03/26/2010 2:38PM

International opinions, Slumps?

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Some of our better handicap horses have excelled on Dubai World Cup night so it will be very interesting to see how our runners handle the Tapeta surface of the new Meydan course. 

Let's take a look at some interesting runners on the World Cup program:

Dubai World Cup - Race 8 - Meydan:

While #4 GIO PONTI and #10 RICHARD'S KID, especially the former, are hard-knocking, consistent runners, they don't exactly inspire the same confidence as previous World Cup winners Cigar, Silver Charm, Pleasantly Perfect, or Curlin. 

After studying the race earlier in the week, I half-heartedly landed on #6 VISION D'ETAT, a multiple Group 1 turf winner that has only run two bad races in his career.  Both of those starts were in the Arc de Triomphe at 1 1/2 miles and his connections feel that he is sharper at the World Cup distance of ten furlongs. 

The latest word from Dubai is bearish on Vision d'Etat, however.  It was reported this morning that he will have to pass a veterinary exam in order to reach the starting stalls and punters have enough to worry about without having to consider a possible injury.  I'll stick with my guns on Vision d'Etat if he stays near his 6-1 morning line but will now seriously include #2 GITANO HERNANDO, the conqueror of Richard's Kid when only a three-year-old in last year's Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita.  Gitano Hernando skipped the Breeders' Cup to point specifically for the World Cup and it's possible that we haven't even seen the best of this lightly-raced runner.
Selections:  Vision d'Etat, Gitano Hernando

Dubai Duty Free - Race 6 - Meydan:

The American horses look very solid but are they, in their current form, classy enough to take down an international cast of Group 1 horses?  #5 COURAGEOUS CAT and #10 TAKE THE POINTS seem in the best form of our contingent but both will be stepping up in class.  The former headed Cherokee Artist last time out, but that one is a Group 3-type at best.  Take the Points is a courageous performer with good tactical speed and shouldn't be discounted completely for Todd Pletcher.  #9 THE USUAL Q. T. may have the biggest "wow" factor of the Americans, but he reportedly bled when the beaten favorite on Pro-Ride in the Sunshine Millions Classic.  He'll return to his preferred turf surface in the Duty Free but will run without the anti-bleeding medication Lasix. 
I was impressed by the recent victory put up by #15 PRESVIS in the Group 2 Jebel Hatta over this course and distance on March 4.  After breaking two lengths slow, Presvis raced last on the rail and then was trapped behind horses for much of the stretch.  Under a confident and patient Ryan Moore, Presvis eventually shook clear and he inhaled his foes in the final sixteenth of a mile.  He loses Moore to #12 CONFRONT as Moore rides first-call for Sir Michael Stoute but Christophe Lemaire seems like a capable replacement.  The Jebel Hatta doesn't seem like a one-hit wonder for Presvis, the runner-up in last year's Duty Free. He also won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup in Hong Kong last season over capable performers like Viva Pataca and Archipenko.  Expect him to race near the rear of the field in the early going.  If he gets enough pace, he can run them down late.
Selection:  Presvis

UAE Derby - Race 4 - Meydan:

This race has been completely dominated by trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Michael de Kock and it looks like they have the top contenders once again.  Godolphin is represented by UAE 1000 Guineas winner #6 SIYAADAH, Listed stakes-winner #7 FROZEN POWER, and their top chance, #5 MENDIP.  The undefeated Mendip, a three-year-old by Harlan's Holiday, is undefeated after three races on synthetic and looms Godolphin's best hope for a Kentucky Derby entry after the defection of the hospitalized Vale of York.  Mendip may have to work harder than he did in winning the second leg of the UAE Triple Crown, the Al Bastakiya on March 4.  Mendip broke from the far outside post in the field of 14 that day, but there was no pace on, and Frankie Dettori was able to place his mount off the leaders's flank while in the two-path.  He won easily but should get a sterner test here. 
de Kock sends out UAE Oaks winner #3 RAIHANA and UAE 2000 Guineas hero #9 MUSIR.  The latter, an Australian-bred son of top stallion Redoute's Choice, must prove his mettle at this additional distance, but he was a very impressive winner at one mile.  If he runs back to that most recent start, he will be very tough to beat.
Selections:  Musir, Mendip

The World Cup will be the focal point of the weekend's action but there are some fascinating Kentucky Derby preps among the stateside stakes races.

