07/29/2007 1:49PM

Mid-Jim Dandy Day

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--J Z Warrior's 10-length victory in the second race at a generous $8.40 cast laurels on the race she came out of while casting further doubt on the true quality of the seemingly fast 4 1/2-furlong juvenile races run at Churchill Downs this summer. Cozy Mesa flopped Thursday exiting one of those races and here Jolie The Cat was a false favorite coming out of the same race. While Subtle Aly won the Schuylerville coming out of one of those events, her figure declined from a 97 to a 75 doing so. So beware of those Churchill races, which might not be quite as fast as they first looked. As for J Z Warrior, she emerged from the fast-early fast-late race at Belmont July 29 won by According to Plan, who disappointed in the Schuylerville but had a legit excuse after stumbling badly at the start.

--Maybe I'm making the Jim Dandy too complicated and you're just supposed to single Street Sense as an odds-on layover, but I can't shake the feeling that this is purely a prep for the Travers and that his connections couldn't care less about winning today. Carl Nafzger's m.o. --with Unbridled, Unshaded and Street Sense -- has long been to be a little short in the prep while leaving something in the tank for the major goal. Unbridled lost to stablemate Home At Last one start before winning the BC Classic, Unshaded ran a blah Jim Dandy before winning the Travers, and Street Sense lost a four-way photo against the likes of Dominican and Teufelsburg before winning the Derby.

But where do you turn? Second choice Tiz Wonderful tiz a wonderfully talented horse but going a mile and eighth in stakes company off an eight-month layoff is one tough assignment. (According to the stats in Formulator, Steve Asmussen is an impressive 11-for-56 over the last five years bringing horses back from 180-day or longer layoffs in routes, but none of those was in a stakes race.) The four others have their shortcomings but I can't confidently draw a line through any of them. None of them appears to have much chance of beating Street Sense or Curlin in the Travers, so this may BE their Travers, whereas Street Sense is merely tuning up.

--It never fails: Go out of your way to knock an uninspiring favorite in a race where you love a longshot and they run 1-2 in the wrong order. At this morning's Siro's seminar, Andy Serling and I both liked Pat Kelly longshot Stormy Winter in the 4th but couldn't leave well enough alone and had to express our disdain for the Bobby Flay-owned, Todd Pletcher-trained Sophie's Salad. The Sophie's Salad-Stormy Winter exacta returned $100.50.

Jordan Mariano More than 1 year ago
Why are all of the workouts for horses from the California Tracks listed as (H) handily and no (B)breezing workouts listed at all in the Daily racing form. It becomes very difficult to handicap without this valuable information. Especially with young horses that have not run yet and the only information that you have is their workouts. Are the doing the workouts easily or are they being ridden hard?
Lawyer Ron Fan More than 1 year ago
"There is simply no plausible way that the Whitney was legitimately 2.5 seconds and 24+ Beyer points faster than the Go For Wand." Baloney! If they don't amend the official time, then the horse *did* run 2.5 seconds faster than the Go For Wand. Facts are facts. Give him credit for it, already. Don't dilute his accomplishment based on subjective opinion, when the facts speak otherwise.
Rufus More than 1 year ago
More support for the shaky-ness of Churchill 2yo dashes: Aidan, 2yo filly going 6f at Del Mar on Sunday, and heavily bet and touted up and down TVG, runs up the polytrack as heavy fave for Dale Romans. She was coming out of the same CD dash as Lukas's filly at 'toga, Spirit Line, she too up the track with Jolie the Cat behind EZ Warrior. Now's the time to start throwing us those negative key 2yo races, Steve! And what else was going on in the 2yo division this weekend? Oh, just debut winners from Rich Schosberg at 'toga and Ron McAnally at Del Mar...guys that are practically O fer the new millenium with 2yo firsters. Help!
ES More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve--what is the inside scoop on Rags to Riches? Seems like an awful lot of hedging to me.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Steve, I was at Saratoga for the Whitney and I was more than surprised when they posted the final time. But I think we should wait until an investigation on the timing of the race is conducted including the Beyer Speed Figure being posted, provisioanal or not, before we establish if Lawyer Ron's track record is legitimate. I agree that Lawyer Ron is no Ghostzapper but maybe he was for just one late afternoon summer day. NYRA's wabsite has the record posted on its home page. I think we should wait until the facts are in.
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
Steve, The group of people you have mentioned, yourself, Davidowitz, Hopkins, Moss, Friedman and Brown are the best most recognizable figure makers in the game. Within a range the eventual final figures applied by this group will be correct. However this story has become more than what is the real final speed figure. Instead it is why did the speed of the track change so radically from one race to the next because it seems fairly clear the time is accurate. As a handicapper this is some powerful information. A track surface scrapped this tight is pretty speed favoring. To do this mid-day before the showcase event with no change or iminent change in weather conditions seems almost scandalous. Please have the expert team at DRF follow-up. Thanks
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Jim Dandy---a big step forward for CP West, or an utterly blah victory for Street Sense?
sean More than 1 year ago
Ginger Punch ran a 95 beyer figure and Lawyer Ron ran a 116. The filly can run a 103, 104 going a one-turn mile, for example, but she's not going to do it going two turns and nine furlongs. Add the fact that the balance of the field was putrid and the 95 makes sense. That kind of figure wins graded stakes for fillies and mares on dirt in California all of the time. In the Whitney, the 22.91 third quarter is legitimate for horses of this caliber, especially given the moderate early pace. Wanderin Boy ran to his A-game 111 figure and Lawyer Ron got what he needed trip/pace-wise to run his big figure. If the timing of the race needs revisiting, one must watch and time all of the 1m 1/8 races on the day and determine the run-up to the pole; just considering the Whitney alone isn't sufficient. Enjoying the blog, sir.
frank the ponyman More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve; Finally on plus side today with WP&EX race #2-big win.Stop til Del Mar big race--going with Baffert-EZ Warrior on top over Gregs Gold & Northern Soldier--Wish I was at toga. The Best--ponyman Frank--He's Back & staying put--Love Racing
toddsincharge More than 1 year ago
Obviously, no one can precisely quantify the Whitney. We just make estimations. The winner was super, I don't care what number he gets. About today's feature, if I owned a multi-million dollar star, I wouldn't want a jockey who wants to scrap the rail with him every race.