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Weekend thoughts, etc.
Let's take a look at the graded stakes races on the Summit of Speed card:
Azalea (Race 7 - Calder)
I'll go with KAYS AND JAYS to take down the Azalea for Mike Mitchell. The daughter of Macho Uno earned a huge Beyer Speed Figure going six panels on dirt two back at Lone Star before being stretched beyond her capabilities in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks around two turns over cushion track. She may be the quickest of a fast group, but Jose Lezcano has a comfortable outside post with which to oversee things, and a tracking trip isn't out of the question..
UNDERGROUND and ROYAL CARD wouldn't surprise, and will also be used on Pick 4 tickets. The former freaked in her career debut, but was the dreaded "vet" scratch on June 28. It will be interesting to see how she handles dirt. I like that Royal Card can sit from just off the pace, but she was really geared down for the final furlong of her most recent win, and didn't get a strong gallop-out. It's hard to toss any Marty Wolfson-trained runner, however.
Selections: Kays and Jays, Underground, Royal Card
Carry Back (Race 8 - Calder)
YOU LUCKIE MANN had to work very hard for a 1-20 shot in winning the Unbridled last time out, and he was drifting out during the stretch drive. While it wasn't the most visually impressive win, my feeling is that Wolfson has been pointing his fleet son of Exchange Rate to this race all along, and he can work out a trip tracking TRUEST LEGEND and WALL STREET WONDER.
Truest Legend has high early speed, and looms the one to catch, but must prove that he can handle dirt as well as polytrack. One must note that his lone career defeat came at 53-1 at Fairplex. NOT FOR SILVER would benefit from a quick pace up front, but he has a tendency to wander during the stretch run as well. He saved ground for most of the Hirsch Jacobs before being angled to the five path in the final furlong. He rallied well, galloped out nicely, and can certainly win this. PRINCE JOSHUA adds Prado after just missing to You Luckie Mann in the Unbridled, but he was coming out pretty badly in the final quarter-mile of that race.
Selections: You Luckie Mann, Truest Legend, Not for Silver
Princess Rooney (Race 9 - Calder)
An absolute puzzler with Indian Blessing out of the lineup. GAME FACE returns to six furlongs, and should get the proper pace setup, but her last two races were very discouraging, and she probably won't offer much value. KEEP THE PEACE hasn't shown the same brilliance that she exhibited as a three-year-old, and may get caught up early with the fleet DUBAI MAJESTY.
Those three are the class of the field, but perhaps the local horses-for-course can upend them. I don't buy the 103 Beyer given to the U Can Do It Stakes at Calder on January 13, but MARINA BALLERINA has really blossomed since returning to Calder. She's a perfect 3-3 over this surface, and may track the front-runners while in the clear. JESSICA IS BACK and B R'S GIRL are Wolfson-trainees with improving form, and a proven affinity for the track.
Selections: Marina Ballerina, Jessica Is Back, B R's Girl
Smile Sprint Handicap (Race 10 - Calder)
BENNY THE BULL looks tough to overhaul at a short price as he defends his Smile Sprint title. He had every right to be short off the long, long layoff in the True North, and gets speed to attack with EATON'S GIFT and IKIGAI likely to force the issue.
YESBYJIMMINY and HOW'S YOUR HALO are solid horses with proven records over this surface.
Selections: Benny the Bull, Yesbyjimminy, How's Your Halo
Quick and dirty picks:
Hollywood Gold Cup
Parading, Tres Borrachos, Bullsbay
Royal Heroine Mile
Zardana, Tuscan Evening, Gotta Have Her
Quijano, Chinchon, Marsh Side
Giant Oak, No Inflation, Reb
sorry but what is a "Blue Hen" when it comes to horseracing? How does a horse become a blue hen? Who are some "blue hens"?
The horse breeding term "Blue Hen," meaning a mare who has proved herself exceptional in producing high quality foals, almost regardless of which stallion might be the sire. These sons and daughters would also have an impact on the breed. An example of the highest sort of Blue Hen mare would be La Troienne.
Better Than Honour, the dam of Jazil, Rags to Riches, and Casino Drive, might be considered an emerging Blue Hen..
So would Toussaud, the dam of Empire Maker, Honest Lady, Chester House, Decarchy, Chiselling, and other stakes horses.
How about the great Courtly Dee or Weekend Surprise?
The 3-year Best Times for Speed Ratings list does not include 6/6.5f turf sprints due to the paucity of tracks running these. May I have the times for the following?
BEL Inner - 6f
HOL - 6f
WO - 6f
WO - 6.5f
SA - a6.5f
Here they are:
Weigelia - 1:07.04
Scottsbluff - 1:07.54
Starticus - 1:07.39
Raw Power - 1:14.21
California Flag - 1:11.10
P.S. Anyone have an update on The Pamplemousse? Connections mentioned at the time that he was out 6 months when scratched from the SA Derby. Haven't heard much since...thanks.
The Pamplemousse isn't scheduled to return to the races until next year.
Congrats to Chaazz for finishing first in this week's HandiGambling exercise. He gets to select next week's race.
Enjoy the weekend.
TBTA: Thanks for the colorful recap of your Monmouth excursion! I heartedly endorse your playing an #8 horse in the 8th race...seems as logical a way of choosing as any, also remembering its Olivia Duckworth's favorite number! Better luck next time on calling the ticket! Papa Clem had the trip from hell in the Long Branch. Expect his next effort will be sharp! He does seem to be a horse that gets muscled around a bit by others, however. Needs to be clear to do his best running, is my guess. As to those grays coming off big slop wins, they could indeed be just lovers of that surface. SR Vegas and Laura would know, but supposedly all grays trace back to Ribot, and that line alsways got pleanty of good "sloppers and mudders!" Annie: You know darned well what I meant with the "aren't they all" comment. Thanks for the salute to the Win: with only five horses going, I didn't especially feel the need to bet anything else Sunday except that filly...plus she was the first horse I saw this year pointed confidently in a race at the odds one would want to bet substantially "on the nose!!
