10/29/2010 4:31PM

Weekend Stakes Opinions

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Let's take a quick look at some of this weekend's major stakes races:

TURNBACK THE ALARM HANDICAP - Belmont Park - Race 6:

FUNNY MOON figures to take the lion's share of the wagering as the Grade 1 winner has been facing tougher competitors like Life At Ten during the year, and she should really appreciate the class relief presented to her in the Turnback the Alarm.  Still, she wasn't very good in a weak renewal of the Grade 1 Spinster over polytrack last time out, and lacks an explosive move.  You know what you're going to get from Funny Moon, and that's a good, honest effort.  Sometimes, that's good enough to win.  Other times, it's not. 
If OUR KHRYSTY runs back to her most recent race, I think she's going to give Funny Moon all that the favorite can handle.  Making her first start in a one-turn route on September 26, Our Khrysty sat the pocket under Ramon Dominguez, and was in behind horses at the quarter-pole.  She ducked to the inside, squeezed through a narrow opening, and then eased outside in midstretch to inhale BANKER'S BUY with a sixteenth to run.  It was a career-best number for Our Khrysty, and the recent bullet workout at her Penn National base allays fears of a bounce.  Our Khrysty has good tactical speed, and I believe she'll get the jump on Funny Moon turning for home.
Selections:  Our Khrysty, Funny Moon, Way With Words

BOLD RULER HANDICAP - Belmont Park - Race 9:

I don't love the two betting favorites so I will merely take a stab with an in-form price runner. 
BRIBON looms the chalk as the Grade 1 winner has faced stiff competition in his last few races.  But, following a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Forego, Bribon reportedly missed ten days of training after shedding a frog from his left front foot.  Plus, one must wonder if Bribon is using this race as a prep for the rich Cigar Mile at Aqueduct next month. 
TAHITIAN WARRIOR also figures to take play, but the Godolphin flagbearer had no excuse when upset at 1-5 odds by the unheralded Birdrun over a speed-favoring surface on September 22.  Tahitian Warrior has certainly run races that are fast enough to win the Bold Ruler, but you could make the argument that he's never beaten a good horse in his career. 
I ended up making a case for JACK ON THE ROCKS, a reformed claimer that won the Maryland Million Sprint in game fashion on October 2.  He scooted right to the front at Laurel that afternoon, was passed by the veteran Celtic Innis in the stretch, but gamely roared back along the inside to regain the lead in the shadow of the wire.  He has excellent early speed, and may attempt to steal this one on the front end.  It won't be easy, but the price will be square.
Selections:  Jack on the Rocks, Tahitian Warrior, Jersey Town

POCAHONTAS STAKES - Churchill Downs (Sunday) - Race 10:

HONEY CHILE and DANCINGINHERDREAMS both look very tough, but they figure to take most of the betting, and I'll try to make a case for a better-priced alternative. 
Honey Chile earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure when winning a 'n2L' allowance over the Keeneland polytrack on October 9, but the main track at Keeneland that day seemed to greatly favor speed horses, and Honey Chile dictated terms throughout in that affair.  Her only career defeat came at this one-turn mile distance, and she's never raced on dirt. 
Dancinginherdreams looked like a stakes horse when looping the field to win her heavily-backed debut at Keeneland, but she's going to have to stretch out a quarter-mile while racing on dirt for the first time.  If you watched her debut, you got the feeling that this gray filly has the potential to be a very good horse. 
I'm not sure how good GRAN LIONESS will eventually become, but she looked just fine winning an entry-level allowance over dirt at Hoosier Park on September 25.  She tracked the leaders while three wide, assumed command late on the turn, and drew away to win as much the best.  She's been given some time to recover from that effort, and will go out for the high-percentage Bret Calhoun barn.  Gran Lioness has good tactical speed, and should offer square odds.
Selections:  Gran Lioness, Honey Chile, Dancinginherdreams

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

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I may be a little late in updating poster comments over the weekend as I'll be swamped with Breeders' Cup Baby profiles (hopefully posted on Monday), the "Performance of the Week" column for DRF Simulcast Weekly (also expected to post on Monday), and tons of other good stuff in preparation for next week's Breeders' Cup

Enjoy the good weekend of racing.

