Tuesday, March 30, 2010

keeneland april sale picks!

Here are the baker's dozen that really stuck out to me! The TOP THREE definitely tower a bit above the rest, but who knows... they may run like elephants. Let's see how they sell...

139. DB.c. (4/27) Songandaprayer - Xtra Heat*Dixieland Heat

32. Ch.c. (4/25) Johannesburg - Houdini's Honey*Mr. Prospector (Coup de Folie)

112. Ch.c. (4/29) Mr. Greeley - Silver Tornado*Maria's Mon (Silvery Swan)

15. Gr.f. (1/1) Unbridled's Song - Fiery Pegasus*Fusaichi Pegasus (Baltic Sea)

164. DB.c. (4/6) Dynaformer - Changing World*Spinning World (Reach the Top)

84. B.f. (5/14) Forest Wildcat - Orate*A.P. Indy (Preach)

91. DB.f. (2/6) A.P. Indy - Pleasant Dixie*Dixieland Band (1/2 to Southern Image)

151. DB.c. (3/25) Dynaformer - Away*Dixieland Band

19. B.c. (5/5) Bernstein - Foundit*Seeking the Gold (Chaposa Springs)

23. Ch.c. (2/2) Afleet Alex - Giant Smile*Giant's Causeway (Broad Smile)

41. Gr.c. (3/10) Unbridled's Song - King Shooting Star*Storm Cat (Gone to the Moon)

14. DB.f. (5/5) Forest Wildcat - Feature Article*Seattle Slew (Glowing Tribute)

169. B.c. (5/15) Unbridled's Song - Clear Mandate*Deputy Minister

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weekend Review Feb 24, 2010

Finally something to write home about! This past weekend we saw a throng of Derby preps that gave us a better idea of the contenders and dreamers galloping up to the big day. In Arkansas we saw Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas put exclamations on their renaissance relevance on the Derby Trail. In California we watched a horse tower above his competition despite his evident greenness. In Louisiana we gazed as a blue-blooded colt teach a highly-regarded field that pace still makes the proverbial race. Lastly, in Florida we experienced the first ‘break-out’ race of the year by a sophomore, stamping himself as the top of his current division.

It must be stated, as many reports have fluffed upon, that the dangerous Todd Pletcher was victorious in three of the four states, and now holds what must be considered the strongest pre-Derby hand since D. Wayne Lukas’ 1995 trio of Serena’s Song, Timber Country, and Thunder Gulch (who would go on to finish 16th, 3rd, and 1st on the first Saturday in May). The most impressive of these was Eskendereya, who has been on top of my Derby list since September. Eskendereya’s style is similar to the aforementioned Derby winner, Thunder Gulch. He has enough speed and ease to place him anywhere they wish, and his grinding, devastating efficient action puts horses away before he even has a length in front of them. If you do not believe me, take a look at the 1995 Travers Stakes.

Eskendereya is a rarity in that he is exactly what his pedigree says. By Giant’s Causeway, he has the type of tenacity you would expect from a sire whose grit was only eclipsed by one horse (Tiznow) in his career. He is out of a Seattle Slew mare, meaning his cruising speed is ridiculous. The final, and perhaps most vital for the rest of his season, is his bottom female line. His second dam, Altair, is by Alydar. Alydar infuses into his progeny a push-button acceleration (see: Easy Goer, Alysheba, Criminal Type). Altair’s dam is Stellar Odyssey, a Northern Dancer (do we really have to explain that influence?) mare out of Queen Sucree, by Ribot. The last part is the most important. Queen Sucree is not only by the most influential cross-pond stamina influence (and one of the best racehorses in history) in Ribot, but she is a half sister to Halo. Halo is one of the most versatile sires in history, with his progeny winning on any surface or distance (see: Devil’s Bag, Sunday Silence, Saint Ballado, Glorious Song, Sunny’s Halo), wet or dry. So, there you have it, the perfect pedigree with the closest inbreeding being Northern Dancer at 4x4! Wow. Let’s hope he lives up to my hype. In the meantime, check out his domination of the Florida Derby here.

