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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    I don’t have knowledge on this topic or anything special to contribute but I did see this article on the racehorse doping scandal and thought y’all would be interested though I expect you are both already aware.
    Yes, thank you for that contribution.

    These are painful things to see in our industry.
    When you watch a race, and you see the margins of victory, you know that any little edge you can give an animal means big rewards for your owners.
    When you look under the hood, these people are also endangering the lives of these beautiful animals.

    Note that John Servis, who's Maximum Security was mentioned earlier in this thread, is the most prominent name mentioned. What a pity that this horse's great accomplishments will forever be cast in doubt. All of the owner's horses are being transferred to Bob Baffert as soon as they can be loaded on a plane. (a shame that this horse will now race on the West Coast instead of the East Coast, but that's another story).

    This is a reason why vigorous testing and scrupulous management of the sport must occur. I'm sure most people are only interested in the betting and the product on the track. For those of us who have participated in the sport, and love these animals, and want to participate with an even chance, this is a pox on our sport. Most owners and trainers are a decent sort. There is great camaraderie on the backstretch. But there is strong feelings about wanting the level playing field.

    I knew an owner who fed chocolate to his horse a few days before a race once. It was innocent. He knew better, but he did it. His trainer didn't know. But his horse won a check and was tested, and the test came back positive for caffiene. The testing is that good for known things. The guy fessed up and took his punishment. I've fed my horses plenty of (permitted) stuff (carrots, jelly donuts). That's how we treat and love our animals. Only veterinarians are supposed to inject or stick tubes into the stomachs of these horses to administer medications. It is illegal to have syringes at race track or training facility, unless you are a Vet. These things are regulated. These trainers know this and are finding ways to cheat. I note that some of these charges include mislabeling of medications. They must also be meds that are not tested for, or get metabolized quickly. There is a long history of the testers being just behind the cheaters. Not today perhaps.

    Who NEVER had a horse test for a Positive!!

  2. #42
    So whatsya gonna do this weekend?
    Watch empty stands at basketball games?
    Or throngs of mighty steeds with dozens of people in the stands observing simulcasted horse races?

    Ah yes, sentences I never would have conceived of in my youth, but there it is.

    This weekend, the big race is the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
    Here are the PPs to wet your appetite:

    It will be good to wash off the effects of the Coronavirus and Horse Racing drug scandle, if only for a few minutes, to enjoy this derby prep.
    And we have some interesting entries to look at:

    The undefeated Nadal ventures out of California to make his 2-turn debut in a non-sprint. The Blinkers are off and he shows a bullet final workout. His speed figures are good, but then they are only from Santa Anita and sprints. Conditions are for 122 lbs, but 117 for non-winners at a mile or over, so Nadal gets a 5 lb break over his top rivals.

    Silver Prospector is third time out after a nice win in the Southwest Stakes, with a 96 speed figure. With his last 6 races he has alternated winning and losing; the Steve Asmussen trainee is due for a loss this round.

    Basin won the Hopeful at Saratoga (G1) last Fall and hasn't raced since. Is one nose short of being undefeated. Has a big speed figure, although only in sprints like Nadal; but he has a pedigree more suited toward distance being out of Liam's Map.

    No Parole is undefeated in 3 starts and has good figures. Is improving and might hit the board.

    Three Technique might be a bet if the race comes up sloppy.

    We also have the lesser known Jeff Ruby Stakes at Turfway Park also for 3YOs who are unlikely to get to the Derby.
    Here are the PPs, courtesy of Brisnet:

    The obvious choice looks to be Invader who has the high figures in the race. Originally, with his turf pedigree, started his career with 4 losing tries on the turf. Then lit up with two straight wins on the dirt including the Battaglia at this same Turfway Park (horses for courses). He has the same jockey, Albin Jimenez up who is winning at a 20% clip at this race meet.

