06/13/2011 8:29PM

Royal Ascot - Day 1

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The eyes of the global racing community turn from Belmont Park to Royal Ascot as the glorious British meeting opens tomorrow with a bang. 

In the initial race of the festival, three-time Breeders' Cup Mile champion Goldikova faces a stiff challenge from the sharp 4-year-old colt Canford Cliffs in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at eight furlongs on the turf. 

Frankel, the fabulous sophomore sensation, will seek to enhance his reputation when he starts as the odds-one favorite in the Group 1 St. James's Palace Stakes at a mile. 

American interests will be represented in the King's Stand Stakes, a five furlong turf dash.  Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez send out Bridgetown while Wesley Ward and Joel Rosario produce Holiday for Kitten.

Ward, a guru with juvenile performers, starts Italo in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at six furlongs and Gentlemans Gode in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes at five-eighths of a mile. 

It's a smorgasbord of stakes action at one of the loveliest, and most historic, racecourses in the world.  Here are some opinions for Opening Day:

QUEEN ANNE STAKES:
We all know GOLDIKOVA from her Breeders' Cup exploits, but it's possible that she will not even start favored in the Queen Anne. 
That role may fall to CANFORD CLIFFS, who swept the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St. James's Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes last year at three. 
Canford Cliffs made a winning seasonal debut in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, tracking the leaders while in between rivals before splitting foes a quarter of a mile from home.  He put away runner-up Worthadd in the waning strides and was flattered when that one returned to his home country of Italy to win the Group 2 Premio Carlo Vittadini. 
Although he beat the good group horses Twice Over and Dick Turpin in the Lockinge, it must be noted that Dick Turpin was humiliated by Goldikova when he returned to the races in France on May 22. 
This is obviously a huge step up for Canford Cliffs as he faces the reigning queen of the turf world, but he may be coming into his own and is the tepid selection. 
CAPE BLANCO (won Irish Champion Stakes and Irish Derby last year) and CITYSCAPE look overmatched, but can be exotic factors on their very best.
Selections:  Canford Cliffs, Goldikova, Cape Blanco

***

KING'S STAND STAKES:
This should be a barn-burner with a wide-open 19-horse field.   Put a musket to my head and I'll pick SOLE POWER, who upset the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at odds of 100-1 last year.  Sole Power got back on the beam last time out in the Group 2 Temple Stakes, but there is concern the ground will be too testing for him. 
The Hungarian flash, OVERDOSE, attempts to bounce back following a seventh-place finish behind Sole Power in the Temple.  He has high early speed and should be prominent from the get-go. 
KINGSGATE NATIVE is a bit inconsistent, but can go better in his second start of the season.  In his 2011 debut, he finished a close second behind Sole Power in the Temple. 
The brittle ARCTIC won the first three starts of his career, but injuries have taken their toll and he is winless in his last four races.  He must improve off his current form, but if he gets up, healthy and happy, on the right side of the stall...
PROHIBIT steps up following a Group 2 placing in France while War Artist finished second in the Group 2 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup evening.
BRIDGETOWN and HOLIDAY FOR KITTEN carry the Stars and Stripes.  The former can contend on his very best. STAR WITNESS, from Australia, has been chasing one of the top horses in the world, Black Caviar, and should appreciate the class relief.
Selections:  Sole Power, Overdose, Kingsgate Native

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ST JAMES'S PALACE STAKES:
The undefeated FRANKEL, so impressive in the English 2,000 Guineas, is expected to make it seven-for-seven in the St. James's Palace Stakes.  He has already taken the measure of several members of this field and figures to be on, or near, the lead from the starting stalls.
GRAND PRIX BOSS, the Japanese raider, will take his shot at Frankel following a score in the Group 1 NHK Mile Cup.  EXCELEBRATION, no match for Frankel in the the Group 3 Greenham Stakes on April 16, returned to dominate his competition in the German 2,000 on May 2 despite drifting in during the final furlong. 
Selections:  Frankel, Grand Prix Boss, Excelebration

***

COVENTRY STAKES:
While it wouldn't be any sort of surprise if Wesley Ward's ITALO makes it two in a row, I'm leaning to Aidan O'Brien's POWER, an undefeated colt that won his debut at six furlongs before gutting out a tough battle in listed company at five panels on May 21.  He'll have to deal with fellow two-time winners FULBRIGHT and GATEPOST.  MEZMAAR was very impressive in his debut and is the proverbial "could be any kind."
Selections:  Power, Fulbright, Gatepost

***

WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES:

FREDERICK ENGELS ran very fast in winning last time out and he may be sharp enough to take another.  GENTLEMANS CODE, the Ward-trained, American-based juvenile, looked to win with something to spare at Folkestone last month. CASPAR NETSCHER may appreciate cutting back to five furlongs.
Selections:  Frederick Engels, Gentlemans Code, Caspar Netscher

More importantly, who do you like at Royal Ascot tomorrow?  I want to know.

