04/10/2009 3:51PM

Saturday opinions, questions

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Let's take a look at some interesting horses entered in Saturday's stakes races:

Commonwealth (Keeneland - Race 7)
RAVALO looms the only speed in the race, and he's capable of running some big, big numbers.  I'm not too concerned about the subpar 80 Beyer earned last time out in the Paumonok Handicap as he was handled conservatively by Mike Luzzi, and was shuffled back going into the turn.  He's won thrice on Tapeta so at least he has experience on synthetics, and I'm hoping that John Velazquez doesn't suffer from "Poly-Phobia" coming out of the gate (for an example of the dreaded "Poly-Phobia," check out Robby Albarado's ride on Selva in the Vinery Madison, and watch how he rates the lone speed in the hope of saving something for the stretch).  Seven furlongs may be a tad out of Ravalo's reach, but if he can open up on this field, he has the class to hold on late.
Selections:  Ravalo, Eternal Star, Keep Laughing

Jenny Wiley (Keeneland - Race 8)
This race features the return of champion FOREVER TOGETHER, but one has to wonder if she's a great bet at short odds coming off the layoff in a race that doesn't feature any pace whatsoever.  RUTHERIENNE has finished third in her last six races, but the defending Jenny Wiley champion may be a smidge more tactical than stone-closers Forever Together and BACKSEAT RHYTHM, and could get the jump on them turning for home.  In the My Charmer Handicap at Calder, Rutherienne was bogged down on the hedge until upper stretch.  By the time she got out, the race was basically over.  She tries hard, really loves this distance, and should give a good account of herself.
Selections:  Rutherienne, Forever Together, Kiss With a Twist

Blue Grass (Keeneland - Race 9)
THEREGOESJOJO's last two Beyer Speed Figures are better than the last-race number earned by any of his opponents, and he ran into two of the best three-year-olds in the country in Quality Road and Dunkirk.  Although he wouldn't have beaten those two in the Florida Derby with a clean trip, he probably would have been a little closer in the finish had he not checked hard in upper stretch.  This is his third start following a lung infection, and he should get a solid pace to attack on the final turn.  The major question is the Polytrack.  Will he handle it?  It's the great equalizer.
Selections:  Theregoesjojo, Charitable Man, Hold Me Back

Comely (Aqueduct - Race 9)
Hollywood Starlet winner LARAGH will attract a good deal of support as she makes her three-year-old debut, but she's never raced on dirt, will face some other quality speed horses, and may be prepping for a run in the Kentucky Oaks.  Instead, I'll go with DREAM PLAY, a stretchout sprinter that may be the quickest of the quick. She should be able to handle this one-turn mile, but needs to be ridden aggressively by Eddie Castro.
Selections:  Dream Play, Don't Forget Gil, Holdontoyourdream

Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn - Race 11)
Nobody was harder on OLD FASHIONED than me after the gray colt's undefeated streak came to a shocking end in the Rebel.  After much reflection, I've decided to give him a pass.  Ramon Dominguez may have been stuck between a rock and a hard place when chasing lone pacesetter Silver City through some swift fractions.  He didn't want that one to get too far ahead, but he also didn't want to get caught up in a duel.  What resulted was Old Fashioned making the front with 3 1/2 furlongs to run, and he just couldn't last.  I'm thinking they'll be more bunched up entering the far turn of the Arkansas Derby, and Old Fashioned will once again get the jump on WIN WILLY.
Selections:  Old Fashioned, Win Willy, Flying Private

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As for the HandiGambling controversy, I'm going to award this week's prize to Jim Peregoy.  I believe it was an honest mistake on his part.  Here was his post:

HG 126
Distintive Dixie (8) to bounce.  Alina (9)doesn't win with Quinonez.  Holistic (3) is too slow.  Euphony (5) wins off layoffs.
$8 Trifecta # 5
WT # 2,6,8
WT # 2,6,8
$10 Ex 5 over 8
$15 Ex box 2/5
$11 Ex 5 WT 6+8

Let's assume that he listed his wagers in order of preference.  If we void his final bet of $22, he's left with a total wager of $88 dollars.  Even with leaving $12 dollars on the table, he would have won the contest with a huge return.

To avoid further confusion, it's time to lay some ground rules.  From now on, any wager over the $100 limit will be an automatic disqualification.  Also, in case of a tie, the earlier entrant will be declared the winner.


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Dan or anyone,
Curious what you think of the following topics:
1- Richard Hills coming over to ride Mafaaz in the Blue Grass.
2- Quality Road's quarter crack.
3- Theregoesjojo entering the Blue Grass.
C

1.  Have no problems with it.  Hills has ridden very successfully on dirt in Dubai, and he gave a heads-up ride on Mafaaz in the Kempton race.  He made an American-like move with Mafaaz as the pace was slow, and he used his horse to get into position  mid-racewith a three wide sweep.  As for his Guineas prospects, he has ridden Wajaha for John Gosden, and that filly looks set for a crack in the 1000 Guineas.  He rode Finjaan to a third-place finish in last year's Dewhurst, but that colt may be better at shorter distances. 

2.  I'm very concerned.  To win the Derby, you need to have everything go smoothly.  Ask the connections of Empire Maker and Unbridled's Song what happens when there are bumps in the Derby road.  Ask Big Brown's people about quarter crack problems.  Quality Road is a very nice horse, but this quarter crack issue sounds very serious, and may affect my wagers come Derby day.

3.  Theregoesjojo has shown enough ability that he deserves a chance to run himself into the Derby picture, but the big story concerning this horse may be the fact that McPeek entered him for the Epsom Derby.  It seems he does this every year with horses of different quality, but Theregoesjojo is questionable at nine furlongs. let along 12 panels on the grass.

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Actually, Kafwain scratched before the Santa Anita Derby.  Maybe you're thinking of Danthebluegrassman??
jedfro

Kafwain finished third in the Santa Anita Derby.  Here's Steve Andersen's column from April 29, 2003 regarding the Kentucky Derby scratch:

http://www.drf.com/drfNewsArticle.do?NID=45974&subs=0&arc=1

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Have you heard whether Devotee is coming over for Godolphin-that could be the upsetter, but unfortunaltly I'm guessing he'll run in England instead.
Stephen L Taylor

It looks like Devotee will take a chance in the 1000 Guineas in England.

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PS: Didn't Donnaguska lose her next race? I could be wrong.
C

Here are her lifetime past performances:

Download Donnaguska

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Dan, if you see this, could you please post Offlee Wild's PPs?
Paseana

No problem.  Here they are along with those of Bwana Charlie.  His first starter won at Keeneland today for Steve Asmussen.

Download New sires

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Last, how has Stephen Got Even performed as a sire?  There is an interesting article on Bloodhorse about his pedigree.
Turnback the Alarm

Along with I Want Revenge, Stephen Got Even has sired Black-Eyed Susan winner Sweet Vendetta, Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion Stevie Wonderboy, Indiana Derby winner Don't Get Mad, Perryville winner Steve's Double, and Raven Run winner For All We Know.  He's had five crops to race.

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Best of luck this weekend.

Dan