01/08/2011 1:10PM

San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Fort Lauderdale, Marshua's River


Let's take a look at some of this weekend's stakes races:

San Pasqual - Santa Anita - Race 7:

It's doubtful that Aggie Engineer will receive the same easy lead that propelled him to a facile gate-to-wire score in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood on December 4.  That afternoon, he coasted on fractions of 25.55, 50.52, and 1:15.49 before scooting home as much the best.   In today's San Pasqual, look for Ryehill Dreamer and/or Red Door Drive to make Aggie Engineer work a little harder in the opening two furlongs.  Also, it's worth noting that Aggie Engineer has yet to race on dirt. 
It seems logical that the two horses that may have been compromised by Aggie Engineer's slow pace last time - Spurrier and Dakota Phone - would improve given a more honest setup, and neither would be a surprise, but Aggie Engineer may simply be in better form right now.  Since returning from a short layoff, he is two-for-two with a pair of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures on his card.  He has questions to answer in regards to the pace and the surface, but I'll go against my gut and pick him right back. 
Selections:  Aggie Engineer, Red Door Drive, Spurrier

Santa Ysabel - Santa Anita - Race 3 (Sunday):

It's disappointing that this race only drew a field of five and May Day Rose, the only two-time winner in the field, looks like the filly to beat.  She does her best running when on the lead, and it will be interesting to see if Bob Baffert's other entrant, stretch-out sprinter Plum Pretty, makes things at least somewhat difficult for May Day Rose early. 
I'll take my chances with Zazu, who finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in her most recent outing.  Zazu never picked up her feet that day, and finished behind May Day Rose.  It's possible that she doesn't want to go this far, and she could be in trouble if May Day Rose gets an easy lead in this short field.  Still, I did like Zazu's maiden win sprinting three starts back, and I'll give the Sadler-trained filly one more chance to atone. 
Selections:  Zazu, May Day Rose, Plum Pretty

Fort Lauderdale - Gulfstream - Race 8 (Sunday):

For the most part, I don't like to play favorites coming off dismal tries.  Thus, my goal in this race is to try and beat Get Stormy, the morning line favorite and a very talented speedball on the grass.  I may be wrong and Get Stormy will go wire-to-wire, but I just didn't like his last two races of 2010, albeit against much better horses.  Two starts back, in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, Get Stormy didn't finish very powerfully, and came back with some cuts on his legs.  In the Breeders' Cup Mile, Get Stormy stalked Sidney's Candy's pace from good position, but completely folded in the stretch to finish last. 
On the other hand, Battle of Hastings is in good form.  You know what you're going to get with Battle of Hastings.  He usually runs the same race.  Sometimes, it's good enough to win.  Often, it isn't.  But, I did like his most recent win in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 4.  Battle of Hastings was in a tight spot passing the stands the first time, was in and among horses on the final turn, was looped on the same bend, and still re-rallied on the outside to post a comfortable score.  He'll never dazzle you with his numbers, and he'll step up in class on Sunday, but he may work out a good trip saving ground from the rail.
Selections:  Battle of Hastings, Souper Spectacular, Blues Street

Marshua's River - Gulfstream - Race 9 (Sunday):

This should be a fantastic betting affair.  I'm going to take a chance with Quebrada Shiner, a turf sprinter for most of her career.  In her most recent start, she made the most of her opportunity to stretch out around two turns with a gate-to-wire performance in one of our HandiGambling races.  She doesn't need the lead to win, and may find a decent stalking spot going into the first turn on Sunday afternoon at Gulfstream.  The fourth-place finisher of that last race, Group 3 winner Domonation, returned to win an 'n3x' optional claimer at Tampa Bay.  Quebrada Shiner needs to take another step up in class, and it's possible that she was aided by a speed-favoring course at Aqueduct last time out, but she could be worth the gamble at playable odds.
Selections:  Quebrada Shiner, Never Retreat, Trip for A.J., Wild Mia

Some quick and dirty picks at Gulfstream on Saturday:

Spectacular Bid:  Leave of Absence, Dual Exhaust, Determinato
Hal's Hope:  Morning Line, Soaring Empire, Rule

