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Euros Too Tough
Now, it's just getting silly.
We've known for a long, long time that our turf horses are inferior to those from other countries, but the results from Arlington Park last weekend were staggering.
TREASURE BEACH, the Irish Derby winner and easily the most accomplished runner to ever try the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes, emerged from a stretch-long duel with French Group 3 winner Ziyarid to defeat what looked like a rock-solid group of North American-based sophomore turf runners.
STACELITA is simply better than the fillies and mares she beat in the Beverly D. A perfect trip under Ramon Dominguez didn't hurt. River Jetez, trained by international sensation Mike de Kock, followed the winner along the inside to place third behind the in-form Dubawi Heights. Shipping in from Southern California, Dubawi Heights' rider, Joel Rosario, took advantage of a Beverly D. that lacked early speed. He sent Dubai Heights to the front, backed down the pace and almost had enough to fend off Stacelita.
In the big one, CAPE BLANCO's tactical speed proved too much for GIO PONTI to overcome. Well-placed in fourth position under Jamie Spencer, Cape Blanco got the jump on Gio Ponti, much as he did in the recent Man o'War Stakes at Belmont. Gio Ponti came with his run, but he wasn't good enough to catch Cape Blanco, who has now scored in four Group 1 races (seven Group races overall).
Cape Blanco finished 14th in last year's Arc de Triomphe. Imagine what the Euros have waiting for us come Breeders' Cup time.
It was a big, big effort from Todd Pletcher's STOPSHOPPINGMARIA in a maiden special weight at Saratoga. The juvenile filly popped a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in her second lifetime start, overshadowing MY MISS AURELIA's winning performance in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes later on the day.
My Miss Aurelia defeated Stopshoppingmaria on Opening afternoon at the Spa, but the Pletcher-trainee stumbled badly at the break. The two may square off again in the Grade 1 Spinaway later in the meet.
WINCHESTER is such a likeable, underrated turf horse. He's lived in the shadow of his stable mate, Gio Ponti, throughout his career, but his win on Saturday at Saratoga completed a Manhattan Handicap, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Sword Dancer Grade 1 trifecta over the past 14 months. In between, he finished third in the 2010 United Nations, second in the 2010 Bowling Green and fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf. This was Winchester's second start following injury and he should be on the road to the Breeders' Cup once again. Whether he's good enough to beat whichever Euro shows up is another story.
Speaking of fan-favorites, UNZIP ME made it 12 for 21 lifetime with a surprising come-from-behind win in the Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar. It was no shock that favored Unzip Me returned to the winner's circle, but the City Zip mare had done her best running on or near the lead. This time, she let SEPARATE FOREST do the dirty work up front, proving you can teach an old mare new tricks.
Speaking some more of fan favorites, STAR GUITAR made it 19-25 lifetime after scoring in the Evangeline Downs Mile. The star Louisana-bred continues to dominate his division year-after-year.
Some big-fig winners from last week were claimed. DAWLY went to Linda Rice for $75,000 while GALLETA MONSTRUO was taken by Mike Mitchell for $32,000.
On the work tab:
BOYS AT TOSCONOVA breezed three furlongs in 37.88 at Aqueduct on August 16.
TAKE CONTROL drilled a half-mile in 47.20 at Del Mar on August 15.
CALIFORNIA FLAG went a half-mile in 47.80 at Del Mar on August 14.
THE FACTOR worked five furlongs out of the gate in 1:00.80 at Del Mar on August 14.
LADY SHAKESPEARE breezed five furlongs around the dogs in 1:00.40 over the Woodbine turf training track on August 14.
ANTHONY'S CROSS breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 at Churchill Downs on August 14.
Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (8/8 - 8/14):
1. TREASURE BEACH (GB) - 105 - Secretariat Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
2. CAPE BLANCO (IRE) - 102 - Arlington Million (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
3. STACELITA (Fr) - 101 - Beverly D. Stakes (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
3. STOPSHOPPINGMARIA - 101 - Md Sp Wt 54k - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
5. JEBRICA - 100 - Emerald Derby - 1 1/8 Miles - Emerald
5. SOUTHERN DANGER - 100 - Clm 22000(22-18) - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
5. WINCHESTER - 100 - Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
8. DAZZLED SAINT - 97 - OC 62k/N3X - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle
9. UNZIP ME - 96 - Daisycutter Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Del Mar
10. CHEROKEE LORD - 95 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
10. DAWLY - 95 - Clm c-(100-75) - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga
10. HE'S SPEIGHTFUL - 95 - Alw 27100N3X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
13. SONG OF HUMOR - 94 - Hall of Fame Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Columbus
14. BIG PUSH - 93 - Alw 7500s - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
14. BULL DOZER - 93 - Alw 12500s - 6 Furlongs - Calder
14. COZI ROSIE - 93 - John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
14. QUALITY COUNCIL - 93 - Alw 53000N1X - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
14. SQUARE DEAL - 93 - OC 62k/N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Del Mar
19. GROUPIE DOLL - 93 - Gardenia Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - Ellis
19. JOHANNESBURG SMILE - 92 - Alw 25000NC - 1 1/16 Miles - Finger Lakes
19. NACHO FRIEND - 92 - OC 65k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Monmouth
19. SANDBAGIN' LOVER - 92 - Clm 25000(25-22.5) - 5 Furlongs - Penn National
19. STAR GUITAR - 92 - Evangeline Mile Handicap - 1 Mile - Evangeline
24. BAMBI BOUND - 91 - Alw 17200N4L - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes
24. CHILOQUIN - 91 - Real Good Deal Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
24. COLONIALISM - 91 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
24. GALLETA MONSTRUO - 91 - Clm c-(32-28) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
24. MY MISS AURELIA - 91 - Adirondack Stakes (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
Treasure Beach's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.
