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It's a brutally busy Saturday, with 13 graded stakes at six tracks, including four Derby preps, and fat carryovers in the Magna 5 and Santa Anita Pick-6:
My plan is to play the first four of those multirace pools. That seems like more than enough action and besides, the last leg of the Magna 5 is also the first leg of the Santa Anita Pick-6, and I'd rather subject myself to the overlapping race -- a monstrously difficult full-field turf sprint -- just once.
The Magna 5 is the first of the year with a carryover, and in previous years that has roughly doubled the usual pool. The lone carryover in 2007 attracted $1.28 million, up from $645k the previous week, and last year's drew $981k after a $454k week.
Most people will play it as a virtual pick-4, taking a free bingo square with 2-5 Pioneerof the Nile in the San Felipe. The Golden Gate race, a sprint for maidens, also features a heavy favorite in Undeniable Truth, likely to be well under his ML price of 2-1 given that his last two Beyers of 73 and 74 are by far the fastest in a field where no one else exceeded a 59 last time out.
Even with the new $1 minimum, the Magna 5 can often be too daunting for smaller bankrolls, but it might be worth a look from those players today given the carryover and the two heavy favorites. A caveman ticket singling Pioneerof the Nile and Undeniable Truth makes it an affordable Pick-3 even if you spread out in that difficult final leg, and a fairly logical result could also be an overlaid one.
You should be aware that ESPN stays with what is scheduled to conclusion unless it's the NFL, where I believe they are required to show the opening kickoff. This was not a knock on racing, the live event (Lacrosse) ran long. If it were any other live event, it would be the same thing (which has at times annoyed me when a live event preceeds baseball for instance). As for the races, Papa Clem has put himself clearly as one of the horses who will get money in the Derby. It's too bad about Old Fashioned getting hurt. One thing occured to me with NYRA's stakes schedule that they should look at for 2010, shuffling the three year old stakes a bit: Move the Dwyer, traditionally run at Belmont to the spot in March currently occupied by the Gotham and double the purse to $300,000, with that race replacing the Gotham as the main Wood Memorial prep. Then, I would move the Withers from late April to the Dwyer's spot (while keeping it at a mile) and move the Gotham to two weeks before the Derby, returning it to its former mile distance and making it a $400,000 race. This way, the romance some have with "The Gotham Mile" is back while that race itself becomes an a major race for three year olds who may not have Derby aspects while also giving those desperate for Derby earnings (and wanting to run on dirt as opposed to Poly at Keeneland in the Lexington) one last shot at such, ensuring a large field for the Gothamn.
Just a note re Derby--I think WIN WILLY will take it. He has the best Mud breeding and I waited for 2 days to bet him. He took the Rebel Stakes, paying $115.60.I thought my money was gone--he was last all the way around into the far turn, moved up on the outside, and completely SWALLOWED up the field. The track was listed as GOOD, which means that it was still compromised with wetness. OLD FASHIONED was 2nd, while POLTERGEIST held third. OLD FASHIONED was 2-5, and the 3rd horse was going off at 41.60-1. I played two $1.00 tris, with WIN WILLY on top. TRI paid $1910.60.( $1813.90 in Canada.)Plus my standard WIN bet was in there as well. The money really snapped me out of the winter doldrums. The funny thing is that BUFFALO JOE played it as well, and we did not talk before the race; me being in Canada, and Joe in Florida. Very happy this week.You better believe it!! If the Derby comes up with an off track, WIN WILLY should win. To see his race, go to Race 10 at Oaklawn for March 14. How he won so convincingly is beyond me. A side story is that this race had bridge jumpers out in force. OLD FASHIONED had $625,259.00 on him to SHOW. The next highest show amount was 20 grand. OLD F of course paid $2.10 to SHOW. I'll be on the prowl on Sat. and Sun., doing my rain dance. Any helpers in moccasins would be appreciated.
Kelley, I didn't really say anything about who PotN ran against. As I said, I learned nothing about him yesterday. It certainly wasn't the strongest San Felipe, I agree. Not sure what you mean by saying I'm loyal to the Cali group. I'm actually from NY and haven't bet a SoCal race in about 2 years. At the same time, I also think Aqueduct runs a putrid winter meet... I live 10 minutes from it and won't touch it. No geographic loyalty/bias here.