    Perhaps the only other horse that has decent form and competent handling is Victory Boulevard. He has won 3 in a row in claimers and Optional Claimers at Aqueduct. But he comes to TP, and gets a high percentage jockey. Every horse picks up weight here.

    The Stiff ... is.

    Finnick the Fierce ... isn't

    Austrian ... just won its maiden in a big drop down. Didn't the President just close the borders with Austria?

    Bonus PPs:
    3YO Fillies race in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park

    Laura's Light should be odds on, but you know how it is with the young ones.

  3. #43
    From what I can see, many horse racing venues are open for business. Not all.

    Of the few I've sampled Aqueduct, Turfway park (Rebel Stakes), and Turfway Park (Jeff Ruby Stakes) will be operating, but not open for spectators. So if you are watching via TVG, live-stream, OTB (maybe not likely), or simulcasting the races and betting go on.
    The Meadowlands will not be conducting racing.

    So if you are interested at all in horse racing, you still have game. There is much available on-line and TV to track this sport. Betting can be secondary if you enjoy the animals and the competition.

    Best of luck in your chosen endeavors this weekend.


  4. #44

    Off Tracks

    Well compadres..

    I know you've made your bets (in your heart I'm sure), but like all good horse players, you have surely looked at my advice and checked the race conditions. Both Oaklawn Park and Turfway Park look like they will be coming up Muddy and Sloppy (on a synthetic track) respectively.

    Does this change our calculus for the race, it does. There are many unknowns with these young horses, but we do have some information, and some age old racing maxims to rely on.

    First, it looks like in the Rebel Basin, who is making his first start since last summer for Asmussen, is a very good mud horse. This horse won the Hopeful at Saratoga last September by a lot, in the slop. Of course, Saratoga, and Saratoga slop, is unlike any other. But you can say that about most tracks. Nadal shows only 2 race lines and being from southern California, neither is from inclement weather.

    Second, Nadal is going long, 2-turns, without blinkers, and in nasty Mud for the first time today. Old adage, don't bet a young horse going 2-turns (or doing something) for the first time. Well, most of these horses are doing something new today, but Nadal is doing more new things than any other horse in the field, including having grits for breakfast. So he has an excuse to lose.
    Silver Prospector has the most starts in the field. He has a decent sloppy track line and a bad Muddy track line. I'll have to pass. He has more negative lines than positive. Prospects for the Kentucky Derby look 'unbeatable' at this point in their careers; not like this guy.

    Third, in the words of Victor Mature in Samson and Delilah "who knows the strength of ropes that have never been tested?" Yah, well. No Parole is being lightly regarded for a 3 times undefeated and untested horse. OK, he has raced against squat, as attributed to his odds on status in each race. But he has done it in style and has been ridden out each time. He didn't know he was racing against drech.

    The track is favoring speed today and Nadal has speed, but blinkers off suggests he will rate. If no one takes the front, this will be a sprint at the end and will play to his advantage, but someone will take the lead and will rate a decent front end and will be tough to stop. No Parole could be that horse. Basil shows the grit to catch any horse, but is he in shape.

    As for the Spiral, ahem the Ruby, Turfway Park is on Synthetics, which plays more like being on Turf than being on dirt. It is softer and safer on the hooves (and therefore the horses). There are a number of turf horses trying the synthetics for the first time. Anything could happen. Invader still looks like the obvious choice. The obvious second choice just got scratched. But any horse in this field could step up because you don't know who will love the conditions or the track. It's the wild west. If you had to bet for your life, bet Invader; if you are betting for maximum profit, pick another horse.

    With all of these races:
    1) Checking the odds will determine if it is worth betting any favorites. Sometimes, even if you have confidence in a horse, Money Management is the real name of the game if you are betting. Don't bet a horse to win at 1/5. You'll lose your shirt eventually.
    2) If you can manage to, watch the horses before making wagers. If you know how to observe horse behavior, you might be able to tell who feels poorly or great. Most horses feel "I can't tell you". But with a few, they are districted, pissed off, ready to tear someones head off; that can steer you in a bettor (pun intended) direction.

