILING TIGER figures to be hounding him from the get-go. As for the three-year-old, Smiling Tiger, he's good when he makes the front, but last time out, he didn't get the top, and he wasn't very good. E Z'S GENTLEMAN should receive a better setup than when he was third in the Bing Crosby, but it's possible he's more effective at seven furlongs than at six.
I did like SUPREME SUMMIT's return to the races at Del Mar on September 5. Although he was helped from a good inside-out trip under Rafael Bejarano, he won under nothing more than a strong hand ride, and can get a similar trip today. Supreme Summit has been working bullets for his second start back and that allays fears of a bounce. Injuries once derailed his promising career. Perhaps new trainer Mike Puype has him back on the beam.
Selections: Supreme Summit, Smiling Tiger, Cost of Freedom
BREEDERS' FUTURITY (Keeneland - Race 9)
A wide-open race for juveniles so I'll take a stab with BRICKYARD FAST despite the surface and distance change. Trained by Joe Petalino, and underrated guru with young horses, Brickyard Fast was involved in a multi-horse pace scrum in the early stages of his optional claiming victory at Remington Park on September 15. He split rivals three wide on the turn and gamely battled back along the inside to outfinish the runner-up. This is obviously a major test for Brickyard Fast, but he's in form, and the price will be right.
Selections: Brickyard Fast, Maybesomaybenot, Major Gain
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
Back Tuesday with questions, comments, and past performance requests.
Enjoy the weekend.
Cute Name Alert: Keeneland Race 6 on Saturday - BRUCE SPRINGSTEED. LOL! WHACKY MACKY, Your HEART BUTTE is running in the 8th at KEE on Sat. He's the only MKB horse in the field, J Velazquez up. Maybee. :) Annie
Uncle Steve; I hadn’t posted regarding your idea of “team handicapping” because I was still mulling over the whole concept of it. I see the advantages in many ways. For the tracks I play, or even for the races I play, I like to know what others are thinking. I rarely change my mind, but I still like to know what the thought processes are from certain folks on certain races. It goes back to the original intent of HandiGambling, which was to see what people thought about a race, and how they would bet that race given a $100 bankroll. These exercises have helped me tremendously in many instances (although the whole HG thing has changed quite a bit since the beginning). I will handicap a card for a SoCal track, and only after I decide what/who I like will I look at your write-ups or selections. Same goes for all of the major weekend stakes races that I handicap. Before I read or watch anything from Dan, or Alan, or Mike A. or anyone else, I have to have made up my mind. But that doesn’t mean my mind is closed. When I am swayed, it is generally a good thing. Friday nights at Laura’s are fun, but they are also very informative for me. Again, I am usually not swayed, but that doesn’t mean I am not learning anything. I learn much more from going back to see what I missed than I do from the winners/wagers I hit because this game is such a moving target. The energy created from within these groups (Laura’s chats, FormBlog, emails, etc.) drags me along in it’s wake, if you will. I am a successful handicapper in large-part because of this dynamic. I think your idea is a good one. My only concern (for me) is where to find/make the time. Don’t stop thinking.
Handigambling #8 Tantamount and #10 Bell's Shoes have the highest AW speed figures. 50 ex box 8/10
(1) Rarely is there a moment where all of civilization comes together in watching/rooting for the safe return of the miners in Chile. Absolutely amazed they had the fortitude to survive 70 days especially when the initial reports came out like any other mining incident. 1 rescued and 32 to go, hopefully all safe. (2) If you have the iphone, there is a free download "Breeders Cup". The great thing about it is that it has video of every single Breeders Cup race and I had forgotten while watching a favorite of mine, Lady's Secret that she was a daughter of Secretariat. Also, they will broadcast the live video of the Breeders Cup race via the iphone. (3) As an extension of number 2, does anyone know of a race replay or race call that works on the iphone? The phone number listed in the otb program that you buy in NY, the number is inaccessible via iphone. Also, apple does not support real player so can't watch racereplays.com or nyra.com replays. Why this is important? For me, I hate calling up to find out the results. I like to watch the races or hear it and this would be helpful because a lot of times I like horses in consecutive races, and would bet ahead of time which includes making a double and win wager on both races. If I knew the first leg won, I would not have to make a win wager on the second leg. This would also help follow races while doing something at work or during weekend without having to be at the betting parlor. If the Breeders Cup does work in showing their races live on the iphone, why are other tracks not doing this as a new way of attracting bettors?