I have touted Tamapa Bay Downs in this blog in the past but yesterday they dropped the ball. I got within a mile of the track at 11:25 and wasn't able to park my car until 12:45. The police were there but I only witnessed them ticketing people who got caught blocking the intersection leading to Race Track Road. Bring back the seniors to park cars. They had temps yesterday. Temps only care about when they are going to get paid. How much business did they lose by people giving up and turning around? How much future business did they lose because of the traffic issues?
I don't have any figs yet, but I am fairly certain that this years edition of the Tampa Bay Derby will come back as a poor prep for the Kentucky Derby. The Tampa Bay Derby actually was run 2/100ths of a second SLOWER than the 3yo fillies a race earlier. I don't see any of the runners coming out of the Tampa Bay Derby as serious Derby contenders. Friesan Fire was obviously the most visually impressive winner in the 3yo stakes yesterday, sweeping the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby at the Fairgrounds this winter just as Pyro had done a year earlier. Friesan Fire is gifted with more tactical speed than deep closer Pyro had, and this just increases his chances as a serious contender the first Saturday of May. Does anybody have any legitimate excuses for Hello Broadway or Old Fashioned? I can't find any. Did Pioneerof the Nile seem to struggle to put away much less accomplished foes in yesterdays San Felipe @ Santa Anita? I thought so, and he doesn't give me the impression that he can negotiate 10 furlongs. The Kentucky Derby picture seems more muddled today when we should start to see the legitimate contenders start to seperate themselves from the pretenders. Stay tuned...
Agree FF was great however the rest of the preps were just so so. the splits and times were nothing special and I think looking back at the Gotham that clearly IWR is a major contender and really all the top 3 finishers - Imp. Council and Mr. Fantasy are back in the mix as well. Several so called top 15 Derby list contenders were really very much out of it today
Seeram: The winner was #6 Carbonite, not #7. happy_art: NY didn't "do away with" a takeout increase -- it never took effect. Also, there are no national rules so differences from state to state are the norm. The issue in NY was that if there were lower payoffs on out-of-state races, people would switch from NY betting accounts to out-of-state ones to receive the higher prices. callmetony: Preliminary Beyers are 104-Friesan Fire, 102-Win Willy, 90-Musket Man, 90-Pioneerof the Nile.
Hi Steve: Just checking the Magna 5 results page and it is showing Leg D-Golden Gate Race 4 winner as number 7 . Is that a misprint? I thought that it was number 6 on the program and at GG results.
Some thoughts: Friesan Fire was definitely impressive in winning the La. Derby on Saturday, while Old Fashioned I think had one legitimate excuse: He chased too fast an opening quarter and half-mile at Oaklawn. Nevertheless, except for Win Willy he was drawing off from everyone else in the stretch late. On another front, surprise there has been no mention at all of ESPN dropping the Ky. Oaks day coverage this year. The good news on that front is, however, the Oaks itself will be on Bravo (as part of an hour broadcast) that should bring in people who normally would never watch ESPN/ESPN2 as a rule. This may seem crazy, but I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the fact a year ago on the corresponding date, three Game 6's in the first round of the NBA playoffs wound up being necessary, which in turn caused the Nationwide Series race at Richmond (which was supposed to air that Friday night on ESPN2) to have to be moved to ESPN Classic (though the race was shown following the NBA game on tape delay on ESPN2). I'm pretty sure a lot of NASCAR fans were quite teed off with the live coverage of that race being moved to ESPN Classic, and given how loyal NASCAR's fans are, I'm wondering if NASCAR insisted to ESPN that the late Friday afternoon slot had to be kept open in case multiple NBA playoff games were necessary that night and the Nationwide Series race had to be moved up to the late afternoon that Friday so it could be shown live on ESPN2 before any NBA playoff game if that became necessary. Given how NASCAR can be, it wouldn't shock me if they insisted on this. Also, a couple of blogs back someone asked why NYRA now stays on the inner track to the end of March, as opposed to going back to the main in mid-March as was done up until a couple of years ago. While I said it was likely because of the costs of getting the main track ready having likely skyrocketed coupled with making sure the main track is ready in time for the Wood Memorial on April 4, if Steve can give a definite reason, it would be appreciated.
C, How can you belittle FF for running against the same basic group in NO, yet you find nothing wrong with PTN running against a progressively weaker and smaller field? I appreciate your loyalty to the SoCal group, but your logic escapes me. Kelley