Congrats to Swede for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. This week's race will be the Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar on Friday.
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 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
Just catching up on my reading on FormBlog. I really enjoy the videos that Dan and Mike Beer put together. I was all over Stacelita and Treasure Beach in Pick 4's and had the best day I've had in a long, long time. The videos made the difference; especially when you consider Mike Beer's analysis on Stacelita's United Nations trip with Mr. J. Bravo. I also got some great intelligence from a comment one of them made on a horse in a later race (race #11, the #3 horse) when he moved too early in his previous race. Haven't played HG in a while and really haven't had the time to do so. I cannot compete against some of these bets that I doubt would be made with real money by real people. On the other hand, I noticed that Mr. Dale Tillotson really hammered this HG exercise w/a potent cold $50.00 trifecta and an equally icy $25.00 exacta. Congrats Dale... no one should come close to you even if the results appear chalky. There were apparently several scratches which made your thinking even more clear... crystal clear, in fact. Anyway, I miss the blog but I often read the Saratoga blog by Steve. Had some tough beats at Toga in my pick 4's on that Friday or Saturday (I can't remember which day it was; when the #9 [FTS] passed the #4 in the last leg, with the #'s 8 & 7 getting the last two positions). It was a Friday now that I think about it because of my recollection about having to pay bills and being too scared to go deeper. The #9 was my next inclusion so I lost over 3K because I wouldn't spend another 8-12 dollars. The previous week at Arlington more than made up for it and this weekend Arlington saved me again. Anyway, I''m rambling and would like to again thank Dan for the blog and the video analysis. Watching the replays (or, if I don't have the time to; I watch Dan and Mike) is really helping me to become a better player.
Revised pick after the scratches: $10 tribox 578 $10 tri 78 with 578 with 578 The horse I added is 5 Great Hot. Good 2nd off layoff numbers.
HG---- $30 tri--- 2/11/4,5,8 $5 tri--- 5,8/11/2 Lefty out...
HG Sandy Blue With all the scratches I think most of the combinations with the 4 favorites have been taken ? It looks to me like the 2,7,8 and 11 all have a decent chance for the win. Of these, I will use the 8 on top, the 7 in second and the other 2 in third. So the wager will be: $50 trifecta 8 with 7 with 2,11 Good luck to all. !!! Dick W
Posted by Outtopasture HG Sandy Blue #2 Mizdirection has the speed but feel this horse would rather go 7f. Dos Lunas may go after her adding a little pressure and setting up a close closer for the win. #5 Great Hot put together two good distance works and appears ready on the second after layoff. Should stay close behind front runners and put in a final flurry to get up. #11 Dynamo has late closing rush which may be too late for this race setup. Looking for bottom of triple here. $30 triple 5 /2 - 11 / 2 - 11 $40 win #5
HG 100 EX. 11/5
Jonah: If you are at Del Mar early on this weekend for Sunday works (and Baffert likes to send 'em out early, indeed) keep your eyes peeled for The Factor. If all is well, this one will be boarding a Tex Sutton flight for Saratoga on Monday morning to mix it up with the best of the east coast 3 yo sprinters on the fabulous Travers Day card. Also noted, Baffert's B team colt, Prayer for Relief is working at Toga along with Coil, and just may be going in the Travers instead of the latter colt, who is reported not to be handling the main track as well as could be expected. The Iowa and West Virginia Derbies winner could be a nice price horse going in that 10 furlong, and could be looking for his third straight graded stakes. Keith L.
A couple of DMR comments this morning: 1. I really like Dynamo in the HG race today. This HS to Champ Pegasus was very impressive breaking her maiden. I just can't understand why Mandella doesn't stretch her out. Her pedigree suggests success at longer distances. If the race was 9f or longer, she'd be on top of my tickets. But why 8f? 2. To add flames to the good old East coast v. West coast battle we seem to often have here on the blog, just compare the Spa card to DMR today. Del Mar has a 7 race card. A 7 race card? When is the last time you saw that at a major track in their feature meeting? SAR on the other hand has a 10 race card. It didn't used to be like this. Uncle Steve, Not everyone forgot to play Thrice the Vice at 46/1...
I have a question regarding the 4th race today at Saratoga, a CLM15Kn2L. Can anyone give me insight as to why the #6-Overseas Market is in here (ML-8/5)? Looks to go off at much less than that, which would create value for the others. What I don't get is that she broke her maiden in a MDN50K (the others...maiden claimers), was competitive on dirt in ALW's and Overnight Stakes, didn't take to the turf last out in a CLM35Kn2L, but now they drop her like a rock into this level. Injury/soundness concerns perhaps? Just seems too much of a gift here, surely something else is amiss?
HG Sandy Blue I will try not to be redundant. I like the 7 who has been consistent and seems to have room for improvement; the same could be said for the 11. Avila always seems to pop with a long shot at DMR and the 5 may be his horse. The 2 seems logical, but I believe will receive pace pressure from the 4,5,& 8, and will only use him underneath. I am not sure what to do with the 10, but with the scratches, I will never throw only 1 horse out. My wager will be as follows: $5 Tri PW 7,11/7,11/2,4,5,8,10; ($50) $5 Tri PW 7,11/2,5,8/7,11; ($30) $2 Sup PW 7,11/7,11/5/2,4,8,10; ($16) $1 Sup PW 7,11/2,5/7,11/2,5. ($4) Good Luck to everyone. ST