OK, here's my take on Steve T's idea. In any of the races, the major players are easily recognized by all of us. It's that not so readily apparent horse we are all looking for. And often other handicappers spot such a horse based on their own personal experience, notes on a horse or trainer, viewing of a race, etc. Many Saturdays, after one of Laura's Friday night chats, we see someone being congratulated for pegging that great-paying winner. A chance to have a discussion about such horses could prove invaluable, especially in multi-race wagers. Live discussions like the Friday night chats are beneficial because often on here responses aren't posted for some time and sometimes even too late to do any good. So, more frequent live discussions and for particular tracks could be great. We have so many tracks to choose from nowadays that we almost have to focus on one or two, so separate rooms for the various tracks would be nice. Let's say there was a big carryover at Hollywood Park, that several of us would like to go for. Putting our minds together to find those more obscure horses and even to find those favorites that really shouldn't lose, could make for some big payoffs. Wouldn't that be nice! :) Annie
Thats it! I have had enough of some of you pompous arrogant clowns that do nothing but make digs at others and act like you are God's gift to handicapping. Blackseabass, I was taught a long time ago that it is better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt. That is lesson that you have obviously never learned. I guess its tough to learn something when you are constently bragging about how great you are while making wise comments about others. " I welcome anyone that doesn't like my attitude( c'mon now I know there's somebody that would like to prove me wrong if they could) to look at a thousand charts and disprove the 90% numbers above. Go for it, maybe you'll get lucky and it will only be 89.8 % over the 1000 race string." Well I guess I'll be your huckelberry. I dont like your attitude. Im not here to prove your numbers wrong. I am here to prove how worthless they are. Anyone with any kind of handicapping experience knows that the percentage of a favorite finishing in the top 2 is high. Hell if they win 33% of the time how can the % not go way up that they finish in the top 2. Nevrmind that you are adding the 2nd and 3rd choices as well. Wow, did you come up with that stat all by yourself? That is one for the ages. No wonder I have been so inconsistent. Had I known about this most obvious angle I could have been as successful in life as you. As for your other angle. In this day and age of 6 and 7 horse fields how can 2 of the top 5 betting choices not run in the top 3? Are you kidding me with that one Captain Obvious? You seem like a man that has seen a lot in life and has had many life experiences. Something you should have learned along the way is humility. Try to aquire some. Im sure you know what it means. And oh yeah, one more thing, GROW UP!
Keeneland HG $50 Exacta Box 9/10.
In regards to Steve T's new concept. I think he made it pretty clear, he was referring to different circuits, & not to a particular race or races. It was just a thought. It seems some of the fellow bloggers are taking it to an all new level. I don't think that's what he meant. He never referred to "Consensus" handicapping. I personally, would be of no help, because I only get my DRF on game day at the track. But IF, I was looking for different circuit knowledge, I can't help but think, that the idea has a lot of merit. You can't possibly sniff out all the good price horses yourself. Let the concept sink or swim on it's own accord. Are you all scared somebody might give you a longie ? Knowledge is power people, & I'll take all I can get. Am all for it, even if I can only listen to what others have to say. I don't bet S. Cal races because I am not familiar w/ the idiosynycrasies, but I'll be damned if I won't belly up laughing & bet, if somebody showed me the merit of a 20-1 shot....... Curt V. BSB, Your'e spot on w/that $1458 outlay on a daily basis w/the Pick6 business.....I've done that 1000 times on paper too, myself..U have to pull the trigger though.....easier said w/o laying out the lumber........LMAO.......
HG Keenland $50 ex bx 6/10 Both horse like the synth and come in fresh
To all: I do like (to some extent) the term "team handicapping"..if your ALL in agreement of certain races to go over.......... An example: Blackstone and I always exchange views of races we like over a weekend.....once in a blue moon it becomes the same race..but not too often, as he will play different tracks and races that I won't even spend a minute on...but that is mostly because Blackstone is near Golden Gate and his "home" track gets a lot of his time....Mine is NYRA..with a heavy influence on So. Cal as well as major tracks/races for the weekend..(CD, Kee, Wood, GP,,...etc) Mike A...moved back East last year and after speaking to him numerous times and meeting him half a dozen...he sees the racing opportunities that I look for as well. Mike A is an exacta player and needs certain race conditions and fields to accomplish that. Somtimes they are similar sometimes not. As most know...90%-95% of the time I am only a show player...I will dabble with "other" type of races of interest...(mainly a real nice race..but where my conditions aren't met...which there are MANY)...This past weekend..Mr Enrico and Acoma..were 2 nice horse racing bets that didn't meet MY conditions fully... BUT were too good to just "pass up" and watch...Very rarely do "these" type of horses go up that high in odds...but it is what it is....thankfully this 5-10% paid off quite nice! The nice thing about Mike A is this......I have 4 kids...and sometimes not much time.....as I was waiting for my sons karate class to end and handicapping some races on Sunday at Noon......I basically told Mike.."hey..these are the races I am looking at...the feature from Belmont...the last 2 at Kenneland...and the last at Holly"..that is it,.,,,,if you get a chance to "review them"..we can go over it 2 hours later..../...which we did for about 20 minutes....then I had to go shopping.......I texted him about 15 minutes to post to tell him Acoma wasn't 6-1 (which I thought she would be)..but 23-1...just amazing.....how he "slept" through that is also amazing...lol.... Steve T's idea is great..but only if it helps the people who play 'certain" races and have strenghts to add to them......similar to what Laura does on Friday nights......we have about 8-15 bloggers jump on and give opinions on certain races...usually GOOD races....(I just wish I could participate more!!)..as there is a lot of GOOD information being exchanged...a lot of GOOD idea's as well...ANYONE who hasn't tried this...give it a whirl...even for only a race you might be looking at...you never know what you might find there. Another idea that could and should be addressed is..is after getting a read on what everyone likes.....how to acutally play that horse/..is it wps......is it in exacta's and if yes..how is it hooked up....triples?.....dd/p3/p4/06...etc........many questions and variables to ponder..... Like I always said..."anyone" cold throw out a horse and say.."here is who I like"..but to me it is sooooo much more important to say...WHY....do most people agree or not?