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Weekend Stakes Opinions
By Dan Illman
There's plenty of star power on display this weekend.
Kentucky Derby aspirants strut their stuff in Louisiana and Florida while three Breeders' Cup winners (AMAZOMBIE, PERFECT SHIRL, ROYAL DELTA) kick off their 2012 campaigns in some salty spots.
Let's take a look at some runners with price potential:
FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP - RACE 6 - FAIR GROUNDS:
ACHAEMENES (12-1 MORNING LINE, please note scratches of GLEAM OF HOPE, UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN and MISTER MARTI GRAS), a half-brother to Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic heroine Unrivaled Belle, may finally be realizing his potential for trainer Doug Matthews. A lightly-raced 4-year-old colt, Achaemenes takes a major step up in class, but looked pretty good in beating a pair of next-out winners in an 'n2x' optional claimer at Fair Grounds on January 7. After taking over the lead in uper stretch, Achaemenes seemed a bit green. He looked around for the competition, but was resurgent when tackled by a rallying Forbidden Forest. Achaemenes dug in gamely to prevail by a nose, galloped out nicely and should appreciate this added distance. He drew a comfortable inside post position and may work out a pace-tracking trip while saving some ground.
Selections: ACHAEMENES, MR. VEGAS, DUBIOUS MISS
TAMPA BAY STAKES - RACE 9 - TAMPA BAY:
This looks like one of the top betting races of the weekend with a full field of evenly-matched turf runners squaring off over the Tampa Bay Downs lawn. I must admit that I've never been a big fan of GUYS REWARD (6-1 MORNING LINE, scratch UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN), but his last race at Gulfstream was solid and he may be rounding into his best form as he makes the third start of the form cycle for trainer Dale Romans. Two starts back, in his first appearance in over two months, Guys Reward chased the sharp Little Mike and could only finish evenly after that one controlled things on the front end with a facile 24.13 opening quarter. Last time out, in the Grade 3 Fort Lauderdale, Guys Reward raced in and among horses on the backstretch and was in a little bit of traffic turning for home. He split rivals in upper stretch and was only beaten a length at the wire. Guys Reward has a touch of back class as he has placed in three Grade 3 events during his career. He should get some pace to attack in this spot and figures to be rallying in the lane.
Selections: GUYS REWARD, SUCCESSFUL MISSION, ROMAN TIGER
MINESHAFT HANDICAP - FAIR GROUNDS - RACE 9:
I had hoped for FAST ALEX (5-1 MORNING LINE) to be lost in the shuffle, but three scratches (COOL BLUE RED HOT, PANTS ON FIRE, GLADDING) may depress his odds. Fast Alex is in career form over his favorite track. He registered a pair of 99 Beyers in his first two starts at this meet and was very game in winning the Tenacious Handicap here on December 17. Most recently, he attempted to rally over a speed-favoring surface while bogged down on the rail and just couldn't get to the pacesetting THISKYHASNOLIMIT, falling a length shy at the wire. It's possible that TRES BORRACHOS will take up the mantle of pacesetter this time around. If the pace is a bit quicker, Fast Alex can take advantage late.
Selections: FAST ALEX, THISKYHASNOLIMIT, ALMA D'ORO
MAC DIARMIDA (Sunday) - GULFSTREAM - RACE 10:
NEWSDAD (6-1 morning line) looked like a proper stakes horse in wiring a solid field of 'n2x' optional claimers on January 28 and could wind up the main speed in a virtually paceless edition of the Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. Newsdad, third in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes here last season, has improved since trainer Bill Mott added blinkers and stretched Newsdad out in distance. Newsdad broke the track record for 1 1/4 miles over the Keeneland polytrack four back and handled his opponents last time out at 1 7/16 miles under mostly hand urging from Julien Leparoux. He'll have to defeat a pair of hickory veterans in MUSKETIER and SIMMARD (troubled when beaten by stablemate Musketier in the W.L. McKnight Handicap on November 26), but should get the jump on those two turning for home.
