Friday, August 28, 2009

Wilkes' day to Shine - picks for Travers Day

Race 2:

Much Rejoicing, though not trained by someone known for his juveniles, is a brilliantly bred filly by Distorted Humor, out of Soaring Softly, a champion turf mare (who had a decent dirt pedigree).

Race 3:

#1, Great Crusade, if he drops back and makes one run, could prove a great bet at 20-1.  His mother, Victory USA, was a really talented runner.  His father, Awesome Again, is known as a late developing sire.  #2, Eagle Strike, comes from one of the best families in the country.  He is by the Capote mare, True Flare, who has produced a great deal of dirt stakes winners.  He is the horse to beat.  

Race 4 , Lure Stakes:

If it stays on the turf, and is wet, #9 is the horse to beat.  He's trained by Saratoga danger, Mott, and won last out under these same conditions when it was yielding.  Leparoux is the last piece that makes me look past everyone else.

Race 6:

If it goes off the turf, #3 The Roundhouse is the horse to beat.  He has never had a chance to go 9 furlongs (which is what it'll be on the dirt), and is bred to love it.

Race 7 , Victory Ride-G3:

1. Bold Union 94

7. Selva 92

8. Sara Louise 91

4. Sky Haven 90

6. Step Out Smartly 89

3. Reforestation 88

5. Juliet's Spirit 87

1a. All of Her Twist 86

2. Trix in the City 84

Race 8:

One to watch is #8 Moonlark, who is part of that Thoroughbred Legends Racing experiment.  By Gone West, out of a Phone Trick mare, he may be a rare first-out winner from Lukas.  His horses from the TLRStable have been firing, like Dublin.  Phone Trick being on the damside is a real kicker for me.  Plus the mare, Laptop, was a good one.  Otherwise, #1 Bulldogger is the horse to beat, and #4 Kajiwara is right behind him.

Race 9 Ballston Spa Hcp:

1. Rutherienne 100

7. Cocoa Beach 99

2. My Princess Jess 97

3. Closeout 96

6. Captain's Lover 96

8. Salve Germania 94

5. Teamgeist 91

4. Dyna's Lassie 90

I hope Rutherienne, still one of my favorites, destroys this field... and she just might if she has a good ride and clean trip.

Race 10 Ballerina:

4. Indian Blessing 105

3. Tar Heel Mom 98

1. Music Note 97

2. Informed Decision 97

5. Modification 93

6. P.S.U. Grad 90

Tar Heel Mom is the best chance at upsetting the favorite.  Music Note will be coming late, and informed decision needs it to be sloppy in order to run well.  Still, she's a couple lengths slower off the synthetic.  It's Indian Blessing's race to win or lose, but if she can't get by her, the upset chance is Tar Heel Mom.

Race 11 King's Bishop:

3. Capt. Candyman Can 108

2. Munnings 107

8. Big Drama 106

1. Vineyard Haven 101

7. Flat Bold 100

1a. Everyday Heroes 98

5. Despite the Odds 97

4. Not for Silver 96

6. Prince Joshua 94

Munnings has peaked, but is faster than most these.  I think Capt. Candyman Can will be peaking today and get the best of him.  This is THE toughest race of the day.

Race 12 Travers:

3. Warrior's Reward 108

6. Summer Bird 107

4. Quality Road 107

2. Charitable Man 105

7. Kensai 104

5. Our Edge 102

1. Hold Me Back 95

If it's a little wet and this pace sets up as it seems, the one horse who will get first jump (and be fast enough to take on) Quality Road is Warrior's Reward.  I love the way Summer Bird is coming up to the race, as well.  Personally, I doubt Kensai will get the distance, and I think the first four here are bred for the classic races, while the last three are a few lengths behind.  3-6 exacta box should pay well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

rachel alexandra the great

Rachel Alexandra worries me.  She just peaked.  Her last two races were of astounding brilliance.  It's that kind of bold speed that you can't keep running, no matter how good a trainer is at honing it.  Curlin had three brilliant wins and should have had more of a break to get him back to that point, but he didn't.  He kept on running and racing, and slowly but surely becoming less impressive, despite being victorious. 


Granted, Dubai can take some starch out, but that is why you need more than three months off.  You need 6 months, minimum.  The only horses I have seen exit Dubai as better animals were Victory Gallop and Formal Gold.  I cannot explain those horses.  Perhaps they were the leggy, light types that ship well and don't turn a hair.  Or, in Formal Gold's case, perhaps he was just rounding into form and about to turn into a freak on us.  Either way, they are the exception.  All in all, I would rest her a few weeks and run her in the Jockey Club Gold Cup to close out her year.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a lotta zenyatta

Zenyatta, once again, showed that she doesn't care for the synthetic as much as people would like to think.  She is bred distinctly for regular dirt.  Street Cry's offspring always handle the synthetics, but excel on the dirt.  For those of you who think that she won't be able to catch a horse like Rachel Alexandra in a dirt race with innately speed-favoring tendencies, think again.  It's true, personally I think Rachel Alexandra on her best day is better than Zenyatta's best, but it's a lot closer on a dirt track, and her owners are stupid for not sending her to the surface on wh

ich she looked her absolute best (her devastating Apple Blossom and subsequent highest career Beyer of 110).

