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Monday, April 10, 2006

Out of Balance

- The installation of Polytrack at Keeneland will likely not stop trainers from using the “didn’t like the track” excuse, as they’ll simply say that their horses didn’t like the synthetic surface. Trainer David Hofmans and jockey Victor Espinoza both used that familiar explanation, when it comes to Keeneland, to explain the disappointing performance of Balance as the 1-2 favorite in the Ashland. "When (jockey Victor Espinoza) would ask her to run, she would really lose her footing and bobble a little bit.” The jockey concurred: "I don't feel like she handled this track." [Louisville Courier-Journal] She must really have been spinning her wheels, as she lost ample ground in the stretch to winner Bushfire, despite the fact that the latter, after reaching six furlongs in 1:10.93, took a full 27 seconds for the next quarter, and an additional 7.18 seconds for the final sixteenth. Yuck.

Nonetheless, Balance remained the 4-1 favorite in Pool 3 of the Oaks Futures wager, and Hofmans said she would “absolutely” return for the big race. As for Bushfire (Louis Quartorze), she confirmed her performance in winning the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay, another quirky surface that not everyone takes to. She’s out of Traki Traki, a stakes winning mare by Mo Power, and is a half to several winners, including stakes horses Frosty’s Girl and Frosty’s On Track. Bushfire, who was not included in the prior pools, closed as the 9-1 third choice in Pool 3.

3 Comments:

Walter said...

...i have to accept the notion that Balance just didn't like Keeneland...i mean, short of any injury or sickness, she's just not gonna run that bad...we all know she's a better filly than that...the big question is, how do we know she's gonna like Churchill any better...i think the jury is definitely out on that...there are a lot of horse who've looked great in California, but simply don't handle the deeper surfaces as they head East...i'd be surprised if Balance is one of those, since she's run well on grass as well as dirt, but that Keeneland race ceratinly raises a red flag...if she goes off too short on Oaks Day, i'll be inclined to pass...on the other hand, perhaps that horrible race will make her an attractive overlay on race day...we shall see...i'll put "acceptable value" @ 3/1...

Walter said...

...incidentally, that's not to suggest that her 4/1 in the Oaks pool was good value...i don't think it was...there's too much chance that they'll find something wrong with her after an effort like that...and even if she comes out of the race clean, we're still talking about month of no training injuries or setbacks...certainly not worth the extra 25% you gain over her potential 3/1 race day price...

alan said...

Good points as usual, especially about the mere 25% premium for betting her in the future pool, before you really know how she even came out. I read that she had some cuts on her feet that would be consistent with her not handling the surface. I'm not ready to jump off the bandwagon yet; and there's always the turf for her.