10/06/2016 11:47AM

Mother Nature and Ectot conspire against Flintshire

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Last Saturday, ECTOT beat a powerful divisional leader in a major Breeders' Cup prep race, the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont.
 
Despite that win, Ectot is likely an afterthought as it pertains to Breeders' Cup Turf wagering. 
 
It makes perfect sense. The four-horse Joe Hirsch was contested over a boggy turf course. Ectot's three opponents, including $8.8M earner FLINTSHIRE, were a combined 1 for 20 over turf courses rated less than "firm" (the only win was Flintshire's Hong Kong Vase score over "good to firm," a designation many international horseplayers consider closer to "firm"). Conversely, Ectot was 3 for 7 over "off" turf with two group victories to his credit over "soft" going. 
 
Ectot won the ground war before the battle even began.
 
Ectot also had a strong pace advantage in the Joe Hirsch. Without any blazers in the bunch, Ectot, usually a stalker, was allowed to control the race from the inside under Jose Ortiz. The combination of pace and footing propelled Ectot to the winner's circle. 
 
 
After a runner-up effort in his career debut at two, Ectot went unbeaten for over a year, reeling off six consecutive victories in France at distances between 7 and 12 furlongs. Al Shaqab Racing bought into the colt prior to the Group 2 Prix Niel at Longchamp. Although Ectot won that race, he bombed in the 2014 Arc de Triomphe, finishing 17th at 6 to 1 odds behind supermare Treve and Flintshire. 
 
To be honest, Ectot didn't do much at four last year. His best effort from three starts was a well-beaten third in the Group 3 La Coupe de Maisons-Lafitte Stakes, a far cry from the Arc de Triomphe. In two starts for trainer Todd Pletcher prior to the Joe Hirsch over firm going, Ectot was beaten both times, the latter event in which he was odds-on versus optional claimers at Saratoga.
 
"He's trained exceptionally well for us since he came in," Pletcher told NYRA publicity following the Joe Hirsch. "He went off form in his last few starts in Europe but came to us in great condition. His races leading up to this were sneaky good and he seemed to be improving. We made some minor adjustments with equipment and shoes and figured it out as we went along."
 
Flintshire tried hard, but just didn't show the same acceleration displayed in his firmer turf races. Rating or dismissing him off one loss is probably a foolish way of analyzing his Breeders' Cup chances. Of the North American-based runners, he remains the horse to beat...as long as there isn't an unexpected shower at Santa Anita. 
 
So, what to do with Ectot?
 
Conventional wisdom would dictate this race was a one-off, a fluke due to circumstances. It's unlikely he'd receive a similar candy scenario against a full field of the world's better turf horses in the Breeders' Cup. 
 
Of course, horseplayers looking to make money at the races know they must zig when the public zags. Ectot has proven European form, is in the hands of a master trainer, and might, just might, be rounding back to his best at just the right time. If he is completely dismissed in the Breeders' Cup Turf and offers odds of 15 to 1 or so, he might offer a hint of value in the single-race exotics, at the very least. 
 
What do you think?
 
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/28/16 - 10/4/16
 
1. CALIFORNIA CHROME - 112 - Awesome Again Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Oct16-7SA 
2. STELLAR WIND - 110 - Zenyatta Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Oct16-9SA 
3. ECTOT (GB) - 106 - Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 1Oct16-6BEL
4. JOKING - 103 - Vosburgh Invitational (G1) - 6 Furlongs -  1Oct16-9BEL 
5. ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR - 102 - John Henry Turf Championship (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 2Oct16-6SA 
6. HOLY LUTE - 101 - Eddie D. Stakes (G3) - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 30Sep16-9SA 
7. GOVERNOR MALIBU - 99 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 30Sep16-3BEL
8. SCUBA - 98 - Temperance Hill Invitational - 1 5/8 Miles - 2Oct16-8BEL
9. JOSDESANIMAUX - 97 - Panama City Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 1Oct16-11GP 
10. NOBLE BIRD - 96 - Lukas Classic - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Oct16-10CD 
11. AMBITIOUS BREW - 95 - Eddie D. Stakes (G3) - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 30Sep16-6SA 
11. AVENGE - 95 - Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 1Oct16-8SA 
11. FIVE CENTS - 95 - OC 25k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 28Sep16-5PEN
11. FOREVER UNBRIDLED - 95 - Beldame Invitaional (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Oct16-10BEL
15. CHIEF ISTAN - 94 - Challedon Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 1Oct16-9LRL
15. FINLEY'SLUCKYCHARM - 94 - Alw 46573N2X - 5 Furlongs - 29Sep16-2CD 
15. GENTRIFY - 94 - Alw 75460N1X - 7 Furlongs - 1Oct16-4BEL
15. PAULASSILVERLINING - 94 - Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 1Oct16-7BEL
19. GORMLEY - 93 - FrontRunner Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Oct16-6SA 
19. SEFFEARA - 93 - OC 62k/C - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 1Oct16-4WO
19. SILENT BIRD - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 2Oct16-8SA 
22. DIAMOND BACHELOR - 92 - Mr. Steele Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 1Oct16-5GP 
23. AWESOME BANNER - 91 - Foolish Pleasure Stakes - 1 Mile - 1Oct16-6GP 
23. MEANS WELL - 91 - OC 50k/C -N - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Sep16-8DEL
23. TOM'S READY - 91 - Ack Ack Handicap (G3) - 1 Mile - 1Oct16-9CD 
 
CALIFORNIA CHROME's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
 
*You can access free video analysis of some of the weekend's top races beginning Thursday late afternoon at http://video.drf.com/
 
*Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at a special start time of 2pm ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita
 
*You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
 
*Congrats to Annie for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
 
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
 
Annie selected Saturday's Shadwell Turf Mile from Keeneland as this week's exercise. 
 
PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
 
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
 
 
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
 
Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.
The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
 
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR POST. Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST SIGN YOURSELF AT THE END (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to identify who you are.
4. (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes. Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
 
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.
The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"
 
As an example :
 
HG 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
 
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!
Harpo
 
A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS  IS  ALWAYS  APPRECIATED !
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.
 
ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

 

AttachmentSize
CALIFORNIA CHROME.pdf800.3 KB
Copy of HG 10 1 16 Chandelier.xls53 KB
HGSHADWELLTURF.pdf220.18 KB