Dan

blackseabass More than 1 year ago
More on maidens, when looking at works, 5 or 6 f works tell something. In the east the trainers tend to go 4f more than they do in the west. But for maidens that have been working 5 or 6 f you can project them 3-5 lengths faster than they work and not be far off. 6f gate works 5-10 lengths i.e. working 112 g its not unreasonable that the horse can run 110 change in a real race. In the east horses are working a million different places so its probably a little harder to interpret works. In the west there are really only a handful of places to train. On 1sters if I'm including them in exotics I prefer 3 or at least 2 gate works. I know some could look at it opposite and think 4 gate works might indicate a troublesome gate demeanor. I look at it as being prepared to deal with loading. Just my opinion, I couldn't give a statistic to back it up,just personal preference.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
How times have changed... I can remember when we used to have 250-300 entries on Cowboy Dan's Blog during the week before the Derby and other Big Race's. Here we are on Wednesday and since Dan wrote on the 29th, we have 99 entries in 5 full day's. In my Math class that is 20 per day!!!!!! Sad, Sad, Sad. What is going on here? Were are all of the great mind"s?? I need some help here. I am in the RED, and I am looking for that 10-1 shot to bail me out!!! I know that one of the old great mind's can navigate through this mess and find that longshot. I need $1,000 to win on that 10-1. I like Gio Ponti myself. The M/L's are so far off. We all need to take a step back and wait until Friday and Saturday morning. We will be more confused than focused. Go out and rake some leave's with the kid's or go to the movies and watch SECRETARIAT!!! THAT SHOULD GET THE BLOOD PUMPING!!!! Listen to Mike A. He only has 40 years of playing Horse's in his back pocket!! Weather may be a factor, scatches also. Some Horse might even step on a safety pin!!! Blackstone See what I know. I bet the Rangers in 6. WTG my friend. At least you didn't have to wait in that long line at the Golden Gate Bridge if they lost. LOL They proved best. You can rest in peace and just one more thing will do. The great Zenyatta will coast home in that long stretch at CD and finish up 20-20. I am a little bit worried for her. She might move to early and play around. Good luck to you my friend. Best to all of Dan' loyal follower's!!! And to you Dan. You are the best. Keep on rolling with those winner's Whackymacky Out!!!
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
the Van Gogh, It seems BSB has been spotted UNDER the bridge, setting up all them brown boxes for his new home away from home........heeheheehee.......... Mike A. Should have taken your advice & saw what you said. I didn't read between the{your} lines. It sure is tough trying to pick races where nobody seems to have raced. It aint nothing but a crapshoot..all 2yr. olds..Chalk-ville..{Sunday prior @Belmont}. Boy that place sure is intimidating..I didn't get passed the Clubhouse Paddock section of the 1st floor. You can't even see horses run live w/o a telescope attached to your head....Some place though.......see you next Saturday, I hope...This time I've got to drive thru Manhattan, instead of the Bronx......Lucky me.......I got lost 27 total miles, but still made it 10 minutes ahead of my projected time...I guess that's what 90+ MPH will do 4 U on the Freeway.........>>>>>>re--muctirs that...>>I concur....... Curt V.
steve taylor More than 1 year ago
Got thru first 2 bc races today. As much as I respect Chris Block, if Giant Oak is issue best marathon horse, I'll take a European! In 2yo turf fillie, Together looks like the most talented but, Dan and fellow bloggers, is she over the top and warn out from a tough 2yo season?
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
P.Ensign , Nice stats. It looks like the guys that set the order know how to put the hard ones in the sequence. In those sequences the 1st-- 4th choices are about 15% below their agregate norm. The 7th & 8th choices are cracking at double their aggregate rate. There is a way to know when lightning has a better chance to strike and its in those charts. There is a way to tell when its good for the favorite too. If you look at what I'm not harping on. Nice post. BSB
Mike A More than 1 year ago
BSB To each there own, after 41 years I know how to bet maiden races, I've won betting maiden races, I won't bet races where 75% of the runners never ran before. Repeat of yesterday.....I'll leave the rest to you, let me know how you do. TBTA...........I'm sorry dear, thank you......SR Vegas......I take it back. KYL Syndicate.......... I don't believe Kathmanblu is better than Winter Memories......just my guess. Steven Taylor.......The 2 yr old euro fillies don't impress me at all. I hope they do take money, I have an interesting longshot in that race........post on Friday. If Kinsale King wins the sprint that will be a feather in my " seeing the potential in a horse cap" Since I saw something last year and posted it. Curt......It's why I didn't go.......saw some future bets though.....Can'tstoplovingsue.......write it down. Mike A
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey, thanks for explaining the cancel delay. Would the delay also allow last second wagering on the horse that caught a 3 length flyer from the gate ? Does the door swing both ways ? Thanks again for the answers. BSB
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Curt V, I use driftwood covered with black plastic super market bags (known as Blackseabags to west coast fisherman and beachgoers ). The Brown boxes are for my mattress. Instead of newspapers for a blanket, I use huge piles of losing tickets collected off the floor at the track in search of a discarded winner. The top of the bridge is my sundeck.From there I can watch the NASCAR races up and down the Grapevine from the front row. I never jump off the bridge unless the cops are chasing me. LOL.
