04/10/2009 4:51PM

Saturday opinions, questions


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


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.


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.

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.


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

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



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.


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

Here are her lifetime past performances:

Download Donnaguska


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

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

Download New sires


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.


Best of luck this weekend.


slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Alan, you may have a particular interest in this, given your place of residence, which I understand is the Maryland area. Others should find it very informative as well. Minor has big plans for troubled game By Andrew Beyer WASHINGTON - Halsey Minor has made hundreds of millions of dollars as a technology entrepreneur. His San Francisco-based firm bills itself as an investor in start-up companies that seek to "change the shape of business on the Internet." A man on the cutting edge of commerce seems an unlikely candidate to get involved in the moribund horse racing industry. Yet Minor aspires to own racetracks and sees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a portfolio of them. Magna Entertainment Corp., the biggest owner of U.S. tracks, has declared bankruptcy, and Minor hopes to buy almost all of the company's properties - including Santa Anita, Pimlico, and Laurel. Asked if his aims were based on sentiment or a business decision, Minor said: "Turning around American racing is my passion. It's what I think about all day. It's a psychological weakness." Minor grew up in Charlottesville, Va., where "Thoroughbred racing and horses were part of my life. My mother was one of the top breeders and trainers of English show jumpers. I had a pony in my yard when I was 5. I was 8 or 9 when Secretariat and Riva Ridge [both raised in Virginia] were ascendant. The first business I started was painting fences at horse farms." For most of his 44 years, Minor has been consumed with his business ventures. He founded the tech-news company CNET, which became an Internet giant (and was eventually was sold to CBS). For recreation, he bought a few Thoroughbred racehorses. He spent $15.3 million for a horse farm - Carter's Grove, a historic plantation near Williamsburg. But as he started to get involved in racing, "I was struck by the deplorable condition of the industry," he said. Minor decided he wanted to do something about those conditions. He made an unsuccessful effort to buy Miami's defunct Hialeah Park - "The grande dame of American racing, the perfect track," Minor said. As Magna Entertainment was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Minor publicly announced his willingness to buy the company's debt. "They wouldn't talk to us. They literally blew us off," Minor said. Magna's chairman, Frank Stronach, resisted relinquishing any control of his racetracks. Even after the bankruptcy filing, Minor believes that Stronach still doesn't want to let go. "He absolutely believes that nothing is going to change," he said. "He's doing everything possible to make the process difficult." Nevertheless, Minor wants to make a bid for all of the Magna tracks except Gulfstream Park. He would pay off Magna's $175 million debt to its parent company, MI Developments, and negotiate a deal with the other creditors. "My goal," he said, "is to bring this to a close before [the bankruptcy case] turns into a shower of lawsuits." Minor sounds undaunted by the challenges he would inherit if he is successful in this bid. "I do not worry for a minute about bringing large crowds to this sport," he said. "There are so many ways to make horse racing the coolest sport in America." He especially looks forward to tackling the problems of Pimlico and Laurel, with their dilapidated facilities and vanishing fan base. "The Maryland Jockey Club is the first place I'm going to fix," he said. But even for an accomplished and creative entrepreneur, fixing the horse business may be nearly impossible. Many powerful factions are involved among the sport - track owners, state regulators, horsemen, and account-wagering providers - and no individual can dictate their behavior. Minor may not have the temperament to be a consensus-builder. Portfolio magazine portrayed him as "arrogant," "pathological," and reviled by many of his colleagues in the tech world. The Portfolio profile and other articles about Minor also raise questions about the health of his finances in the wake of a costly divorce and his penchant for lavish spending - $22 million for his house in San Francisco, $20 million for a house in Los Angeles. Minor's ideas about reviving horse racing, often drawn from his other business experiences, sometimes sound quixotic. "I had 110 million people a day come to my Web site," he said. "Convenience is paramount for people today. Everything about a racing operation has to be convenient; people don't want to drive in traffic." Minor said he spends hours looking for open spaces in urban areas that might be potential sites for a racetrack. The idea of building expensive new tracks, or restoring old ones in a grand fashion, collides with the reality of modern racing. Horseplayers have already opted for convenience by watching races on television or a computer and betting from home instead of going to the track. Even if an entrepreneur were to build the Taj Mahal of racetracks, many of his potential customers would still stay home to bet. Stronach, too, had grand plans for rebuilding tracks and broadening the appeal of horse racing, and the results were a debacle. Yet even though racing fans may question Minor's chances of success, they should cheer his efforts to take control of the Magna tracks. Merely getting these tracks out of the hands of Stronach's dysfunctional company will be an important step. And if the buyer happens to be a smart, innovative optimist who believes that horse racing can be revived as a major spectator sport, the industry could scarcely hope for anything more. (c) The Washington Post 2009