Selections: NEWSDAD, MUSKETIER, SIMMARD
Here are some quick and dirty selections:
Sabin: ROYAL DELTA, GROUPIE DOLL, AWESOME MARIA
Rachel Alexandra (scratch APPLAUDING): BELIEVE YOU CAN, SUMMER APPLAUSE, INNY MINNIE
Davona Dale: GRACE HALL, THE CAT'S ALL THAT, FROLIC'S REVENGE
Risen Star: EL PADRINO, MARK VALESKI, Z DAGER
San Carlos: THE FACTOR, SWAY AWAY, AMAZOMBIE
Fountain of Youth (Sunday): ALGORITHMS, DISCREET DANCER, UNION RAGS
For a more detailed analysis, please check out the videos that Mike Beer and I produced under the "Handicapping Preview" heading:
More importantly, who do you like? I want to know.
I'll be back early next week with some past performance requests, the weekend recap and more. Once our HandiGambling winner is declared official, he or she should e-mail email@example.com in order to claim the prize package.
Have a great weekend!
p ensign Debbi Hoonan is a terrific jockey. She is currently 2nd in the PM standings for $$$ won. Besides winning half of that late pick 4 you mentioned yesterday, she brought in an $81 horse in the 1st. Anyone playing PM should give her a close look. She is very competitive. At Turf Paradise 6 of the top 15 in the standings are female. Anne Von Rosen is winning at a 24% which I believe puts her at or near the top percentage wise. She has fewer mounts, so is down the list sways for $$$ won. You are correct about Chantal not being the only good female rider on the planet. Dick W
P_Ensign Glad to hear Tammi is winning. She is a big hit at Suffolk and is known to get them home in front. Depresses the prices though.
oops, forgot the best win of all the previously "1 for a hunnerd-something" Shawna Whiteside winning with a firster up at PM!
played some interesting tracks yesterday - PM, Beu, TurfP the whacky results Deborah Hoonan and Eliska Kubinova tag teamed the late p4 @ PM Amanda Tamburello took the late double at Beu Tammi Piermarini took the penultimate at TurfP just saying, Chantal ain't the only pretty girl one can follow to make big bucks...
******ANNIE******** KNM, Good news on SKY! He's bearing weight on all four legs, moving well and has a good appetite. Prognosis is good. He's being such a good boy, which is so important to his recovery. If they go thrashing around, they can mess things up while they're healing. Annie
To Matt Kenseth, with apologies to James Taylor: I've seen fire and I've seen Rain I've seen a 42 hour race that I thought would never end I know you've seen times when you thought you'd never find a friend But I always thought I'd see you again! Congratutions Matt on your 2nd Daytona 500 Victory. Keith L.
Alan Levitt I was very interested in your post regarding On Live Desktop for your iPad. I was also a bit confused by it. I also have an ipad2. Like you (and everyone else who has an iPad), not having Adobe Flash is my biggest complaint. In fact, it is my ONLY complaint. Maybe you can clarify a couple of points for me. First, you mentioned that that past performance PDFs do not look great with Adobe reader. Do you mean this is the case if you are accessing them thru On Live Desktop ? Because I use the DRF or Bris PDF PPs all the time and they look great (I don't have On Live Desktop). I actually prefer using the DRF PDF PPs over Formulator anyway. My other question has to do with your statement about not being able to loG in to DRF via On Live Desktop. I do all of my wagering thru DRF bets. It doesn't all work perfectly, but well enough. But, of course once I have placed my wager, I am unable to watch the video because I don't have Adobe flash. So I just wait for the results. Obviously, this is not ideal. My question to you is this: would I be able to make my wager via DRF bets and then watch the video if I had On Live Desktop ? Your post, while somewhat encouraging to me, did not make me want to run right out and get a copy of On Live Desktop. In general, if I wanted windows, office, IE, etc, I would have bought a PC in the first place instead of an iPad. Like, you I love my iPad and take it everywhere I go and am very satisfied with it's performance except for the above mentioned missing video capability. Thanks for any additional enlightenment to can pass my way. It will be very interesting to see what the new version will include. We will soon know. Dick W
