Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Junior Alvarado

Who's gonna step up in Rene's absence? 

Junior Alvarado seems to be making all the right moves. Notching the Calabrese mounts virtually ensures him a spot  atop the leader board, but this kid can win on anything. Healing in the winter hasn't slowed this prodigious jock in the slightest. Placing his tack next to the racing greats at Keeneland, Junior  got his share of photos in the Winner's Circle.

I look for him to go wire to wire on the AP leader board. But he'll have many challengers. Emigh showed his best days may be ahead with a sharp riding triple on Illinois Owners' Stakes day. Timmy Thorton has shown some pluck. Tanner might not be getting the best mounts now, but he's staking his claim for the future -- as is Lyndie. And shipping in, Michael Baze picks up the Catalano string and Castonon is back for more. To Be Continued.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rene Sues

Rene Douglas has hired the same outfit that took down George Ryan in the Licenses for Bribes scandal to take on Arlington Park for failure to install and maintain a safe racing surface. Of course, we're talking about the polytrack, which Rene didn't seem to blame for the horrible crash that paralyzed him last year. His unwillingness to talk to Theriot seemed to suggest blame fell squarely on the other rider. Apparently not. The Railbird will continue to track the events, though the outlook is not good for any sort of happy ending here.

With two weeks of action charted, the polytrack has played pretty fairly, inside posts and speed has done a little better, but not as dramatically as we saw at Hawthorne after a rain. Faves are dovetailing with the national average: 33%. Even the turf seems to be responding as expected with the rail out a lot farther -- giving the paint skimmers an advantage.

I went out on a cold and clammy Saturday and had the track pretty much to myself compared to the trip to Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes.

Junior Alvarado gave the most interesting ride that day on Last Wompus who was taking on some nice shippers in a sprint allowance. The fractions were suicidal -- I think everyone went on the tack that speed was holding and the clocks in their heads just melted. A half in 45 delivered a lot of spent horses at the stretch that Wompus reeled in after Alvarado dropped his whip. It was better to keep both hands on the wheel anyway. He threaded through the tiring foes. I was standing next to Percy Scherbenshke (spelling?), Last Wonpus's trainer during the race. It was really fun listening to him whoop WOMPUS, WOMPUS, WOMPUS while beating the form against his thigh. He scored at 10-1 in a 6 horse field. Way to go Wompus!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Super Saver

Super Saver came through. Calvin Borel came through. Xpressbet and Twinspires did not. They broke. On fucking Derby day. So to finish Baffert. It's not enough to have the horse ... you have to have the right online wagering service.

To make matters worse they sent out a quasi-apology in which they state "matters out of our control" caused the shutdown. Surely they're talking about an act of God right? No, they are not. They are diffusing their resposibility to the network they hire to carry out their bets. Sort of like if you were to go to McDonalds and they hand you a raw hamburger and say sorry our ovens don't work but it was completely out of our control -- we didn't make the ovens.

Derby Talk 
It was a tough race. Definitely a jockey race. It was a lot of fun to watch. Ice Box was absolutely flying at the end, man he looked good. And it seems like they all came home sound. Well, almost. Awesome Act came up lame, but it could have been worse under a lesser jock. Leparoux eased him in. It could be that he's just really body sore, and that's what everyone hopes. It's not tragic, but he could have made an impact on the Triple Crown. Instead he'll get some rest. Like his dad, he's not meant for the mud. He'll also get a new stablemate in Rachel Alexandra with the trainer switch to Asmussen.

Everyone is gonna try to take Super Saver down. And I sorta hope they do. After Big Brown then Rachel Alexandra this seems like a lackluster year for a Triple Crown. Still kudos to Super Saver who ran a smart race dropping off the suicidal fractions Conveyance and Sidney's Candy set.

Arlington Begins
Junior Alvarado picks up where he left off winning the first race of the meet at AP. Only difference is this year he's wearing the Calabrese silks. He's earned the good mounts and he's getting them. Michael Baze moves his tack to the Heights and has picked up Catalano's mounts. They both have done well so far, as has Tanner Riggs who's single-handedly breathed new life into the Kirby string. This kid is really coming into his own. Inez is back and will have to work hard; she's not getting the choice mounts, but that hasn't kept her from the winner's circle.

Lissa's Star the prodigous sprinter who had a 109 Beyer at Hawthorne last year went up for a 25k tag that she took down easily with Inez. I think Slazenger picked up the tab. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising, they tried the big leagues and it never panned out. Still, quite a sprinter to go off at that price.

After last year, we deserve a good, safe meet. The Chicago horsemen deserve to make some money. Let's hope for a great year of racing. Welcome Michael Baze and welcome back Javier Castellano -- and the usual colonists. It's gonna be fun.