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Quick weekend thoughts
Here are some really, really, really quick thoughts on some of today's stakes races:
Nearctic - Woodbine (Race 8):
Hate to chalk out on ya, but Jungle Wave looks good turning back to six furlongs after a decent effort in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last month. In that race, he was three to four wide for most of the way, made the front under a confident ride in upper stretch, and simply failed to stay the trip. He draws the far outside once again, and must avoid a wide trip, but he seems in very good form.
Chamberlain Bridge looks like an interesting alternative although it could be argued that he may prefer shorter sprints.
E. P. Taylor - Woodbine (Race 9):
Who would have thunk that with all the European runners in this race that Princess Haya is a Texas-bred? Anyway, Look Here, the 2008 English Oaks heroine, has had a very ambitious campaign this season. She started the year by finishing a head shy in the Group 1 Coronation Cup against males. Then, she only finished a length behind Breeders' Cup-bound filly Dar Re Mi in the Group 1 Pretty Polly before finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth behind defending Breeders' Cup Turf champion Conduit. She just missed in a little Group 3 race last time out, but perhaps that was merely a prep run for this race, and the addition of Lasix should help. If you don't remember Look Here's trainer, Ralph Beckett, you should. He won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Marathon last year with Muhannak.
Rainbow View looks like the filly to beat for John Gosden. She won her first four starts in sparkling fashion last year including the Group 1 Fillies Mile at Ascot, but she's only won once since, her most recent race in Ireland (Group 1 Matron). The distance may be a question mark as she's 0-2 in races over a mile.
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup - Keeneland (Race 9):
Of the three runners coming out of the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont, Gozzip Girl had the worst trip, and Shared Account had the best, but I'll give the latter one more chance. Gozzip Girl is definitely the horse to beat, but who knows if she'll suffer from any lingering fears from that terrifying journey? I mean, she almost went down on the first turn (I know, I know, forget handicapping, I'm now a horse whisperer). Shared Account has had a pretty good season on her own with three wins including the Grade 2 Lake Placed at Saratoga. She likes a little cut in the ground, and could get the jump on the favorite turning for home.
Miss World beat both of the above in the Garden City, and has been a new horse since being switched to the turf by Christophe Clement. She's tough, but will be a fraction of the 13-1 odds that she went off as in the Garden City.
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
HG 157 $50 win #3 Mohaka $40 Ex 3-4 $5 tri 3/47/47 Mohaka, blinks off should help this apparent hanger to not wait at the end. The 0/11 trainer is not a problem as he has been a longtime asst. to trainers like Fabio Nor, Darrell Vienna and Bob Wheeler and regularly preps horses for them and Marty Jones. He knows what he is doing. Andalacia could be at her best condition and distance now. Reyes will take Malibu win to the front and probably be overtaken late again. Expected return: $50 win @ 3/2= $75 $40 Ex. @ $20-$25= $400+ $5 tri @ $40 each= $200 The wildcard here is Bombina. Very good works, very good trainer percents. Is Victor Espinosa following what he feels is the winner, or was he taken off Mohaka? Not a race I would bet with my money because of Bombina, but nevertheless an interesting HG 157
Van Savant & Keith L For the first ever I am in a position to finish in the black in the six-month HG Contest. I'm $9.20 up-played eighty-nine of the 100 races with a high payoff of $17.80. So I'm just grinding it out. But-quiting for now: 1.Have no chance of winning the thing no matter what I do. 2.It would feel good to finally have a winning season. 3.In the end, I'm a chicken, of course.
"Is it just me or does anyone else feel a slight bit of satisfaction the Shuback was wrong about Quijano. Mike A" Okay Mike - You seem like a generally good intentioned guy, and although I've taken you to task for posting your wins after changing bets that didn't seem to be what you said they were, I'm curious what this guy said about a horse that you took personally and wanted him to be wrong about? (just curious, I did not read what he had to say)
CM, I didn't even know that Oak Tree had these stats. Here is a nice stat sheet for the jockeys and trainers: http://www.oaktreeracing.com/sites/default/files/FF.pdf Take a look at the top "average win payout" leader - our old pal Agapito at $44.30.
