04/02/2010 9:57PM

Questions, Questions, Questions

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As we creep ever closer to Louisville and the first Saturday in May, we'll start getting some answers as to the overall quality of this intriguing crop of three-year-old hopefuls. 

This weekend's racing action features three major prep races starring the top two sophomores in training.  The indomitable LOOKIN AT LUCKY will attempt to maintain his position at or near the top of most polls in the Santa Anita Derby while the exciting ESKENDEREYA hopes to cement his position as the East Coast's, and trainer Todd Pletcher's, best hope of snatching the roses when he starts as the likely betting favorite in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. 

While those two fascinating prospects should be tough to deny in what should be their final prep runs before the Kentucky Derby, they are by no means slam dunks on paper.  While the others are still sorting themselves out, they'll have to answer these, and perhaps more, questions:

1.  How good is AWESOME ACT?  Will he have enough foundation after missing some training time due to weather as well as to a reported pastern infection?

2.  Was SCHOOLYARD DREAMS the victim of two premature moves at Tampa Bay Downs or does he hang when he puts his nose in front?

3.  Does JACKSON BEND want to go this far?

4.  Does WHO'S UP try and make life difficult for SIDNEY'S CANDY going into the first turn?  Can Sidney's Candy get this distance?

5.  Does SETSUKO's improved workout times indicate that Richard Mandella has him ready to fire his best shot tomorrow?

6.  Is CARACORTADO the same horse when he doesn't get an ideal setup?  He had a perfect trip in the Lewis and then flattened out badly when forced to move too soon last time.

7.  Will ALPHIE'S BET be able to duplicate his visually impressive Sham win from this tough outside post?

This is doubtlessly the greatest sport in the world.  We can debate these questions until the cows come home, but if we can deduce the handicapping puzzle, we get paid.  Even if there aren't any winning tickets in our future, hopefully some answers are forthcoming.

Eskendereya and Awesome Act seem like two good horses, but I'll take a small shot with Schoolyard Dreams.  If Dominguez can time his move just right, he may be able to pull off the mild upset.

I'm a Sidney's Candy fan, and will certainly use him with Lookin At Lucky in multi-race wagers, but I'm concerned about a possible pace battle with Who's Up.  Perhaps SKIPSHOT is worth a look for Jerry Hollendorfer at what figures to be a square price.