    Last edited by DevilHorse; 03-14-2020 at 02:46 PM.

  5. #45
    Oh My!.

    Nadal is the real deal; or should we call him Na-Deal
    Nadal went out to fast early fractions on the speed favoring (muddy) track and had to put away two challenging pretenders in 46 to the half. Usually suicidal behavior for a young horse going 2 turns for the first time.
    But Nadal continued on. Only a surprise, out of no-where, Excession appeared from way back (after skimming the rail) to challenge and create drama near the end. It looked like he might pass Nadal in the stretch, but Nadal dug in. Make no mistake, Nadal's effort was tremendous in poor conditions. Basil was way back in 3rd and is tightened for an improved effort in perhaps the Arkansas Derby.

    This is the second big race where Nadal won by (only) a fraction of a length after having every excuse to spit the bit. Could he be another Affirmed; giving only what he needs to? Needing to have horses to run with show his best. There are ways to beat horses like this. Horses that come off the pace so Nadal doesn't have time to react or to see them coming. The race did not finish that fast; I don't think he would win the KY Derby with this effort, but it is still early and this horse is moving forward rapidly. Stay tuned.

    The weather cleared up a bit as the day wore on for the JRubySteaks Stakes (really, that's the name). Invader bided his time to get to the front, but was stalked by Field Pass who was the second choice to win by half a length. Field Pass won both of his races by a fraction on tracks that were not fast, so no great surprise if you bet based on liking track conditions. Invader's only non-fast start showed him finishing 5th.


  6. #46

    Kentucky Derby postponed till Sept 5


    The Kentucky Derby has been postponed till Sept 5, 2020.

    What does that mean?

    Maryland has already stopped their racing schedule for the time being. Does that mean the Preakness is in doubt?
    New York continues to race, but not in front of a live audience (jockeys don't count in that respect).
    Could the Belmont be the first step in the Triple Crown this year? 20 colts going 1.5 miles my lord.
    I don't think they are bound by the KY Derby point system.

    What do the horses do?
    The prep race schedule is a bit muddled.
    Keeneland is closed. No Lexington or Derby Trial.
    There is a lot of money to be won, so I expect racing to continue and horses to build their credentials.
    The Peter Pan looks like a big prep race now; I would move it 1 week earlier so it is 3 weeks before the Belmont instead of 2 weeks (only if the Preakness is canceled/Postponed).

    The Travers is now 1 week before the KY Derby. This move essentially kills that race, unless it is moved earlier.
    The Haskell is now July 18, it is in a great spot between the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby if you want just one race. Perhaps too much time keep a horse sharp between races. 1 month seems to be optimal these days.

    What a chess match this will be to keep track of things.


  7. #47

    Impact of the Coronavirus

    Realize that race meets are stopping for the Coronavirus on a daily basis. A worker at Aqueduct was found to have the virus and the Aqueduct meeting, which was being held in front of NOBODY, was immediately stopped.
    As of today, Woodbine Mohawk was stopping their race meet which they had been holding.

    On a personal note, I live in New Jersey (not far from Monmouth and Freehold Raceways).
    You may have seen on the National news about a family that lost 4 people to the Coronavirus in Freehold, NJ.
    I heard the family name (Fusco) yesterday and it was familiar, so I did some checking and it seems I knew some members.
    Two of the sons of the matriarch of the family died in the past couple of days due to this virus; they were both horse trainers.
    Carmine, the elder, apparently caught it from John Brennan who died several weeks ago who raced exclusively at Yonkers Raceway.
    I was better aquainted with Vinnie Fusco, with whom we shared a barn years ago.
    I talked to my friend and trainer who knew these guys since they were boys. Vinnie was still in great shape and he could not survive this illness.
    These are scary times.

    Take whatever precautions you need to and stay safe.