***********ANNIE********* SR Vegas, LUCK - Episode 5: Ace and Gus are lounging in Ace's hotel room waiting for Claire to come and pick up the donation check. She doesn't show. They sit around thinking up reasons why she didn't come or call. LOL She finally shows up the next morning, but with no explanation. Ace tells her she looks like she needs a couple of hours of sleep. Methinks the innocent Claire has some secrets of her own. :) Anyway, she accepts the check and Ace asks her if she would like to go to the races later because Gus noticed that Pint of Plain, their Irish Stakes winner, also known as POP was entered in a race. She was noncommital. Ace is upset that Escalante entered the horse without consulting with him and has bug boy, Leon, riding. Ace has Escalante figured out and knows that he is planning to bet the horse and will get better odds with the bug boy. Claire gets back to her place, opens the envelope to look at the check. It is for $367,000 instead of the $220,000 she asked for. She decides to go to the track with Ace. Ahuh. In the meantime, Ace goes to the barn and confronts Escalante. He wants an experienced jockey on the horse. He gives Escalante 5K and tells him to give it to the jockey to make up for it. Escalante doesn't like Ace telling him what to do. But, you know who is going to win here. :) He asks him why he is giving him heat, and Ace says, "So I can find out if you are a gambler or a trainer." Ace, Gus and Claire go to watch the race. Escalante tells them "Use my box." Ace tells him, "I want you to watch it with us." He knows Escalante is planning to go bet the horse. Escalante has no choice and knows he's not going to get away with anything with this owner. LOL POP wins the race, but his leg is cut by a flying horseshoe. Jill examines him and wants to take an ultrasound to see if there is tissue damage but has to wait about 12 hours until the swelling goes down. Gus wants to stay with the horse, but Ace sends him to take Claire home and he sits on a low chair outside POP's stall and falls asleep until POP nuzzles him. Ace pets the horse's face. Ace and POP are bonding. :) Back at the motel where the trackrats stay, Kagle, the security guard/loan shark that was always charging Jerry an exorbitant vig for loans and didn't play Jerry's winning picks in the pick 6, shows up because he has been fired by the track and thinks Marcus (guy in wheel chair) squealed on him. Which he did not, of course. At least I think not. Kagle and Jerry go outside and Kagle tells him that he's tapped and asks Jerry to loan him 10K at that high rate. But Jerry just gives him 1K, no vig. Jerry decides not to go to the casino and goes back inside. He and Marcus have a talk. Marcus is always worrying about Jerry and read in his Diary that he had lost $286,000 to Leo Chan in that private game. Jerry apparently worries about him too, because he takes him to the hospital because he has been wheezing so bad. Dr. tells Marcus it is stress that is causing his worsening symptoms. Asks him if he has anyone to talk to. Marcus says "A horse." Dr. says, "That's not bad." :) The stuttering agent, Joey, is having a rough time. Ronnie Jenkins got himself another agent and Leon is all upset about losing the mount on the Stakes horse. Not only that, he's made several calls to his ex-wife's voicemail, (telling her he's doing good), but she doesn't return his calls. He sits at the bar, drinking and crying. The preview of next week's episode looks really, really bad for Joey. That's about it. Oh, btw, the British, Scottish, whatever guy that Ace had a meeting with last week is the infamous Mike, the guy who's cocaine stash sent Ace to jail. Annie
Anybody see what happened to BATALHA in the 6th at Santa Anita yesterday? She was almost immediately pulled up, but then apparently lost the rider, and one of the HRTV commentators made some reference to her galloping down the stretch alone? Was she injured or?? (Byrama, the winner, and June Cleaver, second, in that race both look like potential good ones to me. Despite all the times I have said a horse looked like it had potential and been very wrong! Stormberg did actually break his maiden, in MSW yet, the other day, however many years after it was that I proclaimed him a Derby prospect)
Dan, I miss you on TVG. You were entertaining and always had good input and you put Matt in his place. I value your opinions and your style. What happenned with DRF and TVG. Did TVG try and shake DRF down for bigger cut? TVG acts like most racetracks thinking they are the only game in town.They have a set of balls demanding a monthly fee to bet with them when internet gambling is everywhere.You can also veiw racing on the net. What are they offering that people would want to open an account with them. The only reason I watch TVG is because my provider doesn't have HRTV. They made a bad choice in taking Oaklawn over Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay offers much more competitive races and they have grass racing.
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