06/12/2009 2:28PM

Stakes opinions


Let's take a look at some of Saturday's stakes races:

Ogden Phipps - Race 4 - Belmont:
Certainly not a great betting race, but an intriguing matchup between favored entrymates Seventh Street and Music Note.  While the latter is certainly more accomplished with wins in the Mother Goose, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Gazelle, Seventh Street has recency and early speed on her side.  Seventh Street also has some talent to boot.  She went gate-to-wire in the Apple Blossom last time out, and if able to shake off Color Me Up entering the turn, she may prove tough to catch.  Seattle Smooth is an admirably consistent filly, but she may be up against it against the Godolphin girls.
Selection:  Seventh Street (part of entry)

Round Table - Race 3 - Hollywood:
On paper, this 1 3/4 mile test has a ton of early speed.  Leesider just went gate-to-wire over cushion track while Plug Me In wasn't headed in his last two starts on the weeds.  Zappa took his opponents on a merry chase in last year's Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.  One would think that this race would set up for Obrigado and Porfido, but neither is very reliable.  The former is 2-22 in the United States, and he hasn't reached the winner's circle since February 25, 2007.  Add in the fact that he is 0-4 since bruising his foot, used front bandages for the first time in his most recent race, and will likely be the favorite, and he's not a great play. Porfido is 1-19 in North America, and has lost ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last five races.  I wonder if the two main speeds, Leesider and Plug Me In, play a game of chicken up front.  If one of them backs off, the other may take them all the way.  I won't be investing a lot, but perhaps Plug Me In is sharp enough to upset this field if Leesider is the one to yield.
Selections:  Plug Me In, Porfido, Leesider

Jefferson Cup - Race 7 - Churchill:
El Crespo may have been compromised by moderate to slow fractions in the Arlington Classic, and could get a bit more pace to attack on Saturday.  Both Florentino and Jake Wil Gallop like to race near the front, and if the pace is fast, El Crespo, a Grade 3 winner on grass earlier this year, may be the one to benefit.  Advice wouldn't be a surprise for Todd Pletcher, but he may go favored despite having never raced on turf.  A son of Chapel Royal, Advice may find this nine furlong distance a bit far. 
Selections:  El Crespo, Advice

Northern Dancer - Race 8 - Churchill:
Warrior's Reward will be a single on many Pick 4 tickets based on his 113 Beyer win over Munnings at Churchill Downs on May 1, but I'm not sure he's a mortal lock.  Both of his wins came around one turn with the aid of perfect rail trips, and he'll have to go two turns on Saturday in a race lacking much early speed.  He reportedly had a myectomy after the Tampa Bay Derby, and simply may be too good for these now that he can breathe correctly, but he's not worth the short price.  Omniscient has some upside potential for Steve Asmussen.  He was a solid winner over weaker at Fair Grounds two back, then may not have cared for the Keeneland polytrack in the Lexington.  He draws a cozy inside post, and can be close to the expected moderate to slow pace.  The price should be right.
Selections:  Omnisicent, Warrior's Reward

Stephen Foster - Race 10 - Churchill:
It's hard not to root for Einstein, the likeable veteran that will attempt to become a Grade 1 winner on all three racing surfaces.  He's the horse to beat in the Stephen Foster, but he had to work very hard to beat Cowboy Cal on the turf last time out, and is facing a pretty good group.  Researcher pressed Commentator for the first five furlongs of the Charles Town Classic last time out, then refused to be discouraged when the speedy NY-bred cleared him for the final backstretch run.  Instead, Researcher angled to the two path, and blew the favorite's doors off turning for home.  He doesn't need the lead to win, and may work out a nice trip just off Finallymadeit and Alphabet Magic.
Selection:  Researcher

Regret - Race 11 - Churchill:
Tough, tough race.  I'll take a chance with The Best Day Ever, a filly that worked out a nice inside trip off a hot pace to win her entry-level condition over this course and trip.  While the pace should be slower in this spot, The Best Day Ever has shown a strong will to win in her last two races, and doesn't meet the strongest field in the world for her stakes debut.  This is a big test so make sure you get all of that 8-1 morning line.
Selection:  The Best Day Ever

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


Congrats to Zan the Man for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  He gets to make the race selection for the next one.


Sorry I've fallen behind on questions, and comments.  I'll get to them as well as "NameGate" on Monday.

