Friday, July 24, 2009

Back from California

Had a nice week and a half away. Was bummed to see Giant Oak without much in the final furlong of the American Derby; my host was concerned about my commandeering of her internet to stream the race. She was worried I was somehow betting against her beautiful rent-controlled apartment I think.

Many of the trainers that started the meet hot have fizzled through the summer doldrums, there is no star trainer, no star jock. Speaking of star jock, be sure to read Claire Novack's piece on Rene Douglas on ESPN. Gives a good sense of the type of people he and his wife are. It just sucks we won't be able to see him race any more; so many quiet summer days in unassuming races you got to see a jock who rode brilliantly, made it look effortless and seemed to have no garish ego that needed assuaging.

The Million looks to be one of the best with Einstien and Gio Ponti ready to square off, not sure what Europeans will make the gate, but this looks to be a really exciting race. Speaking of Einstien, a master of all surfaces, the horseracing world is mired in the synthetics debate. Of course the debate is really about California and little attention is paid to the results in Canada, here and even Keeneland. There's a lot of whining and bullheadedness. Bejarano's jaw surgery, Jackson's refusal to race his champion in the BC, the Del Mar breakdowns and Curlin's loss to evil Europeans (though bred here) are the wedges.

It's too early to say if the synthetic surfaces are safer. The numbers have been ok at Arlington though with Douglas, AP suffered it's most catastrophic breakdown in its 82 year history, so it's difficult context to brag. The commissioner in Cal has admitted to maybe acting rashly in mandating synthetics in the state and many experts are not pleased with the numbers. If there's a breakdown in the BC, it may just be the death knell for the "plastics"

So I'm heading back to the pretty oval on Saturday and have some analysis. A lot of turf racing with the feature being the Gaily Gaily headlined by Communique whose looking to turn a skid around, going a mile and a half on the green stuff.

Race 2 Claiming $25KNL3

The pace could melt in this race. The weathers been mild so maybe the track will be fast; these speedsters will need all the help they can get to hang on. NY Wiseguy gets the rail, which hasn't been a good spot for him. He'll be pressured by Athiest and Trojan War on the front and will likely fold. Fort Apache outclasses the field and comes from off the pace, not to mention runs for the Calhoun barn, which harvests good poly speedsters, though this guy seems to relish sloppy dirt. This son of Mineshaft did not sparkle on the poly in his debut, though he was thrown to the wolves at Keeneland. He seems to comply with his odds and looks to be a big favorite here. The clever bet might be Talon who was recently claimed by Ali Alnaz out of a Churchill race. I'm not a fan of the barn. Athiest is a horse I've followed for a little while. Maybe because the powerful name. This son of Devil His Due, which doesn't really seem to allow for Athiest. The Devil needs a God more than anyone else right, anyway. Athiest has disappointed often and could easily here; he needs the lead more than the others and his turn of foot is explosive but precarious. Trojan War is at the right level, they've peaked him into Allowance company and it's proven too much. He's on the Route-Sprint-Route trajectory and has Quincy Hamilton on his back, but he's prone to wilt when not on the lead too. Will the added pressure of Athiest also prove too much? Perhaps. Exacta bettors like myself could swim for value with either Talon or Bruce Carl who jumps class, thinking Athiest and Trojan will burn each other up, but even the value bin seems too expensive. For all that digression I've gone Chalky.

Fort Apache
Trojan War

Race 3 5F Baby Girls
Who knew Mike Dini bred. One of his mixes, a Lemon Drop Kid concoction named Sweet Lemon Chello, runs again without lasix. She stumbled out of the gate in last and still managed second. But she'll have to get away clean to beat ThatsWhatHeSaid who will be the prohib fave after nearly hitting triple digits in speed against open company. This one is state restricted so hard to make a case against her. I'd love to see Inscript calm down and grab a piece here. Her daddy, Kafwain, sired my favorite 3YO this year. Yes The Pamplemousse whose inefficient gait could have led to the injury or maybe it was the evil synthetic surface impregnating another steed with soft tissue damage. Anyway, if she's calm it might be worth it to put her in your giggles.

Sweet Lemon Chello

Race 4 Mdn 38k F+M
There's no clear advantage for any horse here. Lots of fancy breeding and surface and distance experiments. Chris Block saddles the sure-to-be fave Sensational Gold, who is not Seeking the Gold progeny. Sensational Gold did well at this distance on turf and poorly on this surface in a sprint. If that's enough for you to buy in at 5-2 then spend away. Lexi's Bay is still trying to find herself and I'm not willing to pay for the reveal just yet, though she is experienced and has beaten a few of these with the exception of the fake gold horse. A dark horse I'm gonna use is Twist. The connections aren't strong, but her lackluster performance in last may have resulted from the stumble at the gate (hardly a glowing review, but as you can see I'm scavenging the value bin). Works and breeding are good, gets the apprentice. There is a Dynaformer filly in here that used to be a 2nd tier Pletcher horse. Her name is Home Fries and she gets another outside post in this route, though not as far out as before. The post has kept her wide in her last contests and if Grahm can't tuck her in she could repeat that, but at 6-1 the price is fair. Many of these fillies don't have the distance so the race could be erratic. To round it out I'll use a Kirby horse. Also not a fan of the trainer's recent record, but the distance should work to her favor, her name is AJ's Love.

Home Fries
AJs Love

Race 5 1M Turf
Arlington is slow delivering turf conditions. I'm guessing yielding with the thunderstorms last night, but who knows what the Heights got. I'm assuming the turf will not be close to firm. This works against fave Free Fighter, so he prolly won't make my tickets. The condition may let the most precocious Tight Grip in. Louis Roussel invades from the east with this colt who used to be part of the very very powerful Frankel barn. Unlike most others in here, the mile is perfect for this guy, though he'd need to blaze out of the gate to pick up a good spot in the first turn. The return to the sod was welcome for Mr. Mischief in last who was run down by Southern Anthem but held on for place against a charging Tony Terrific who also gates for this one. Exchanging Kisses will be bet too hard for the class test, but has zip and the rail, not to mention Miller as a trainer. He'll be going for three in a row. Finally, I like Sonny Boy who finished only a length behind Fort Prado in the Black Tie Affair. He likes a yielding turf and has done very well since moving to the Becker barn.

Tight Grip
Mr. Mischief
Exchanging Kisses
Sonny Boy

Well, first post approaches and I have to get my ass into the shower. Good luck Communique. I'd love to see you back in the fold, here's a nice confidence builder for you.

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