09/06/2008 8:23AM

Selections, some questions

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Sunday is a huge day at Woodbine with a pair of Grade 1 races on the lawn.

Northern Dancer:
This is an extremely competitive race, but I'll take a shot with Cloudy's Knight as he returns to the scene of his victories in the Sky Classic and Canadian International last year.  He hasn't looked like the same horse in 2008, and may be getting a bit long in the tooth at age eight, but he does well at this 12 furlong trip, and gets one last chance to show he's still capable at this level.  Strike a Deal is probably better than his 3-6-1 record in 12 lifetime tries, but he can be his own worst enemy at times.  He was very headstrong on the lead in the Nijinsky last time out, and was late to change leads during the long stretch run.  This distance may be pushing it just a bit, but he has ability, and can be close to the expected moderate pace.  Quijano, like many European imports, will find no problem with this distance.  He finished third behind Cloudy's Knight in last year's Canadian International, and won a Group 1 in Italy two starts back.  I wasn't impressed with that race, however (type in Quijano on youtube - he's breaking from post position #4), and that didn't seem like a strong field.  He may be overbet here.  Beware French Beret.  He's run some big races, but hasn't quite gotten there.  I'm expecting him to be closer to the pace in this spot, and he'll be a nice price.  The favorites may have some holes. Better Talk Now's past performances speak for themselves, but he hasn't looked happy going to the post in his last two races, freezing up on the track in both instances.  He's going to have to come from well out of it as usual.  Frost Giant may be better on dirt, and the 40-1 upsetter of the Suburban hasn't been out since late June.  Champs Elysees has been a major disappointment since finished third in the Big 'Cap back in March.
Selections:  Cloudy's Knight, Strike a Deal, Quijano

Woodbine Mile:
Can't go against Kip Deville in this spot although the price won't offer much appeal.  He kicked away with gusto in the Poker Handicap at Belmont last time out, and the defending Breeders' Cup Mile champion seeks his fourth straight while looking the strongest on paper.  Just Rushing may hold the best local hope of an upset.  He won the Play the King going seven panels last time out, and earned a triple-digit Beyer in the process.  He's fast from the gate, and could prove tough to catch.  Palladio can hit the gimmicks at a price.  He's run some nice races on the polytrack, and can rally late.  The temperamental yet talented Ventura takes on the boys while in very good form.
Selection:  Kip Deville

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I'd like to know.

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Anybody else ever get paranoid over a horse who is an unexpected overlay?
Steve T

It's only natural.  When we love a horse, we expect other horseplayers to see the runner's positive qualities, and expect them to bet with gusto.  When the action doesn't come in on said runner, we start to doubt ourselves.  Was I wrong?  Is he hurting or unfit?  My only advice would be to trust your own instincts, and embrace the price as a gift instead of looking at it as a curse.  Never be afraid to play an overlay.

What do you do when the FTS you really like is dead on the board at 20-1 or greater?
Midwest Ed

Handicappers ask me that question all the time.  My answer is that you play the horse because your opinion is just as good, or better, than anyone else's, and you should profit from it.

***

Given that Saturday's racing at Belmont may be cancelled, I still would like to ask our pedigree mavens to either point me to the right website, or offer a quick'n'dirty answer:
Smarty Marty is a 2YO running in the fifth on Sat. at BEL.
Is this a Smarty Jones offspring? If so, I want some of it, a la the 50-1 Be Smart a few short weeks ago at the Spaaah!
Katieattherail

Smarty Marty (Smarty Jones - Frozen Rope, by Clever Trick) was an $85,000 RNA at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.  She is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter Knot So Clever (22-5-3-4, $155,206), and stakes-placed sprinters Ashley Anne's Wish (16-2-1-4, $84,080) and My Heart's Deelite (13-4-1-3, $128,657).  The dam was multiple stakes-placed (22-4-3-2, $83,389), and is a half-sister to several blacktype earners including stakes-winning sprinter Albrannon (99-15-18-16, $287,603), and multiple stakes-winner Lorie Darlin (12-4-1-1, $259,509).  Despite the pedigree, she hasn't shown much ability and now is entered for a tag.

***

Dan,
Do you know what happened to TIZ WONDERFUL after that race at Belmont last year?  I know he tore or pulled some suspensory ligaments and he went to New Bolton (I think), but I've heard nary a word since then.
g or g

The story of Tiz Wonderful is becoming a racetrack urban legend.  He is (was?) one of my favorite horses, and although I've tried just about everything I can think of, I can't get any news on the horse.  He went to New Bolton, but they're only going to disclose information to the connections.  I guess it's possible he's still recovering, but it's been a year now.  I haven't heard any stud plans (I believe he was a ridgeling), and I haven't heard he was deceased.  Very strange.

***

Good luck this weekend.

