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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Opening Day at Santa Anita

- Despite all my badmouthing of, and sarcasm directed to the overrated Wilko, if he really was to go off at his 6-1 morning line in the Malibu at Santa Anita on Monday, I might even bet him myself. After all, he was impressive in his six furlong return at Golden Gate, closing ground in explosive final eighth miles of 11 3/5 and 11 1/5. However, I’d be shocked if he went off anywhere near those odds, and he’s just the kind of horse that I find easy to go against. Each one of his races seems to preface that breakthrough that people have been waiting for since he won the 2004 Juvenile, but each time he comes up with another excuse, be it physical or bad racing luck. His spot in the 14 post may actually help given the long run down the backstretch from the seven furlong chute, but I’ll look elsewhere.

Greeley’s Galaxy picks a tough spot for his first try since the Preakness, and getting buried down in the two hole in this large field may not help matters. He has the speed he’ll need to hold a spot, and his facile win in the Illinois Derby in only his 4th lifetime start and first in a stake pointed out his class. He also gets the endorsement of reader Walter from Las Vegas. However, I must respectfully point out that he seemed to really blossom when he stretched out, and hasn’t won a sprint race on a dry track. Add in the fact that he figures to be poor value for a horse coming off such a lengthy layoff, and I don’t think he’ll be the one for me.

Attila’s Storm seems to be a legitimate morning line favorite at 5-2. He’s improved drastically since switching to the barn of Richard Schosberg three races ago, easily scoring triple digit Beyers in each race, disposing of Lost in the Fog in his 4th place Sprint, and taking the Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct after battling for the lead all the way. Those had to be two taxing races, and he figures to be tested early once again by Greeley’s Galaxy, Proud Tower Too, and possibly Diligent Prospect as well. Plus, he’ll also have to last an extra furlong here, so it seems like a tough task for him.

Diligent Prospect may be able to sit just off the pace instead; he’s done so before, and a return to those tactics would serve him well here. This colt has obviously battled physical problems, but returns pretty quickly after fading badly in the Perryville at Keeneland. So perhaps he’s one of the many horses who just didn’t take to the Keeneland strip, and if so, he could improve here.

I’ll take a flyer with Thor’s Echo (Swiss Yodeler) here. Yes, his rail post is even worse than that of Greeley’s Galaxy, and it’s possible that he could also be involved in a contentious early pace. But in his last race, the Cal Cup Sprint Handicap, he retreated after breaking on top with new jockey Victor Espinoza, and then rallied extremely impressively while five and six wide on the turn, surged to the lead and held gamely while settling for third, less than a length back of the winner who worked out a rail trip. He’ll need a lot of racing luck from the rail, but I think he has a shot at would could be an attractive price.

- Buzzard’s Bay returns in the second, the first division of the Sir Beaufort, and he makes his turf debut. As I’ve mentioned previously, horses like this who get bet down in their first start on a different surface/distance/track condition, based on his/her figures earned or class displayed in its more familiar environment, are some of the best bet-againsts you can find, and Buzzard’s Bay would be a prime example if he goes off at or below his morning line of 3-1. You have some pretty accomplished turf runners here in Becrux, winner of a state-bred turf race at Del Mar, Brecon Beacon, third in the Grade 2 grassy Oak Tree Derby, and the imposing Chinese Dragon, a neck away from undefeated in five U.S. turf races, four of those stakes.

But if you’re looking for a longshot, take a look at 15-1 Warrior Song (Unbridled's Song). He makes his first start for trainer Michael Machowsky after going two for three for Bill Mott in New York. This will be his first stakes try, but he’s improved his figs with each grass race, and his 95 earned in his last puts him right there. Two races back, he finished second by just 1 ¾ to Cosmonaut, the 7-2 second choice in the second division of this stakes. He’s a half-brother to graded turf winner/sire Lasting Approval. There’s not much speed inside of him, so he should get good position and looks worth a flyer at a possible big mutuel.