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Now that we have the final PP's, here is my take on the California runners. I will try to post the rest later tonight: BREEDERS CUP – Pre BC Race (2) #1 SOLAR ROCKET (7/2) – this late starting ridgling was looking really good before going on the DL, beating Pious David and Bridging last out. Now back for his first off the layoff, first on dirt and first against winners. He is absolutely capable and has the works to back it up (two 1.11 type 6F drills). Is there any value in a relaunch with a bunch of firsts? Although he is very capable, that is a lot of new stuff to deal with and at 7/2 I think there is more downside than up. #6 DREAM NOW (12/1) – now here is one that could be worth the bet, he is an MDO who has yet to try dirt and there is a real chance that he will move way forward in his first dirt run. What I don’t like is the record of horses from Canani’s barn going to another trainer, they almost always regress. If he looks good on the track and the odds are 15/1+, I would absolutely give him a go. BREEDERS CUP – Pre BC Race 3 (The Jimmy V) #4 DON TITO – has two wins on dirt at Calder and won in his last at Hollywood, and looked real good hanging one on Indian Blessing’s brother Spaniard. Has recovered nicely from bad starts and I think he has a lot of upside. Rosario stays and Sadler only ships when he thinks he has a strong chance. At 6/1 or above he is a bargain. #7 BULLDOGGER (4/1) – is a true need the lead type, and if he doesn’t have the lead he is probably toast. The good news is there is not a ton of speed here, Martin Garcia stays and it is 6F. He is competitive in this field but I think he is on the low side of the risk/reward continuum. #9 NOBLE’S PROMISE (9/2) – has three runs on dirt and one place to show for it. Tough place to make your post-layoff debut but he is always around at the end. Here is the good part – the outside post is a huge plus for him. Works are very good, McPeek hits 17% off the DL and I think he is a true sprinter. Live. BREEDERS CUP – Ack Ack Handicap #2 STREAM CAT (15/1) – coming in off a year long layoff for a new trainer and his first dirt run in years. His track record in his first off layoffs is not good, and his last win was at 12F. Has some stellar works, but he is now 7 and he only has a win and a show in his last ten. Only for the mentally deranged. BREEDERS CUP – Marathon #5 ROMP (50/1) – I hate to say it, but I think the old boy could actually hang one on these at ridiculous odds. Why in the world would I back a 4/41 older runner? The biggest reason is his new trainer, Kristin Mulhall – she is firing on all cylinders and she is on her way to being a trainer to be reckoned with. His works are excellent, his last was his best, and he was flying at the end, something he has never done before. I would really like to see Quinonez on him for this ride, but Rosario works. Yes I know he looks helpless, but I think he has a legitimate shot. #7 AWESOME GEM (7/2) – he should have been running in marathons for a while, he has the prototypical style, that relentless creep forward furlong after furlong. He does not have a devastating late kick but he will wear your ass out. Reminds me a lot of Drosselmeyer. Unfortunately everybody else knows he has the chops for this race and there isn’t much value. But he is where he should be and he is no slouch. BREEDERS CUP – Filly and Mare Sprint #5 EVENING JEWEL (15/1) – this is one tough filly who was nipped at the wire by Blind Luck in the Kentucky Oaks, her only start on dirt. She will be discounted because she is primarily a router, but her last sprint was against the boys and uber sprinter Caracortado beat her by a length and a half. If she goes at 15/1 I would empty the bank account. She has missed the board ONCE in her 13 races, in her debut. She was the last to beat Harmonious and finished right behind Blind Luck twice. Very live, very tough and 15/1 would be reason to take a long hard look. #7 GABBY’S GOLDEN GAL (15/1) – looks to be the wise guy in this race, but I am not high on her at all. Baffert is strong off of layoffs but I think there is too much speed in here and she will be swallowed up mid-stretch. Works are strong, Garcia is 1/1 on her and she is 2/4 on dirt. I think she needed a race before showing up here. I can’t see her withstanding Evening Jewel and Switch or any of the easterners. Pass. #8 SWEET AUGUST MOON (30/1) – is a certifiable nut case who has more quirks than you can count. Her wins have come from the inside and we all know that Mike Smith will only take Z down low. I think she moves way forward in her first dirt run, but she will be taken wide and that will be that. I have made a ton of money on her as she pops up at the most inopportune times, but this is probably too good a field. She is another who might love dirt and her dirt works are very strong, and she does make huge jumps in her second off of layoffs. Stranger things have happened. #9 SWITCH (20/1) – this is a seriously tough filly who is improving with each run; her last against the Amazon Queen almost cost Z her unbeaten record. She is ideal at a mile, but she can sprint and although she was caught by the likes of Amen Hallelujah, Fannie Freud and Devil May Care early in her career she is a much stronger filly today. Rosario is the perfect pilot for her and she has worked bullets at Hollywood (:57/3) and at Churchill (:47 flat). Look out, look out, look out!!!
kchris More than 1 year ago
Good call in "Switch," Stevie T. "Rightly So" looks to be lone speed, and "Secret Gypsy" will get a perfect trip. I think those 3 make up the tri.
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Haven't handicapped anything in a serious way but here's some Big Balloons (as Harvey Pack would say) - really big. Romp in the Marathon (50-1 ML) I noticed this horse only because the trainer, Kristen Mulhall, had an unbelievable streak going at the Oak Tree meet ( 10 -6-2-0 .60) and my fond memories of how unremarkable South American horses would suddenly jump up and win the old Santa Anita Hillside Distance Series races. I may reconsider after I look at the pp's, but seriously, a couple of bucks here could bankroll the whole day. Also gets Garcia who gets a ton of run out of horses, seemingly without arguing with them. Suppose he easily gets to the front? Holding off really handicapping for another day -- just enjoying the anticipation.