Louisiana Derby - Fair Grounds - Race 10:

The key to this race will be if #5 A LITTLE WARM appreciates this added distance.  It's somewhat of a dicey proposition and one that should make punters pause if he drops down from his 4-1 morning line.  If he drifts in the wagering, he may be worth a play.  With #10 WOW WOW WOW in the field, it's unlikely that Risen Star winner #7 DISCREETLY MINE will receive the same easy lead that he received last time out.  While still a logical contender, Discreetly Mine may prove an underlay this time around. 
A Little Warm chased D' Funnybone, arguably the best 3-year-old sprinter in the country, in the Hutcheson last time out, and was flattered when that one came back to annex the Swale at Gulfstream.  A Little Warm's sprint races are fast enough to win the Louisana Derby and he may sit a good spot just off Wow Wow Wow down the backstretch.  Perhaps he'll get first jump on the closers but his supporters will likely be screaming for the wire in midstretch. 
Selection:  A Little Warm

Sunland Derby - Sunland - Race 12 (Sunday):

#3 CONVEYANCE is obviously the horse to beat as the undefeated son of Holy Bull really seems to appreciate dirt.  But he did ride a speed-favoring surface last time out at Oaklawn and there are some questions about how far he really wants to go.  Also, there is a possibility that #6 CLASSICAL SLEW and #9 tEMPTED TO TAPIT will attempt to press him early. 
I landed on #2 NACHO FRIEND, a colt that was only beaten a length in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga last year.  He missed time after that race with an ankle injury and was ambitiously-placed going two turns in the Grade 3 Gotham last time out.  Nacho Friend ran well in the Gotham as he made a three-wide bid to the lead turning for home only to understandably tire behind the sharp Awesome Act.  Nacho Friend goes second off the bench and his trainer, Kelly Breen, shipped in early to give his colt a work over the local strip.  He can work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip and would appreciate some help up front.
Selections:  Nacho Friend, Conveyance

Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap - Fair Grounds - Race 9 (Saturday):

I spotlighted #8 BLUES STREET with the unofficial FormBlog "performance of the week" after his impressive 104 Beyer Speed Figure victory in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap over this course and trip on February 20.  Although there wasn't much pace on, Blues Street was able to settle, make one run, and easily go by the leaders in midstretch.  A former $75,000 claimer, Blues Street has really picked up his game since Todd Pletcher removed blinkers three starts back.  He'll have to reel in #2 JET PROPULSION, the in-form lone speed for Marty Wolfson, but may be sharp enough to do just that.
Selection:  Blues Street

Assorted action plays:

Godolphin Mile:  Skysurfers, Desert Party, Summit Surge
Dubai Golden Shaheen:  Regal Parade, Eagle Falls, Benbaun
New Orleans Handicap:  Battle Plan, General Quarters, Stonehouse
Dubai Sheema Classic:  Youmzain, Spanish Moon, Eastern Anthem
Lane's End Stakes:  Northern Giant, Doubles Partern, Dean's Kitten

As you guys know, my picks have stunk this entire year.  I'm sorry about that and my wallet is really sorry.  I don't know if it's a prolonged slump or I just stink.  I have to believe it's the former, if only for the reason that I don't want to believe it's the latter. 

How do you guys handle slumps?  I could use any help I can get. 

Anyway, have a great weekend, and let me know who you like?