3 Comments:

ratchtaphol said...

oh! write very good..

Walter said...

...alright, let's start with the Malibu, i guess...

GREELEY'S GALAXY (Dec 19, 127.0)

Only caught the last 1/4 of this drill going 25.2 while best over Mister Triester (who must've joined Greeley on the backside). Good drill for this one, always thought he was best around one turn. Grade B

OSIDY (Dec 20, 59.3)

Big drill over the track, full of run late while ending up 15 clear of a barnmate in 24.0, 59.3, galloping out quite well in 112.0. Looks sharp over the dirt. Grade B+

UNBRIDLED ENERGY (Dec 20, 100.1)

Invader looks to have some talent, striding powerfully late in this eye catching drill, faster than given in 35.0, 58.3. Interesting. Grade A-

...couple of unexpected reports there, and take note that Osidy is coupled in the wagering with Greeley's Galaxy...not a bad two-for-one play at the right odds, perhaps...incidentally, i've always thought Greeley was best around one turn myself...guess we'll know more about that tomorrow...not sure if i'm betting the race, though Unbridled Energy will undoubtedly go off at monster odds, and with a report like that i'll be inclined to take a shot...tough race, could go any number of ways...now, as for the maiden race, the one i'm REALLY interested in...i can't knock Cindago's credentials, and no doubt he's gonna be tough to beat...but this Royal Legacy for Baffert, well, i guess he can run too...take a look...

ROYAL LEGACY (Dec 21, 112.3)

Made up 4 lengths on Sort It Out (112.3) finishing well within himself while best at the wire in 36.0, 48.0, 112.1, out in 125.1. Clearly has some run. Grade B+

ROYAL LEGACY (Dec 15, 112.0g)
Not real fast early while tracking barnmate Sort It Out (112.3g) rider coaxing this one along in 24.4 (2 back), 48.3 (1 back) but quickly drew off in the lane striding well albeit a bit green in 112.2. Big stretch runner looks like a nice one; deep track this morning. Grade B+

CINDAGO (Dec 20, 112.0)

Encouraged at the 1/4 pole, finishing up straight in the lane for Sadler, not much late ask in 47.3, 112.3. Looks about the same since the last time we saw this guy. Grade B-

...may have to re-think what kind of odds i'm willing to take on Cindago now...i was originally planning on playing him @ 8/5 or better...i still might, though i'd certainly be interested in Royal Legacy should he approach 5/1 or so...not thrilled about his inside draw and apparent lack of early speed...might be using this one as a prep for a route race, then again he just might run by Cindago in the stretch...we shall see...okay, on to some other stuff...Alan mentioned Warrior Song...some decent reports on him, as well as several others (too many to list them all)...

WARRIOR SONG (Dec 23, 37.3)

Had this one work an easy 5 furlongs on my watch, smooth over the turf in 101.2. Turfy mover looks like a nice one. Grade B

Warrior Song (Dec 17, 113.4)

Best over barnmate Sensational Score (114.0) holding clear with nice purpose in 49.0, 114.0. Nice. Grade B

...okay, now here's something very interesting in a race that i had planned on skipping...i figured Da Stoops would be a standout in Race 3, at ridiculously short odds...but wait, check out these reports on Direct Connect...and make note taht he's drawn outside Da Stoops, a definite positive...looks like i may be playing this one after all...

DIRECT CONNECT (Dec 11, 58.2)

Big move on the turn while disposing of a barnmate, blazing early in 33.3 finishing well while clear late in 58.3. Has a lot of upside; big drill all the way around. Grade A-

DIRECT CONNECT (Dec 2, 112.1)

Big move tracking barnmate Jasonjake early, moving clear late while finishing with something left in 24.3, 47.3, 112.1. Is getting better. Grade B+

...onto the maiden fillies...looks like a couple of the firsters can run...don't think i'll bet the race, seems rather wide open with Lockitup an obvious contender as well...