Here is a thought, if Lethal Heat can go the Ladie's Classic and then come back for the Turf sprint, why not some others? Is there going to be a Ladies Classic to Classic Daily Double wager offered? If so, and seeing the Queen usually walks through the parade, stands out on the track waiting for the loading of the gates, gallops behind the herd, then exerts herself for maybe "four jumps" to win over fillies and mares..never really taxing herself much...why not run her in both races. I'd take a whack at that Double!
"... especially with the BC coming up. Any little bit of info can make the difference." Annie, 1. Horses who prepped in SoCal. 2. Europeans. Really, what else is there to know this year? I'll make a semi-bold prediction and guess "not too much".
Steve T: Thanks very much for the heads up on the Cal based trainers. Obviously, Baffert is sitting pretty with a full clip to fire off this year...he should do well on home ground, I would think. I believe Hollendorfer is seriously considering Chocolate Candy for the "dirt" mile, and Rendezvous has been talked about for the Mile (T) also, I think.
Dan, Was thinking and wondering about professional horselayers. I don't expect a response but mainly am throwing some things out. While not a voracious reader, I am usually reading 2 or three books alternately in one given time period. Mainly about 20 to 30 pages a day. Right now I am reading The Case For Christ, given me by one of my sons, and Quinn's book on thoroughbreds which has been mentioned on the Formblog. Unless I am just not looking in the right places I am struck by the paucity of information and the vail of mystery that seems to surround. professional horseplayers. I mean it has the flavor of UfOs, and shadow government. Just because I wonder about things does not make it important to others and doesn't mean I am frustrated about it. It is just a curiosity and harmless. Could information be gathered about winnings at a meet say at Belmont or Santa Anita and find out how many people are winning X amount and how often during the meet? This assumes of course individuals don't have other cash their tickets to avoid taxes. Is there a black market or underground cash system going on where a lot of money is not traceable? How many professional horseplayers deliberately elude taxes by the way the construct their tickets? What is the definition of a professional horseplayer anyway. And who says so? Can a person be a part time horseplayer? What is the average rate of return for the majority of professionals. I have read everything from 2% for rebaters to 10% and 20% for others. What I read is a lot of conjecture I beleive. At 10% ROI one would need to push $500,00 threw the windows to get back $50,000. A horseplayer making 2 plays a week on average for a 16 week meet, would make 32 plays. At $500,000 a wager, we are looking at $16,000.00 threw the window and at 10% $17,600.00 out. A Pk 6 guy who plays makes 32 plays at $5,000.00 a wager, is going to be putting threw $160,000 and at 10% will be out at $176,000. I mean who comes up with these percentages anyway? Is information about what is truly happening, even knowable? Are professionals making there money on set situations, by free lance evaluation, or a combination of both? Back straight ahead and thanks.
re: Jockey stats Most of your probably already know this, but for those who don't... If you go on the NYRA website (nyra.com) click on "statistics," (on the left side of the homepage) then "facts and figures" it gives you plenty of statistics on the jockeys (turf/dirt/routes/sprints). Oak Tree has similar stats - on its website go to "horsemen" then "leader standings" then "facts and figures."
Steve T. – Timeform ratings are nothing like Beyers and Tomlinsons, etc., and they do not have the same inherent flaws. They aren't perfect, of course, but they are a synthesis of many different variables, and are therefore not vulnerable to the problems inherent in (mostly) raw statistical data. I know that you are trying to help less sophisticated handicappers with lists like the one you recently produced, but I'd argue that you doing no one any favors in that case. Do you, or does anyone believe that Mike Smith is the best sprint rider in SoCa? And (with the exception of GG) by a wide margin, to boot? It's quite obvious that such lists, as is the case with trainer lists, are terribly skewed due to the unfair distribution of the horses which they ride (or train). In contrast, your previous analysis, in which you synthesized information about various jockeys, is quite useful.