07/17/2008 11:29PM

Del Mar Day 2


Race 1:
A rather homely bunch of maiden claimers greeted us for the opener, but Fool's Paradise won the beauty contest in the post parade, and then swept by the field with a wide move to outgame my play, B. A. Homebody.  Fool's Paradise was nicely-dappled on her flank, had a nice bounce to her step, and announced her presence in the paddock with a strong whinny.  B. A. Homebody went three wide into the first turn, was sent up to engage the pacesetter on the backstretch, and dug in gamely through the lane.  Third-finisher Could She had to wait for running room at the quarter-pole before splitting horses with a mild run.  Both B. A. Homebody and Could She should have no problem finding a similar race to win.  Molitta, a vet scratch on June 26, was overbet at 2-1, and failed to muster a rally.  Skianis Girl broke very poorly.  As Fool's Paradise crossed the wire first, I could hear a tiny voice whispering in the wind...

"Second letter...O."

Anointed was wearing what appeared to be a "blowout patch" on the inside of her left knee.  These patches are to protect the knee from cuts as the horse hits itself.  I've rarely seen a horse with blowouts win...

Race 2:
...Until now.  Both Preachintothechoir and Obedience wore blowout patches, and they ran 1-2 in this weak Cal-bred $10,000 claimer.  By the way, Ray gave me the winner before the race.  I didn't make a bet on anyone.  Dark Past made an easy lead, but had no response when the closers came calling.  The winner boldly split rivals late under the red-hot Tyler Baze to break the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs.  By the way, Preachintothechoir is another of those running Unusual Heats.  Touchdown Call looked good in the paddock but, as Ray correctly noted, the "for sale" sign appeared to be appplied to this five-year-old dropdown.  He saved ground behind the leaders at 3-5, but couldn't go with the top three.  He was claimed by Peter Eurton.

Race 3:
Two-year-old fillies going short is usually my game, and I thought I found a live firster with Adam Kitchingman's Track Majesty.  Kitchingman has fantastic stats with firsters, and the Chapel Royal filly sported a win-early pedigree (Allen's Prospect on the bottom).  This 100K maiden claimer featured two New York-breds, an Illinois-bred (Sorry Baby), and a filly bred in West Virginia (Track Majesty).  When I told Travers who I liked, he sort of wrinkled his nose before saying, "Isn't she a West Virginia-bred?"  I bet her to win, and she ran like she belonged at Charles Town, showing speed for a quarter-mile before backing up like a bad clam dinner.  I believe it was larryk who mentioned Peter Miller as a trainer to watch in the early stages of the meeting, and Miller's Goodday showed good speed from the get-go en route to the popular 7-5 score.  The 5 1/2 furlong track record was broken in this race.  How long Goodday gets to hold the record remains to be seen.  They're going fast. 

"Second letter...O"

Race 4:
Sat out this optional claiming turf sprint, but wasn't surprised when Whatsitgonnatake scored off the Mike Mitchell claim.  What was surprising was the way the gray mare won.  The rail opened up perfectly for her on the turn, and she shot on through to gain a major tactical advantage on the wide-rallying Queen Ofthe Catsle.  Whatsitgonnatake held on to win by a neck at 7-5, and goes on my Horses to Watch list as a "bet-against" next time.  Bruce Headley's Zilla finished fifth at 8-1 in her turf debut. Going back to January 1, 1996, according to DRF statistics, Headley is 0-44 with first-time turf horses.  He is 1-50 in that category dating back to January 1, 1993.

Race 5:
Maiden Claimers kicked off the Pick Four, and I began my modest ticket with Bass River and Sur Brio with more weight on the latter.  Despite being away for over a year, Bass River was knocked down to 2-1 for Dan Hendricks and Richard Migliore, and the new gelding made a decisive midrace bid along the rail to make an insurmountable lead turning for home.  Sur Brio broke well, was outsprinted on the backstretch, and finishied evenly on the rail.  Dynamic Stripes pitched a fit in the saddling enclosure, and then washed out in the paddock.  Sporting front bandages for the first time, he was a dull sixth at 9-2 odds.  African Rain looked good in the pre-race festivities, but that didn't translate to a good performance on the track. 

