09/20/2008 9:29AM

Saturday stakes opinions


This looks more like a "Win and You're 30-1 or More in the Breeders' Cup" than a true challenge series race.  Jonesboro is the deserving favorite as he's a legitimate listed stakes horse going against mostly high-level allowance runners.  He was beaten at short odds last time out at Remington, albeit with the help of a poor ride by Ramsey Zimmerman, and may get cooked up in an early duel with Longley.  Jonesboro is the most likely winner, but may not be worth the short price.  Smokeyjonessutton is the classic sucker horse, but I'm a classic sucker, and I'll land on him despite his 2-21 record, and multiple failures at the 'n2x' level.  He's been facing some solid runners in his recent races (Ravel, Mambo in Seattle, Past the Point), and has the tactical speed to sit just off Jonesboro and Longley.  Got the Last Laugh defeated Street Sense as a two-year-old in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, but he hasn't done much since.  He raced evenly in the Evangeline Mile last month, and can sit a decent ground-saving trip from the rail.  If he summons some of that back ability, he can be there at a price.  Autobeacat may be a bit more effective on the grass, but there's no denying he's in career-best form.
Selections:   Smokeyjonessutton, Jonesboro, Got the Last Laugh

Super Derby:
Macho Again looks like a strong favorite, but in keeping with the theme of today's blog, I'll try to beat the chalk.  He had trouble in the Travers, but reportedly came out of the race a bit sore.  He's fine now, and is the most established horse in the race, but the price is simply unappetizing.  His big score came in the Jim Dandy, and that race was slower than Mambo in Seattle's nine-furlong race a half-hour earlier at the Spa.  There's no telling how good Forest Command will be, but I'm not sure I want him trying two turns for the first time from the far outside post at what may be underlay status.  He was an easy winner at Saratoga last time, but drifted out noticeably in the stretch, and is spotting valuable experience to his rivals.  I'll take a shot with local hope Star Production, a triple-digit Beyer winner two back against Louisiana-breds.  He followed that up with a game score against open opposition in the Prelude.  The distance is a question mark, and so is the pace scenario, but this gelding is in career form.  I'm hoping Forest Command and My Pal Charlie leave him alone in the early part of the race although that may be asking for too much.  My Pal Charlie has bounced around the division content to pick up a few checks here and there.  He didn't have an easy trip in the West Virginia Derby when asked to move into the teeth of a hot pace.  Real Appeal's late kick in the WV Derby was probably aided by that pace.  Golden Yank is an intriguing runner.  He goes second off the layoff after rallying into modest splits in the Prelude, and may get a better setup here.
Selections:  Star Production, Macho Again, Forest Command

He's not going to pick against Commentator, is he?  I am although it's probably foolish to do so.  He's one of the fastest horses in the country, faces suspect competition, and has been free of the physical ailments that plagued him in recent years.  Although Riversrunrylee has some speed, Commentator has classy speed, and he should be able to flick that foe away down the backstretch.  He's just not playable at the price.  Cuba is probably a stretch, but I landed on him to pull off the upset.  He had a terrible time of it during the stretch run of the Iselin as he had no place to go while trapped in behind horses.  He's probably not in Commentator's league, but is worth a flier at a better price.  I'm not really a Dr. Pleasure fan although it's possible he's finally turned the corner.  His most recent win at Saratoga was easily the fastest race of his career, but he was drifting out while well clear, and just hasn't been that reliable. 
Selections:  Cuba, Commentator, Dr. Pleasure

I've probably just put all of the favorites in the winner's circle.

Let me know who you like this weekend.