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

blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley , enjoyed reading about your fantastic morning. I was a sucker for Grand Slam when he was running. Thanks for sharing. KNM, Of coarse I have a reason . Bad spelling .LOL. Nice catch kid and of course I'll be sure to spell it correctly in the future. Even a know it all like me is fallible.LOL. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I'm sorry I was bugging you . You're a nice lady I wouldn't do that intentionally. Thanks again and I hope all is well with you and your husband. SRVegas , don't tell the RAH I said that. If I come to Vegas I might want to play around -------------- of golf. LOL. Mike A , I like your 6-p's . LOL. Blackstone, give them to BSB . LOL. I think it was VQ that caused it . I might of got him on the ledge but VQ pushed him off. VQ's an instigator. LOL. My boy Clay Mathews likes dogs. LOL.
knm More than 1 year ago
blackseabass, I enjoy your posts very much, you put a smile on my face often. I wasn't trying to be a smart aleck, but the tone of your posts gave me the impression that it was some sort of in-joke that I'd missed! Now I know it's just bad spelling, it won't bother me at all, LOL! And C tells me everyone spells it that way! (Almost everyone.)
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
BEST BET OF THE DAY! I'll buy drinks at the NHC if SR Vegas doesn't have a copy of the California Kiddies List.
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Well dumb me, I was using what I thought would be the count for your HOY poll. For the real poll I will say Blame 153, Zenyatta 92 and Goldikova 6.
knm More than 1 year ago
C, Really? I didn't realize. Thanks for telling me.
Steve T More than 1 year ago
P.S. They are making a name change for a Cali horse - from now on Absolutlypositivly will be known as Absolutlypositivlywillfinishsecond...
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Uncle Steve; Thank you for posting again. You ALWAYS make FormBlog a better place (and it's the best place on the www anyway...). Take care. VS
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Because I have been laid up I am going crazy (er), so… Obviously I am feeling a little better about the sport, but I am nowhere near ready to pick up a form. Okay, do ya like free money boys and girls? Do you like 40/1 on the foal of a frickin Grade 1 winner? Then you need to sign up for Uncle Steve’s Blue Babies angle. BLUE BABIES So what are “blue babies”? They are the offspring of mares that were killers on the track (Azeri) or that have a track record for producing winning progeny (Veritgineux – dam of Balance and Zenyatta). Everyone will be looking at a foal out of an Azeri or Zenyatta, but they miss the foals of Curiously Sweet, Magnificience, or any of the local stakes/Grade 3 types who are now in the motherhood business. This is where the payoffs can get into nosebleed territory. I don’t have the exact percentage of these types that win in their debut, but I think it is in the 40% zone; 40% win for maidens going off at boxcars, that works. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have stood there with my jaw on the floor watching some superbly bred debuter go off at 20 or 30/1. Does the “average” Schmuckatelli pick up on these? NO! In my experience they are easily missed and because the average handicapper writes off first timers except when they run :57 works, they are like a ten pound grapefruit on the lowest branch… I am all over these kinds in their debut run, before anyone knows about them. Here are the things I look for that will make me up my bet significantly: 1. They have very good or excellent works; in reality I prefer “very good” because they don’t stand out like that damned bullet. I will bet one with average or mediocre works, but I hammer them when they are playing Rocket J. Squirrel in the A.M. 2. The trainer also trained their dam or sire. Just as an aside I also pay attention to this on ordinary debuters (Mandella and Pleasantly Perfects, Baffert and Point Givens and Real Quiets). They just know the bloodlines, how they behave and react, and when they are ready. 3. The race is on a surface that their sire and dam progeny excelled on – FuPegs on PolyTrack, A.P. Indy on dirt, City Zip on turf. 4. There is little or no press on them and smart guys like Alan haven’t touted the Bejesus out of them. 5. There are one or more in the field that ran high 70 or low 80 Beyers and are now even money sucker bets. Here is a dirty little secret boys and girls; a runner who debuts with a Beyer above 75, runs to 90% (or above) of that figure in run number two LESS THAN 10% OF THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So a pony that ran a debut 80 stands less than a 10% chance of running a 72 or above. Remember the discussions about false favorites? This is one of the times you need to exploit that philosophy. 