  8. #48
    On to better things, although not as important.

    On tap for the weekend is the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds:

    and the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park on SUNDAY:

    It is not obvious if the Kentucky Derby points matter at this point because other things may change. Will races like the Travers, Jim Dandy, and Haskell be awarded Kentucky Derby points so horses that place in those races (and obviously use them as preps) will stand as good if not better chance of starting on the first Saturday in September? The picture is very muddled at this point. The best we can say is that some of the usual calculus has to be jettisoned and you have to figure that people will be going for the big dollars in this race because you just don't know where your horse will be in September. This is unchartered waters for many horseman who may have planned for a Triple Crown campaign and then perhaps bringing their horse back for the Breeder's Cup rather than a summer campaign with the Haskell/Travers. Perhaps they will give it a go in this race, rest their horse, and go the summer route to get ready for the KY Derby. But the number of paths to the September KY Derby are not as plentiful as in the Spring. In the fall you have California, Sunland, Arkansas, Kentucky (Keeneland), NY, Florida (Gulfstream and Tampa), and even Dubai or Japan. In the summer you Saratoga, Monmouth, not sure what Del Mar has for 3YOs, but they will create something (the J.O. Tobin??).

    In the Louisiana Derby you have a luke warm favorite in Enforceable. He had a bit of a rough trip in his last race, having his momentum stopped twice, and still was coming. His pedigree asks for more distance. With a clean trip he will be right there, and he has the outside post that will help with that.
    Modernist surpised with a win in his last race and has been training smartly with bullet workouts since.
    Wells Bayou is the controlling speed in the race and should control the pace. If he isn't challenged and turns this into a sprint, he could be trouble.

    In the Sunland Derby, As Seen On TV has been butting heads with tougher horses, but it isn't obvious if he can go the extra furlong.
    Sir Rick looks to be a horse for the course. He won a minor stakes race on this track with a top speed figure in his last two races.
    Fast Enough can go the distance and finished 2 lengths to Nadal in his 7f race. That takes some racing. This horse can be on either side of the exacta.


  9. #49
    The Sunland Derby is cancelled (perhaps postponed). I think the Florida Derby will be run, but that may be the last Kentucky Derby prep for a while.

    As suggested in an earlier post, Wells Bayou, the controlling speed, went to the front and was not challenged. Enforceable broke far back in the pack and was not a factor. Under expert handling by the emerging Florent Geroux, Wells Bayou survived an early bump, went to the front, and rated the race until the head of the stretch when no one could make up ground. The crowd was onto Wells Bayou, making him the post time favorite.

    Florent Geroux also won the filly Oaks, beating the favorite Finite with Bonny South.


  10. #50

    The Florida Derby

    Yes, Apparently there will be some action this weekend. A few tracks have been racing, Santa Anita, Tampa Bay, Oaklawn, and Gulfstream Park which gives us the Florida Derby this week.
    Aqueduct closed indefinitely because of a backstretch COVID-19 positive at Belmont, where most horses train.
    The Wood Memorial is likely to be moved several weeks into the future, so stay tuned.
    The Travers is likely to become "the most important" Derby Prep for the new first Saturday in September Derby.

    But for this weekend, it is the Florida Derby.
    And we have a full field doozy for you:

    The headliners include the top horses on everyone's list of contenders for the KY Derby, Tiz The Law and Ete Indian.
    Tiz The Law has the better post (7) and is well rested. He has been working smartly, but nothing eye popping.
    The only blemish on this colt's record is a 3rd on a sloppy track at the end of November; he did not look comfortable at any time during that race.
    Tiz The Law's race in the Holy Bull, on this race course, last month, was perhaps the best race by a sophomore so far this year.
    Trainer Barclay Tagg has conditioned a couple of Derby winners and is a cautious guy, so it is no wonder he has not raced every race with this horse; I do not read between the lines as to why he did not race in the Fountain of Youth. The usual jockey is up.