Race 6:
Played Matty's G Force (Mitchell), Bullsbay (second off the bench), and Wink At the Girls (main speed with go-go) equally on my Pick Four tickets, and stayed alive when Victor Espinoza gave Bullsbay a cool ride.  The veteran Espinoza saved ground behind the dueling leaders, waited patiently on the turn, and split horses when a hole opened up turning for home.  Lukimbi ran well in his first start against winners while Cherokee Tear seems to have a bit of hang in him.  New Track Record?  Survey Says...Absolutely.

Race 7:
I used Spinning Yarns (speed and the hedge, third back), Distant Victory (impressive maiden winner), and Smooth Performer (dropping from Hollywood Oaks) equally in the Pick Four, and Carla Gaines may have an intriguing turf filly in Distant Victory.  The daughter of Distant View inhaled Spinning Yarns and all the rest in the stretch to post the win at 3-2 for Espinoza's consecutive double. 

Race 8:
Was alive to firster Milwaukee Rocket and Brave Justice, and watched the ticket go up in smoke when Milwaukee Rocket walked out of the starting gate. Brave Justice rallied belately for second, but it was Peter Miller again, this time with Delaware Doe, in the winner's circle.  Delaware Doe raced wide in his career debut at Hollywood, and worked a bullet over the Del Mar surface, but I missed him all the same.

Overall, the track played fair this afternoon.

Late post time tomorrow so the blog may be a little on the late side for the East Coasters.  Will be back in the same spot tomorrow if any FormBloggers come around.