6. A bloodline that does well in their first starts or who cross well – Kris S is one of my faves in this situation. Here are some of the ones I remember from the last year (note, because I lost all of my files, most of this is from a fading memory, so don’t throw rocks if I missed something): TAKE CONTROL (A.P. Indy x Azeri) – Do ya think this colt might be able to run a step or two? Always helps when both parents were voted Eclipse Horse of the Year (1992 and 2002). Okay, everyone should have seen this one from a country mile away, but there he was in his debut at 5/1. He won pretty easily and that was free money. Unfortunately I put the curse on him by taking him as my MKB horse – he has not run since (just like Point Encounter the year before, he drilled them in his debut and has not run since); I guess you know why I don’t have an MKB horse this year… LAVA GIRL (Purge x Li’l Ms. Leonard) – half to…. But of course, Lava Man. She went off at 32/1 and raced greener than a golf course, well except that she got it and won (actually DH’d) in the last jump. PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus x Squall Linda) – this was one of the premiere (no pun intended) hits of the year. By superior PolyPed FuPeg out of the dam of G-1 sprinter Street Hero. I remember he drew the rail and everybody just ignored him and he kept drifting up and up and I wore a trail to the windows as I kept betting and betting – the final odds? 44/1. Did he win? You betcha. Now he is on the Derby Trail (I think Tencent has him). MISS GEORGIE GIRL (Old Topper x Ippodamia) – a half sister to super sprinter Georgie Boy. GEORGIE’S SWEETIE (Tribal Rule x Ippodamia) – a full sister to Georgie Boy. Think the Ippodamia foals are worth a bet? Well hold on because there is another one on his way, his name is Mikey T and he is by Street Sense. Can I place an advance bet? Please??? RUTHENIA (Pulpit x Ruthian) – she is full to Rxxxxx (ah, ah, nobody says the “R” word). Won for fun in run number one (hey, that rhymes, am I a genius or what – don’t answer that). SOUPER SPECTACULAR (Giants Causeway x Vertigineux) – probably the one that left me the most perplexed. Let’s see, your sisters are two multiple Grade 1 winning millionaires – Balance and some filly whose name starts with a “Z”. Okay, tell me how in God’s name a brother of these two, especially when Zenyatta was actively running could pay $16 frickin dollars??? There were many, many more. Unfortunately my hard drive decided to play Mission impossible and I don’t have my “California Kiddies” list any more – if someone has it, would you mind posting it? Here is the point, never, ever, ever discount the foal of a superior race horse or a dam that has produced stakes winners. And like I said, look for the more obscure types, because believe it or not they tend to produce better runners than the race stars. If you loved to bet them, then get on up and bet their kids, because it is all good. Fillies like Switch and Tanda are the kind I am already noting; yeah they are still actively racing but I am waiting in the weeds. This really is one of the best angles out there. Would I lie to you? Make a list of the fillies you love(d) and go back to Pedigree Query and do a little cheap and easy research. Broodmares like My White Corvette (Stardom Bound) or Candytuft (Midnight Lute); by the way Candytuft and My White Corvette have two year olds on the way; Mylittledeucecoupe (Lion Heart) and Midnight Fiddle (Empire Maker). Mylittledeucecoupe is working at Oaklawn, Midnight Fiddle is working at Golden Gate. Look at Sweet Life – she threw Sweet Catomine and Life is Sweet; or one of the all time blue hens, Toussaud, who is the dam of Chester House, Chiselling, Civilisation (South Africa), Decarchy, Empire Maker, and Honest Lady, or Hasili with Banks Hill Cacique, Champs Elysees, Dansili, Heat Haze, Intercontinetal and Deluxe. Acckkk, I better quit or this will be Victsuvian. Hey Dan - what the hell ever happened to Georgie Boy? Did they finally give up?
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Steve T Thanks for coming back with such great stuff. I don't follow California much from where I am, but I hope to get to Santa Anita in March. This post gives me something to look for. Hope for more of your insights in future.
