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Weekend thoughts, etc.
Here are some price horses that may be worth watching on Saturday:
Paumonok (Race 3 - Aqueduct)
Driven by Success is obviously the horse to beat based on his company lines, speed figures, and the fact he may be lone speed, but his last race wasn't pretty (basically eased in upper stretch of the Cigar Mile).
I'll take a chance instead with Wall Street Wonder, a newly-turned four-year-old that beat a pair of next-out winners with ridiculous ease in an entry-level allowance race on the inner last time out. The runner-up that Wall Street Wonder toyed with that day, Rereadthefootnotes, returned to win by six lengths with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Here's hoping Wall Street Wonder can handle the hike in class.
Selection: Wall Street Wonder (4-1 ML)
Holy Bull (Race 9 - Gulfstream)
Think newly-purchased Jackson Bend is the horse to beat in this one-turn mile as he draws a comfortable outside post, but I'll give one final chance to the horse he beat in the Florida Stallion In Reality, Thank U Philippe.
This is a horse that seems difficult to ride (he always looks to be hard-ridden midway through the running), but the addition of blinkers may add more speed and focus to his arsenal. Note that trainer Marty Wolfson is 5-9 (56%, $4.40 ROI) with first-time blinkered runners over the past three years. He figures a good price on Saturday and just chased a quality Todd Pletcher-trained prospect in Eskendereya.
Selection: Thank U Philippe (8-1 morning line)
Colonel E. R. Bradley (Race 6 - Fair Grounds)
El Caballo looms the horse to beat on paper with three of his last four races earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, but he's been off since June after trainer Ralph Nicks detected the "start of a condylar fracture." He's obviously dangerous, but I'll let him beat me as the favorite.
Get Rich Quick finished evenly in his first start of the form cycle, and I'm hoping that this horse for course (3-8 over the Stall-Wilson grass course, 1-16 elsewhere) will show some more with that race under his belt.
Selection: Get Rich Quick (6-1 morning line)
LeComte (Race 10 - Fair Grounds)
A wide-open event so I'll look for a longer-priced runner. Callide Valley won his maiden in an off-the-turf race at Saratoga last year, but hasn't really asserted himself in his subsequent races. He adds blinkers for the first time on Saturday and figures to be prominently-placed. His solid barn is showing confidence by placing him in this graded event despite his most recent flop so I'll give him another try at a price.
Selection: Callide Valley (10-1 morning line)
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
I looked back as far as I could to see if any horse won Horse of the Year while only running in one state for the entire year and I couldn't find any. Has any horse ever won Horse of the Year without having won and/or run in at least two states (or countries)?
Kotashaan (1993) raced exclusively in Southern California before shipping to Japan for the Japan Cap so I guess that doesn't count.
Before that, Ferdinand (1987) raced exclusively in Southern California. Here is a listing of his races from that season:
1/18 - San Fernando Stakes (Santa Anita)
2/8 - Charles H. Strub Stakes (Santa Anita)
3/8 - Santa Anita Handicap (Santa Anita)
3/29 - San Luis Rey Stakes (Santa Anita)
5/10 - John Henry Handicap (Hollywood)
6/7 - Californian Stakes (Hollywood)
6/28 - Hollywood Gold Cup (Hollywood)
8/29 - Cabrillo Handicap (Del Mar)
11/7 - Goodwood Handicap (Santa Anita)
11/21 - Breeders' Cup Classic (Hollywood)
Ferdinand lost his first six races that season but won his last four including a nose victory over Alysheba in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The only three times Ferdinand raced outside of Southern California in his 29-race career was during the Triple Crown series of 1986.
My horse waatch today has the 4 furlong Caldar wokout for Piccitelli, the Victory Gallop 3 yo Sharon noted above, but also has two previously mid-December 3 furlong workouts at Caldar as 1st time notifications. Was this horse recently discovered by DRF to have been working "under the radar"?
In this case, Equibase has been misspelling the horse's name and we had not received the proper data. He should have seven regularly-spaced workouts since early December.
