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A Super Weekend
By Dan Illman
It's a Super Weekend for racing fans and handicappers!
Here are a few opinions on some of the major stakes races:
Arc de Triomphe - Longchamp (Sunday)
The horses running in the Arc, one of the crown jewels in racing, have amazing credentials. Don't believe me?
Horse - Grade/Group 1 Race Won
Workforce - 2010 Epsom Derby, 2010 Arc de Triomphe
St. Nicholas Abbey - 2009 Racing Post Trophy, 2011 Coronation Cup
Hiruno d'Amour - 2011 Tenno Sho
Nakayama Festa - 2010 Takarazuka Kinen
So You Think - 2009 Cox Plate, 2010 Underwood Stakes, 2010 Yalumba Stakes, 2010 Cox Plate, 2010 MacKinnon Stakes, 2011 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2011 Coral-Eclipse Stakes, 2011 Irish Champion Stakes
Sarafina - 2010 Prix Saint-Alary, 2010 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), 2011 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud
Snow Fairy - 2010 English Oaks, 2010 Irish Oaks, 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, 2010 Hong Kong Cup
Treasure Beach - 2011 Irish Derby, 2011 Secretariat Stakes
Meandre - 2011 Grand Prix de Paris
Masked Marvel - 2011 English St. Leger
Reliable Man - 2011 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby)
Danedream - 2011 Grosser Preis von Berlin, 2011 Grosser Preis von Baden
Galikova - 2011 Prix Vermeille
It's a 16-horse field at 1 1/2 miles over the Longchamp green and I'm going to focus my wagers on MASKED MARVEL, currently trading around 12-1 in the international pools. Supplemented to the Arc for 100,000 Euros, Masked Marvel most recently won the Group 1 St. Leger at 1 and 13/16 miles. Some may say that the Arc's distance is a bit too short for Masked Marvel, a true stayer, but he remained fairly close (about five lengths off) to a grueling pace in the St. Leger. While most of his rivals were being asked for run, Masked Marvel traveled smoothly until the two furlong mark. When he was produced by his jockey, William Buick, Masked Marvel moved to the front and was never threatened late en route to the course record win. His trainer, John Gosden, certainly knows what he's doing and Masked Marvel may have a bit more in the tank.
Selections: MASKED MARVEL, NAKAYAMA FESTA, RELIABLE MAN
Flower Bowl - Belmont - Race 5:
STACELITA, a five-time Grade/Group 1 winner, is obviously the short-priced horse to beat following a perfect-trip win in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington. She's the one you probably want to lean on most heavily in multi-race wagers, but I'm going to take a shot with DYNASLEW. After a successful 2010 season (Grade 3 Beaugay, Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap), Dynaslew went off form to begin 2011. Her most recent effort, a second in the Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga, indicates that Dynaslew may be slowly rounding back into form. With the addition of blinkers, she showed good early speed and took a challenge from a longshot late on the backstretch before opening up a big lead on the final turn. She failed to stave off EMERALD BEECH in the lane, but may be the lone speed once again in today's Flower Bowl. If her opposition falls asleep at the wheel and lets Dynaslew steal away, she may prove hard to catch.
Selections: DYNASLEW, STACELITA, EMERALD BEECH
Vosburgh - Belmont - Race 7:
The scratch of BIG DRAMA makes TRAPPE SHOT a big favorite and I'm not going to try and beat him in the Vosburgh. Last year, he showed the natural ability to stretch his speed around two turns and he was even the favorite in the Travers at 1 1/4 miles. But he's always been a sprinter at heart. This season, Kiaran McLaughlin concentrated on short-distance races with Trappe Shot and the results have been excellent (three starts, three triple-digit Beyer). He just missed last time out in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt and draws a comfortable outside post from which he can stalk the pace.