Mickey More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Annie, Dan, BSB, Dick W, Blackstone and others...... Curt V: Yes..but I had to take a stand on the race..my horse for show was Smart Bid (as explained)..but as far as other wagers.....I used my horse as the key...not Mike's horse...(Like I explained thought Kent D was a negative here and was proven wrong..even though I ahve used this horse numerous times)....in reality???????..should have played the Triple and would have won it as I did use Little Mike but it was with Smart Bid..(I did throw out the #1 and #2 though)..... Nice hits by bloggers yesterday........could never come up with Justaroundmidnight....so for those people...nice job! As far as the HG contest...just got my e-mail back from Dan...checked the weather reports....and so....... Wednesday Jan 12 Race 8 At Gulfstream it is!!!!!!..a turf race...... Now if Mike A can't clear a grand in this race..then shame on him!....LOL good luck....
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Ned Daly Good knowledge indeed by you and your wife. As I said, I only know due to losing a bet many years back. My guess in the bet? Sean Penn, of course. I thought it was a clever answer, but I still had to buy a round. Annie Dan and I are working together on something for you. We should know today. Even if you are not human. blackseabass I do remeber the colored tickets, much to my chagrin. Steve T Wow, as usual. You came back, even if partially, firing. Great stuff, as always. Hope you are back full-time soon
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Exit Poll It looks like our FormBlog HOY vote has just about dried up. We have ended up at Zenyatta with 16 votes (57%), Blame with 9 votes (32%), and Goldikova with 3 votes (11%). For the fun of it, let's make a couple of assumptions: 1.We are representative of the real HOY voting group. 2.Of the 251 voters, 245 will actually cast a vote, and six will abstain. If those assumptions are true, which of course is extremely unlikely, then Zenyatta will win the real HOY with a total vote count of-----------140, with Blame having 78, and Goldikova 27. I would like to be the first to congratulate the connections of Zenyatta for winning the (mythical) FormBlog HOY and trouncing the opposition in spite of a somewaht tepid campaign. I'm wondering how much value our (mythical) trophy will add to Z's coffers-no doubt in the millions. Thank you to all of you for participating. It will be fun, at least for me, to see how close we are to the real cigar.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Good morning! Since Blackstone is teasing me about the Beyers (I saw that), and I still have the PPs for Sat. at GP, I thought I would see how the Pick 5 came out. Race 6: FORT LARNED - Second highest last race Beyer. Race 7: DETERMINATO - One of only three horses that had previously achieved a Beyer in the 90s, albeit not in his last race. Race 8: SLEEPLESS KNIGHT - Highest last race Beyer. Race 9: SOARING EMPIRE - Highest last race Beyer. Race 10: COZY LION - Highest last race Beyer. 50 Cent Pick 5 paid $6,860. Now I only got 4 of 5. It was Dan's 3rd pick, DETERMINATO that did me in, as I singled LEAVE OF ABSENCE (2ND) in that one. What can I say? Of course it will not always be the highest or 2nd highest Beyer in the last race. However, in multi-race wagers, those horses with the higher Beyers must be considered threats to win and at least looked at very carefully. May not be good "value" bets to win, but alot of them will keep you in the multi-race wager. Annie
blynd skwurl More than 1 year ago
Mike A Bravo was lucky to win the head bob in the Fort Lauderdale. Looking back, of course there is a case to be made for the horse, like most of the others in the race. I liked the horse that finished third.. I could never make a case for the winner in the Marshua's River. Not in a lifetime of looking back. I suppose then it is my logic that is the problem, not the track that I'm betting on. Thanks for the heads up. I need to work on my logic....
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
BSB, Dennis Miller, Hehn ? Now your'e using your brain ? Make 'em think.......LOL...It seems I was intercepted myself ???? You know, in a BSB kinda way ??? Oh well, I guess I sorta figured it was goona happen, as I told Mike A. the same....sorry for being so encryptic, you of all people, I'm sure can figure that one out..Anyhow::: Mickey, Mickey & more Mickey, R8@Gulfstream ?????? You once asked me @Aqu., "What does Mike A. think of my{yours} 9 horse{as he was following the girl in the gray suit}" ???? the Looker ? & I replied, "Oh ! I forgot to tell you..He said he changed his mind......He told me to tell you, throw him out...." which you played anyway..& he ran out........WELL ? How could you leave Little Mike, the{#11} off the tix ? We had the same converstaion w/Mike A..No ? We both know his version of a Key is 1-2...W/#5 Blues Street, & he gave us the same 3 horses with the #5, No ? To use in the exacta's, No ? You don't like $241.00 Exactas ? It's not nice to fool w/ Mother Nature ? Or, in this case Mike A. Of which I say, Tanka Ewe very much... E.F. Hutton is grateful..........