***

The inquiry light is flashing for the Belmont HandiGambling contest.  I'll let tencentcielo, scorekeeper and head steward, make the final decision.

blackseabass More than 1 year ago
C, LOL. It could be categoriZed as an emotional outburst, butts... it was funny and true. I wouldn't say Goldi isn't a good horse just that she isn't Zenyatta or anything close. At least were on the same page regarding the BC baby race. LSD , you really are funny. I've made 1 bet at Ascot. Waiting 45 minutes for it to be made official is a bit much. Kind of takes a little of the fun out of it.
Jerry More than 1 year ago
Good morning all First time posting other than an HG bet and a rant about what I perceived as a bad ride. Made what turned out to be a stupid bet this morning trying to increase bankroll for a shot at the pick 6 Bet most of my bankroll for the month on So you think at Ascot, was going to play exacta box with Rewilding but figured that SYT would win and it would not pay anything, dont normally play a horse with odds like that but what the hell increase my bankroll by 50% not a bad thing. Sometimes I cant beleive how incredibly stupid I can be, this is not the first time this has happened and I cant say it will be the last, been reading this blog for about 8 months now and it has been a great help. Before I started reading this I used to play 10-12 races a day with not much success, now down to about 4-6 races a day although I did make 20 bets on Belmont day with no winners (mostly pk 3,4,5,and sixes with a few exactas and other exoctics) So thanks to all that post and I hope that by me posting this it will make me think before I do something stupid again. Jerry
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Happy Wednesday Punters... Congrats to Curt V. and all of the others who had a fun filled Belmont Day. For the one's that made the trip to Big Sandy and to the others that made $$ on the day, WTG. Had a great day with some nice picks. Sat back and liked to collect my $$ instead of feeding it back. The one thing that I liked so much about Trappe Shot was his physical appearance on the track!!! Looked soooo good. With Justin Phillip, speed was the call their. Wasn't going to be caught. Bridge Jumper Alert!!! Parx Racing Race #5 1/5 Shot #3 Lemony Fresh was slammed in the show pool with $20,861 out of $24,218 wagered. Sorry folk's. Ran 4th... Show prices $14.80 / $12.80 / $41.80. Nice payoff's!!! Ned Daly Have I lost my mind, or has Suffolk Downs gone back to paying $2.20 to show??? The other day, Race #2 had the #1 Sugar Trade go off at 1/5 with $44,531 bet into the show pool. This runner won for fun and paid $2.20 to show!!! WHAT GIVES?? THEY WERE PAYING 5%!!!! If the beanbags in New York are playing the show bets in New York, why leave that 5% on the table? Start betting into that Suffolk Pool!!!! I will need to send a few emails over too the office there. Do you think they would notice that?? MH01 Thanks for the shout out. The week started with some nice tickets at Deleware Park with Rosie. I wasn't going to give it back after Justin Phillip on Belmont Day. Annie You had the right idea. AK was rocked and had no chance. Seems that these top picks have had trouble over the years in the first few strides... Mike A Looks like you and your party had a great time. The IRS window, dinner on you, great conversation. What more could you ask for. My over / under was 51,555 for the attendance. I was close. Keep up the good work. Good luck today to all playing the Pick 6. It might get over 4 million. Whackymacky Out!!!
Ryan More than 1 year ago
Curt - Belmont usually draws Friday's card on Sunday but since they didn't run Sunday, they're drawing it Wednesday. Had nothing to do with the carryover.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
There are two 3 year olds in SoCal that are worth watching this summer, and I think both will ship east - Coil and Smash (both Bafferts - I want the address for that baby factory of his). Both had very nice debuts and then a trip to the DL; they reappeared on the 6th of May in the same race where Coil beat Smash after Smash was knocked around a but mid race. Next out Coil won the Affirmed last weekend and Smash won his N1X on May 29th. I think Smash is the better of the two, but they are pretty evenly matched. Both are working lights out (Smash in 1:24, Coil in 1:11) and I think they have significant upside. How far can they go? Probably a ways, Coil is by Point Given out of the Theatrical mare Eversmile; Smash is by Smart Strike out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Holiday. Dixie Holiday is unusual in that her dam sire is In Reality, very rare to have a 2008 with In Reality(1964) only two back. Unlike the pretenders we shipped for the Triple Crown, these are legitimate ponies who only have 3 (Smash) and 4 (Coil) races and will be fresh and can continue to progress.
Annie More than 1 year ago