ISLAND KITTY (Dec 19, 34.3)

Big blowout over the track, striding out like a good thing in 11.1, 34.2. Very good; looks like a runner. Grade B+

FLETCHERS COVE (Dec 19, 59.3g)

Flashed nice gate speed here waiting on barnmates Evaluate (100.0g) and Record (101.4g) early, moving clear without much ask in this sharp gate spin going 23.4, 35.0, 59.3. Grade B+

...one more race worth mentioning...30/1 ml The Pheasant Flyer might be worth a flyer, based on this report...it would appear the French import Ticafic can run as well...

THE PHEASANT FLYER (Dec 15, 112.3)

Big move over this dep track, full stride late in 35.4, 112.1. Impressive drill, 3 year old is getting better. Grade A-

TICAFIC (Dec 21, 116.1)

Moves like a good sort, tracking and moving clear from barnmate Solid Fuel (117.1) strong strides over the grass in 50.3, 115.1. One to keep an eye on. Grade B+

...that it guys, the most notable workout reports for Opening Day...i won't be making a habit of this, don't want to step on any toes...just thought Opening Day was kinda special, and thought you guys might be interested...i hope everyone has a great day at the track...enjoy!...

Walter said...

...well, that was a rather interesting Opening Day...speed sure looked to be holding exceptionally well, btw (might've had something to do with the track being sealed last night)...i probably should've looked more closely @ Proud Tower Too ($42.20) under the circumstances, but i thought the pace in the Malibu would be too hotly contested for him...turns out they ran a very moderate opening quarter in 22 and change...but anyway, i had a decent day...i couldn't back Direct Connect over Da Stoops @ much-lower-than-anticipated 2/1 odds, so i decided upon a single-unit exacta box (.60 w/Da Stoops on top, .40 w/Direct Connect on top) that was paying roughly the same...it seemed the much safer way to go, as i didn't really see anyone capable of splitting those two up...regrettably, i must admit i passed on Fletchers Cove ($28.40!!!) despite the solid workout report...i just found the race too wide open to make any kind of signifigant play, so i passed entirely...ugh!...i WAS looking at a Da Stoops/Direct Connect to Island Kitty/Fletchers Cove double for a total of .80 units (.20 each way), but somehow passed on that as well...i was absolutely horrified when Fletchers Cove wired the field @ 13/1, with the double returning a whopping $77.00 (roughly 20/1 based on Da Stoops' 4/5 odds)...that's probably my first major mistake of the meeting...that sure didn't take long, did it???...anyway, i was forced to pass on Cindago ($3.60) as well...NO WAY was i was taking those kind of odds on him, despite the fact that he was my strongest play of the day and i was looking forward to making a double-unit wager on him...you can't bet if the price isn't reasonable, simple as that...i did however play a very small (.30 units) double, keying Cindago to the big longshot The Pheasant Flyer...nothing came of that, but no big deal...getting to the Malibu, i saw the race as EXTREMELY wide-open, so much that i couldn't make any kind of signifigant play...that being said, i DID fork over half a unit (.25 units win/place) on the 13/1 longshot Unbridled Energy...partly because of the big A- report, but most probably because i didn't want to re-live the Fletchers Cove fiasco...funny how events that are totally independent from each other can still affect each other...btw, i couldn't believe the kind of money Wilko was pulling...what was up with that, simple name-brand recognition???...i considered him pretty much a non-contender...so anyway, i ended the day up a reasonable 1.3 units...not too bad considering the way the card worked out, but things certainly could've been better...hopefully this is the start of a very nice meet for me...and i SURE need one, based upon my late nose-dive at Hollywood Park...ugh...i hope all you guys had a great day at the track, and i hope at least some of you were able to cash a ticket on Fletchers Cove...me, i'm looking forward to the big allowance race on Wednesday featuring the top Frankel prospect Ramsgate...should be interesting...i'll catch you guys later...