Selections: TRAPPE SHOT, CALIBRACHOA, EUROEARS
Kelso - Belmont - Race 8:
A man has a right to change his mind. In my video preview of the race with Mike Beer (see below for links), I sided with UNCLE MO, last year's juvenile champion making his second start following a serious illness. And he is the most likely winner of the Kelso. But after some study, I'm going to try to beat him with JERSEY TOWN, the winner of the 2010 Cigar Mile for trainer Barclay Tagg. Jersey Town underwent ankle surgery after the Cigar and Tagg has taken it very slow with his Grade 1 winner. In his first start of the season, Jersey Town finished second behind the quick Force Freeze while defeating millionaire, and next-out 98-Beyer winner, Ravalo. Last time out, in the Grade 1 Forego, Jersey Town broke well, but was rated back to track the pace from the inside. He angled four wide turning for home and stayed on well to run second behind JACKSON BEND. Jersey Town has to improve, but he's shown a natural progression in his two starts since the surgery and may be ready for another forward move. He has sneaky early speed and may try to control this short field from the rail.
Selections: JERSEY TOWN, UNCLE MO, JACKSON BEND
Lady's Secret - Santa Anita - Race 6:
BLIND LUCK is a wonderful, wonderful filly that is going to be a deserving short price in the Lady's Secret. I'm not extremely confident, but I'll try to take her down with ZAZU, a three-year-old filly that is very consistent. Two back, Zazu received a perfect ground-saving trip on her way to winning the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks over cushion track. Last time out, in her first race against her elders in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar, Zazu again attempted to save ground, but she had to wait just a bit before shooting through the rail in upper stretch. She was moving strongly at the end, but race-winner ULTRA BLEND had most of the momentum and Zazu had to settle for second, beaten a neck. Zazu is capable on dirt and will get the jump on Blind Luck turning for home. This is a tall task, but Zazu is pretty solid.
Selections: ZAZU, BLIND LUCK, ASK THE MOON
Goodwood - Santa Anita - Race 7:
ACCLAMATION is likely to scratch from here to run Sunday on turf and that may leave GAME ON DUDE loose on the lead. Game On Dude may not have taken to the polytrack surface at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic and now gets back to the scene of his Big 'Cap win. He's going to be dangerous, but I'm looking for a big price with GOLDEN ITIZ, a horse trying dirt for the first time for trainer Ron Ellis. Golden Itiz hinted at being a player in the 3-year-old division last year after winning three of his first four races, but physical problems relegated him to the sidelines for the second half. Golden Itiz put up a big number sprinting two starts back before a dreadful performance over the polytrack in the San Diego Handicap. I'm hoping that the last race was more due to the surface than to any other factor. He'll be a big price in the Goodwood and deserves one more chance.
Selections: GOLDEN ITIZ, GAME ON DUDE, AWESOME GEM
Yellow Ribbon - Santa Anita - Race 10:
DUBAWI HEIGHTS had her four-race win streak snapped by the good Stacelita in the Grade 1 Beverly D., but Dubawi Heights earned her career-best Beyer in that excellent runner-up effort. She set moderate fractions, but gave up the inside to the pocket-sitting winner turning for home. Once passed, Dubawi Heights refused to quit and she tried hard all the way to the wire. She doesn't need the lead to succeed but she should be close when the real running begins. There are some good runners, as usual, in the Yellow Ribbon, but Dubawi Heights' 'A' race might be too tough for the rest.
Selections: DUBAWI HEIGHTS, MALIBU PIER, MEDAGLIA D'AMOUR
Clement L. Hirsch - Santa Anita (Sunday) - Race 4:
ACCLAMATION has won four in a row and figures to be wheeling-and-dealing on the lead in the Hirsch. He's been a revelation this year and figures extremely tough on Sunday. Still, I'm wondering if CHAMP PEGASUS will try to keep Acclamation somewhat honest for the backstretch run. That could set things up for IMPONENTE PURSE, a much-improved 5-year-old for trainer A. C. Avila. Imponente Purse saved ground in midpack behind a slow pace, but rallied nicely along the rail for third and galloped out with gusto. The Hirsch distance may be a bit short for Imponente Purse, but he's in excellent form and should be rallying stoutly in the lane. All he needs is a bit of pace.