I would like to get in on the handicapping exercise for today. Do you offer free pp's for the race in question, or do you have to purchase the pp's? Since I don't plan on going today to bet, and I don't have an account with drf, I wouldn't buy a racing form today just for the fun of making my picks and comparing notes with others. Turf races are my favorite, and I'd love to see the race and make my selections, and compare my reasoning with others. Thanks
Welcome aboard, Barbara! Our HandiGambling exercises are weekly (usually a Wednesday) and the past performances for the race are usually published (for free) on Monday afternoon. We look forward to hearing your opinions!
Dan and other FormBloggers,
Does anyone know, outside of Calracing.com, where one can see race replays for free?
Try checking out the individual websites for a particular racetrack. Tampa Bay Downs, for example, has free replays for their races.
Dan-a question about the difference between the printed and online version of the form: why doesn't the printed form carry the trainer/jockey/post position stats by track that the online version has and makes available. For me, this is a major reason why I rarely use the printed version as I rely a lot on those particular stats. One current example-with all the stake races at the Fair Grounds this weekend, the importance of those numbers can't be overstated for someone like me-primairly because I don't play FG a lot, and have little commited to memory.
It's a space issue. Usually the paper carries such statistics but unfortunately they don't appear in Saturday's paper.
See you Monday.
Very interesting analysis on a challenging race by all the bloggers;thanks Jim Tully for the selection. Interesting that Charlie Papa has won more races at the distance than the rest of the field combined. While he is 9 years old he still appears to have enough zip left to affect the outcome of the race. I believe that Charlie and Streamin Heat will both go for the lead and battle each other for an extended time, but ultimately setting the race up for others to win. The others I have come down to are the 3, Candy Cone, the 5,Browning, and the 8 Summer Flight. The 3 gets a positive rider switch, the 5 will close, and the 8 was close last time and Catalano's numbers are excellent 2nd off. I will structure my HG bet as follows: $5 tri box 3,5,8; $5 Tri PW 3,8/3,8/2,5,9; $5 Sup PW 3,8/3,8/5/2,9; $5 Sup PW 3,8/3,8/2,9/5 Good luck to everyone and I will enjoy watching the race.
Annie: Tempted to Tapit. Not sure if he'll be on the Derby Trail but if they try and no one else has him may I? And if not anyone left? Stella
tinky, Here is what I wrote about both JB and WH: "But the two top horses were clearly the two best in this race; I think JB may have needed the race and WH may not have even been as sharp as he could have been givin(sp) his last work..." So, while I may mildly disagree with you on the pace issue (after all, the frontrunners ran a sub 22 second furlong if you believe the fractions), I already was in agreement that WH may not have been fully cranked. BTW, the runup to the first call at the mile races at GP produces a time that is actually slower than they were going. So, its apples to oranges comparing fractions from the 6 or 7 furlong races on dirt to that odd mile. Indeed, Steve Crist noted the same thing. Here is an except from his blog: "Saturday's other graded Derby prep, the G3 $150k Holy Bull at Gulfstream, earned a 91 Beyer for the victorious Winslow Homer, but the entire race may have been better than it looked on final time, given an unusually strong pace in which most of the leading contenders were involved. Early fractions of 23.86 and 45.76 may not sound blazing, but they are for Gulfstream's oddly-timed (virtually no run-up) one-turn miles. The opening halves in the day's two other races at that distance were run in 48.23 and 48.18. In the Holy Bull, there were five horses just heads apart through the opening quarter, including Jackson Bend, who was under pressure from start to finish and arguably ran as well as the winner. Winslow Homer was just off the hot fractions, moved well to the lead, and outlinished Jackson Bend by three-quarters of a length in 1:35.97. The final quarter of 26.33 doesn't immediately make you smell roses, but the pace took a toll. IF you believe the posted fractions, the entire field ran sub-22 second quarters" Given that the other contenders on that lead pace did not go on, JB needs to be given props for doing just that. And a 45 and change at 1 mile at GP is faster than 45 and change at GP at 6 furlongs. Indeed, several noted racing "experts" have written articles about this phenomena. BTW, am I understanding you to be saying that a good 3 year old Derby contender should be able to run up on that hot pace and keep going? That would make the rest of the field that faded in the stretch not legit and with no excuses, correct? The bottom line is one horse may not have been fully cranked but he had a perfect trip and was not under pressure the entire race. The other horse had been off for 90 plus days, yet, as Crist said, arguably ran every bit as nice as a race. I think WH is a nice colt. I also like his chances stretching out to 9f and above. But I would LOVE to see him outfinish JB at 8 or 9 furlongs when that one has not had such a strong pace to run on, and hasn;t lost 3/4 of a lengths being swung 4-5 out on the turn. That's all.