Another who impressed me this week was D. Wayne Lukas’ Dublin, who regained good form in his Southwest placing, behind Bob Baffert’s Conveyance. I have been hoping Lukas would take the pedigree hint (Dublin’s sire is Afleet Alex) and drop him back to make one run, and finally it happened! Conveyance may have won the race on pure speed and class, but Dublin ran like a horse who is going to be ready for a fruitful First Saturday in May. Check out the race here, and watch how Dublin drops back and makes a huge 5/16mile run.

In Louisiana, like Arkansas, the most intriguing finish was the place, not the winner. Tempted to Tapit has been highly regarded by this writer since his Maiden Special Weight romp at Aqueduct in January (earning a fantastic 100 Beyer Speed Figure). He was then put into arguably the toughest of this past weekend’s Derby preps, the Risen Star Stakes. A front-runner, he broke flat-footed, and had already lost position to eventual winner and pace dawdler, Discreetly Mine. David Cohen, his jockey, did a great job of relaxing the horse and teaching him how to rate, given the circumstances, and he made this giant jump in class look easy as he finished a valiant second. Watch out for him in his next race. When he is able to get the rail and dictate the pace, he is going to be one tough animal to run down. His only question mark is stamina. He may not be ready for ten furlongs at this moment in his development.

The last horse that caught my eye this weekend was back at Gulfstream in the Hutcheson stakes. Spectacular Bid Stakes winner A Little Warm made a fantastic effort to run down heavy the heavy favorite, D’Funnybone (see the race here). This colt seems to be screaming for more distance, but this seven furlong step was a necessary one, if they expect him to go two turns next out. His speed figures for his last two races were 100 and 97, so he is fast enough and has the right style. I would like to see Anthony Dutrow take him to the Tampa Bay Derby, and then give him a long stretch to look at in the Illinois Derby (1,320 feet of Hawthorne’s stretch is over 100 feet longer than Churchill Downs’).

As far as your three other winners, Connemara and Discreetly Mine proved that their class and pedigrees were, indeed, congruent, winning with everything going their way, despite some minor green habits by the former. D’Funnybone stamped himself as a possibly great miler this year, in a division that seems to only have one other possible great miler (Noble’s Promise). Lastly, Conveyance proved that he can move up the ladder, but also put fear in those who once thought he looked like a ten furlong horse.

My Current Kentucky Quatorze:
1. Eskendereya
2. Super Saver
3. Sidney’s Candy
4. Rule
5. Caracortado
6. A Little Warm
7. Dublin
8. Tempted to Tapit
9. Lookin’ At Lucky
10. Buddy’s Saint
11. Dave in Dixie
12. General Maximus
13. Discreetly Mine
14. Lentenor

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BC Marathon rankings

1. Mastery 110

The horse to beat. Godolphin has been pointing him to this.

2. Septimus 106

Has been off for a while, but Ballydoyle is strong off a layoff.

3. Nite Light 105

If he gets an easy lead, he loves 14f. Looked great in last two.

4. Father Time 104

Has the closing kick and classy connection to contend.

5. Muhannak 102

Has apparently lost more than a step.

6. Alaazo 101

Love how he's coming into this race, and the distance is his strength.

7. Unusual Suspect 101

A return to his Cougar II win makes him tough. 14f a big question.

8. Eldaafer 100

Amazing bloodlines and a great horse, but has peaked this year.

9. Alcomo 99

On his best day, and if he adapts to the surface, he make the board.

10. Free Fighter 99

Could be a player, but needs to answer a lot of questions.

11. Rising Moon 96

A shipping Dick Dutrow is always tough, but he is merely ordinary.

12. Soldier's Dancer 95

Interesting play if he runs, but he is a step below the best.

13. Bold Chieftain 94

The distance is a question, despite great 9f Cal-Cup win.

14. Cloudy's Knight 102

With his breeding, the Pro-Ride should be perfect, but is running at KEE.

15. Temple City 93

In over his head. But, only slightly.

