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Huge Racing Weekend
What a weekend! Let's take a look at some of the stakes races:
Diana (Saratoga - Race 9)
I'm going to go for a bomb. While FOREVER TOGETHER and MY PRINCESS JESS are both extremely logical, and are must-uses for me in the Pick 4, I'm going to take my chances with INDESCRIBABLE, a mare that won the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at this distance over yielding going last November. She's mostly known for her synthetic track skills, but I'm expecting the turf course to be wet tomorrow, and it's interesting that Bill Mott wheels Indescribable back in this contentious Grade 1 after an indescribably poor performance in the Grade 3 All Along on June 20. In that race, she made a middle move while in between horses, but had no pop on the turn. A big hole opened up for her in midstretch, but Kent D. never seemed interested in asking Indescribable in the stretch. I'm assuming that something went amiss in that race. She has to run her "A++" race to win this, but at 15 to 20-1, she's worth a shot.
Selections: Indescribable, Forever Together, My Princess Jess
Jim Dandy (Saratoga - Race 10)
A very contentious prep for the Travers. KENSEI received the best trip in the Dwyer at Belmont as WARRIOR'S REWARD missed the break badly, but I really like the way Kensei turned it on in the stretch. He rated behind the solid pace, cruised up to the distance-challenged pacesetter on the turn, and blew them away in upper stretch. There isn't a ton of speed in the Jim Dandy, and Kensei should be forwardly-placed. He has questions to answer as this is his first start around two turns, but he's in career form for Steve Asmussen.
Selections: Kensei, Saratoga Sinner, Charitable Man
West Virginia Derby (Mountaineer - Race 8)
I think MINE THAT BIRD is a better racehorse than BIG DRAMA, but the latter has a decided pace advantage, and that could spell doom for the Kentucky Derby hero. Eibar Coa can't get cute. He has to send Big Drama to the top, and make Mine That Bird come and get him. Big Drama can be his own worst enemy so make sure you take a look at him in the paddock and post parade before you get down. He washed out badly prior to the Preakness, and then unseated John Velazquez in the starting gate. He reportedly got cast in his stall the morning of the Preakness, and was caught up in a duel with Rachel Alexandra during the race. Plus, I'm still trying to figure out why David Fawkes took the blinkers off that day (after seven straight first-place finishes!). All in all, the Preakness was a disaster from start to finish, and he still was only beaten five and change. If he gets loose here, he may be long gone.
Selections: Big Drama, Mine That Bird, Monty's Best
Quick and dirty picks (with quick and dirty thoughts):
*Pennsylvania Governor's Cup (Penn National - Race 5):
Blue Sailor, Euroears, Smart Enough
(Blue Sailor has won five of his last six, and went his last eighth in 10.60 last time out)
*San Clemente (Del Mar - Race 8):
Strawberry Tart, Carlsbad, Acting Lady
(Too much speed so I'll go with an in-form closer on top)
*Haskell (Monmouth - Race 13 - Sunday):
Munnings, Rachel Alexandra, Summer Bird
(Must admit that I don't have a strong opinion, and am not very confident in the top pick)
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
Dan, how would you rate is chances in the BC Turf Mile?
It's obviously too early to tell, but you have to wonder how he'll stack up with the European contingent. Rahy's Attorney tried tough international competition in the Mile Championship at Kyoto Racecourse last year, and was a flat ninth. Granted, a trip to Santa Anita is much easier on the old bones than a journey to Japan, but I wonder if Rahy's Attorney really appreciates his home turf course at Woodbine more than anywhere else. I love his tactical speed, but believe that he must continue improving before we start talking Breeders' Cup Mile.
Although he won the Woodbine Mile last year, his speed may play tougher in races like the BC Turf. He's won at ten furlongs, and owns a good second at 1 1/2 miles.
Would you be kind enough to post the highest Beyered Turf race-races? I'm gonna get that American Racing Manual soon. Seems awesome. BTW what was that book on European racing you said was a must have?
Alan Shuback's "Global Racing" is a must-have for the library. As for the highest Beyer pars for turf stakes races, we have:
Breeders' Cup Turf - 112.47
Breeder's Cup Mile - 110.63
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational - 109.84
Man O'War Stakes - 109.78
Arlington Million - 109.12
Manhattan Handicap - 108.94
Eddie Read Handicap - 108.78
Canadian International - 108.53
Shoemaker Mile Stakes - 108.39
Woodbine Mile Stakes - 108.00
Kelso Handicap - 107.63
Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf - 107.40
Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship - 107.37
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap - 107.33
United Nations Stakes - 107.33
Sword Dancer - 107,28
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes - 107.21
Poker Handicap - 107.00
Fourstardave Handicap - 106.82
Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap - 106.74
Hollywood Turf Cup - 106.59
Inglewood Handicap - 106.42
Del Mar Mile Handicap - 106.41
Bernard Baruch Handicap - 106.11
Citation Handicap - 106.05
Oak Tree Mile Stakes - 105.89
Bowling Green Handicap - 105.83
San Marcos Stakes - 105.67
Shadwell Turf Mile - 105.44
San Luis Rey Handicap - 105.32
Arcadia Handicap - 105.26
Beverly D Stakes - 105.25
San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap - 105.16
San Francisco Mile Stakes - 105.13
American Handicap - 105.11
Is Easy goer the last/only horse to win the Whitney, Woodward, and JC Gold Cup in the same year?