Selections: IMPONENTE PURSE, ACCLAMATION, CHAMP PEGASUS
Here are quick and dirty selections for some of the other big stakes:
Turf Classic: CAPE BLANCO, MISSION APPROVED, TEAKS NORTH
Cotillion: IT'S TRICKY, PLUM PRETTY, LOVE AND PRIDE
Beldame: HAVRE DE GRACE, ROYAL DELTA, LIFE AT TEN
JCGC: FLAT OUT, STAY THIRSTY, RODMAN
Norfolk: DRILL, CREATIVE CAUSE, BASMATI
Miss Grillo: SLIP ALONG BAND, SWEET CAT, ALAURA MICHELE
Pilgrim: STATE OF PLAY, SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH, KNOCK ROCK
Oak Leaf: CANDREA, SILENT SAGE, WEEMISSFRANKIE
For a more detailed analysis, check out the videos that Mike Beer and I filmed earlier in the week.
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
Enjoy the races!
P6 Revised I didn't check the scratches before posting. Since it was before the first race, I would have substituted the 3 for the 5 in the 5th race at Belmont.
Ron Z, My nickname is "Gullible's Travels". Turning the horses the other direction wouldn't even cost any money, so that makes NYRA doubly dumb. Curt V, I have read that Life At Ten is going to be offered as a broodmare prospect at Keeneland November. I wonder if anyone will have the clout and cojones to ask for complete medical records for the entire time that mare was under TAP's care? I would be very wary of purchasing her with all the questions that still hang out there.....and she will probably go for a pretty penny.
DRF.. ROTD HOOSIER 9th BE MY LUCKY STAR could be my lucky star today! ... CHAAZZ
Tuesday notes... Sir Bernard Downes Nice to see that your feeling better. It was a profitable Super Saturday with the big priced winner Giant Ryan to the rescue... Many short priced winner's with the short fields and bad weather... It was family fun day with a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo on Sunday for me. We enjoyed the animals with a picnic on the grounds. Need to balance the gambling and the family time... Keith L The tutu was a little tight, but my play on Giant Ryan fixed that... It was fun watching the races on my lap top as the other mothers looked at me in a funny way...My girls looked great in dance and tap...I was the one that looked funny. LOL!!! Mike A Nice that you had that last minute to place your wager on Giant Ryan... He was the price play of the day in my eyes... Great form, speed ball, inside speed, great price at the windows. How is that idea of your own pink sheet going??? Your giving out winners all week long.... missed business opp... Where is the LOVE on my honey Chantal??? I thought that she rode a great ride on Game On Dude!!! No talk about it on the site??? Bullet Bob has stuck with her and she hasn't let him down...WTG Chantal!!! I still Love You !!! WTG to all of the winners over this past weekend!!! Biggest performance goes to Uncle MO. Looked robust and strong!!! Small field, yes, but looked great. Worst performance is a tie, Winchester and Blind Luck!!!! What happened to these monsters?? No fire in the gut? Didn't like the surface? Anybody want to chime in??? Taking a coulpe of days off and heading down to Foxwoods for a couple of tough all night poker sessions. Good Luck All !!! Whackymacky out!!!
Saturday Update. Redboarding, but it couldn't be helped. The good news: I hit the Giant Ryan/Force Freeze exacta AND the Stakes Pick 4. The bad news: I got a better ROI on the exacta=$6/$106.75 than I did on the P4=$8/$128.75. ========================================================= Steve T. We really had Plum Pretty pegged on the chat didn't we. It's a good thing she wasn't any more tired than she was. She might have lapped the field. She sure fooled me. Zazu may gobble her up in the LC though.