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

Yogi More than 1 year ago
#2 Yankee Doodle Girl Jock/Trainer 26%. 3rd off layoff. Competitive BSF. Best performances with M. Robertson. #7 Labeled Jock/Trainer 26%.Trainer 29%. Route to sprint. 4/7 ITM at OP. #10 Bootless Nice BSF progression. Probably gets easy lead. Bad outside post. $50 Tri 2/ 7-10/ 7-10 Thanks again for letting me join the fun. Yogi
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Alredo You're welcome. The small field sizes are what pointed me east three or four years ago, so I know exactly what you're saying. About 80% of my plays are back east. Unfortunately, it's not getting better, even with a four-day week. My own prognosis is thet GGF will be gone in a few years. But, all that aside, there are still a few jewels to be found. Good luck with it, and everything else.
Bo Shizzle More than 1 year ago
Personally, aside from the usual suspects, I was most impressed with Setsuko. Just when I was starting to think he wasn't what I thought he was, he impresses me most. He looks like he will relish the extra 1/8 and has a great shot to get itm.
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
Vicstu: Regarding Backtalk I too believe they'll run him in the Derby. I'm not sure he's good enough but I saw him live at CD and since he left he's not been the same horse, despite winning once at Saratoga. I think he'll end up on turf and will be a better horse there later in the year.
p ensign More than 1 year ago
had an amusing time yesterday at the satellite facility, when I stopped in to bet a p-6 ticket. had a few bucks left on the voucher and thought about the eye-ball handicapping seminar that's been taking place here lately. looked at the screen and the favorite in GPs upcoming race didn't look so hot - and I watched the horses walking toward the gate - had no idea what kind of race, didn't recognize the jockeys or silks and figured I'd give it a go - the 4 looked best to me, followed by the 5 and 6, so, I walked to the machine and punched in a superfecta and watched the race the 4,5,6 were all in the second wave, and round the turn into the stretch it was just those three and the favorite, the 8, with any chance... the 4 just got by the 5 with two steps to the wire and the 6 easily kept the tiring 8 at bay for the show. now the funny part, the super ticket i played 4 / 5,6 / all / 5,6 I was just certain I couldn't have picked the winners in order and did not play one ticket with the horses in the exact order I liked them I've been playing this game for 25 or 30 years and can't tell you how many times I've missed a payoff by a) not trusting myself to have picked the right horses, and b) trying to sneak a bomb in there somewhere to boost a payoff. Fortunately, they were the 4 favorites, albeit in reverse order, and the super only paid $100, but I sure hope I can learn me some lessons from the 5 minutes! Here P Ensign, you liked who? how about win on 4 exacta 4/5,6 tri 4/5,6/5,6 super 4/5,6/5,6/all and, of course the good old BACK UP BET 4/5,6/all/5,6 at least no one else hit the p-6 and there's a sweet little c/o for wednesday...
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Remember, Very high class milers and legit speed horses have won the Derby on the front end by simply outrunning the field. It is rare that speed slows the Derby pace down considerably and then still wires the field. -Consider, War Emblem's fractions were avg early and fast late. None were "slow". -Bold Forbes ran the 8th fastest quarter mile in Derby history under tremendous front-end pressure and went on to win the Derby. His first call was 22-2/5. -Spend a Buck ran the 7th fastest 4 furlongs in Derby history (tie) and went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Bold Forbes ran the exact same time for 4 furlongs and also won the Ky Derby (the time was 45-4/5). By this time SAB and Bold Forbes had opened up on the field. Had they not, they probably would not have had enough between them and the field late. -Spend a Buck ran the 2nd fastest 6 furlongs in Derby history and still went on to win the Derby with authority.His 3rd split was 1:09-3/5. The avg. Derby call at six furlongs is apprx. 1:12 flat. -Spend a Buck ran the fastest mile in Derby history. He also went on to win the Derby with authority.His mile call was 1:34-2/5 seconds, almost 3/5 of a second FASTER than the second fastest mile in Derby history by Congaree. -Spend a Buck wired the field and ran the 4th fastest Derby in history. War Emblem wired the field and ran the 7th fastest Derby in history. Sometimes horses can run fast and they keep on going. Bold Forbes and Spend a Buck are good examples of that at CD. And to say neither had any pressure is laughable. Spend a Buck simply ran away from the field and hid, which expends far more energy than running slower splits, and BF had company throughout and even had a stretch duel that he won at the end.
Molesap More than 1 year ago
Hillbilly said: "...and I'm sorry but Pletcher thought this was a TURF horse when he first got him?" Other notable TURF horses when their trainer first got them: Barbaro, Big Brown. Not such bad company after all.
Bo Shizzle More than 1 year ago
However, C, in your favor is what the odds on Esky should be. 7/2 is a legit number and might be what Esky would go off at if the field for the KD were run on a Wed and not named the KD. Unfortunately, there will be way to many newbies who only can read Beyer's numbers and winning lengths and that will surely be "The Curse of Even Money Eskendereya"
C More than 1 year ago
vicstu, Keith, Keith said: "As to Sidney's Candy's pedigree, as I said before, this is the best bred for classic distance of the Candy Rides to come along since Chocolate Candy." Chocolate Candy was effective at classic distances? Yes, we've touched on this before. I know about Candy Ride's racing career, but at stud, he's dropping a mix tilted towards milers (Capt Candyman Can, Evita Argentina, Chocolate Candy, etc). I wouldn't exactly expect a huge dose of stamina from Sidney's female side (Storm Cat x Explodent) either. Also, just look at the horse's build. This could very well be the 2nd choice in Kentucky... I'm looking elsewhere and I didn't even have to mention the possible dirt hurdle. BTW, Keith, there is ZERO chance Espinoza, of all riders, is getting that mount. I guess you didn't hear about the fireworks involving Baffert, his wife, and Espinoza after the race yesterday. Bo, The Derby favorite is usually around 7/2. Lookin At Lucky is going to be much higher than that. I'm guessing between 6-1 and 10-1. He's this year's "trouble" horse. I don't know, I'm just not that excited about him for some reason.
Bo Shizzle More than 1 year ago
P.S. C, It really doesn't matter what the average KD favorite goes off at. That is a stat for overall KD contenders. However, the stat is completely irrelevant when contemplating the KD this year. Each race is an individual race and there is NO CHANCE that Esky goes off at 7/2, none. 5/2 is the absolute highest Esky's odds can be and 7/5 is most likely. Esky's odds have a better chance of being 4/5 than they do 7/2.