BC Mile rankings

1. Goldikova 112
Extremely tough. Enough said.
2. Zacinto 110
Moving quickly in the right direction.
3. Ferneley 109
The most overlooked horse here. The best of the Americans.
4. Delegator 108
This has been his focus, and he had a nice break in the Summer.
5. Sight Winner 107
If they bring him, his HK Mile form is good enough to make top 3.
6. Justenuffhumor 106
On a hard surface, he will return to his brilliance- which is almost good enough.
7. Varenar 108
The Foret race was impressive.
8. Whatsthescript 106
He is classy and loves the course. He will be coming late and peaking here.
9. Cowboy Cal 105
Pace scenario is against him, and his finish isn't Euro-worthy, but he's consistent.
10. Sterwins 104.5
Loved his last two closing races.
11. Diamondrella 104
Has an impressive closing punch and looks like she will improve off her win.
12. Karelian 103.5
Excellent in the soft, but doubt he can do it on the hard going with these.
13. Court Vision 103
Looked really good, but is, as always, a step below the best.
14. Jungle Wave 102
If he doesn't go into the Turf Sprint, he is a classy, dangerous horse.
15. Battle of Hastings 101.5
Ultra-consistent, hard-turf loving type who will be trying.
16. Sweet Hearth 100.5
Not as impressive to me as her stablemate.
17. Mr. Sidney 100
He is consistent at this distance, and impeccably bred (for dirt), but is still slow.
18. Free Fighter 99
Good horse. Not good enough.
19. Cosmonaut 98
Always tough in a big race, but past his prime.
20. Courageous Cat 97
The horse to watch out for next year in this division (or on dirt).
21. Take the Points 96
Should stick with his division until he's fast enough for these.
22. Straight Story 95

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oak Tree Rantings

Oak Tree is a well-oiled machine, it seems. After a few weeks here, I have come to notice that it is a boutique meet at a non-boutique track. Santa Anita, at first impression, is one of the proverbial palaces of sports. It, unlike Keeneland or many east coast tracks, is completely designed for the spectator. Despite all the amenities and high-end availabilities, this track has no air of elitism. Being in the L.A. area, on top of that, makes it even more impressive.
To follow my adventures in L.A., in photos, CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BC Classic rankings

Rank Horse ASP Comment

1. Rip Van Winkle 115

It scares me how confident O'Brien is in this one.

2. Sea the Stars 115

The class.

3. Quality Road 113

Love him on the synthetic, pedigree-wise.

4. Zenyatta 112.5

Will be coming.

5. Mastercraftsman 112

Slight edge, speed and pedigree-wise over the big favorite.

6. Summer Bird 111

Always trying; a cut below the top 5.

7. Richard's Kid 110

Improving and in the right barn.

8. Rail Trip 110

If he returns to his summer speed, he's tough.

9. Tiago 110

Will. Run. Well.

10. Einstein 109

Fresh and dangerous off a 9 week break.

11. Furthest Land 109

Loved his race and his # in the last one.

12. Gio Ponti 108

Good on Pro-Ride; knows how to win; loves 10f.

13. Colonel John 108

Better on turf.

14. Gone Astray 108

Sneaky good runner; getting better.

15. Mine That Bird 107

Great closing kick may love Pro-Ride

16. Parading 106.5

Always there; better at 9 than 10f.

17. Chocolate Candy 106.5

A cut below the best.

18. Misremembered 106

Getting better, but is probably better suited to the Dirt Mile.

19. Regal Ransom 105

Could set the pace and hang on for a piece of it.

20. Tres Borrachos 105

I could actually repeat the above sentence for this one, too.

21. Awesome Gem 102

Returning to great form; is better in slop than synthetics.

22. Nite Light 104.5

Loved his last race in the slop at Hawthorne.

23. Bullsbay 104

Off an injury; could be a nice wild card.

24. Macho Again 104

Looks to have peaked.

25. It's a Bird 104

Classy, but too many question marks.

Adolphson Thoroughbred Consulting

Washington, D.C.