    Ete Indian has no luck in drawing post positions with the outside post (12) in this 1 1/8 mile race. Which for most horses would be a big disadvantage. But in the Fountain of Youth, he showed that an outside post is just a minor annoyance, taking the lead from the outside in just a few steps and he was never headed in a smashing time. Ete Indian with the hot jock Florent Geroux

    If Tiz The Law is sharp, this will be a stirring stretch drive as he will surely stalk Ete Indian.

    But these are not the only horses in the field with credentials.

    Independence Hall is a very good horse. Finished second last time out in the Sam Davis to Sole Volente. Is under Joel Rosario for the injured Jose' Cruz. Joel is a top jock. Independence Hall is by the surprise first year sire Constitution (as is Tiz The Law BTW), and if anything this horse looks to be that horse that most needs this race out of the top contenders to get Derby points. But today may be too tall an order.

    Gouverneur Morris is moving up in class and is yet another Constitution colt showing promise. But hasn't shown that he is in the class of the top two. He'd win at boxcar numbers.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the top two give you the exacta.


  11. #51
    Tiz The Law, tiz the truth as he never saw the rail, and rated beautifully for Manny Franco to win by 4.5 lengths in the Florida Derby. He paid a generous $4.80 to the bettors who were all off-site. Ete Indian, as expected went to the front, but this time he had company with long shot Shivaree. Those two pressed the pace. Tiz The Law stalked those two from 2 or 3 wide until taking command at the head of the stretch.

    Ete Indian looked a little washed out and never saw the rail either; both circumstances worked against him. I haven't seen the speed figures for the race, but the 1:50.0 was not the fastest Florida Derby by far. That was won by General Duke (yes indeed) who beat the great Bold Ruler many years ago in 1:46 4/5.

    Shivaree held on for second, while Ete Indian was a withering third. Tiz The Law was hand ridden until the top of the stretch where he was urged to waken with two cracks of the whip and then just glided to victory.

    The Derby prep schedule is a big mess with the Coronavirus postponing many races. The next scheduled race is the May 2 Arkansas Derby, perhaps with Nadal in it, but there is no reason to run him there other than the money and/or experience. The Travers, Haskell, Wood Memorial are all going to be rescheduled as Derby preps, and the contenders will be re-aligning their schedules to coordinate with the new reality. Injuries and illness could sideline some of today's top contenders (unfortunately), while new shooters who were injured (like Maxfield) or were late foals could re-enter the picture.

    The Derby is now 6 months off. That is a huge chunk of time in these horse's athletic lives. Things could reshuffle as they mature. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these horses took a freshening vacation for a month, only to be brought back mid/early-summer. That is the best thing for these horses. There are many horseman who feel that the physiology of horses suggest that they don't race until they are 4 year olds, when they are fully matured, so their bodies can stand up to the rigors of racing. Perhaps we'll see this generation of horses last a lot longer because of the forced conservative handling. This will be interesting.


  12. #52


    Tiz The Law earned a very good 96 Beyer Figure for his win in the Florida Derby.

    Authentic put in a spirited 1:12:40 6f workout yesterday. He acts like he is still tuning up for the Santa Anita Derby coming up this weekend, but Santa Anita is closed for the moment. Do the horses connections know something we don't? The next scheduled Derby prep that is at a track that is actually opened is the Arkansas Derby, now on May 2. Would be interesting to see who ships out there. Guys like Baffert, with multiple top horses, usually keep them separate. But these horses do have different ownership groups that have to be answered to. How do you keep one talented horse on the shelf for 6 months when he is in peak form and there is a $1M purse up for grabs?


  13. #53

    Derby Doings


    Most contenders continue to show workouts, some light and some sharp (is a 1:11 for Nadal light or sharp; one just can't tell.. but he is at Santa Anita and not Arkansas).

    However, I digress..

