06/20/2009 9:22AM

Saturday stakes opinions


The key to profitability this afternoon may not leave her stall at all.  I Lost My Choo, a New York-bred with a solid record, is cross-entered in both the New York at Belmont, and the All Along at Colonial Downs, and is a strong contender in both spots.  She'll be a better price in the New York as graded types Criticism, Dynaforce, Dress Rehearsal, and Backseat Rhythm are scheduled to tango in a ten furlong free-for-all. 
Criticism has been extremely consistent this season, but she may not like wet going as much as she adores firm ground, and there is some pace to keep her honest on the front end.  
Dynaforce does like some give in the turf course, but she was under a heavy drive for the last three furlongs of her big win last fall in the Flower Bowl, and was late to change leads to boot.  Plus, her return to the races at Pimlico was a disappointment. 
Backseat Rhythm hasn't shown the same pop in her last two starts as she did earlier in her career, but she'll get the wet ground she likes as well as some pace. 
Dress Rehearsal is interesting as she split decisions with Criticism at Gulfstream.  I thought she was the superior runner in both of those starts as the Galileo filly had trouble when second in the Very One before simply outstaying Criticism over "good" going in the Orchid.  It's possible she was uncomfortable when placed on the lead in a paceless race at Keeneland last time out, and should be better from stalking mode here. She may also be better at twelve furlongs.
That leaves us with I Lost My Choo, who is questionable at this distance, but may have enough talent to overcome her inexperience.  A multiple Grade 3 winner, I Lost My Choo asserted her dominance over statebred competition with an eye-pleasing performance, and is tactical enough to be placed wherever Jose Lezcano deems best.  The main problem here is the ground.  Her trainer, Phil Serpe, probably doesn't want to start his protege on wet sod, and the weather has been a mess up here through Thursday.  She's 15-1 on the track's morning line, and is worth a play if she does go as she may be the filly with the proper combination of current form and upside potential.

I Lost My Choo is 5-2 on the morning line for the All Along at Colonial Downs, the scene of her Virginia Oaks win last year.  The nine furlongs of the All Along probably suits her better than the distance of the New York, and she'd probably appreciate the lesser quality of the field here as well.  She'll lug 124 pounds if she starts in Virginia against a tough cookie in Indescribable, but looks like the filly to beat.  
That Bill Mott-trainee earned a big number two back in the Doubledogdare over Keeneland's polytrack before disappointing as the chalk over Arlington's fake stuff in their Matron.  She's just as capable on grass as she is on polytrack, but figures to take her share of play, and I just didn't like how she finished up last time out.   
If I Lost My Choo does scratch in the All Along, keep an eye out for First Ascent at 30-1 on the morning line.  Her numbers are inferior to those of the top contenders, but she was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Backseat Rhythm in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs in March, and had significant trouble in her most recent race at Mountaineer Park.  First Ascent won her maiden over this course, and her trainer is clicking along at 22% for the year.

The Colonial Turf Cup is a fascinating race of evenly-matched contenders.  Lime Rickey won me over with his good-looking allowance win at Belmont last time out, and gets my top nod over Al Khali, a Medaglia d'Oro colt that tries turf for the first time for Todd Pletcher.  Al Khali is a hulking colt that should appreciate this extra ground, and it looks like he's been working nicely on the green.

Only six are scheduled to take part in the Grade 3 Affirmed at Hollywood, but there isn't a standout, and Cape Truth may offer a hint of value for Doug O'Neill.  He didn't have the easiest of trips when beaten in the Lone Star Derby on May 9, and he now returns to a preferred surface.  He's quick enough from the gate to obtain a good position, whether on the lead, or tracking the inside speed of both Misremembered and Grazen.

Unbridled Belle is the big name in the Obeah at Delaware, but she hasn't shown much in her last couple of races, and was taken out of training for a short time earlier this year to be bred to A.P. Indy.  That mating didn't catch as she isn't in foal, but she brings a lot of question marks at a short price to this race. All Night Labor will offer a better price, and her good speed should have her in an excellent forward position when the field turns for home.  I'll give her a shot to upset the classy Unbridled Belle.

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

I'll be taking a little break next week so pardon me if my posts are sporadic at best. Congrats to Van Savant for his win in HandiGambling.  He gets to pick the next race.

Enjoy the weekend.


Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
Win and You're In is stupid. If you win one of those races, you're in anyway. I don't think the winners of Belmont and Saratoga's biggest races need a guarenteed spot to get in to a BC race. The reason none of the top horses race one another is because their are too many stakes races. Look at how many grade ones their are these days. It's not as special to win one if their are so many out there. The NTRA needs to make less graded stakes races, leaving less options to run, making winning a graded stakes special again. That's only part of the problem because trainers will still try to go for the easy money. Kodiak Kowboy crushed a weak field in Philly today for 200k instead of facing good competition at Belmont in the Tom Fool. Maybe the big tracks should put more into less stakes races, instead of trying to have a stakes-no matter how weak- every weakend. either way the market is flooded. Their are just too many options these days. Their needs to be less stakes races so the ones we have left actually matter.
joedracer79 More than 1 year ago
Got one for u guys 50 w/p/s 9th at bel MUNITION will be closing like a freight train with cornball on, good luck,oh ya 12 -1 ml should be higher
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
There are so many things that could be done to put this sport back on the map - and most of them a Freshman Marketing nub could ferret out. I guess what bothers me is the avalanche of stupid decisions that seem to just come one right after another and the stark reality of the cascading collapse of the core structure of the sport. Bay Meadows, Hollywood, Atlantic City, Fort Erie, Hialeah, and now Ellis Park. Kentucky is playing political games, TV viewership of the BC is 1/20 of an episode of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight", Magna is bankrupt - uhhh, do you think maybe we got a problem? If I owned Zenyatta, there would be a press release tomorrow "Zenyatta to skip the Vanity and will ship to Belmont for the Suburban. I'll show you Independence Day. Tell Rachel to bring her skinny little ass, bring MTB, Summer Bird, Big Bird, unretire Curlin, dig up Secretariat, let's rock. You tell them I'm coming and hell's coming with me". People would come, the media would be there. Let's fit this mare with a pair of brass balls the size of coconuts. Then let's try the Arlington Million, the Arc; I don't care if she loses - I want to see what she can REALLY do. I want to see what she does when she digs down deep. But then again I am just another mushroom on the farm...
C More than 1 year ago
Although I'm a bit disappointed as well, I have to agree with Lenny here. Perhaps more blame should go to the connections of other good fillies in SoCal. Where are they? I'm not a fan of anyone telling an owner where to run their horses. Imagine if Zenyatta was forced to run against males and got injured in that race. While I don't subscribe to that whole "Eight Belles" theory, NTRA (or whoever forced it) would get sued for everything they had, and rightfully so. The public would call for an end to such practices immediately, maybe even some of the very people currently calling for Zenyatta to face males. Walt, Where do you come up with these ideas? The Pimplico Special at Philli Park? I guess that's like "Tropical at Calder".
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
PGM School/ROTD Was shocked first off that they let the six have her way on the front end in today's ROTD and then was doubly shocked to see the exacta pay $42. I guess more than just me thought the pace would be a bit more lively. Onward and upward.... Friday's ROTD : HOL 7 1) UKIAH, here's a vulnerable favorite. Ran a lifetime top in last race and usually regresses off his 90+ BSF efforts. AND has never won on synthetic. Two wins, one on grass the other on dirt. Horse needs to head east.Under only. 2)REMUS, lightly raced 3YO has a maiden win and five forgettable races under his belt. Gets a nice jockey upgrade in Smith but lack of pace will hamper any chance he has. Pass. 3)SHEDIAK, oooooh, we could have a live one here.Hasn't shown much since crossing the pond, but new trainer has him on his toes looking at his smoking works, and the change to cushion could lead to big things at boxcars. 4)JP JAMMER has run into some really tough cookies. he's been beat by Pioneer of the Nile, Chocolate Candy ,Kelly Leak, I Want Revenge, and Unusual Smoke. Can you say class break? Should be forwardly placed to challenge Speight The Halo late. 5)DANCE CHIEF, northern invader is a hard knocker who brings his lunchpail to every race. Gonna be tought o work out a trip with all the other laterunners around him. Iffy. 6)AXEL FOLEY, see? I told you those Cali horses can't run on DIRT! True, this one can't run on dirt but he did fire a 1:11.4 6 Furlong work the other day on cushion and that makes me want to play him. Very live and likely to be overlooked. 7)SPEIGHT THE HALO, won wire to wire in last outing and figures to get loose on the lead again in this one. Distance could be a question, but he's another with an awesome work set. Can he last the mile and a sixteenth? Won't know til he tries..... Headscratcher. 8)YANKEE STATION, yet another one in here with smoking works and he returns to his preferred surface after aborted comeback at SA. Stretchout sprinter should be in the garden spot turning for home. Will he have enough in the tank, with just one race in last year, to finish off this race? Shakey. 9)INDY RIDE, light seems to have come on for this one with switch to Garcia. Will make one run from the clouds and I'm not sure there will be the pace he needs to get the job done. Passing here. 10)THRUST, yet another come from the clouds closer at the mercy of the early pace. Can't see it here. The Play: Wow, which way to go? I'm really not sure. Whoever hits this race will get paid as it's wide open.Just don't know........... $10 WP 3 $10 EX 7/3,4,6,8 $5 EX 3,6/3,4,6,7,8
