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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Red Rocks the Turf

- In the Turf, Better Talk Now might have thought it was like old times and that it was Shake the Bank, rather than Icy Atlantic playing the rabbit up front. The latter served more as a target than a bunny in the Turf Classic, going 51.1 and 1:16.1. Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, talking before the race, discussed just that. Moss warned that if Icy Atlantic went too fast, it would set the race up for horses from way back. Bailey said that if you see the horse tossing his head around then "Johnny's in trouble."

And though Pletcher said afterwards that "Icy Atlantic did his job,” Frankie Dettori, on the winner Red Rocks, said, "Beyond my wildest dreams, I didn't expect a furious pace like they did go today." [Courier-Journal] And “That was a crazy pace. I knew they couldn’t keep up that pace. They were going ridiculously fast." [Equibase] And both ESPN commentators were right on. English Channel fought Velazquez through the stretch the first time, and perhaps the rider was unable to put him on the rail when he had a chance prior to that, approaching the first of the three turns. He ended up wide on all three turns, relatively close to the pace, and actually ran a fantastic race to be third. As Moss predicted, it was the horses that were third and second to last who finished 1-2.

Hurricane Run was pounded at the windows in the last few minutes, going from 7-2 to 5-2, and that's a lot of Euros to cause a move like that. But, as related by the UK's Guardian, he put up a moody show and trailed home sixth. English Channel was the slight favorite over Cacique, both at 7-2, and the latter, my most confident selection of the day, was awful, putting in a move on the turn, but fading back to 10th, yuck! Seemed like the race was a quarter mile too long for him. Prado said that he "pulled me every step of the way and tired from those efforts. Yeah, whatever.

In my opinion, Red Rocks was the most inexplicable winner of the day. For one thing, he was 9-1 morning line, and I don't know if I've ever seen that before. I admit that I don't know much about European racing, and most everything I do know I learned from Walter. But it just seemed to me that Red Rocks was clearly a cut below even an off-form Hurricane Run, certainly Scorpion off his Grade 1 wins last year. Plus, he's a three-year old, and one who, at least the way I read the Euro form lines, was not really improving, and seemed a notch below Grade 1.

Many feel that that's plenty enough class to beat the top American horses, and it's hard to argue with the results over the years. This one may be more attributable to the circumstances of the race though, especially since Better Talk Now, who has clearly slowed down a bit this year, lost by just a half-length. So, Red Rocks is one that I really didn't get; even Miesque's Approval made more sense to me. (OK Walter, let me have it.)

As we've mentioned, Red Rocks is a son of the English and Irish Derby winner and champion Galileo; and he has unusual breeding in that he's very closely inbred, 2x3, to Sadler's Wells (the sire of Galileo) and his full brother Fairy King. He's also inbred to Mr. Prospector, Hail to Reason, and Native Dancer.

17 Comments:

Pete from Gowanus said...

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Handride said...

the key to Red Rocks was that Detorri chose him over Scorpion, that's how a few of my friends had him. Also Turf racing is a lot like poker, remember the Russian in Rounders, Hanggging around, hannnging around, chek, chek, he trap me, pay him his money. Red Rocks never put in a bad race, and that's something in itself on the turf.

Pete from Gowanus said...

Hey Alan,

Not to be a redboarding jerk, but I thought Red Rocks made a ton of sense, enough to be my top selection (though like an idiot I got greedy in doubles and blew off the win price!).

It was just a question of looking a little closer at his Euroform. The St Leger is their Belmont as you probably know and therefore his effort in a classic going 1 3/4 was a big positive as far as I'm concerned. That horse he lost to the time before, Youmzain, is a serious horse. He gave Rail Link (who'd have been a big fave for the Turf imo) fits in the Arc prep on 9/10 and went on to win a G1.

Being a 3 yo -- while a knock in my opinion for a USA horse -- just doesn't mean the same thing for a Euro. For whatever reason -- problem the level of competition they face throughout the year -- their 3 yos are a lot more battle tested and ready by this time of year.

