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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rock the Casbah

- Perusing the race charts and pp’s, I haven’t seen anything too interesting during this midweek of racing; perhaps things are on hold because everyone who’s anyone is over in Dubai and we’re left with the second stringers. Kinda like the spring training games before the World Baseball Championships ended.

As for Dubai, these races are just guessing games really. You guys aren't really going to get up early and bet these things, are you? I have enough trouble with "normal" races; here you have horses from different countries, the incomplete running lines, Timeform ratings, turf horses trying dirt for the first time, etc., Here’s an excerpt from an Andy Beyer chat session in the Form before the Breeders’ Cup on how to compare the European figures with ours:

The popular rule of thumb is to subtract 12-14 points from the Timeform numbers to get the Beyer equivalent. It's not perfect (and it doesn't work well with poorer horses) but it's OK with the type who come to the Breeders' Cup. For timeform, a superhorse might get a rating of 140; for us, a 126 would be superhorse material.
That’s about all the handicapping help you’re gonna get out of me – check out this page in the Form for free past performances and Alan Shuback’s analyses. John at Not to the Swift, brimming with confidence, bordering on cockiness, really, after his big scores last weekend, provides some picks and oh yeah, there’s also the excellent – and I mean excellent Dubai International Racing Carnival Blog, where you can read comments by a lot of trainers about how great their horses are doing.

Don’t think I’ll be doing much, if any serious wagering, but I will get up to watch for the quality of the telecast of nothing else. If we’re lucky, they’ll be a stewards inquiry like there was in the sprint last year, when we were treated to live coverage of the stewards advising the jockeys of their decision. I particularly like the sprint; six furlongs out of the chute, straight down the giant stretch – the longest quarter horse race in the world.

The UAE Derby is perhaps of the most interest here because of its potential to yield a Kentucky Derby candidate. I’ve been reading conflicting reports of whether or not Discreet Cat has any chance of running for the roses. Godolophin’s racing manager Simon Crisford told the Form:
"It's highly questionable whether a mile and an eighth is best for him....He may turn out to be a miler or a seven-furlong horse.

"He's short on experience and long on the hype. He strikes us as a colt who will get better as the year goes on."
Still, he didn’t rule it out "if he wins and wins well.” [Bloodhorse] Shuback likes Simpatico Bribon, who was seriously considered for the Dubai World Cup before [trainer Ian] Jory settled on this easier spot. He’s a Chilean colt who is actually four years old by Northern Hemisphere standards. He’s won seven in a row including a big race over the track in his last. Simpatico Bribon is by Election Day, a son of Sadlers Wells out of a mare by Sayaret, a son of Fappiano who is very closely (3x2) inbred to Dr. Fager.

Ouija Board is back as a five year old to take on the boys in the mile and a half Sheema on the turf. Though it’s her first race since winning the Hong Kong Vase in December, trainer Ed Dunlop is treating the race as the "her last of last season,” and will give her a break afterwards before campaigning her towards the Breeders Cup. He seemed to be hedging on this race however.
"Many good horses have come here and run badly, because of the time of year or whatever.

"It is a class race and she is no certainty on the formbook either.

"But she does look extremely well and she is now at the same weight as she was for her last two races....We won't know until she runs whether she is the same or not but at least we can say that the signs are good.” [Sporting Life]
In the big race, for an obscene six million bucks, a lot of people seem to like the Japanese invader Kane Hekili, and for good reason. He has eight wins in 12 lifetimes starts, and has taken six of his last seven starts with Timeform ratings that are tops in the field, and, based on Beyer’s criteria, more than competitive with the American contenders. He’s by Fuji Kiseki, a son of Sunday Silence, out of a Deputy Minister mare who is a half sister to the stallion Silver Deputy and U.S. stakes winner Buzzy’s Gold.

I followed Magna Graduate as he improved last fall, and I for one still have some capital to spend on him. He was crushed by Brass Hat in the sloppy Donn, but you can certainly excuse his performance (and explain Brass Hat’s big Beyer) based on the difficult conditions that day. Perhaps that could create some value on Magna Graduate on Saturday, and Pletcher expressed confidence, saying that the colt was “getting over the ground (at Nad al Sheba Racecourse) extremely well,” but pointing out that the best odds may be overseas.
“His American form fits very well with the other American horses here,” he added. “It looks like he might be a little bit of an outsider in the public’s eye, but he might be a shorter price at home.”

English bookmakers have rated Magna Graduate at 14-to-1, with Brass Hat tabbed at 11-to-2 and the third choice behind Godolphin’s even-money favorite Electrocutionist, who will be making only his second start on dirt, and Japanese champion Kane Hekili at 9-to-2. However, American fans would almost certainly not evaluate the 11-horse field and the five who will run under American flags in that manner. [Dubai Int’l Racing Carnival Blog]

9 Comments:

Walter said...

...am i gonna get up early and watch the Dubai races???...hell yeah!!!...i do it every year...this year my interest lies with Discreet Cat, and of course i'm a HUGE Ouija Board fan...it's not often i get to see her run, so this is a real treat...i'm also anxious to see how Electrocutionist will handle the American dirt contingent (my guess is he'll handle them just fine)...and of course there's the Golden Shaheen, which is always a good race, and often a good betting race...incidentally, a friend of mine who i know thru fantasy baseball lives in Japan, and follows the horseracing scene over there...i'll see what i can find out about their World Cup representative...