    With the Derby moving out to September (after the start of the college football season ) the Kentucky Derby Future Pool becomes a real gamble. If anyone is not familiar with this modern marvel, it is as it suggests. You have a short interval of time to bet on which horse you think will win the KY Derby based on the best information available at the time. Usually you have available the latest race Past Performances. Here are the Past Performances for the most recent 4th Derby Future Pool, just closed a few days ago:
    Provided courtesy of Brisnet.

    The best Morning Line odds are for Tiz The Law (well earned) and a new shooter named Charlatan out of the Baffert barn. You can find Charlatan's races on youtube I'm sure. Very impressive, but better than Authentic's; I don't think so. Without any surprise, the "Favorite" (most picked in the pool) was the field (everyone not listed in the pool). Go figure. Many times the best 3 YO in the fall is not on the radar in the spring, nor qualifies for the Derby. In fact, Charlatan, even though he is in the PPs for the Future Pool, could not make the KY Derby field at this time because he has no KY Derby points and meager earnings. He only has a couple of eye popping earnings. So the pool results/perceptions and what could be in the entry box during the first Saturday in September (better alliteration for the fastest two minutes in sports..catchy, no) are different.

    Next up is the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, the First Saturday in May (Churchill Downs says, Hey, you stole my line").

    We will see extra Derby Future Pools after each wave of races because of this extended pre-Derby season. It is always nice to see consolidated PPs of the top contenders, all in one place for us to ponder, and to see relative odds.

    On a personal note, best wishes and good health to all of those celebrating holidays this week.


  14. #54

    Oaklawn Stakes

    Looks like there will be a little 3YO Stakes action after all this weekend. (I think this is a minor stake, with no KY Derby points, but it comes along at a time when the country is hungry quality race action... In the land of blind men, the one eyed man is King).

    Thousand Words, undefeated until his 4th place finish to Authentic in the San Felipe, is going to keep in shape by racing in the Oaklawn Stakes at Oaklawn Park on this Saturday (4/11/2020). His main competition should be Basin, who had a tightener 3rd chasing Nadal in the Rebel in mid March.
    PPs forthcoming.

    Looks like the new kid on the block, Charlatan, will be pointed for the Arkansas Derby (please suh, I need sum Duhby puynts).

    While Authentic is going to be lightened up on his training (partially because he is a May foal) and pointed toward the Travers as his stepping stone toward the KY Derby.

    Dale Romans is still trying to figure out Dennis's Moment.

    The following article fleshes out some of the above statements with details:


  15. #55
    Saturday is the Oaklawn Stakes for 3YOs. The long range weather forecast is for a sloppy track, but you never know.
    Here are the PPs, courtesy of Brisnet:

    These are not the top 3YOs, but, the top 3 finishers are guaranteed to have entry into the Arkansas Derby and that is enticing enough.

    Basin looks like the class of this field, although he did not show a lot in his first outing since winning the Hopeful at Saratoga in September (a top race). Certainly hope for better here. He has the rail, which could be tough in a full field where he could have traffic problems. Florent Geroux will be in the irons.

    Thousand Words looks to improve off of his poor showing against Authentic. But they all looked bad against Authentic. He is the morning line favorite, and won on a good track. He has post 5 and has Joe Talamo.

    Farmington Road is bred for distance and would benefit from a fast pace. Sir Rick and one or two others could provide that, but without a couple of scratches, it could look like a jail break coming into the long stretch, which would benefit this horse. With a better start, this horse will close ground and be there.


  16. #56

    Just a Little Update

    A pleasant diversion from the Carolavirus...

    Early in the day, the track at Oaklawn Park was fast, but the wet weather crept in and the track was sloppy for the stakes races.

    Some of the less notables scratched out of the race.
    The race went off for all but Thousdand Words, who sprawled out of the starting gate, and lost 5 lengths, momentum, and no doubt some strength. Joe Talamo did a great job staying on the horse instead of doing a front flip.

    All of the front runners were not to be found at the end.