Cheers,

Dan




nancyb More than 1 year ago
Thought I'd play a bet I've never even considered using real money - the high 5. Taking the approach that I need to nominate a couple of these to finish last and settled on eliminating 'Peanut and 'Butch from among those that have run. The others have mitigating possibility - Sibersky seems to have this field at her mercy and Pic O Dream's last race was an odd exercise in letting her get a feel of the front, then when the real running began, she was allowed to slip silently out of it, not abused nor even much encouraged -- perhaps she's a really slow learner, so I think I'll leave her in for the 4th and 5th spots. That leaves the FTS. Swiss Jewel is a must use, just because the Swiss Yodeler's thrive at these abbreviated sprints and connections are good enough. Money Lover is sired by Marino Marini, who had a lot of lick, not much stick, but she does have relatively good works including a breeze out of the gate. Ms Treasure Hunter shows some good works and connections are good w/sprinters, and the trainer is part owner (for me, usually a good sign that the horse is placed rationally) Santina's got a router's pedigree. The works are encouraging and include a slow 6f which is good (the 6f, that is, the slow not so much) and more recently a fast 5f. Flores has had a couple of these mystery animals with varied success, so I have to use her. So $1 High 5 it is... 1,3 /1,3,8/1,3,4,5,6,8/1,3,4,5,6,8/1,3,4,5,6,8 = $96 leaving $4 for a little something to calm my nerves Lots of interesting threads, but have to first give a shout-out to Alan-- first Paddy O'Prado and now Endorsement! I hadn't read your post before the Sunland race or I might have been emboldened to put E on top. I played it safe, having had pretty severe seconditis lately, putting him under Conveyance ( a horse I do not even particularly like) and Tempted to Tapit (one I do) . I couldn't resist a place bet, though, so it was not a total loss. As far as the Dubai races go, a string of seconds made me rethink my bets on the final DD's and I ended up using Spanish Moon and Twice Over as keys, so even though I played Dar Re Mi and Gloria, I didn't play them together. After the Dubai races were over, I was much struck by how many regular handicapping principles I threw out, ibecause I was thinking og these races as extraordinary circumstances. Recency and familiarity with the track were the two principles I seemed to have ignored the most. Although John Gosden's tale of woe about training Dar Re Mi in the snow probably influenced me more than I should have allowed. And forgetting that the conditions of the World Cup eliminate the entry of pace-makers not good enough to get in on their own, really was a gift to horses with forwardly placed tendencies --Allybar and Gloria . Thanks Laura, for putting the chat together the night before. It was entertaining and helpful. I am looking forward to the day we can go back and reread the chats in light of results. Just a note that I too was at Hollywood when Seattle Slew ran so disappointingly and all I remember was Laz Barrera talking about how Slew never settled down and was constantly getting up and looking out of his stall every time a plane went overhead (Hollywood's in the flight path of LAX, meaning planes go directly over the track at times at frequent intervals. And how grateful I was that the connections were sporting enough to bring him here. Good luck all!
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
blackseabass and Annie, Thanks for bringing up Lawrence Voegele's books. I have been slowly rereading my racing library and had forgotten what a sensible approach he used. When I opened up my 38 year old edition (not 40) it fell on to page 80 and I found something "even remotely applicable to the modern-day game". The sentence I read was: "Once you can accurately class horses, you literally have the key to the vault. Condition and consistency are next." For example: a hidden class horse in the 3rd at SA on Sunday. Brushburn, in a 5 horse field won and paid $27.40! Look back at who he has run against. Meteore, I believe won a division of the Oceanside Hcp, beat him by 2-1/2, held his own against M One Rifle, was gaining on Flashman's Papers in a race too short, was gaining on Leedstheway, who I believe has won three of his last four, also in a race too short and in his last three mile tries (Sunday's dist.) was 1st by a nk, was leading at the stretch call and was 2nd by a head. Some would argue that Spurrier was the "class" but he had run for the same claiming price as Brushburn and had never tried the turf. Class, as espoused by Voegele and others has certainly been a mainstay throughout racing history. In response to some of the body language posts, I think you sometimes can see "class" in the post parade. Arched neck, light on their feet dancing, false starts, sometimes kicking and bucking. I look forward to rereading these classics. I also look forward to rereading Beyer on Speed, 1972, and Ainslies Complete Guide to Thoroughbred Racing, 1968, and I would bet these tomes would also have some ideas "even remotely applicable to modern-day racing".