Walter said...

...i haven't seen today's Racing Form yet, so i'm kinda flying in the dark here, but something really jumped off the page at me yesterday when i was looking at the overnights...in Race 7, 6 1/2 down the hill for high-level optional claiming types, P-Val gets off Florida Keys to ride some Brazilian horse i've never heard of, Nonno Luigi...now, P-Val has been riding Florida Keys down the hill for some time (i'm guessing 5 or 6 starts?), and has compiled a stellar record on the horse...without question, Florida Keys is one of the best downhill sprinters on the circuit...so why does P-Val jump ship today???...based on the (Brz) next to Nonno Luigi's name, i'm guessing this could be some new Frankel turf monster?...i do know that Leroidesanmeaux (Brz) debuted down the hill...unfortunately, i don't have any reports on this one, though Frankel workouts are pretty sneaky anyway and generally don't jump off the page at you...no doubt this is a very tough spot, beyond Florida Keys tou're looking at some other very accomplished downhill types...this could very easily pass for a stakes...but i'm headed out shortly to grab the Form, and if this Nonno Luigi does turn out to be a Frankel horse with a sterling South American record, then i'll definitely have some interest...surely P-Val knows what he's doing...

Walter said...

...just saw the Form...indeed, Nonno Luigi is a TNT Stud horse for Frankel, but he HAS raced once before @ Santa Anita...he debuted at a mile on grass (Solis up), and was forwardly placed before fading late...he comes off a layoff here, drops back to a sprint, and adds P-Val...also, Florida Keys was claimed last time out, and makes his first start for Sadler here...perhaps that's why P-Val isn't riding...hard to say...it's also worth noting that Florida Keys was claimed from Mullins, and many horses leaving his care regress in the hands of the new trainer...i guess they're missing that "Mullins magic", if you know what i mean...

...also, i just heard from my Man in Japan...here are his exact words regarding Kane Hekili...

"Japan Dirt Cup winner, only lost once on dirt lifetime, and same owners as Deep Impact. Last year i thought he was pretty good, but the Japanese dirt crop was pretty weak. But he looked much more mature in his debut this season, and i think he's kind of interesting for Dubai. I don't know how he'll match up against the best of the American dirt horses, but the horse can run. If he ships okay, i'd give him a decent shot."

Walter said...

...looks like P-Val is off all his mounts from Race 5 onward...Desormeaux takes over on Nonno Luigi...

Walter said...

...just looked at the results...Nonno Luigi and Florida Keys each finished off the board...

...ps...it seems that over half the racebooks in Vegas are NOT offering the Dubai World Cup...of course, they ALL offer Penn National and Mountaineer, but if you wanna bet the World Cup, too bad so sad... 8^P

John said...

Now Alan, I am sure you have read my profile....it clearly states that I am not much of a handicapper and not a very good writer either. Yes I got lucky last weekend and picked Like Now, while all you Beyers guys were talking numbers but that is not going to happen two weekends in a row now is it?

alan said...

You're on the spot, man. We're all depending on you!

Walter said...

...well, i got my hands on a Dubai program that contains the "American" morning line...first thing that jumped out at me was Electrocutionist, listed @ 6/1!...he's been offered @ even-money over in Europe, at least he was before the post-position draw )(Godolphin expressed some concern about his inside draw)...so anyway, i just checked the odds @ Ladbrokes, and compared them to the American morning line...some pretty big discrepencies on the favorites...the odds on the left are the Ladbrokes odds, followed by the American morning line...

Jack Sullivan 9/4, 6/1

Simpatico Bribon 7/4, 4/1

Heart Alone 5/2, 8/1

Ouija Board 5/2, 3/1

David Junior 11/2, 6/1

Electrocutionist 11/10, 6/1

...you'll notice that Discreet Cat is not favored overseas, though he is a close second choice @ 2/1...could be some value on Simpatico in the American pool, as "name brand" Discreet Cat will likely pull the money...no doubt i respect Dicreet Cat (you gfuys know that already), but Simpatico Bribon has won 7 in a row, the last two coming at today's 1 1/8 mile distance...Discreet Cat has won twice (only once this year), and has yet to travel today's distance...throw in the fact that his connections (who paid a lot of money for him, btw) are on record as saying he may not appreciate the distance...throw in the fact that Simpatico is 7 months older, almost certainly more physically developed...who do YOU think should be favored?...

Walter said...

...okay, i've been doing some digging on Simpatico Bribon, and i came across these quotes from his trainer (Ian Jory)...thought you guys might find them interesting...

March 17: "We are having a serious look at the World Cup for this fellow, as he would get a very handy weight allowance, being a 3yo. No final decision has been made, but it is a strong possibility that he will run in the World Cup."

March 23: "He's very exciting, very strong. It was tempting to go for the World Cup. When he won he was giving eveeryone else about 7 kg for his Group 1 win in Chile, which i think is a little harsh given that they aren't the strongest. But he was super, super impressive. He could be a top horse."