Saturday, April 12, 2014

Arkansas Derby Sat. 4/12/14

Arkansas Derby

Sat. 4/12/14  OP  R11

There have been 31 races so far that offer Derby points and there have been 27 different winners. I'm not sure what this means as to the quality of this years crop but it looks like California Chrome is the best of them based on his performance so far.

Some trainers have taken a chance and put all their eggs in one basket and it hasn't worked so well and they have missed a chance to get to the big show. There are only three races left in which points may be picked up and two are this weekend leaving the Lexington which only offers 10 points to the winner. So, it looks like the two races today, the Blue Grass and the ARK Derby, will probably be the last chance for most. One would think this race would have a full field but there are only 9 entries which probably means a lot of trainers are no longer looking at the Derby and pointing for the Preakness.

The big question in this race is Bayern, at least in my opinion. His pedigree looks nice but I don't know if he can get the Derby distance. Baffert does so well bringing horses to Oaklawn that we can be almost sure this one will be ready for a big race and Stevens has made the trip, probably because he doesn't think Candy Boy will have enough points to make the Derby.

The contenders here are also the ones with the best pedigrees so I'm not looking for a big upset.

Strong Mandate is one I had been high on but he just hasn't put it together yet. I think that early on he was regarded as a speed horse but that hasn't worked out for him. In the Southwest he got off to a bad start and closed very nicely but had too much to do. I believe he would be much better with a stalking trip and that's what I'm looking for today.

Tapiture has been good in all his races and is very game. He is bred for distance and is the one to beat here plus Joel switches to him from Strong Mandate. I do feel that Joel wasn't the right fit for SM because I thought he was too aggressive.

Bayern looks to be a fast one but he did put up slow fractions at SA and I have doubts about his distance abilities.

Ride On Curlin is a nice horse but I think he is just a cut below these and would have to run really big to take this.

Conquest Titan has shown signs of getting better and if they fold up front he may have a chance.

1- #9  Strong Mandate
2- #3  Tapiture
3- # 8 Bayern
4- #4  Ride On Curlin
Long Shot-  Conquest Titan


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Spiral 3/22/14

Spiral G3

Turfway PK  R11  3/22/14

The Cash Call Fut. run at HOL back in Dec. didn't carry any Derby points but it was a G1 race with a full field of nice colts. Shared Belief, by virtue of his victory, jumped to the top of most handicappers list of derby contenders. But Shared Belief is among several leading contenders to become sidelined along the way due to set backs of one kind or another.

The reason I mention this race is that Candy Boy, who ran second, came back to win the Lewis and Tamarando, who finished third bounced back to take the El Camino which makes the CC a probable key race. Since the field for the Derby looks kind of wide open at this point I am going to assume that any that were close to Shared Belief are pretty nice horses.

Tamarando has a super nice pedigree and looks like he can get any distance. His worse race is a 4th in his first start which was a short sprint but he hasn't been off the board since. He has a terrific closing kick and is really fun to watch. He comes into this race off a win in the El Camino where he was ridden for the first time by R. Baze with a furious charge down the stretch. Personally, I would love to see Baze in the Derby on a contender.

There is some speed in here and I think Almost Famous has most of it. he had a bad start in his last so I'm throwing that race out. He has a lovely pedigree but the question is how he will take to the poly track. If he likes the track he may carry his speed a long way.

Solitary Ranger has sort of an unusual pedigree with a few older past champions close up in his breeding. He has speed and has wired the field in his last two. He likes the synthetic track and may be the one to beat.

We Miss Artie from the Pletcher barn likes the synth. track and is a useful sort and, although his breeding is nice, I think he will have a problem with the longer distances but this type can sometimes get 1 1/8.

1- #4 Tamarando
2- #9 Almost Famous
3- #8  Solitary Ranger
4- #11 We Miss Artie
Long Shot- #6 Smart Cover

Backstretch

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rebel Stakes G2 Sat. 3/15/14

The Rebel-G2

OP  R10 Sat. 3/15/14

This looks to be a decent field of well bred youngsters. It seems like every week there is a newcomer popping up with a terrific race while a lot of the early top contenders are ending up on the disabled list. Who knows, we might have another top performance by one of these.