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, Steve T. has given you excellent advice at making a smooth transition at the end of the meet. I know you excell down the hill,so pay special attention to what he said about the grass sprints at hollypark.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Trivia, Curt V. it was "The Spotted Wonder" The Tetrarch. I'm not positive on the filly but i'll guess Landaluce, she was very fast and I think ran 108 flat. She was also sired by Slew. I think DA Hoss ran the fastest 6f for 2yr old males 107.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Cayman, my condolences after the loss of your dad.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Redattore has a limited book of 2007/2008/2009 runners, and since they sold him to a Brazilian farm (he was shuttling), that is it for him as a California sire. Here are his 2007 progeny: ALONG FOR THE RIDE F 2007 ALL CIRCUITS GO SLEWDLEDO AMIAMO F 2007 WE LOVE THE MONEY ICE AGE BIG ADVANCE F 2007 JOY FOREVER APOLLO BRAZILIAN RED F 2007 GREEK TRANQUILITY NORTHERN SPUR CAPT SEVENTY ONE C 2007 FOR THE LOVE ICE AGE CRESTATORRE C 2007 AVENIDA LA CRESTA AVENUE OF FLAGS DESPERATE TIMES C 2007 DONT DESPAIR HIGH BRITE DUNATTORE C 2007 VANITY OF VANITIES FUTURE STORM EARLY FALL F 2007 ISLEO BEBE ISLAND WHIRL EDS NELLY BLY F 2007 STAR OF GDANSK POLISH NUMBERS EILEEN MARIE G F 2007 BUNNY MARTIN POLITICAL AMBITION FOLLOW THE CROWD F 2007 CROWDED ROOM SMOKESTER HOOAH F 2007 NORA ELLEN CEES TIZZY LODI RED C 2007 JAH RELAUNCH LOVING LEGACY C 2007 FOR THE LOVE ICE AGE MEDITERRANO C 2007 TARAS SECRET SECRETO MISS CLE ELUM F 2007 OUR LADY KAY CONFIDE MISS EDYTA F 2007 FLASH THE FIELD GREEN TUNE 3-1-2-0 $18,600 NED PAGE C 2007 WATERWHEEL GRINDSTONE NEVER STOP TALKING F 2007 STOP THE TALKING MEMO PATSY LYNN F 2007 BROAD VALLEY GAL VALLEY CROSSING PERFECT KIVA G 2007 ANASAZI MUD SHERGARS BEST READY FOR CROWDS F 2007 WORK THE CROWD POLITICAL AMBITION RED REASONS G 2007 BETTER REASONS CUTLASS REALITY RED SCARE G 2007 SCARE TACTICS MOSCOW BALLET RED SEA G 2007 OCEANS REALITY CUTLASS REALITY 1-1-0-0 $5,225 RELATORRE C 2007 MOROANO ORDER SCARLETTS SPIRIT F 2007 GHOST IN THE HOUSE SILVER GHOST STEALTH ROCKET G 2007 ESCAPE WITH ME ARAZI 1-M-0-0 $400 THE LYIN HAWAIIAN G 2007 CLEOPATRA CLAY HERO 2-1-0-1 $7,145 TOP OFF G 2007 A J TOP JUDGE SMELLS VERY VINTAGE (USA) F 2007 BIEN BROOKE SUMMER SQUALL
vicstu More than 1 year ago
And, of course, Endorsement was "intriguing" to me, not "intiguing". #@*! cheap spell checker!
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Alan, Nice call on Endorsement! All, However, I also had Endorsement and posted my pick early sat. AM. but apparently no one saw my post. Just so everyone does not think I am "redboarding", here is my post where I wheeled him over and under and WPS on him as well. I am not tooting my own horn, just showing how legitimate posts can be missed and posters may have a short memory. Food for thought: "A horse that looks intiguing to me is Endorsement. He broke his maiden last out at OP, in his 3rd race, and has gotten better and faster as the races get longer. Since switching to Shannon Ritter, he has a 2nd and 1st, looks like a different horse than his first race out. Tempted to Tapit is wide here, but has the turn of foot and class to still factor. $1 tri p/wheel- 2/3/5 over 2,3,5,9 over 1,2,3,5,9. And I will bet the 5 W-P-S as he should be a value to some extent.” Posted by: vicstu on March 27, 2010 at 09:24 AM Wouldn't want to be accused of picking Endorsement after-the-fact since no one remembered my post...
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
I don’t believe that I have ever posted regarding slumps. I have thought about it though. It’s quite possible that I have actually never acknowledged a slump. I have been through stretches where I cannot cash a ticket, and even stretches that have wiped out all of the profits to that point. For me, use of the word “slump” obfuscates the actual problem. In my cases, that problem can always be traced to: 1.) Bad handicapping (failing to identify the true contenders); 2.) Bad wagering strategy (failing to capitalize on wagers where I have identified the true contenders); and 3.) Bad luck. The whole bad luck thing is red herring for me. The bad luck and the good luck cancel each other out over time. If my handicapping is bad, then something has clearly gone amiss. The explanation for this could be as simple as a lack of focus (something else occupying my thoughts), or a lack of passion (tired, bored or burned out). If my wagering strategy is bad, that is a whole different issue. Sometimes it can be as simple as not using enough contenders in exotics because of money. It can also be as simple as out-smarting yourself. We all do it. I have focused almost exclusively on Santa Anita in 2010, and my results have been outstanding for this track. I have played sparingly at Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, and a few other tracks with very little success. If I were playing these other tracks more, and no Santa Anita, I would have stopped posting my selections/thoughts because of my poor records there. I also might think that I was in a slump, when the reality of it would be that I was playing races at tracks that I wasn’t prepared for. I am simultaneously curious and worried to see what happens to my ROI when the current meet ends at Santa Anita. Will I be able to adjust/adapt to races on Cushion Track at Hollywood Park? It’s kind of scary actually, but I will accept the challenge. Tough game. Very tough game.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
All; No one ever needs to apologize to me for anything here, but your words are appreciated. I won’t be pitching any fits anytime soon either. Mattyg is right about needing to have thick skin. Thanks for that reality check. Cayman01 is also right about keeping this all in perspective and enjoying FormBlog as a diversion from the real problems out there. While I don’t need any apologies, I do need to extend mine to everyone. If you feel you need to call me out then I must need to be called out. I am a big boy, and I know that. I guess I forgot. And thanks for the emails.