    The race was won by 40-1 shot Mr. Big News, by Giant Causeway. This horse had shown little, and had one win in 5. He didn't look like much and has a grass pedigree, but his connections believed in him and he showed a nice kick. He had been racing straight through since the end of last year.

    Perhaps the most impressive race was put in by the second place horse, Farmington Road. Even with blinkers on to improve early speed, he was Second to Last early in the race and essentially never saw the rail. He was over a dozen lengths back halfway through the race and was 5 or 6 wide on the turn and 5 or 6 back. But he turned on his kick and closed. He was a bit green and lunged behind Mr. Big News in the stretch before righting himself and only finished 1/2 length back.

    Taishan was a few lengths back for 3rd.

    No Derby points, but the top 3 do get an automatic entry into the Arkansas Derby, on the first Saturday in May (this year only), where Baffert monsters Nadal and Charlatan are pointing.

    Earlier in the day, a horse named Pneumatic won his second race in two tries. He is an up and coming horse who may try his hand at the Arkansas Derby, but I expect that unless they split the Arkansas Derby into divisions, he might not qualify on earnings. There are so few stakes races for 3YOs now, especially with derby points, that you might see them coming out of the walls. Any horse with a bit of stakes earnings would qualify to get in one division over Pneumatic.


  17. #57

    Some Action

    Hey Hay Hey!

    For those of you looking for a little (and I mean little) action in the sports world, and you are looking for an outdoor draft, this week before the Arkansas Derby, there are a couple of minor 3YO Stakes, and horses, of interest, in play this Saturday 4/25/2020. Some horses here could develop into Derby horses.

    At Gulfstream Park, a minor Stakes Race (no Derby Points) called the Unbridled, in Race 9 at 1 1/16 miles:
    A couple of "Also Rans" from earlier Stakes races are vying against each other:

    Attachment Rate finished a closing 3rd in the Gotham. The longer stretch at Gulfstream might help this horse, with Luis Saez aboard.
    Relentless Dancer showed some mediocre efforts in the Holy Bull against division superstar Tiz The Law, and then finished closer, but no better in the Tampa Bay Derby
    An interesting, new shooter is Dr. Post. Todd Pletcher gets a 3lb break from an eye popping Maiden win at 7f. A 104 speed rating is the best. Although a sprint, this horse came from off the pace. The old adage is not to take a horse doing something (going 2 turns) for the first time. But this is not great company and may well be the post time favorite against this bunch. Dr. Post has THE GREAT Irad Ortiz on board. If he looks good in the warm-up, and he is above even money, I'd take a shot.

    At Oaklawn Park, another minor Stakes Race is the Bachelor Stakes.

    This is a 6f sprint. Likely not going to produce a Derby horse, but you never know.
    Baffert sends out Eight Rings (do not confuse with the ill fated Eight Belles).
    Eight Rings was on the Derby trail and finished 6th in the BC Juvenile; then disappeared until.. this race.
    You'd pick this horse as the Class over lesser horses that are in shape.
    One such horse would be Ginobili, whose claim to fame is finishing 2nd to Nadal at Santa Anita.
    Finishing 2nd sounds powerful, but then almost 10 lengths back looks more like a decimal point mistake (which it is not).
    Echo Town has never been in a stakes race, but seems to run well on the slop; this is only his 4th race and is 2 for 3 for Assmussen. 19% jockey winners.
    It seems to rain a lot in Arkansas these past few weeks.


  18. #58
    In the Unbridled Stakes (really, this horse deserves a bigger race, but I digress), Dr. Post wins by a length in a very tactical race. Dr. Post was boxed in 2 to 3 wide for most of the race and only found a seam late in the race to finally prevail. This was a great education for this horse who will show up in bigger races this summer. If you bet Dr. Post, you got even odds.

    In the Bachelor Stakes, Eight Rings (named for Coach Bill Belichick's success on the Gridiron), did not have it on this day. Ginobili was scratched. A nice horse named Long Weekend led from start to finish and looks to have a future.