Yes, he is. Colonial Affair came close in 1994. He won the Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup, but finished third to Holy Bull in the Woodward.
Does anyone have any information regarding the recovery of Bob Black Jack and The Pamplemousse out west? I'd like to know if and or when we might anticipate seeing them again. Bob Black Jack has Breeder's Cup Sprint talent, but he'd better emerge soon to get ready in time. The Pamplemousse I remember there were conflicting estimates, 6 months to a year or more, so any update would be welcome. Thanks
Both horses are considered doubtful for the Breeders' Cup. Bob Black Jack is targeting a return to the races at the end of this year while The Pamplemousse won't start until 2010. They are both listed on the FormBlog Disabled List on the right hand side of the blog. You can follow their progress (recent workouts, condition updates) over there.
few more PP's if you will. A filly named Your Out who I think won the Delaware Handicap a few years back. Haygetoutofmyway who was a pretty good runner who I think became a jumper and It's a Monster. What's going on with Elusive Heat? Probably the most talented runner my fave Xtra Heat was produced. Have any of her other offspring ran lately? Oh and whatever happened to Belly Rub?
Thanks a lot!
Here are the pp's you requested:
Elusive Heat has had some problems, and is now with Angel Penna Jr.'s string. The Test at Saratoga is still a possibility. Xtra Heat's juvenile filly, Don't U Baby Me, had her first workout at Belmont on July 25. She went three furlongs in 38.69 breezing. Don't U Baby Me is a gray daughter of Unbridled's Song.
On a different topic, anybody know who Richard Schosberg is?
A quick question about the Inside Post blog. What has happened to the posts from Arlington Park? Do they only do a certain number of tracks per day and AP does not make the cut?
Schosberg has been a solid trainer on the New York circuit for many years. Among his graded stakes winners are Giant Moon (Excelsior Handicap), Sunshine for Life (Athenia Handicap), Attila's Storm and Affirmed Success (Toboggan Handicap), and Mossflower (Hempstead Handicap, Grade 1).
I really don't know much about the Inside Post Blog, but I'll try to find out for you.
Two horses I have followed alot are running this Saturday at the Spa.Blackberry Road and The Roundhouse.Both look like they are going to have very attractive odds.Do you think either horse is capable of winning their respective races ?
Have never really been a fan of Blackberry Road. He's 1-21 with 6 seconds and 7 thirds, and just hasn't shown that necessary will to win. Plus, he added front wraps for his most recent start (off a layoff) at Churchill Downs. He has to be a price in order to be played to win, and it looks like he caught a decent field. I'm usually against horses like him (now, watch him romp by 20!). The Roundhouse needs plenty of pace in front of him as he doesn't have much early speed. This race may be rained off the grass, and he has a decent shot on the main track. I'm more inclined to watch one before I play him on the lawn.
Congrats to SpartanTom for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. He gets to pick the next race.
Enjoy this action-packed weekend.
ROTD: Anyone think that Quality Road can get beat today? Seems to get the perfect trip from his post, but i'm curious on the race will unfold. Any thoughts? Maybe EVERYDAY HEROES might go? Too bad he's on the rail, otherwise i'd place him on top. Right now i'm thinking Trifecta's QUALITY ROAD/EVERDAY HEROES/CUSTOM FOR CARLOS, CAPT CANDYMAN CAN. Any thoughts?
I think Kensei will give Summer Bird all he can handle in the Travers. Kensei is progressive and 2 for 2 over Saratoga.