Take care,


slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
The person who introduced me to this game, Henry, an exercise rider/part-time jockey from Venezuela, used to say to me all the time, iss between the jockies, David. Watching (without financial interest) the 8th race at DMR made me think of him today. What he was implying (if it isn't obvious) is that the jockies generally control the outcomes of races, and will "allow" or give allowance for an obscure jockey or other connection to gain control of the pace of a race (or create a speed duel that helps a closer). If you watch Espinoza's ride you will see a pretty disinterested effort on his part (in spite of the baton twirl at the top of the lane). The problem is that the horse looked like he was ready to run today, I saw him in the paddock (on Youbet) and said "wow, he's feeling good." Funny thing, though, he had a terrible odds pattern, 6-1 m/l, off at 4-1. If this horse comes back and runs well next time I'm going to be really suspicious. The longshot who "won" the 8th at DMR today (he went wire-to-wire, after the "real" speed took the day off) created a million-dollar carryover tomorrow, a real economic bananza for the "facility" and hence a perfect time to pull the string, if you will. I am not a conspiracy theorist, folks, but every so often I see a race that is just a little bit off, like a bug in the matrix. Thanks. -slew
Annie More than 1 year ago
Cayman: LOL!! That was very good! You may have a future as a romance writer if this horse thing doesn't work out for you. lol Annie
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
Slew, I meant to mention on my last post that you posting again was a positive for all. Welcome back, and keep it coming! Also, visited with Lauren Stich tonight. Her players guide for Saratoga is up at: http://www.horsesocietymagazine.com/ A very comprehensive guide for the Juvenilles at the Spa. Lauren gives her thoughts on more than 200 babies that could run at Saratoga. Encourage all that want to make money during Saratoga's meet to register and read this info, as it is free. Justin Zayat, & Sobhy, congrats on the purchase this week at the Fasig-Tipton sale of the Exchange Rate Filly. I really like her pedigree, so by all means please let us know when you name her, as I really want to follow this one.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I agree with you, Steve (see post above about another of his rides), and it's funny, I've never seen Espinoza look so bad (today is the first day I have watched him since last year). I put $50 win/show in the DMR contest , so at least I got my money back. I'm treading water in the contest(+200), and made a miscue yesterday. I liked the winner, but because of his price (or what I assumed it would be) I decided to take the classy one coming off the long layoff. Stupid. This contest is designed to allow for days off, which I should have taken yesterday. It's a time for a formblogger to take down the pick six tomorrow. Go. Thanks. -slew
Chase More than 1 year ago
Alan- My contest picks for this weekend (hope I've got the races right this time!!)-Evening Attire and Mostacolly Mort (sp?). Good luck to everyone this weekend!!!
Travers More than 1 year ago
Hey Mr. Illman, Thanks for making me famous on here, haha. Anyways I thought of the name of the horse we couldn't think of. The horse that finished a game second to Lost in the Fog at Belmont. The horse's name was Egg Head. Oh and sorry to any horse racing fans in West Virginia. There is nothing wrong with being a West Virginia bred; they just usually don't belong in open company. Anyways, I will be back at the races tomorrow so I am sure I will see you then.
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Friday Pick 6 Jingle Although it is TIZZILATING to start the day with a shot of Uncle Steve’s PARTY PUNCH, LET’SPICKUPTHEPACE and head on over to NIMA’S PAD for a SAUCY EVENING with MISS LOLA LA DARE.
Blue Horseshoe More than 1 year ago
(I erroneously posted this on yesterday's blog, so here is a copy:) Calvin, Tinky, Good stuff gentlemen! Pedigree analysis fascinates me because of the infinite (??) number of genetic combination possibilities that will make up the individual. I think there is a big difference between analyzing a pedigree on it’s face (looking at hypothetical mating, for example) and then looking into the pedigree to understand the individual who is the product of the pedigree. Naturally, when analyzing a pedigree on paper, you must consider influence probabilities in projecting what you might get. I think Tinky’s case is completely sound in this regard. A simple form of this weighted odds outcome draw would be the process that the NBA currently uses to determine the draft lottery. You can project a likely winner but then there could be a surprise (kind of like Portland getting the #1 pick in 2007, my boy Greg Oden). After an individual has been born, raised and developed into a racehorse, and begins to display his/her individual traits and characteristics then the pedigree analysis can help to understand the individual. It’s certainly possible that distant (low probability) ancestor traits became dominant in the genetic configuration of the individual. This may appear as an anomaly for the sire or dam. I think this happens all the time, it happens in humans… You know, the young girl who looks and acts just like her great grandmother and nothing like her siblings or parents… Because of all of this, once an individual has established an identity, I’m reticent to use pedigree in my handicapping except perhaps when dealing with the unknown (first time doing something)… Think about how very different two full siblings can be from each other… I guess I’m somewhere between the two of you in that I can fully appreciate Tinky’s structural, mathematical, logical soundness in assessing a pedigree but I’m less absolute. I can appreciate Calvin’s observing of possibilities but it has to be connected back to the context of probabilities. Just my opinions…
Maggie More than 1 year ago
Here are my picks, none of which are in particular finish order if multiple selections: Greenwood Cup S. (Philadelphia Park) - EVENING ATTIRE (Black Tie Affair) Colin S. (Woodbine) - BEAR'S ROCKET (Lion Heart) Kitten's Joy S. (Colonial Downs) - BALLAST (Desert Prince), MIDWATCH (Sea Hero), BASTILLE (Quiet American), MINT SLEWLEP (Slew City Slew) Virginia Oaks (G2, Colonial Downs) - JULIA TUTTLE (Giant's Causeway), BORN TO BE (A. P. Indy), CHEROKEE QUEEN (Cherokee Run) Coaching Club American Oaks (G1, Belmont Park) - ACOMA (Empire Maker) Virginia Derby (G2, Colonial Downs) - GIO PONTI (Tale of the Cat), YOUR ROUND (Distorted Humor), COURT VISION (Gulch), SAILOR'S CAP (Distant View), SOUTHWEST (Cozzene) San Diego H. (G2, Del Mar) - WELL ARMED (Tiznow) Of course, all of this might change when I get there and see how the horses are reacting from the paddock to the starting gate, and whether or not the weather changes. Tomorrow is supposed to be mid to upper 90s with 20% chance of rain, which might not help Sailor's Cap's chances on the green tomorrow. It's going to be another hot Virginia Derby! In the news (and I’m sure everyone knows but just in case): Todd Pletcher is eying the Travers for Harlem Rocker. Looks like the Travers is shaping up to be a very strong race. And in other three-year-old news…The field of the Jim Dandy is going to be loaded with Tiznow’s, with Tiz Now Tiz Then, Tizbig (runner up to Mint Lane in the Dwyer last time out in the slop), and Da’ Tara. Other starters are Atoned, Anak Nakal, My Pal Charlie, Pyro, and Macho Again.
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Alan - Contest picks -- Well Armed at Del and Evening Attire at Philly. I figure that even if he walks out of the gate, the distance suits him just fine. Gonna give Southwest one more chance in the VA Derby. Never quite know what to do when horses change hands, but this one showed tantalizing flashes of ability now and then when he was in Southern Cal and he's a huge price. Gio Ponti seems the logical pick. Court Vision has the dreaded Desormeaux -- after last weeks dreadful ride on Santa Teresita, I've just decided to disregard his mounts -- if they beat me, they beat me. Sorry Riley.