Take care,

Dan

Nellie More than 1 year ago
Regarding Tiz Wonderful, according to this article (http://www.vet.upenn.edu/Alumni/WhatsNew/tabid/365/Default.aspx) says he is alive and his photo is on the New Bolton Center brochure. I know I read somewhere recently that he was progressing nicely, but I can't remember where. I just know that I made a mental note of it ...
Alan More than 1 year ago
Sobhy, Just saw you at the KEE Yearling sale - great interview but I especially liked your T-shirt!! Just remember, Hip 125 and 345 are "must buys" and not "might buys"!! GOOD LUCK AT THE SALE!!! Contest FYI, This Sunday I will be away at a party all afternoon - so will be late updating all contest entries. The following weekend, I will on vacation on the outer banks of NoCarolina and will likely not have internet access (bummer...there is Brisnet contest I will be missing!) I may need to have a "substitute" contest administrator for the two races (Mass Hndcp. & Tiznow St). g or g, The track variant for the early 6f races Saturday on the gd BEL track was 16. The variant for the last 6f race on the sloppy track (BEL10) was only 10. The variant for 8.5f BEL races is usually lower than 6f, yet it was 19 (higher) for the Ruffian!! In addition, the runner-ups Beyers in the Ruffian of 91,89,88,87,84,83,48 were not inappropriate for those fillies and mares. In summary, the figure looks legit (the figuremakers likely actually projected the Beyer downward!)
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Laura That was a GREAT post on the Hip#'s and analysis of the babies at Keenland. Iron maiden & Pedigree Mama extrodinaire. I like your comments, and if I had the $$$$$ to play in this business would love to have you as my guide! Hip#2688, you know my fondness for Pretty gray horses, & a possible name like Awesome Kisses, here's a Blue Thong who would love to throw in! (yeah, in my wildest dreams) ................... Hey Steve T ....what's wrong with those Older Silver Haired runners? a 4+ on the ugly scale, 'cmon NOT!...I thought he looked Delightful. he-he-he oh, and about Martin Pedroza at Fairplex, I'd call him The Wizard of Pomona...he just has a way with the horses. Just amazing stats right now! .................... Calvin & Larryk Have a nice time tomorrow, enjoy the day! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annnie, Thanks, I meant to add Cayman01 to my post as the original contributing OLA to that storyline. ......... Jim, No love this morning? SR Vegas
Mike Romeo More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Annie, Dale, Dennis of Moline, Uncle Steve and LarryK for picking Rahy's Attorney in the Woodbine Mile. LarryK, great handicapping to maintain your lead. Mike
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Folks; What an amazing job of handicapping by you all this weekend. I am more impressed than usual. Too bad I cannot be included, as I wagered a couple of Belmont races on Saturday, but won nothing. Oh well. Keep up the impressive display. Van Savant
Annie More than 1 year ago
Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Annie
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Larryk, HASILI also has a full sister, ARRIVE. She has two daughters and a son – DEPART, an unraced 2003 Colt by Danehill, PROMISING LEAD, a 2004 filly by Danehill with earnings of $400K, and VISIT, a 2005 filly by Oasis Dream who has $110K in earnings. All of her progeny race in Great Britain. It looks like she is holding up the family name. Here’s an interesting half sibling to Better Than Honour, DESERT GOD. An unraced 1991 colt by Fappiano he has been a decent stud, with his most known daughter one PEPPER’S PRIDE. Another of Blush With Pride’s daughters who looks to be a very good broodmare is BUTTERFLY BLUE, a 2000 mare by Sadlers Wells. Her first baby LACADENA, a 2005 filly by Fasliyev has earned $80K so far and there is a 2006 filly by Fusaichi Pegasus, CLUAIN FHADA who has yet to work.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Apparently the ProRide surface at Santa Anita isn't too horrid, here is Gary Steven's opinion of the surface: Racing Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens gave a ringing endorsement on Saturday of the completely overhauled synthetic track at Santa Anita Park. “This is the best track I’ve ever been on,” said Stevens, who estimated he has ridden on 200 to 300 hundred tracks around the world during his career. Stevens breezed a horse on the surface on Saturday during an early-morning private session that attracted almost no media attention.
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Rick Dutow, at a loss for Kip DeVille's Woodbine Mile flop, said he was sure there was an excuse and would bring the horse back to the barn to look for one. I have 2 for you, Dick. One, your horse wasn't fit enough. Ego has led you to believe you can just show up off workouts to take the money and run. You need to race your horses. #2, the steroid quesion. IEH stable won't let you juice anymore and since then Big Brown has looked vulnerable, Benny the Bull has been suspiciously retired and Kip has flopped. You are the Roger Clemens of horse racing and I won't believe you weren't cheating until you do it in a clean era. ----------------------------- I was growing as tired of the Calvin Carter/Tinky feud as anyone but I think I actually prefer it to the strokefest that went on this weekend.