I read Mike A's comments with interest. I still don't know if I'm going to tackle this mess. It's a rough, rough card! I have a couple of comments to add. Race 4: #6 HALEFELLOW WELLMET - I see on BP's scratchline that he has been GELDED since last race. This is sometimes an angle. #8 EMPIRICIST - Has major grass sibs: Lasting Approval - $500K, Taiki Zillion - $1.1 Mill in Japan, Icon Project - $650K. Race 5: Mike's KEEP IT A SECRET scratched. Race 6: Was disappointed that Mike didn't mention #9 PRINCE OF DANGER. Works are great for hopefully improving 3 yearold making first start of year for new trainer, David Fawkes, who has great stats for 1st time with trainer and layoff horses. This horse was 3.30-1 against LITTLE DRAMA in the open FGomez Memorial Stks last year, finished well-back 4th to him, however this is Prince's first start against other New York breds. I like him and STARLANTIC. Race 7: Only thing to add is a reminder that #5 LEMON PUNCH does fit the conditions to a tee. If she had won her last race just two days later, she would not be eligible for this race. Also gets number one jock, Castellano. Oh, and #9 AUSTRALIS PRINCESS could get loose on the lead. Race 8: Mike's only single, DJ'S REVENGE scratched. This was one of LINDA RICE'S two horses that had just run 12 days ago. Don't know if the other one #6 CAMIE'S BOY is as good, but does have some speed. #13 SARATOGA STEVE apparently drew in from the AEs. Favored at this level last out, ran 4th. Has speed and Castellano (his other horse scratched). Don't really know if post is a throw-out or not. This race up in the air now, I'm afraid. Race 9: I would be scared to death to just take Mike's two longshots in finale. If I got that far, I would want to be well invested. :) Godd luck any who are trying this thing! Annie
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Belmont Park Wednesday 6-15-11 Pick 6 after reading Mike As post very carefully and Annies comments also I have come up with a ticket I think I can use although I am thinking about last thursdays P6 at holly where if I had listened to annie and played the P5 I would have had a better chance to collect $$$$$ for better or worse I am going with this: R4 #s 3-5 R5 #s 6-8 R6 #7 R7 #6 R8 #s 1-11 R9 #s 4-5-9 $48 for the ticket is this right annie? thank you both for your valued input MH01
Annie More than 1 year ago
I'll make this quick. Have to leave. Belmont Pick 6: 2,5,7 1,8,10 9 2,5,6,7,9 13 1,4,5,6 That's $360, but you have to bet money, to make money. Right? :) Good luck all! Annie
Jerry More than 1 year ago
Congrats Anne on 5 out of 6 when I first looked I thought you had the 1 and the 3 in the 8th had to go back and check Good job
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Annie you did it again in the P6 double your money good picks annie once again I came up empty oh the lure of a $4 mil. jackpot gets me everytime good job MH01
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
C, The second they announced the new BC Juvenile Sprint race I could have sworn I heard the sound of someone's head exploding - sounded like it came from New York... I have to agree with you, it really is getting pretty ridiculous, and frankly more of the same dilution that we have talked about for years. I understand that breeders want to claim "black type" or Breeders Cup winner, but what is the value of those claims when you have diluted the races down to two men and 12 boys?
Kyri More than 1 year ago
I have to be contrarian about the disappointment lots of people (particularly the commentary on TV) seem to have with Frankel's race yesterday. I thought it was a better race than what I had seen from him earlier this year. Rather than being a run-off, he rated and passed a horse, and very powerfully too albeit that horse was apparently just a rabbit, and then dug in gamely in the stretch refusing to give in. The only concern is the race may have taken something out of him. I did think the ride was badly timed and the move was premature, but the horse's performance impressed me. Given his running style, I wonder if he would take to a firm turf, and how impressive he might be then. On the other hand, I was disappointed with Goldikova, who appeared quite uncomfortable before the race, and was very decisively beaten by Canford Cliffs, more so than the margin of victory would suggest. And I don't believe for a moment that 2 pounds over is what got her beat. She is one of the great turf milers of all time, but none of them can stay in top form forever.
C More than 1 year ago
The Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint? My goodness, where does it end? I'm sure they'll eventually split that into male and female too. There are now 5 2YO races. Nobody cares about these divisions. It's ridiculous. Last year, I thought they were talking about eliminating some of these races, weren't they?
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Dan Illman, HG 238..I can't lollygag anymore waiting for Belmont to post Friday's entries. I'm guessing it has something to do w/today's carryover...usually they are posted by now..well before now. So, let's use Churchill DownZ, Friday 6/17, R11 {11:10pm post EST}--Turf--1 1/8--MSW--3yr. olds & up--53K purse--preference to horses not running below 50K--They have a 10 horse field, w/2 AE's, & 1 MTO.........I checked the weather--Thurs. bright & sunny & Fri. some rain maybe, buttZ:{4 U BSB}, it's a late, late Ztart.
SirsyFan More than 1 year ago
Annie, Looks like you did a little better than doubling your money. Beats losing!