Annie .."but an exotic dancer horseplayer?" Isn't that WHY we have our Blue Thongs? he-he-he SR Vegas
Buffalo Joe, Well, I've always liked Kevin Costner. As far as the poker at Canterbury, I've been meaning to try it, but whenever I enter the gates at the track, I'm drawn to the sound of the horses' hoofs and the calls of the races and that's as far as I get. :) Blue, Well, I've refuted the affair, but an exotic dancer horseplayer? That would be a first, wouldn't it? Katie, Glad to hear you're making money on Bootleg Annie! I, of course, wasn't able to bet her this time because of those Minnesota rules. Apparently, Minnesota doesn't have any rules for exotic dancers, just horseplayers. :) Slew, LOL, I knew you would be worried, so I wanted to clear that up right away. Keith, Thanks for the update! I'll have to watch for ANNIE'S LOADED. That sounds like a sure bet to me. Unless, of course, she was a Vet scratch. If I had been in town, I could have checked Equibase scratchline to find that out. Now I suppose the only way to find out that infor is Hol's vet's list, which I don't remember how to access. What do you mean, "aren't they all"? Take that, boys! Congrats on your win! TBTA, Careful there. You'll have Jeff addicted to this game. LOL Chaazz, Big congrats on winning HG 141!!! Well, you can always move to Minnesota. :) Dale, Oh, too bad! Sorry about that. Pretty soon you will have 27 Bridesmaid Dresses. :) Annie
Annie, I would love to move to your great state! Since 2001, I've been to Shakopee at least 30 times. 5 trips last year - 760 miles round trip. I love the place, the people, service, etc. I'll be coming once again in a couple weeks to participate in the Claiming Crown NTRA Handicapping contest, and the Dog Days of Summer tourney in August, which I won in 2002. I can't wait to get back and enjoy it all - win, lose, or draw! CHAAZZ
staples, I agree that past attempts at lowering takeout have been less than sincere. As for Ellis, the proper comparison is the post-4% and pre-4% P4. Handle went up a little when they first tried it, but (a) their marketing sucks... no big surprise in this game, and (b) once Saratoga starts, they have no realistic chance at attracting the general public, as 99% have never even heard of Ellis Park. Unfortunately, the idea of lower takeout is lost on the masses and twice a year players, good marketing or not. Most of them think lower takeout means the track offers cheap Chinese food.
SR Vegas, I can't speak for staples, but I think he/she was simply reminding us about Ellis as an alternative to Saratoga and Del Mar. I took it as an appeal to the majority of horseplayers, who want no part of Del Mar's polytrack and/or believe Saratoga has become an overrated meet. Yes, I do believe most serious horseplayers fall into 1 or both of those categories... and, sorry, but the vast majority of those fall into the first category exclusively. I don't understand why you would think staples was (possibly) making a general comment about synthetic surfaces as a whole, or even Southern California as a whole. (S)He was clearly talking about Del Mar. Personally, I don't really like the term "synthetic surface" because it implicitly lumps them all together, which I think is wrong. And as much as I try to avoid the hot-button word "polycrap" (even though I honestly feel that way), I don't understand why every occurance has to be followed by an educational seminar and some comment about how traditional handicappers can't cope with the added complexity. PS: Do you really expect a Del Mar-run website to be a non-biased source of polytrack information/education?
Van Savant, Thanks for the inquiry? No good at EVD friday night. Ran 2nd a bunch and got stung several times by horses who took a lot of money late who I though did not figure. Lot to be said for that angle at EVD. Will play seriously wednesday night so am looking forward to your selections and in a week or so will go live on a friday or saturday night. BigEasyBigChok
Slew, Those Saint fans were called "Aints" thank you very much and I was and still am one of them. Had a fraternity brother who actually had a local public access channel Saints show every monday night in New Orleans and he broadcast the last half of 1 season with the bag on his head. Sorry to digress. Go Saints. Little Chok thinks I need to be committed as I still have season tiks so if anyone ever needs a pair while in N.O. let me know. BigEasyBigChok
Staples, My thoughts are much closer to C. I didn't say that all of Ellis was bad. Implying that I said Ellis is a bad bush league track is throwing the baby out of the bathwater. I am saying that they card too many claiming races for my taste. If I HAD tons of money and time, sure, I'd play more Ellis, more Arlington, more SoCal,... It certainly doesn't help that their marketing is poor and that the track is dying a slow death thanks to Indiana's slots and riverboats. Ellis does run the G3 Gardenia, does run some nice overnight stakes, and the 2 y/o MSWs can be interesting. And you can make cash playing surface switchers coming from Arlington. As for Del Mar, S R Vegas hit this out of the park. As for Saratoga, my concern isn't the heavy amount of turf sprints but the way that some days have become bland, instead of that Everyday-is-Special feeling.
Low takeouts: A good example of a low takeout "experiment" that has worked is the 15% Pick 4 and Pick 5 at Monmouth Park. Up until last year the Pick 4s would be in the $30k range and the Pick 5 would be I believe a bit less. The betting picked up significantly once the word spread on the low take, in part because of TVG taking Mth races a few years ago.