One of my partners had him in the 2-1 range even on his line!! That was a little exuberant for me but I agree with the idea.

Anyway, your site is the best (despite a couple of knuckleheads' brutal posts on Pine Island). Keep up the good work!!!

Alan said...

OK guys, thanks for setting me straight on that; good point about Dettori choosing him over Scorpion; I missed that. (Though so did the bettors who made Scorpion 5-1....guess I wasn't alone.)

Redboarding is fully encouraged here; how else can one learn where we went wrong? ....though I guess it doesn't help when you get greedy with exotics, as I did on the day too. I presume you had him with Bernardini, eh Pete?

Pete from Gowanus said...

I was bringing back big numbers if Bernardini (best scenario), Lawyer Ron or Lava Man won. The latter we tossed in b/c of O'Neill's success and the possibility that he'd benefit from what was to my eyes the clear inside bias. And yea, that was another brilliant piece of betting from me and the boys -- tossing the one other horse who had a chance to win!

I think I blew the turf betting-wise because I was able to get such a massive price on BTN from one of my English partners (45-1). I saw that and stopped thinking about how RR was a must bet, too, based on my opinion of the race. I don't usually do woulda, shoulda, coulda -- I wrote a whole chapter in a book about how that crap kills you -- but man, I wish the old boy had gotten up.

BC Day is tough because it's easy to get seduced by the possible massive paydays and miss some things one probably should have had.

I can argue BC betting stategy either way. On the one hand, as a guy who's content to be conservative all year and handle 90% of my money in straight pools, maybe that's what I should do BC Day.

On the other hand, the bonanza parlay pays of BC Day are so unique that I find myself tempted to take real swings. But to do so requires more money than would be available if I only spent 10 or even 20% of my bankroll.

Maybe next year we set up a LatG player's pool for the P4s and then bet the races conservatively individually?

Walter said...

Pete pretty much nailed it. As if Red Rocks' second vs. Rail Link wasn't enough, he came back to miss by a neck to Youmzain, who ran second to Rail Link subsequent to that. Most recently Red Rocks was tretched beyond his distance capability in the St. Leger, and in fact he was leading that one after 1 1/2 miles. I'm not gonna lie and say i had the horse way on top, but i was confident he'd fire a big shot, and the other horses just didn't inspire. Something has obviously gone wrong with Hurricane Run, and it was hard to like Scorpion off his year-long absence with just a low-level prep under his belt. Hard to expect a whole lot out of either one of them. Cacique and English Channel looked strong enough, but again, that's by American turf standards, which just aren't as high. I felt that Red Rocks could probably handle them. So bottom line, i had the race fairly wide-open, and i gave Red Rocks an equal chance with anyone at what turned out to be 10/1 odds. I suppose that's why i never made the win bet, because i wasn't exactly brimming with confidence, and i already had a decent-sized matchup bet taking Red Rocks (-115) over Better Talk Now. In retrospect, i should've taken the 10/1 as well, because i knew it was a big overlay. That's my fault, and it kept me from having a very good day.

Walter said...

Pete pretty much nailed it. As if Red Rocks' second vs. Rail Link wasn't enough, he came back to miss by a neck to Youmzain, who ran second to Rail Link subsequent to that. Most recently Red Rocks was tretched beyond his distance capability in the St. Leger, and in fact he was leading that one after 1 1/2 miles. I'm not gonna lie and say i had the horse way on top, but i was confident he'd fire a big shot, and the other horses just didn't inspire. Something has obviously gone wrong with Hurricane Run, and it was hard to like Scorpion off his year-long absence with just a low-level prep under his belt. Hard to expect a whole lot out of either one of them. Cacique and English Channel looked strong enough, but again, that's by American turf standards, which just aren't as high. I felt that Red Rocks could probably handle them. So bottom line, i had the race fairly wide-open, and i gave Red Rocks an equal chance with anyone at what turned out to be 10/1 odds. I suppose that's why i never made the win bet, because i wasn't exactly brimming with confidence, and i already had a decent-sized matchup bet taking Red Rocks (-115) over Better Talk Now. In retrospect, i should've taken the 10/1 as well, because i knew it was a big overlay. That's my fault, and it kept me from having a very good day.

alan said...