Back Monday evening with weekend thoughts and Beyers.



larryk More than 1 year ago
SteveT, We talked bout steriods here briefly and horses to watch are the ones coming out of the Sadler barn. They may regress at the early part of the meet.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Annie, The 1 post is notoriously poor in the 6.5F downhills at Santa Anita. Runners get easily trapped and the turn at the bottom of the chute and then onto the main track are doozies (see the track map for SA at http://www.drf.com/trackinfo/santa_anita.html). There are wins from the 1 post but the numbers are really bad. I am more open to the 1 post if it is a short field.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Katielaughingattherail, Thank you, sister! I'll try to get some inspiration for a novella. That way, I can delay making important decisions. lol Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Steve T and larryk, Thank you both for your helpful comments on those lovely turf sprints! I might have a sleeper, too, but I need to look at the race alot more. Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Chicago Gerry, HEY! When did that happen? Annie
Rick More than 1 year ago
"the specific points that I made about the management of certain horses remain unanswered." Once again, Tinky, this is hindsight. Anyone could go through any operation of any size and find examples of misplaced horses after the fact. It is just rediculous to think you are clever to throw that in the Zayat's face. It is bush league and just some silly Monday morning quarterbacking. You certainly do not deserve an answer for such an obviously ill mannered question. You clearly are not interested in an answer and are just "flinging" again. "if you want to believe the spin about growing the stable, etc., be my guest..." What? What? Who's spinning what here? Zayat isn't growing it's stable? Yea, o.k. it is all a charade. Sonbol's story passed the smell test. Your story makes no sense and is based upon what facts? "You are at a severe disadvantage, though, as you only hear one side of the story, while I hear both." You are so connected, lol. First off, any organization that wants to grow needs key people and plenty of them. As the organization grows, delegation of responsibilities is the only answer. That is text book 101. Naturally, people who had a larger array of responsibilities ( when there were fewer parts to manage ) had to cut back on some of those responsibilities. This is how countless corporations grow and have grown throughout history. Of course, during growth some will lose certain responsibilites that they like and would choose to keep. It doesn't mean that they don't understand the circumstances. There will always be give and take in any relationship. It is obvious, despite what you say you have heard on the other side, that Mott is willing to work very closely with the Zayat team. The facts are clearly on Sonbol's side here. His side makes sense, as Mott is still a large part of team Zayat. Tinky, your side makes little or no sense and is full of conjecture. It reads like a soap opera, except you are the only one with a script. By reading what you wrote, one might think, that Mott and the Zayat's are at extreme odds or at the very least that Mott has a huge problem with team Zayat. I don't buy that for a second. Mott is no mamby pamby and has made more than enough money to not have to settle ( beyond normal give and take of a relationship of this nature ) just to keep team Zayat happy. If Mott had a real problem he would leave, plain and simple. Where is your proof? The facts we all have heard support Sonbol. No Tinky, I'm afraid, I can't just take your word for it ( wink, wink ). Your credibility is no where near as credible as the people that represent team Zayat on this blog. I can't believe you have any credibility left at all. I saw through you immediately and I am sure most did.
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
Rick, Ditto on Mr. Tinky. If you read his posts, carefully, it’s easy to spot his bull.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Steve T./Laura, I second Tony Kelso's suggestion for a Thoroughbred Ink Chat before this weekend's Monster Stakes program. There's Jockey Club Gold Cup Day, Goodwood Day, a day at Ascot. Steve T., You mentioned about Rene Douglas coming over to OSA after (as usual) winning the Arlington jockey title. I wouldn't be so sure; Douglas (along with James Graham) usually go down to Keeneland and Churchill before heading for winter time tracks like Gulfstream and Fair Grounds. One rider that definitely is heading out there is Brandon Meier. He's the son of Randy Meier (a fixture on the Chicago tracks) and finished second among apprentices, top fifteen overall. He'll still have his apprentice weight allowance through the duration of the Oak Tree Meet. Watch his rides when he is not riding for Calabrese/Catalano (who won their 865th owning and training titles respectively) to evaluate his rides. I haven't seen enough of his rides to evaluate him.
tony kelso More than 1 year ago
Todd: Congrats on your nice pick 4 score! Please come by more often. Tony
Rick More than 1 year ago
P.S. Any rube standing in the right place at the right time can get information before it goes to press. I don't doubt you are at the track ( I can just picture you there daily, unshaven in a pair of flip flops with $23.73 in your pocket grappling for a 2-1 to show ) and I certainly think you are as good as the next rube. Something substantive would help.