I have liked the pedigree of Strong Mandate since day one but he's a lousy trips in his last two. In the BC he had a far outside post and was hard used early but hung in very well. In the Southwest he got a bad break and then encountered a lot of traffic while trying to make his move. He couldn't catch the leader who had a perfect trip but being that he does have a lot of speed he may get the perfect stalking trip today.

Tapiture is a nicely bred colt and always seems to fire. If he goes for the front it may boil down to a duel with Strong Mandate and I don't think either wants the other to get loose in front.

Street Strategy is a really nice colt with great bloodlines who just broke his maiden in fine style. Bred to go a distance, he may upset this field being that he looks to be in a position to improve some more.

Kobe's Back just blew away the field in a G2 sprint but I'm not too sure he's going to be that good around 2 turns.

Hoppertunity is another in the Baffert stable to try and win the Rebel. Baffert has had huge success in these Oaklawn stakes and can never be underestimated although I don't like where this one is at in his form cycle. Nice breeding and Mike Smith is in for the ride.

1- #4 Strong Mandate
2- #3 Tapiture
3- #7 Street Strategy
4- #8 Kobe's Back

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Gotham- G3 3/1/14


The Gotham  G3

AQU  R9  3/1/14

This is a 50 point race but I doubt very much if the KY Derby winner will be found in this field. At Gulfstream Park today there are 3 or 4 races for 3 yr olds and I feel like there are probably a few of them that would take the measure of this field yet most of them are running in allowance races. In addition, most of the first string jocks have elected to stay in FL.

This race is featuring an undefeated horse who has won all four of his starts. He may be as good as his connections think but I have serious doubts about him. He's a NY bred that has beat up on state breds in his first 3 races. In his last he did win the Withers which is a G3 race but I thought it was nothing more than a low grade alw. race. It was all Samraat could do to beat Uncle Sigh, another state bred. This is not to say a NY bred can't be good but I want to see him defeat open company before I jump on his band wagon.

Samraat has a nice pedigree but of the type that my experience tells me he can't get the longer distances. This is only a shade over a mile so is well within his scope but I'm going to buck him, especially at the short odds he will go off at. I will probably use him on top of some exotics as a saver in case I'm totally wrong about him.

Uncle Sigh is inbred to Northern Dancer so I can't fault him much and he did give a good battle to Samraat in his last but I think he is also suspect because of the quality of the Withers.

In Trouble has a lot of different crosses in his pedigree but they all speak of distance ability. He's won both of his sprint starts and his last was very speedy in a G2 race at BEL. Has a good post and inside speed is dangerous at this track. I don't think he will go for the lead but should be in striking distance of the leaders.

Harpoon has a pedigree I really like and should be able to get a classic distance. He went for a half mil at the sales so I assume he is quite handsome. He lost the Sam Davis by a nose in his last and I would have him on top here except for his outside post.

Extrasexyhippzster is another with very nice breeding that should like a distance. Has enough speed to get into the hunt early but will rate. Should have good position just off the pace and may have a nice closing kick.

Financial Mogul is a strong late runner that was in pretty deep last time and looked to be a little short. He will be looking to pick up the pieces if his stablemate falters in the lane.

1- #2  In Trouble
2- #10 Harpoon
3- #8  Extrasexyhippzster
4- #3  Financial Mogul

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fountain of Youth 2/22/14


Fountain of Youth

GP  R11  Sat.  2/22/14

There are some very nicely bred colts in this race and lots of speed. A few of these with really nice classic pedigrees haven't shown enough speed yet but they still have room to improve. If I were to go simply on speed figures the horses on top would probably be horses that have been very good against lesser rivals but that doesn't mean that would be that good when meeting classier colts.

Almost Famous has a pedigree I really like. I think his last race ws a lot better than his finish shows because he really hung in pretty good after a long battle for the lead. I just feel he can put away the speed in here and will be tough to catch.

Commissioner has the kind of breeding, although fairly common, that has produced a lot of classic type horses. He's shown a liking for a distance and should get a good stalking trip from the rail.

General a Rod has looked good in all his races and ran a good second to Conquest Titan. Doesn't seem to need the lead but will not be far off the pace and should make it interesting.