>>Maybe next year we set up a LatG player's pool for the P4s and then bet the races conservatively individually?

I can assure you that we would have had at least the early P4 if we'd done that; and, with help from people like Pete, Walter, and Nick Mordin, perhaps the second one as well.

Mike said...

I was about to say that I picked Red Rocks b/c of Frankie... but then Patrick beat me to it.

Mike said...

The Pick Four idea isn't bad... three buddies and I hit the early P3 and had 3of4 on the late P4 (we missed effin Invasor -- my pick to win) because we were building the bet we felt we had to single Bernardini for budget.

4x4x4x1.... http://exaggeratedreaction.blogspot.com/2006/11/exotics-pool.html

There is no reason why the readers of this or the TBA can't combine pools to build a monster bet.

Dave said...

Red Rocks was also very well supported with the bookies in the UK at well below his morning line. I usually like to check how they rank their own horses relative to one another and he clearly had solid support (and for all the reasons others have mentioned). I did manage to cash the last double with Invasor and that was a pretty solid price. I also had the win3 ending with Ouija Board but messed up almost everything else...oh well, another year....

I agree with Walter's general assessment of Miesque's Approval...by far the least likely winner on the card ...I'm not saying he isn't a nice horse but I fail to see how he crushes that field off his past efforts.

Most disappointing loss: Gorella

alan said...

Dave - Even while conceding the point on Red Rocks, I would urge you to take a second look at Miesque's Approval and see if you still think that "by far" is appropriate. On Beyers and consistency, I think he may have been the second most likely winner out of the U.S. entries, including Aragon. His last didn't look great, but he closed into a final quarter of 22 4/5.

Gorella was extremely disappointing, especially since she cost me two lucrative P3's.

Case said...

I don't know if this was televised, but I was sitting near the finish line at Churchill and Hurrican Run was jumping, bucking, and acting up terribly during or just after the post parade. He also started sprinting around the first turn.

BTW, I don't know how we could do it, but I would be agreeable to a massive pick 4 or pk 6 for LATG faithful next year.

Walter said...

Miesque's Aproval had good form coming into the race, i never suggested otherwise. But i felt he was clearly inferior to Gorella and Araafa (among others), and in fact i took Rob Roy (-115) in a matchup vs. Miesque's Approval. Just turned out i was wrong, i obviously underestimated the horse.

Pete from Gowanus said...

I couldn't have Miesque's Approval for a race as deep as the BC Mile but when I looked back at the PP, I saw some things: progessive figs and third off the layoff, often the sign of coming improvement. And in the traditional sense of what form means, he'd gone close with English Channel and Artie not long ago.

Since it was kind of a weak mile this year, I'm thinking I probably should have found a way to use him on at least some tickets.

As for the group tix for big days, we should start a thread and do it, if only for some fun. We'll start a discussion thread and niminate Alan to make the final decision.. .no pressure!!

Mike said...

Another guy in our group was the one who pushed for M.Approval... so I'm not sure why we picked him (I liked Gorella). My big push was for Red Rocks over Hurricane Run...

As far as logistics for a big pick 3/4... Paypal.

Dave said...

Okay Alan, I concede Miesque's Approval was consistent...I just didn't see him as being up to the standard of the others. As Walter said, I guess I underestimated him and I did so at a cash cost! I just meant that I could see Thor's Echo and Red Rocks as having a better shot in their races and Street Sense had a right to improve (and I DO think there was a golden rail myself). I take back the 'by far' ...guess I got overly annoyed with that race ;->

Oh, and if you can do a LATG win4 ...count me in!! I am a BRIS member but because I live in Canada I can't do their players pool on the Pick 6 but I think it would be a lot of fun to be involved in a syndicate with a shot at some big $$

On another note, with the switch to ESPN, the Breeder's Cup wasn't even televised here this year (at least not on our cable system) if you can believe it!

Keep up the fantastic work Alan (and all the rest of the contributors here!).