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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Highland Cat Field Analysis

- Highland Cat faces six in the second at the Big A on Friday in a 60K maiden claiming race at a mile and 70 yards. Norberto Arroyo, Jr rides, and he’s ridden 6 winners out of his last 28 starters for our trainer Bill Turner (21%). Here’s a rundown of the field:

1 – Market Turbulence (Richard Violette) – This horse was a 3-1 favorite in his first start, on the turf, at Saratoga, but ran 5th. After another futile (and well-bet) turf try, he moved to the dirt, dropped into a 50K affair at 6 furlongs, and ran a close second with a 60 Beyer. He moves up in class, and stretches out. His dam is a half to routing stakes winners Larida and millionaire Miss Oceana. Looks like the one to beat.

2 – Highland Cat – After his promising third in his debut, in which he threw a shoe prior to the start, he was a nowhere 7th against a tough field that included Remsen runner-up Flashy Bull. He’s worked very well for this, and Turner feels that he will run well. Hoping that the class drop and two turns will help. He’s the only one in the field dropping from maiden specials on the dirt.

3 – Arborist (George Weaver) – Up the track at 30-1 in his debut.

4 – On the Attack (Tom Albertrani) – Generally, I don’t bet first-timers in maiden claiming races. Actually, I generally don’t bet maiden claiming races. Albertrani is 15% with firsters, but doesn't have much of a record starting them in claiming races. Coa is 4 for 10 riding for him, watch the board.

5 – Don’s Topdog (Dominick Schettino) – Another first timer. Like On the Attack, he’s been working steadily since at least August, yet his connections waited for a claiming race on the inner track, so they can’t be that confident with him.

6 – Victorious Cat (Leah Gyarmati) – Dead on the board and track in two starts.

7 – Bandito Rojo (Gary Contessa) – Third start, and up the claiming ladder for the second time after very decent and wide runs at Keeneland and the Meadowlands; he earned a field high Beyer of 65 in the latter. More worrisome is the fact that he’s first off the claim for the red-hot Gary Contessa.

Honestly, if I was looking at this race from a neutral standpoint, I’d very likely be turning to the second at Calder; if I was forced to pick a winner, I'd have to lean towards the 1 horse. I rarely bet maiden claiming races unless I see a betting move or an obvious overlay. It looks like the top and bottom horses will vie for favoritism, and, unless one of the first-timers gets bet, I imagine Highland Cat could be third choice based on the drop in class, and the highly-regarded horses in his running lines (Great Point, the winner of his debut, was 7-1 against Private Vow at Churchill on Saturday). Again, the trainer, who wouldn’t say it if he didn’t believe it, feels that he’ll run well. Don’t know that his 5-1 morning line presents enough value though, so I’ll leave it up to you.

- Our Vicar filly, the only other remaining horse from the four we originally bought, is due at Turner's barn in the middle of the month. More on this one to come, I'm quite excited about her.

2 Comments:

thecalicocat said...

alan, i agree with your analysis, so i'm going 7-2-1 exacta box.
i'm a lot more sure of my stock picks, though.
good luck and bring home a winner.
i am sick about AA. he and smarty were the classiest, most gallant representatives of philly in years. i'm afraid we will no longer be the racing capital of the world. We still have Rockport Harbor and Round Pond and whatever cash is king and servis can develop.

heatstroke said...

15 minutes to post and he is getting bet. I have a DD with both the 1 & 2. left out he 7 so I had better use him-agree that the 1-2-7 box looks good-hoping for you and that $122.50 double.