  19. #59

    Arkansas Derby Day

    Looks like the last big weekend of 3YO racing for a little while (at least until Santa Anita opens up again.. which may be soon).

    The Arkansas Derby has split into 2 divisions, and even though there is no Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, there is a derby worthy field in the second of the Divisions.

    In the first division:
    we have what you would call the undercard.
    There are a few pretenders and a brilliant newcomer with a few (small) questions to be answered.
    The brilliant newcomer is Charlatan from the Baffert barn. He is undefeated, with boxcar figures and huge margins of victory. Caution on going two turns for the first time and having a change of rider. It may be that this front-runner is also the lone speed in the race, enhancing his chances to walk away with the lions share of the half a million dollar purse.
    Challengers include: Basin, who may see his first dry track since last July; even his official workouts have been in the slop. Anneau d’Or and Wrecking Crew, who are both trying to return small portions of their hefty yearling price tag. Gouverneur Morris might be worth a flyer; he by Constitution, has shown only losses to the top 2 horses in the division, and has won 2 of 4 (every other race he wins, and he is due).

    In the second division:
    Nadal returns to the races. The undefeated juggernaut will be tested again. Look for him on the lead again.
    The biggest obstacle is impressive Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou, who won on the front. Also competing is last year’s BC Juvenile winner Storm The Court, who was soundly beaten by Nadal, but who hopefully has worked the kinks out. Silver Prospector is an on-again/off-again sort of horse, but has shown some talent. Farmington Road has shown that he can come from off the pace and close with the best of them. If the pace is too hot, he will be in the exotics. King Guillermo won the Tampa Bay Derby on the front.

    Nadal and Wells Bayou will be fighting for the lead with King Guillermo stalking the pace, and Silver Prospector a couple of lengths behind. Look for Farmington Road to attempt a last to first romp if the pace is too hot.

    I expect these will be two “come and get me” types of races; Charlatan is more likely to prevail. We’ll check later in the week for weather reports.


  20. #60
    A few things here and there:

    The weather report looks like it will be partly cloudy for Saturday, and no rain between now and then. So the track should be fast. Good News.

    On Friday, the 3YO fillies will be racing in the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park

    The Queen of last year's 2YO fillies, British Idiom, will take on several very capable challengers. If you want a feel for how fickle speed figures are, check out British Idiom's last two races. BI goes 4 seconds faster in her most recent effort (should be 20 points higher), on a fast track, but her rating is 10 points lower. Same weight. High level of competition. Different track and 2nd vs. 1st. Speed figures are (mostly) based on how average claimers would run at each of the tracks, making attempts to equate and then extrapolating to all of the other classes. The claimers must have been flying at the Fair Grounds at BI's last raceday.
    British Idiom will be challenged by the formidable looking Venetian Harbor, and new kid on the block Harvey's Lil Goil.
    Lake Avenue has back class and ran a credible race, finishing 3rd to Swiss Skydiver who is also in this field.
    Swiss Skydiver had a breakout performance last time out; can she repeat that? I'd say no.
    I would guess that your exacta would come out of the first 3 fillies mentioned.

    On Saturday at Oaklawn Park, before the first Division of the Arkansas Derby, in the 10th Race, there is an interesting Optional Claimer, with some horses that were recently on the Derby Trail but who could use some encouragement.

    Candy Tycoon has 20 Derby Points, which is enough to get into the gate at Churchill Downs if the race was run Saturday, but this horse is not likely to sniff the winner of that race.
    Ginobili scratched out of one of the minor stakes last weekend to run for half the purse money, but will have a better shot at winning this week.
    Rushie finished 10 lengths behind (the great) Charlatan in his last race, and could have a future.
    Kadesh is AE, and could be a factor if he draws in.
    I'm more apt to support Ginobili than Candy Tycoon. I'd give Rushie a shot too.


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