Monday, August 10, 2009

the commentator has left the building

Commentator finally bit the big one.  He was slowing down, so it is good to see him go out in-the-money at Saratoga.  He ran

 his race, but he has yet to compete at the same level of his Mass Cap win from last year.  Live and let die, I say.  He has had enough rests and comebacks to know that we actually have seen his best, and he falls into the enviable category of one of the few to break the 120 Beyer mark in more than one two-turn event.

This gelding really was talented.  He had that cruising rate that would burn others into the ground, but always was tough on the horse, himself.  High cruising horses have brute muscle strength, and that wreaks havoc on the rest of the body.  This is one of the reasons he was seen so sparsely throughout his career.  

His best race, in my opinion, was his first Whitney win versus Saint Liam.  He not only had to blitz fractions, but he had to fight to win the race on a track that often will favor a horse with Saint Liam's mid-pack style.  

He was a fast mother, and I look forward to seeing what happens now that he is gone.  Who will be the next horse running Candy Ride-style Beyers.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Del Mar: Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby

1. Zensational 107

6. Talkin to Mom Roo 103

4. Delta Storm 99

5. Hurry Up Austin 94

2. Bahama Breeze 93

3. Global Hunter 89

Talkin to Mom Roo looks like a very sly bet here.  I can easily see Delta Storm and Bahama Breeze taking the race to Zensational to disallow the feisty sophomore an easy lead.  If the soften the big favorite up at all, Roo is the way to go.  He has actually run equally as fast as Zensational, but the difference is we have yet to see how fast the Zen is.  Best Bets: Zensational & Talkin to Mom Roo.

Saratoga: Test & Whitney


2. Cat Moves 98

6. Flashing 98

5. First Passage 93

4. Heart Ashley 90

7. Reforestation 89

8. All of Her Twist 88

1. Pretty Prolific 87

3. Olde Glamour 82

Flashing had the heat put on her in the Mother Goose, and that 9 furlong sprint should have her wound pretty tightly for this race.  I think she is the best bet to beat Cat Moves.  Otherwise, Cat Moves is a tough filly to beat.  Tony Dutrow comes from the school of Frankel, and that means that their horses run at a top-level race-after-race... not just one huge peak performance.  First Passage wins this if she repeats her last race, but I doubt a 10 length jump in her last race will not beget a bounce.  Even with the bounce, she's really well-bred and her sire-given grit and overall class will keep her near the front at the end.  Heart Ashley needs to learn to rate to win this, and the rest are very closely bunched in talent.  Best Bets: Cat Moves & First Passage. 


4. Macho Again  108

7. Commentator 107

1. Smooth Air 106

6. Dry Martini 103

3. Bullsbay 100

5. Tizway 98

I can see Commentator going out to his customary lead, but being run down by the relentless Saratoga-loving Macho Uno.  This horse always seems to beat me when I count him out, so let's hope some faith helps me.  Smooth Air and Dry Martini will be coming, as well.  I do fear that Commentator has lost a step.  Best Bets: Macho Again & Smooth Air.  

Arlington stakes picks


9. Black Bear Island 96

10. Giant Oak 94

1a. Driving Snow 92

4. Laureate Conductor 92

5. Oil Man 91

7. Take the Points 91

8. Reb 89

3. Proceed Bee 86

6. Quite a Handful 85

1. Cliffy's Future 80

2. Hoosier Kingdom 76

Black Bear Island, if he runs like his Dante win (at 10.5 furlongs), wins this.  Giant Oak, if he doesn't regress again, runs well, and Driving Snow looks to be something special.  Clement is always dangerous at this meet, so watch out for Laureate Conductor.  Oil Man, Take the Points, and Reb are great bets to be in there for the exotics, but none seem to have a stronger punch than the previous four.  Best bets: Black Bear Island and Laureate Conductor.

Beverly D

5. Mad About You 101

7. Dynaforce 100

1. Alnadana 99

2. Pure Clan 99

4. Black Mamba 98

8. Denomnation 96

3. Points of Grace 95

6. Tizaqueena 90

Really tough race.  If the real Dynaforce shows up, she can dispose of Tizaqueena on the corner and open up on this field.  Mad About You, if she returns to her form of last year, has the class to draw away from this field, and Pure Clan & Black Mamba will be coming, no matter what.  The safest bets are Pure Clan and Mad About You.  

Arlington Million

8. Cima de Triomphe 109

6. Gio Ponti 108

7. Gloria de Campeao 107

1. Einstein 105

4. Stotsfold 104

3. Just As Well 102

2. Presious Passion 101

5. Mr. Sidney 99

9. Recapture the Glory 90

Cima ran fourth to the top 3 turf horses in the world in his last race.  Enough said.  Gio Ponti is going to be there no matter what, but I think he may have peaked in his last race when winning easily at a distance that should have been slightly out of his range.  Gloria de Campeao loves the left-handed course and distance, and will be sitting in the proverbial catbird seat.  I love Pascal Bary, his trainer, and respect the hell out of his ability to ship winners over here.  Einstein is always a good bet for in-the-money, but his numbers are a length or two too slow for the top three.  Best Bets:  Gio Ponti and Gloria de Campeao.  

Adolphson Thoroughbred Consulting

Washington, D.C.