Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Onward to Arlington

Roan in the Paddock

     The Railbird is moving his tack to the Heights and going local. This meet I'm gonna dive into some early pick 4s and try to get to know Arlington a little better: its surfaces, connections and, of course, horses. I think it's gonna be a great summer. A time to put away the debates about slots and salix and enjoy racing and the rivalries that develop.

    The first question I hope to answer for all my railbirdamaniacs out there is why are they watering the polytrack between races. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What Happened that Night He Tore His Nostril?

Orb was the epitome of a sophomore, a wise fool, gifted with stride but unable to unleash it effectively. Shug wasn't going to race him in the Fountain of Youth, but changed his mind (losing his wunderkind jock, Joel Rosario, who had committed to another horse for the race thinking Orb would not run). For whatever reason Shug changed his mind and Orb took down Violence in a thrilling stretch duel that was easily the most exciting prep race this season. Violence would come out with an injury and Orb who'd somehow torn his nostril in his stall a few weeks before would take this win and never lose again. McGaughey still unconvinced he had a champion.

Can the difference between someone like Pletcher and McGaughey be epitomized by a wardrobe malfunction? How bout a bad equipment decision? For whatever reason, Pletcher decided to outfit Palace Malice in blinker for Derby 139 and he would run off with the race, smashing it to bits with a scorching pace. Collateral damage included Pletcher's Verrazano who was too close to the burning pace. This was fine for Orb who was guided without hitch down the stretch wearing the track over his coat, but having no pause to that opening stride that swallowed everyone.

Betting? Go cold on some trifectas today and have no regrets. Have fun. Don't be clever. Get absorbed by a storyline. I like the old Claiborne v. Phipps battle. Departing and Orb grew up close to each other. Orb is on another level, but Departing is ready to step up. And I like itsmyluckyday. I realize the danger in taking this guy who needs a certain track, but why not. I've loved him and had fun watching him.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kentucky Derby 139 Selections

Normandy Invasion by Barkley Hoffman
I'm staying with the push-button hero Verrazano. Most of my bets will use him over Orb and Normandy Invasion. Orb has worked lights out, but will need a clean trip. Normandy Invasion has an amazing stride and I'm hoping he's closer to the pace in this one. Vyjack and Java's War make it into the funnies. I'm gonna oppose Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday on distance and Revolutionary I think will find trouble again. Good luck to everyone and happy Derby Day!

Normandy Invasion

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1- Black Onyx
2- Oxbow
3- Revolutionary
4- Golden Soul
5- Normandy Invasion
6- Mylute
7- Giant Finish
8- Goldencents
9- Overanalyze
10- Palace Malice
11- Lines of Battle
12- Itsmyluckyday
13- Falling Sky
14- Verrazano
15- Charming Kitten
16- Orb
17- Will Take Charge
18- Frac Daddy
19- Java's War
20- Vyjack

Java's War

Java's War by Randy Pfeil

The Blue Grass Stakes was probably the most exciting race I've seen live. And it was won by Java's War in the last step. Palace Malice seemed to be home free as they turned, but Keeneland makes front-runners earn the wire. Palace Malice's stride was shortening, he'd changed leads more than he should have, all while Java was inhaling ground out over the center of the track, swallowing Malice just at the wire where his jock, Julien Leparoux, crop in hand, pumped his fist in the Lexington sunlight.

Mylute - The Charcoal Carrying Rosie

There's a new angle for me: Don't bet horses I can't paint. Mylute and Itsmyluckyday would qualify. Mylute is a gorgeous charcoal colt, but beyond looks and a good jock there isn't too much to love. He ran well in Louisiana but that race was marred and he just happened to be in the right place. Which isn't without merit, but he also should have gotten by Revolutionary. He's not likely to have another chance like that. When I started painting Mylute I saw a lot of upside, but the more I looked at what he's done, his breeding, etc. the less I liked. He is a looker though and I like his trainer.