04/20/2008 7:10PM

Getaway Day

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I had the pleasure and honor to meet some posters today at Keeneland.  Joey Adams is an excellent public handicapper, and he hosts his own radio program here in Kentucky.  I've been privileged to appear on his show in the past, and it was great to meet him in person before the first race.  He had several good opinions on the card, and gave me one of his standouts for later that day. 

neverbend is a true racing fan.  He is extremely passionate about the game, and is very, very knowledgeable.  I had a great time talking with him about the Derby, and hearing his thoughts on this year's crop of three-year-olds. 

It was marvelous to meet such gentlemen, and they give FormBloggers a great name.

Another overcast day here at Keeneland.  Good news for my now-peeling sunburn, but these rickety old bones can't take the chill.  Another hot cup of Java awaited me at the track before the first race, and I plopped down next to the lone replay machine to take some trip notes. 

Today was "Keeneland Salutes the Military Day" at the old track, and the Army Band from Ft.  Knox serenaded the racing fans with some patriotic favorites.  Then, waves upon waves of soldiers marched in a mini-parade through the appreciative, applauding crowd.  Over 1,000 troops traveled by bus to Keeneland, and Windstream Communications hosted a phone bank so the soldiers could call loved ones.  The troops stayed to watch the races, a welcome respite from basic training to be sure.

For me, today's day of racing was the polar opposite of yesterday.  On Saturday, my handicapping was good, and my betting was terrible.  Today, my handicapping was terrible, and my betting wasn't bad (in that I didn't bet and lose much).  Let's take a look at the card:

Race 1:  A rather uninspiring $30,000 claimer with a field of only seven.  I tried to make a case for She's No Bull as she dropped in for a tag for the first time, was adding Lasix, and looked like one of the speeds.  She was 5-2, however, and I decided to pass.  She went to the front, and was rated beautifully by Julien Leparoux, but couldn't hold off the late surge of Cactus Conie.  The winner has now taken four of her last five for trainer Roger Anderson, and was claimed by Tom Amoss.

Race 2:  The start of the Early Pick Four began with a $10,000 starter allowance, and Princess Composer, the winner of the recent Fairway Fun stakes at Turfway, looked tough despite having to turn back two and a half furlongs.  I wanted to play the Pick Four, but the sequence looked tough with claimers (not my bag) in the third and fifth, and a very tough maiden special weight sandwiched in between.  I have no problems going deep if there are one or two favorites that look very beatable, but Princess Composer looked tough, and I didn't love anybody in the other races.  I passed.  Princess Composer made a sharp, wide mid move on the turn, but couldn't get to gate-to-wire winner Game N Laughin'.  The Fair Grounds invader was ridden by James Graham, and this guy doesn't get enough press.  You can tell he's enjoying himself immensely out there, and he always seems to have a wide grin on his face.  Graham would make a nice ambassador for the game if given the chance by the marketing gurus.

Race 3:  A $16,000 claimer, and I was intrigued a bit by Moo Man, a gelding that had gone to post favored in his last six races.  He hit the board in all of those starts, and was being dismissed at 10-1 in this spot.  I played a small win bet on his nose, but he hopped in the air at the start, rushed into contention on the rail, and finished evenly for fourth while drifting out in the stretch.  Favored Exhort halved in price for Oxbow Racing and trainer Stephanie Preston, and he went wire-to-window.  He was also claimed by Christopher Bindner.

Race 4:  This competitive maiden special weight had a little of everything.  Crimson Hope was a $200,000 yearling purchase by Forestry.  Lacy's Luck was a Touch Gold filly with good works.  Casero attracted the services of Garrett Gomez.  Chit Chat Cat was the buzz horse for Ken McPeek, and she took tons of early money.  Winning Turn, a Tiznow filly for Eric Coatrieux, took steady cash throughout the betting, and Antepova was making her second start of the year for Pletchazquez. 
I took a small flier on Crimson Hope at 10-1, and she raced evenly for fifth along the rail.  Instead, it was Horticulture and Graham to pull off the 64-1 shocker.

Race 5:  Joey told me that Iosilver was a standout in the fifth, and I hope it was his money that knocked the gray gelding down to 2-1 in the last couple of minutes.  The winner of the Schaefer Mile at Hoosier in 2005, Iosilver seemed like the lone speed, and I put a couple of bucks on him to win, and keyed him on top of trifectas.  Iosilver went right to the top as expected under Robby Albarado, and really wasn't threatened.  Middleweight finished well for second, but alas, I didn't have Sir Rabbit to round out the trifecta.  Basically broke even here.

Race 6:  Nice to see Giant Chieftan in the paddock.  He cost $950,000 as a yearling, and looked like a sure winner in his career debut at Saratoga only to duck out to meet the fans in midstretch.  He was so nutty that trainer Stanley Hough had to geld him, and that can't be easy when you're dealing with a $950,000 horse, and a potential stallion prospect.  I didn't like the coupled entry of Past the Point, and Teide so I took a small stab in the Pick Four with the returning Sam P.  Joey had cautioned me that this Pletchazquez was a sucker horse, and he couldn't have been more right.  Sam P. ran terribly.  At least the entry didn't beat me. It was Dubious Miss (strange name for a gelding), a lightly-raced runner making his second start with Lasix.

Race 7:  Storming Off looked like he was going to be very tough on paper, but he offered no win value at 3-2.  I did key him in some late Pick Three's, and wasn't pleased when John Velazquez kept him several paths off the rail throughout.  Despite the ground loss, Storming Off made the lead in upper stretch only to succumb to a ground-saving Go-Go and Prime Realestate.

Race 8:  I took a shot against the favorites as Sir Whimsey was coming off a win in a terrible renewal of the Gulfstream Park Handicap, and Go Between annoys me with his tendency to change back to his wrong lead in midstretch.  Right idea, wrong execution.  I went with Mayan King, and he bombed at 13-1. The other 13-1 shot in the race, Sterwins, circled the field on the turn, and outfinished Go Between in the lane.  Fair Grounds shippers were more than holding their own on this card.

Race 9:  Was really hoping to see Turf War, a registered white thoroughbred, but she scratched early.  Happy Point looked tough on paper, but was unbettable at even Steven so I was relegated to spectator status.  Lucky for me as the well-bred firster, Tale of the West, ran off the screen for Pletcher and Velazquez. 

All in all, it was a losing day, but not a bloodbath.

I couldn't have had a better time over the last few days, and I want to thank all of the FormBloggers for coming out and saying hello. 

Morning flight leaves at 6am so it's time for an early night.

Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend as much as I did.

Cheers,

Dan