RSS Feed for this Blog

Monday, November 13, 2006

Notes - Nov 13

- Bobby Frankel took the Sunday stakes at Hollywood, the grassy Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes, with Citronnade, a three-year old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid who he imported from Canada earlier in the year. He'd had a couple of good dirt efforts, but has now won two stakes, one of the restricted variety, in three starts on the grass.

Citronnade is by Lemon Drop Kid, whose offspring continue to take to the grass. He was the Champion Older Horse in 2000. He won the Whitney, Woodward, Suburban, and Brooklyn that year, but when he ventured outside of New York for the Breeders Cup Classic, he finished 5th at 6-1 (though ahead of the 6-5 favorite Fusaichi Pegasus). But he got the conso Eclipse, partly because the first four finishers were three-year olds (as was the 6-5 favorite). I suppose that Bernardini will similarly take the Eclipse for three-year olds.

Lemon Drop Kid went to stud the next year at $50,000, where it stayed until his first crop hit the track in 2004, after which it dropped to $20,000, where it will remain next year. He had only four stakes winners coming into 2006, his third crop year. But he has eight stakes winners this year, and six won on the grass. (On the other hand, his only graded winners were both on the dirt - Lemons Forever in the G1 Kentucky Oaks, and Malakoff in the G3 Marine.) He's a son of Kingmambo, who is by Mr. Prospector out of Miesque, which makes him a full-brother to Miesque's Son, the sire of Turf winner Miesque's Approval.

- I entered "hardest working man in showbiz" into Google, and I found the phrase applied to the likes of James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Roger Ebert, and Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest? I seem to remember years ago, Johnny Carson being mentioned for the honor for some reason, even though he seemed to be away on vacation half the time.

If there's a "hardest working man in handicapping," it has to be Dan Illman of the Daily Racing Form. Besides writing his Formblog on weekdays, he provides detailed analyses of every two-year old maiden special race at Saratoga and Keeneland in addition to the comprehensive stakes previews that he does on weekends throughout the year. He wrote trip reports on all of the major preps for the Breeders Cup. His appearances at Siro's during the Saratoga meeting showed that he handicapped the card exhaustively, utilizing stats from Formulator, observations from watching replays, pedigree analysis, and workout reports that include who the horses worked out on the same day as, or in company with.

If handicapping was a game in which the results improved in direct proportion to the amount of work done, Illman could probably quit his day job. Well, I don't want to presume anything; maybe he can, and the Form gig is just a labor of love. But it seems to me that one reaches a point of diminishing returns when it comes to poring over the races in such detail, and that the advantage shifts to those with enough cold cash and rebates to grind out small percentage profits.

Anyway, now they have Illman doing a Horse of the Day [DRF, sub. only]. Horse of the Day? You mean one single horse out of every one running that day? The way this guy does his job with such due diligence, they'll have him watching every single replay of every last-out of every horse running in every race in the country!

For Tuesday, he came up with some $15,000 maiden claimer in a $12,000 race at Remington Park, so I just had to check it out. It's a two-year old filly named Hand Me the Gold, and he writes:

HAND ME THE GOLD was competitive on both dirt and turf to begin her career, then was in over her head when facing 2/5 three-time winner Wrenice in restricted stakes at Retama. She had absolutely no chance that day after being bumped hard from both sides soon after the break, and then being checked out of the running.
She's 8-1 morning line, but in fact, with the class drop that she's taking (both of those competitive races Illman refers to were maiden specials), in addition to her receiving such a high honor, I'd be suprised if she's much above 8-5.