Medal Count is another with a pedigree I like but he just hasn't shown the speed needed as yet. He has those Ribot mares in his pedigree that tells me that if he can garner enough points to get in he will be my under the radar horse for the Derby or else he will have a shot at the Belmont. Right now he's got to step up to the plate in this or his next and get some points. He probably should have gone to the Risen Star rather than here with this speed favoring track.

Top Billing, like Orb, has one of those pedigrees that are hard to decipher but Shug always seems to get them to outrun their pedigree. He may close to get a piece but I'm not using him because of short odds and he may have too much to make up in this race.

I'm shooting in here for a price because I haven't seen anyone yet that looks unstoppable.

1- Almost Famous
2- Commissioner
3- General a Rod
4- Medal Count
Long Shots- C. Zee, Wildcat Red, We Miss Artie

PS- Just didn't have time to get to the Risen Star...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The EL Camino Real Derby 2/15/14

El Camino Real G3

GG  R8  2/15/14

This is only a G3 race and I don't think this race usually gets very much attention but this year I think it should. As far as pedigrees go, this is a really good field.

With Craftsman we finally see a nice horse that had been trained by O'Brien that's not put on a plane and brought over here and dropped into the Derby without at least one work over the track. This guy made his first start in Dec. and that was on the grass where he was favored but didn't run much at all. The question is: Will he take to the synthetic track? He's had a chance to really get acclimated and has steady works on the dirt at SA. He has a really nice pedigree except for one factor, the Mr P mares in the influential spots. He can probably get 9f but I doubt he can go 10f. He gets blinkers today and may be a lot closer to this race that is lacking in early speed.

Tamarando I think will relish the extra distance because his breeding tells me he can run all day. He's at a disadvantage today with the lack of speed in here. The pace may be slow but it's possible that Baze may put him a little closer to a slow pace. At this point in time he may have a little edge in experience and class. After all, he did run third to Shared Belief and Candy Boy in the Cash Call and Candy Boy came out of that and took the RB Lewis last week.

Enterprising is probably the speed in this and Stevens may just gun him to the front. He has a nice pedigree With the sire and dam sire being of the Northern Dancer line. He stretched out last time and ran well in the CA Derby and was slowly getting to the winner.

Infosec, I'll Wrap it Up and Dance With Fate may run close to the pace but I think all three have some distance limitations even though they are nicely bred. Of course, when I say that I'm referring to the Derby distance.

Puppy Manners being sired by Kitten's Joy and inbred to Northern Dancer probably wants more distance. He's had 8 races already and he wasn't tried around 2 turns till his last. I look for a big improvement from him but he may have the same problem as his stablemate with the lack of speed in this.

1- Craftsman
2- Tamarando
3- Enterprising
4- Puppy Manners

Backstretch

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The RB Lewis 2/8/14

The RB Lewis

SA  R8  2/8/14

Not a big field but a few very nice ones in here. Baffert has a couple of good looking prospects in this and they could run 1-2. I believe he had planned on running Chitu somewhere else but changed his mind.

Midnight Hawk has had 2 races and looked very impressive in both, especially when taking the Sham in his last. I'm a little undecided about his pedigree but he can't be faulted so far and will probably be odds on today.

I really like the breeding of Chitu better than his stable mate but he hasn't met stakes company yet. I heard that he may be in here to be a rabbit for Midnight Hawk but I don't think so. In fact, I think, off his pedigree, he has a good chance to take home all the marbles.

Candy Boy is another with a lovely pedigree with a couple of Nasrullah mares in the key positions. He had to stretch out to break his maiden but did it in fine style. He ran a bang up race last time in the Cash Call and had the lead coming into the stretch but couldn't hold off Shared Belief who is the favorite in the Derby futures right now. He could be very tough in here.

Cool Samurai is a really inbred colt and I like the Northern Dancer mares in the important spots in his pedigree. He looks like he wants some distance but hasn't shown the speed of the top 3 yet. But, you never can tell because these young horses can show so much improvement race to race.

El Nino Terrible doesn't have the figures yet but his type are usually very fast at this distance. With those Mr P mares in his pedigree I just don't think he can get the derby distance but may be a factor along the way.

1- Midnight Hawk
2- Candy Boy
3- Chitu
Long Shot- Cool Samurai

Backstretch