To C: There are only TWO things that will beat Zenyatta: 1. Weight 2. Mike Smith" Aren't you forgetting the most likely and obvious reason why she could lose that dream race... like the 15+ lengths she would probably be spotting Rachel? Posted by: C on August 02, 2009 at 12:10 PM Again someone mentioned if it was a match race maybe that would be a difference..but I believe her biggest problem is Mike Smith. (Again in the Daily News today....Mike Smith states "jockey error" as the reason for his loss on MTD on Saturday...as a lot of you know he uses this excuse way too much...think of poor Stardon Bound and her 20 wide move!) Anyway..I still believe that Zenyatta is a monster...and even though RA is doing great (and I hope to see her in the Travers live)..that a match up in the Clark would be great....too bad someone doesn't have a brain at NYRA to set up a match race (or any race ) that can lure these two here in NY. Belmont in September (the weather is solid)..would easily bring out 75,000 + on a Saturday EVEN with college football out there and basball still going on!!!! In regards to Easy Goer and SS...thanks for the back up regarding "past champions" and there losses to other horses who had their numbers...it didn't make them better but just better at those times. I still stand by my belief that Easy Goer would have dominated him in the Travers and also as a 4 yr old. Mickey
artax, good point - if Mossflower's injury had been a little more severe, she would be remembered as an undefeated filly who trounced the field in her one chance against Grade I competition. Conversely, of course, if Maria's Mon had been able to return to the races, who is to say if he wouldn't have been another in the long line of amazing juveniles who peaked at 2? In general, I wonder how much we want to include soundness as a component of percieved "greatness?
MikeA, I wouldn't worry too much. I really don't think Kent squeezed the lemon dry, but I could be wrong. It'll be interesting to see whether he'll continue to move forward in the Travers or take a slight step back for a race or so and then continue with the rest of the season. Actually, I really like Summer Bird as a Travers prospect. In fact, I'd like him whether Rachel shows up or not, even though Ice said he wouldn't run if she does. We'll see how he comes out of the Haskell. Rachel might not be AS dominant at 1 1/4. I hope they both end up in the race with Mine That Bird. Slew, I agree. I know Zenyatta won on the dirt once, but this really is an apples to oranges comparison, which is why I (also) don't get too worked up about it. If California had just stuck to dirt and Zenyatta pulled off this kind of streak on dirt, we'd have something. Like SteveT, I have never seen any horse do what Zenyatta has done: a dead-last, from the clouds closer winning so consistently. It really is remarkable. Some will say we haven't had synthetic courses (which may hinder front-runners) very long, so maybe it's not so crazy. I would say they're only partially right, because we have had turf for the last century plus. On a synthetic course, Zenyatta might be the way to go, only because we don't really know what Rachel might do. She won a race on Keeneland's polytrack once. In that situation, I wouldn't have a strong opinion either way. On a dirt course, I'd have to side with Rachel, particularly between a mile and 1 1/8. At 1 1/4, maybe Zenyatta would be able to just outlast her and wear her down, but even then, we're talking about overcoming a big tactical disadvantage. These are 2 of the best fillies we've seen since Personal Ensign and Winning Colors. You could substitute Silverbulletday as a more recent great if still uncomfortable comparing to those. All 3 of these females are in the Hall of Fame. Rachel Alexandra cemented her spot there yesterday and Zenyatta will get in as well.
...and on a neutral track SS was 3 for 3.
EZG, you conveniently failed to mention that those greats you mentioned weren't in their prime when getting beat by those other horses like EG was when getting beat by SS. I guess that makes Bet Twice better than Alysheba. Bet Twice trounced Alysheba in the Belmont after losing to Alysheba in the Derby and Preakness. In MOST cases, the horse that wins 3 out of 4 is better.
Mike A. I feel Summer Bird's race showed more about pure talent than the Belmont. K. Desmoreaux maybe rode the race of his life in the BLM. and, the pace played into his running style. What Summer Bird's race displayed today is how special a horse we maybe witnessing in Rachel Alexandra. I totally disagree with your thoughts that it was a hard fought win. Beside the fact she was on cruise control the last 16th, watch her pricked ears down the back stretch flipping around. With that long easy high stepping stride, she appears to me to be goofing off. Also have to mention, while Calvin did get after her a bit in the stretch Rachel went to the lead on her own without being touched or asked. Pretty strong sign of a special one IMO! Look, I like Summer Bird a lot. He was my bet in the BLM but, we will never see his "A" game running those fractions or running as short as 9F. It would be my guess if Rachel does go in the Travers we will see the smallest Travers field in history. T. Ice has already stated that if Rachel goes, we don't. When you have good, smart trainers ducking one it is time to realize that maybe, just maybe we might be witnessing something special!
Whew, after hearing about the weather conditions at Monmouth, I was very relieved to look at the results and see that all went well with Rachel and the boys in the Haskell. It looks to me like they finished pretty much in order of their ability from first to last. Annie
MikeA, Desormeaux sure battled for second money like the race counted for something. The race was already clearly lost and Desormeaux could've just geared it down once he lost the place to Munnings (as he's done many times before in other races)... you know, live to fight another day, leave some juice in the lemon, etc. Didn't look like a blow-off prep to me. For a horse that's only supposed to be cranked up for his "goal race" a few weeks from now, that was an aggressive finish. Do you think Desormeaux did too much fighting for second when he clearly didn't have to? Did Ice appreciate the effort (of the jockey, that is)? Was a potentially taxing stretch duel for second money with MUNNINGS off a layoff really worth it when the Travers is his goal?