Spartan Tom, I see your Super Saver has finally started breezing. That's why I didn't want to start replacing missing horses too early, because some of them are just getting a little winter vacation and will be popping up soon. Annie
Caseyjeaux, Well, Blackstone has revealed my magic method of keeping track of errant posts. LOL How she got her post way back on that thread is still a mystery, because even if you scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the page before typing a comment, you wouldn't go all the way back to July. Annie
Calvin, There's always something about the early preps at Fairgrounds that prevent me from getting excited over these deep closers. Remember when Pyro supposedly ran a 10 second final furlong from dead last, or Friesan Fire's late runs last year? I think it's a combination of the way the track often plays towards front-runners and the lack of decent horses in the fields. I wouldn't be totally surprised to see Ron the Greek make another "bold" run in the Risen Star and/or Louisiana Derby if he faces a similar group again. Let's see him do it on the first Saturday in May at Churchill. Right now, I'm leaning towards looking elsewhere. It's early though. Steve, I believe all of those post position stats are available through Formulator and perhaps some regional editions of the DRF print version. Nothing in those stats leaped out at me too much.
At Lucky's, I'm pretty sure the Derby odds next postng will show Jackson Bend going up a few points, as his perceived inability to "crush" his opposition will dictate. Might make him even more attractive as a futures bet? As to the post race analysis: to say Winslow Homer had a "perfect trip" is kind of missing the fact that the horse bumped at the start, got momentarily steadied and had to wait behind tiring speed. Jackson Bend got the trip that Zito seemed to say he wamted for the horse outside post gave him the ability to run free of trouble. Whether he ran three or four path wide didn't bother the trainer, I assume. Both horses got a lot out of the race...conditioning and experience and earnings related.
vicstu – First of all, reading pace accurately is much more about knowing the horses and watching races than it is parsing out fractional times. In the Holy Bull there wasn't a single true "speed" horse in the field. In fact, only two horses in the field had ever been in front at the first or second call of a sprint race – and those were maiden races! Let that sink in for a moment. There wasn't a single truly fast (pace-type) horse in the field, and yet you and Crist (apparently) are arguing that it was an enervating pace? For that to have been the case, one would have had to have seen multiple horses ridden hard – totally contrary to their natural running styles – and fighting for the lead. Did you see that? I didn’t see anything of the sort. Furthermore, anytime one sees multiple horses racing up close to the pace, it suggests that the pace is probably not terribly strong. Add to that the fact that the horses which were one-two at the half and ¾ calls finished fourth and fifth, beaten only a length and a half by a horse (Williams Kitten) which, from your perspective, had the big advantage of coming off of the pace. It is also worth noting that as WH was just a half-length behind JB at the half, could he really have enjoyed a big advantage? The sad fact is that the teletimer at Gulfstream may be the least reliable in the industry. That’s not to say that I don’t believe the posted fractions for that race, but it is another reason not to over-rely on charts for pace analyses. So setting aside the fractions, and given that the track was demonstrably speed-favoring on the day, does your visual reading of the race lead you to the conclusion that it featured an exceptionally fast pace, and that those horses which raced close up to the pace were disadvantaged? I see absolutely no evidence that this was the case. As to your last question, I certainly don't consider any horses other than the top two to be serious Derby contenders, and I a seriously doubt that JB will stay beyond nine furlongs.
Hey Dan, I think the best three year old race this weekend was not the Holybull or the Lecomte, but the 2nd race at GP MSW on Saturday. 6f run in 1:08 3/5,only one fifth off track record. The winner Savemyspotimbeting won in gate to wire fashion, but breeding may suggest that distance may not be a problem down the road. What do you think?
Annie, THanks and yes we are feeling pretty good today although sore and tired from screaming and jumping around. Got home from game around 11 and of course had a routine (thank goodness) hearing first thing this morning. I must say the viking fans I talked to in the dome were great sports and we thanked each one we saw for coming to New Orleans. Now all I have to do is hit some big pk4's this week so I can afford to make it to Miami. WHODAT! BigEasyBigChok