Mike A, Me either. As fans of the animal and the sport, we are so lucky that the injury didn't bring him down in deep stretch. Cape Blanco will probably heal up nicely and enjoy his new job. :) I've watched that stretch run so many times.........I can't identify a specific step and initially after the race, I discounted the lack of lead change to him being European and a tired horse from all the transatlantic travel. I suppose we'll never know whether the injury occurred under racing conditions or whether there was a pre-existing problem that someone missed.
"Better to retire her, find out what crap got loaded into her system and why it caused such a bad reaction last November, let the poor mare heal and then let her be a nice broodmare. This whole thing just turns me purple with rage." TBTA, That's it in a nutshell...Since that BC fiasco, she has gone downhill dramatically. I totally agree, something nefarious has been swept under the rug..........It's like they're running her, to say, see she was bad all along, & we can't find anything..while in fact, they are justifing just the opposite.. The powers that be need to investigate this..
BSB, We are talking about 2 different things. When I say "formula", I am talking about a handicapping process. There is no formula for finding the winner of every race from the PPs. There is no optimal way to weigh each handicapping factor so that every result can be explained. That, indeed, does not exist. You are talking about finding spot play situations which have produced a consistent percentage (but ROI?) through the years... like favorites have hit the board x% of the time over the last several years. That is playing percentages, but it's not the kind of handicapping formula I was referring to. The only formula of any kind I subscribe to is value: betting overlays = good; betting underlays = bad. I've been through the details of that enough already.
There is no shortage of people willing to consider the possibilty of parallel, alternate or baby universes . Everything from wormholes & blackholes to whiteholes & stronach holes are up for debate ,buttZ ... when it comes to a working racing formula that produces profit its near unanimous that none exist . To me this suggests that somebody told "The Big Lie" and it was repeated often enough to become accepted as fact without much inquiry. I don't believe that most people who insist there are NO formulas have ever attempted to discover one. They have not made extensive study in that realm. They are simply parroting "The Big Lie". Because its easier to say there are no formulas then it is to discover a formula the prevailing wisdom is there are no formulas. I'm not calling any blogger a liar. I'm just saying that truisms are not always true. I'm suggesting that anybody serious about racing should spend some time on developing methodology that works and can be repeated at a known rate . Of C-horse you need to know the avg. mutuel you can expect as well. (thats a hint C). RonZ was kind of homing in on that aspect last week. You need to use qualifying criteria that remain static unless you want to be constantly discarding and revising your "formula" that only works for a little while. (thats another hint)
MikeA , I was hoping for a few "what did that stronach hole just say" replies. LOL. You are right that one siZe does not fit all. I like this subject because I know some formulas, methods, equations or whatever someone chooses to call them that will produce profit. I'm positive that I don't know them all. I am amaZed that so many are willing to accept that "there are no formulas" without the slightest bit of investigation on their own. Most players want to believe racing is much more random & haphaZard than it actually need be. (race speculation can be as haphaZard or as orderly as the individual player chooses to make it) I know you don't consider it a lightning strike when you pop a longie. I know you don't think the difference between winning and losing is being lucky or unlucky. Thats not to say that lucky & unlucky doesn't happen in an individual horse race. Over the long long haul lucky & unlucky doesn't make most of the winners & losers. Okiesharp, glad you liked it. I like to have some fun when making a point. My formula/ method for entering the multiverses that I am familiar with is not for sale. I have from time to time given tutorials on formblog on how bloggers can discover their own new wormholes in the racing cosmos though.LOL. I've always considered Valdivia to be a competent rider. My off the cuff impression is that he's better on grass & better on closers. Steve T would probably have long term stats that show Valdivia in the proper light though. Steve or LSD are the guys that can give you more than an opinion on him. VQ, very funny. Do you think they should try me on some of those cats down in Guantanamo Bay ? LOL. Kelley_Belles , nice redboard kid. I'm happy to hear you had a good day !!
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