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Geeze, a lot of "doom and gloom", gnashing of teeth, swilling of bile in these posts. I feel a good side splitting, laugh til u hack OLA coming on soon, or a least a good horsetalking session. Tentcentcielo...the blue thongers seem to have deserted this blog, left it to the dried up old codgers to rule with acid drivel about how the world is ending. How about a shot from you here...we need some new blood in the veins!
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
PGM, You are absolutely right - it is the races that get you involved and keep you in the sport. Maybe I was spoiled by being born in 1955 - the sport was at its absolute zenith from 1964 to 1989, 25 years of incredible contests, and unbelievable horses. The first race I ever saw was Kelso running at Hollywood Park - Majestic Prince and Arts and Letters, the 1967 Woodward - Damascus, Buckpasser and Dr. Fager IN THE SAME FRICKIN RACE, finishing 1-2-3. Seattle Slew and Affirmed, Affirmed and Alydar, Forego, John Henry, Ruffian, Ack Ack, Canonero. And there were so many just below them like Exceller and Sham. Every week you watched Jim McKay and the Wide World of Sports because there was going to be a race you couldn't miss. It was the way I expected it to be forever. And for a long time I wasn't disappointed - I got Sunday Silence and Easy Goer, Personal Ensign and Manila, Tiznow and Cigar. Then around the turn of the century it seemed to change, they started racing less and avoiding each other, they seemed to be soft and brittle. They weren't Marines, they were Air Force PX workers. Maybe I was just spoiled, I thought that the top runners would just keep pounding away at each other like Affirmed and Alydar, heavyweight boxers standing toe to toe for fifteen rounds. You probably weren't old enough to remember the bitter hatred of the Sunday Silence-Easy Goer lovers. Don't think it was professional, it was deeply personal - to this day one of my greatest memories is of SS pounding the piss out of that overhyped eastern wind bag. Those races were 20 years ago and the feelings today are just as strong - ask Dan, I would bet my bottom dollar he was an Easy Goer freak, and they probably had to put him on suicide watch after SS beat him 3 out of 4. Those memories don't disappear, they are ingrained in your DNA. Watching Forego in the 76 Marlboro when there was no chance he could make it - Personal Ensign and Winning Colors in the slop, geeze. Ta Wee hammering the boys carrying 140 pounds!! What are the chances that a youngster will see anything like that today? Zero. That's why the sport is dying. I don't remember the bets I made or whether I won or lost money; there isn't a drug in existence that can make you scream at the TV "beat that son of a bitch, destroy him" with adrenaline rushing out of every pore. The flamingos in the infield of Hialeah, the cool cat feeling of Del Mar. It's been 9 years since I had that kind of rush, and what I wouldn't give to feel it again. When I hear the PETA freaks talk about how the poor horses are "forced to run" I want to throw up. I have seen the look in the eye of a great horse - there is no forced there; they intend to run everyone into the ground. I saw Majestic Prince try to bite the sh*t out of a horse in the paddock in his debut - he wasn't playing games. To this day I hope Frank McMahon rots in hell for what he did to that horse in the Belmont. Ruffian had it, Forego and John Henry, they weren't farm animals that were enslaved, they were the epitome of power and grace, of fortitude and grit. I have seen that look only once in the last few years and that was Zenyatta; probably why I am so hard over on her. God how I wish it were the same, but it's not. I wish you younger guys could have seen what I've seen - a sport that had no equal, a level of competition that was so pure you had no choice but to be there. I guess I am just becoming maudlin in my old age, torn apart by the decline of something I loved fiercely.
Alfredo More than 1 year ago
HG 139 #1 = Swiss Love has the field best Beyer. The horse she finished behind did come back to win her last race. Koriner keeps his main jock at the controls. #8 = As gleaned from Closer Look in DRF, Taro has a couple of strong plus factors. Her sire Bertrando is 14% with 2YOs. Liberian Freighter is her bro. According to Bruno at the Racing Digest, Flores has been working her in the AM for Sise. $50 exacta box 1-8
PGM More than 1 year ago
Uncle Steve, Probably the love is still there, and it's out of love that such a post came about. For starters, I was in grade school during the SS-EG rivalry. And could I have a quick history lesson on Frank McMahon & Majestic Prince? But you're right, "I don't remember the bets I made or whether I won or lost money; there isn't a drug in existence that can make you scream at the TV "beat that son of a bitch, destroy him" with adrenaline rushing out of every pore." I remember the 2007 Japan Cup for its wild seven way stretch battle. I remember the 2008 Arlington Washington Futurity (okay, here I go unearthing demons again...) for the screaming match my table had with another. Wood Day 2009? How about the chaos, disorder, mingling and sheer emotional spectrum? Don't think I'm some crotchety old guy who enjoys stories form nineteen-diddly-something; the issue is that any sport, any fandom's heartbeat is the great performance. I think it beats a little weaker now.
p ensign More than 1 year ago
oops, sorry, that's for 7th, nothing available at brisnet feefree...