Best of luck,


jesse dunn More than 1 year ago
HG 138 Races like this are very unappealing to me.Low claimer with multiple long layoff horses who will be low prices and just more questions than answers.Having said that,i can still bet Dan's money.Going to settle on the #3 Thunderfrmdownundr,trainer is due for a winner and shows nice ROI off this kind of layoff.Horse still has upside after showing good speed vs much better.Maybe he's capable of nice stalking trip.Feel his price should be very good to take a stab. 5$ex 3/1-6-7-9-10-11-13-15-16 3$ex 1-11-15/1-3-6-9-11-15 1$tri 3/15/1-6-9-11 1$tri 3/1-6-9-11/15 1$exbox 3-16
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
I'll take the opportunity for the last word here, so as not to keep this issue running in the present post: The OLA I posted on Saturday, 8/13 was discussed with bloggers participating in Iron Maiden Chat that evening, and was considered funny...no objections were heard, except for the presence of a "wig". The introduction of Post Scripts was a literary device I contributed to the ongoing OLAs and was a way of introducing music lyrics of past days to the genre, and to point to an "alter-ego chararacter" as the new rescurer of the heroine so that the next blogger writing OLA style would thread that into the story line. (I myself had been introduced as a "rescurer" character by name in the previous Saga by another blogger!) I provided an invitation for Steve T to "participate" or ignore the OLAs that he stated were anoying, and wanted stopped: but I certainly did not name him in a "racy" or "risque" situation: nor did I have anything to say about "Navy service". To assert that those elements existed in the OLA or Post Script requires a far more active imigination than I possess, I assure you. What I did provide was an alter-ego character singing a verse and chorus of the 60's Hit "Brandy", by Looking Glass...that was all there was to it, although with the objection of two, the Post Script was removed. Finally, OLAs will go on: some like them, some don't; some don't care. If you don't like them or don't care, skip them...its that simple!
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Speaking of organization, I meant "best" race in terms of colts and geldings. I was not including RA, who I think has run the best 3yo race this year. But here's a horse, imo, a horse that just might be able to make a stand for the boys, a focused gelding he appears to be, with all the time in the world to mature into something special. Successful Dan for the defense (for the better half). sheepish smirk [say that five times, fast]
baltimore_brian More than 1 year ago
Checking in for the 6/16 race of the day...9th @ Mountaineer. I'm with Cayman and others that think Sky Mom is a vulnerable favorite. I've made a healthy profit betting against Mario Pino in Maryland, and I'm going to do the same here. I like Adhrhythm (#6) to take this. Second choice in a small field won't provide a great price, so I'll have to go with some exactas, too. $30 Win 6 $30 Exacta 6-1 $20 Exacta 6/3,4
Blue Horseshoe More than 1 year ago
If you guys don't mind me asking, what does "OLA" stand for???
BigEasyBigChok More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, I have noticed over the past few weeks that EVD is playing unusually fair. Having said that I have also noticed that horses starting from far outside in full fields of 13-14 are having trouble closing on speed, even when by my handicapping the outside horse looks superior. Had a terrible case of seconditis friday night with any selection I made with the far outside horses. I had a lot of success friday night with exactas even when my A selection ran second to a short priced horse. Odds change as fast as our bankrolls at this track and a horse can go from 15-1 to 5-1 in a flash. Happened in the 6th friday night on the 6 horse, one of my few winners but exactas seem to offer better value than tri's and if you can hit 1 super you can claim a profit for the year. Saturday night there were 2 supers, 1 paying 50 and another 70k with what looked like horses on top that figured. Also, and this is certainly not a ringing endorsement of this track, when a heavily favored horse looks on paper as it should not be the chalk, they seem to win more often than not. For what reason I can not fathom and can only believe that information on that horse gets around by word of mouth quicker at a small track. Lastly, this area of the country has been under a monster high pressure system for at least a week with no relief from heat or drought in sight and imo makes this particular track a little more friendly to speed and lead types. One more comment-- can not wait until friday. How about this lineup--LSU Tigers in College World Series at 1 p.m. and they should finish up a little before Churchill Downs opens with their first night racing program at 5 p.m. central and EVD at 6:20. I may be sleeping on the couch after this parade but it will be with a big smile on my face. Thanks for volunteering your picks. BigEasyBigChok
PGM More than 1 year ago
Midwest Ed, My feeling is that SkyMom is better on all weather than on dirt, Arl. Matron notwithstanidng.
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Midwest Ed- Jesse got dropped Sunday morning by a horse. He probably could have ridden Sunday but didn't feel like he'd be at his best and it wouldn't be fair to the trainers he was scheduled to ride for. As for Mike's firster, I have to be careful what I "put out there" on this blog. (After I put on here that Old Fashioned wasn't 100%, not only did I catch grief from my fellow bloggers, but I was politely told to be careful what I do with the information that I'm given-so I caught it from both ends) but, what I will say is that when a horse is purchased for 87K at auction and debuts in a 17.5 claimer, it's obvious that the horse has a lot of problems-while that's kind of "inside information" it's also something anyone reading the form carefully would be able to figure out on his or her own.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Alan More than 1 year ago
If you ever start wondering why you love horse racing, watch the St James's Palace Stakes just run at Royal Ascot. The battle between Mastercraftsman and Delegator was incredible!! It is a "must see"...