Craig More than 1 year ago
Regarding Garrett Gomez: Is there really a decision to make? Talk about a no-brainer. Hmmm, should I ride a horse who has won grade 1 race after grade 1 race and has beaten many of the top contenders in the KD. Or.....should I ride a horse who has proven absolutely nothing on the race track and has had multiple problems just getting on the track, but, boy is he bred well. Lol, unless POTN drops dead before the KD, what decision is there too make?
Annie More than 1 year ago
Calvin, What about CC??? Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Slew, I don't know if that is a rumor about Mike Smith riding CC. Of course they don't tell me nuthin. I'd be Ok with it though as he has had experience in the Derby, whereas Rosario hasn't. I'm also OK with CC's nice 5F work. He has plenty of bottom, maybe they just want to keep him on his toes and hone his speed a bit. Annie
tencentcielo More than 1 year ago
(Putting on MKB hat for JOIN IN THE DANCE) What was i doing on Poly? I am a speed horse! Geez, i knew pletcher didn't think much of me, but to deliberatley cost my owners a chance at the Derby by running me on that Speed-killing Poly instead of in the AD just to make sure DUNKIRK gets in is low. Plus i was cursed by being added to the .10sky stable. :-) (removing JITD hat, putting on FLAT OUT hat) I was too close to that pace. I was fresh and got a little too frisky. Can't really blame but myself. Excpet maybe tencentcielo for giving me the KISS OF DEATH when he added me to his MKB stable. :-) (Taking off FLAT OUT hat. throwing all hats for MKB horses into incinerator, walking away) Ok, now that i have killed all of those derby dreams (:-P), let me deliver more bad news to some other MKB owners who may be touched by my KOD streak. After the weekend of NOV 8-9, i said that i thought i saw the derby winner run on the 8th at either SA or CD. EVERY horse i have noticed rhat ran on that day, in their first race back, has run poorly or been injured or bad luck befell them. Discreet Street, Postion A, Brother Keith, Double Pittsburgh, Flat Out all ran poorly after i noticed that the ran on that day. (there are more, but i didn't bring the list with me to school) SA Derby weekend, i noticed that the pampelmousse and Gato go win ran that day, and bad luck befell them. So, just as a heads up if your horse run poorly on Derby Day, you can blame me if they do. The horses are 1. PAPA CLEM: ran behind GGW, PA and the mousse 2: CHOCOLATE CANDY: Ran later on the same card at HP. 3: GENERAL QUARTERS: Ran in the 3rd at CD on that day. Now, i don't think i saw him but i don't remember if i saw the third or the fourth running when i got to HP that day, so maybe you'll dodge a bullet. Well, i'm off to class tencentcielo P.S. while i'm being sarcastic, all of the facts are true, so i thought you would enjoy just a freaky coincidence.
Annie More than 1 year ago
nd hone his speed a bit. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Proud Spell was bred to Indian Charlie on Sat. and has been retired. Wow, that's a hard one. Other than Proud Indian, what would be a good name for her baby? Annie
Craig More than 1 year ago
I do not do KD lists, although, I enjoy reading others thoughts on the subject. Here is one thing I will say regarding top KD prospects for 2009: If I were to make a list of 3 year olds with the best chance to win the KD, Dunkirk, would not make the top 20. To each his own, but, I don't believe what I am hearing and reading about this horse. Really, where did this all start? Why is there a ground swell for a horse who has done virtually nothing on the track? Imo, he won't hit the board.
Charismatic More than 1 year ago
Re: suspicous race behavior April 4 Oaklan last Race Tim Doocy needs one more win for 5000. He is on a hopelss 10 to 1 plodder. I tell dad and rest off family doocy just needs one more for 5k winers and they announce it. During the daym. I tell them bet any doocy thta has a prayer. Did I bet the last race no. I bet the horses that run 234. Stupid. Well as some may know doocy got a dq and only had 4999 winners they annonce the next day. I tell the table you can bet hell get 5k oday. He. Did. At even money. I had that one. Fast forward one week later last day of mee. Derby day. Milligan has a one race lead over asmussen in trainer standings and only two horses running that day. Asmussen has ten entered. I tell te table again look for asmussen millig runners and pay attention to odds. Asmussen sgetting shut out and milligans first entry loses. Then I see hehas a a hopeless 16 to 1 shot momentarily in a wide open race. This horse had nothing on paper to go by other than connections. I announce to the table bet illigans hors it as as good a chance a sany in this wide open race. The horse also passed the beauty pageant post parade and looked ood. Horse won for fun and paid 34.50 ithink. I managed to bet it as did everyone at the table and I managed to pair it for the exacta. Anyway the point of the story is I figured based on nothibg other than asmussen has a lot of horses in trainnin nd milligan not nearly as many that the others invovlved in the race might want to see miligan win the training title and not asmussen. I also figured milligan would make sure he spotted the best horses he had in the best spots he could find to win the training title. The horse had little to offer on paper and was either kicking down the ban or the uglier side of the sport was invovlved I would like to think the former rather than he latter. The atter can ruin good handicapping. But is ignored complete at your peril. Asmussen won the next race at 8 to 1 I think. Last week was rough for me as on sunday at the races right before rachal alexandras clinic I left a 120 dollar vucher in the machine and then to add insult to injuyr my Laptop was stolen from my table at the track. Recovered one week later thank goodness. But a rough week anyway.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Dan, Could you please tell me Mike Smith's record in the Kentucky Derby? Now that it has been confirmed that he will ride CC, I would like to know his credentials. Thank you. CC will leave for Kentucky tomorrow and will have two works at CD. Annie