02/23/2008 1:59PM

The Lineup 2/23/08


A pair of turf marathons for older males comprises Saturday's short lineup of graded stakes action around the country.

5:15 pm ET, GP race 9, G1 $350k Gulfstream Park Turf S., OM, 1 3/8-T
If you're salivating over getting Einstein at his 6-1 ML price, stop dreaming. He's likelier to be 3-1 and may well even go off favored over Stream of Gold and Shamdninan, who are listed as the top two choices at 3-1 and 4-1. Einstein won this race two years ago, was a close third to better horses than these last year, and appears to be coming up to this perfectly. His best efforts beat anyone here. Stream of Gold is solid and had a rough trip behind Precious Passion last time out, but has lost 12 straight races after beginning his career 3 for 5. Shamdinan's true quality remains in question. He finished in front of Red Rocks, Better Talk Now and Dylan Thomas when a distant second to English Channel in BC Turf last time out, but it appeared that none of those toney rivals fired his best shot that day and Shamdinan plodded on for second by default. It's hard to make a case for anyone else in this field of 10; the others look a notch below the top three or highly questionable at the distance.

Incidentally, this is the same race that has been called the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap in recent years, but the Breeders' Cup name is slowly disappearing from all but the Cup Day races in an effort to clarify the BC brand.

6:36 pm ET, SA race 7, G2 $150k San Luis Obispo H., OM, 1 1/2m-T
In the absence of Champs Elysees, the usual suspects among California's long-winded grass runners are the favorites here -- Spring House (Carleton F. Burke), On the Acorn (Jim Murray, San Juan Capistrano) and Obrigado (last year's San Luis Obispo) -- but the key to the race is Sudan. If he replicates his European form in his American debut and first start for Frankel, he's just better than these. He bled badly in his last start in Sweden last September, was scratched from the Hollywood Turf Cup over a medication snafu, but now appears ready to roll while getting Lasix for the first time. Of the others, Spring House seems solid off a last-out third to Sunriver and Champs Elysees, On the Acorn is iffy going 12 furlongs off a nine-month layoff, and Obrigado could offer a little value as the fourth or fifth choice.

---ejxd2 wrote: Definitely interested in hearing your thoughts on Baffert's exclusion as a finalist from Hall of Fame consideration.

Only two trainers -- Carl Nafzger and Bob Wheeler -- were among the finalists announced Friday for this year's Hall of Fame voting. The only reason Baffert is not on the list is because there is a technical dispute over whether he meets the criteria of having been actively engaged in training Thoroughbreds for the required 25 years. He was still primarily a Quarter Horse trainer in the mid-1980's, making just a handful of Thoroughbred starts which some nominating-committee members believe don't meet the spirit of the 25-year rule.

Some commentators have tried to turn this into a controversy over Baffert's Hall-worthiness or regional bias in the voting, but this is simply not the case. There's not a scintilla of doubt that Baffert will deservedly be nominated and overwhelmingly elected within the next few years, the moment he clearly has 25 full years to his credit.

ray flack More than 1 year ago
Regarding your fine column on Spitzer, the law you mentioned is for the state of New York. I doubt it would apply to the pricey tryst in D.C. This from a retired copy editor. Ray Flack
Burt More than 1 year ago
I was at a telethearter and was very surprised at the disqualification and noticed that it was a no name trainer. Do you think the trainer or jockey could affect the stewards.
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Meh... if he's eligible according to the rules of the Racing Hall of Fame then he's eligible, and I don't think it should be up to the committee to deny his eligibility. Steve's trying to make it "clearer" by saying the committee took it upon itself to interpret the rules of eligibility, but I don't know what could be any more clear than the rules of the Hall of Fame clearly stating "BOB BAFFERT IS ELIGIBLE FOR INDUCTION." Baffert started training Thoroughbreds exclusively in what? 1989? So he has to wait until 2014 for induction? That's BS.
John O' More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a bad DQ,going into the turn the 10 was trying to push his wat out,it was a leaning incident without a serious bump,the checking occured after the 6 came out and caused the sandwich effect.I'll like to hear Steve's opinion.At the parlor it was 50/50 among the patrons.It could have gone either way.
neddy53 More than 1 year ago
My final comment on the Mind the Minister DQ. If I owned the horse I would file an appeal.
hz hackenbush More than 1 year ago
Neddy53 - I'm afraid I have to agree with Dunque. I watched the pan shot and head-on several times and it sure looks like a legit DQ to me. Now, on the other hand, if you had said Trevor Denman's stretch call in Santa Anita's finale was the worst stretch call you had heard in 35 years. . . .
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
High Five not available in Canada. Magna Five is too expensive at $2.00 per play.Ditto the Pick 6, which is $2.00 after just last week being $1.00 at Woodbine teletheatres. What is left? Why, the late Pick 4 at SA. Compare the 2 pools on Sat. SA was $554M, and at the Gulf, the Pick 4 pool was $244M. Playing the Pick 4 at SA cost me $30.00. It was good for 3/4, and included the $47.00 longshot.The day before, I also had 3/4, betting $32.00. The Pick 4 then paid over 12 grand.For small bettors (or frugal types), the late Pick 4 is the flavor of the day. It works well for Toronto followers, as Post Time for SA in Toronto is 3:30 PM. I really like the pool difference as noted above. $554M will pay out a lot of winners at 12-13 grand. The Pick 6 could be played when a large carryover is in play.When Mr. D won the big one, here in Canada it was only $1.00 per play. Now at $2.00 in Canada, it is not so appetizing. However, the 3/4 I got were all in the DRF, clear as a bell. Don't know if I like the 3-1 on Court Vision at Gulf. on Sunday. The Derby picture will be clearer after the Fountain of Youth.
MIKE B More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, wish I had this info before I bet a horse that didn't run a step on saturday! Citation H. (G1) runner-up ZANN (Dynaformer) was credited with a three-eighths drill in a bullet :35 2/5 on the morning of the Gulfstream Park Turf S. (G1), where he finished fifth.
TOM D. More than 1 year ago
To Michael H. keep playing Tampa. Full fields lead to payoffs like that. Gulfstream Park has dropped the ball. You can pay the $25 for the Golden Corral buffet to sit or go to Tampa and enjoy yourself without the shakedown. Stronach has killed the old Gulfstream. Afetr the last race at Gulf they kick you out despite paying the $25 for the "buffet". The only downside of Tampa is the second place Yankee fans!
Michael H. More than 1 year ago
Steven, Read all the time first time post. Great blog. Today I played Tampa Bay and on the 7th race I had the exacta 6-2. 11-1 and 4.70 and it paid $189 plus and I was floored. I really could not believe it paid that much. I was expecting about $105. How can that pay that much? Did i just get lucky and get a tweener and a great payoff. Your Thoughts. Michael H.