GorellaI saw that Jerry Brown of Thoroughgraph thinks that Gorella could bounce given her win three weeks ago in the First Lady. I still think she won that race with ease, and just cruised along until midstretch; that's what I see when I watch the race anyway. Echo of Light could be the speed, or maybe Badge of Silver. Since there are no internal fractions on the European horses, we have no idea whatsoever. Another paradox in the world of handicapping, the way we can demand such minutae in some areas, but go strictly on guesswork on others. Anyway, in Nick Mordin's analysis, he says that Echo of Light is four-for-four around left-handed courses.
Echo of Light
Pine IslandI'm liking Round Pond a bit more after reading Matz's comments about the bad foot that hampered her training for the Beldame. You can see the gap in works before the Beldame, as well as the work just a few days before her prior race, a close second in her first race in over five months. She has a similar work for the Distaff, five furlongs in 59 flat the other day, and I can just feel the soothing effects of the Polytrack on her little feet.
Steve Crist also left out Fleet Indian and Balletto in his picks, but said that he wouldn't let either knock him out of anything. I'd say the same about Fleet Indian, but I won't use Balletto on top in any tickets.
CaciqueI like Cacique a lot here. All of the Europeans are question marks here to me. With Hurricane Run, it just doesn't feel right; it seems almost scattershot the way he was sent here so soon after the Champion. I could end up feeling foolish when he wins by five lenghts; or he could be the most vulnerable favorite of the day. Scorpion is the invader that scares me the most, and I'll probably have him on top somewhere or other. TH Approval is getting a lot of support in Europe; he was being quoted at around 12-1 earlier today.
T H Approval
BernardiniIt seems a logical case to me to try to make money by leaving out the prospective second and third choices on the theory that Bernardini will be so dominant that the better horses that try to challenge him will be beaten into submission. Thus, you get horses that avoided the frey picking up the pieces at the end. I'll also use David Junior, and, with Patrick Valenzuela replacing John McKee, Lawyer Ron.
So that's it. It's been a lot of writing about a lot of horses both here and in my horse-by-horse previews of the Juvenile, Sprint, Distaff, and Turf that are now up on the website of the Breeders Cup Special (go there and click on 'House of Value' in the column on the right).
Looking at my top picks, they seem a bit chalk-y to me overall. Besides the longshot I selected in the Juvenile Fillies, I picked three likely favorites in Ouija Board, Henny Hughes and Bernardini. I have probable second choices in Pine Island and Gorella, and perhaps Cacique as well. Even Scat Daddy is listed as the second choice, though I think he'll be higher than Principle Secret. So for any talk that may have come from me about this being a day to shoot for the moon was empty I guess. I think that when I look at races for so, so long, I tend to drift towards the more logical conclusions; whereas I can be more spontaneous and creative when handicapping by the seat of my pants.
But there's still money to be made with favorites or second choices on top, with more creative choices filling the bottom of the tickets. Plus I'll be watching the board and making adjustments. I don't at all foresee me jumping onto any horse that I haven't liked up to this point, but I could elevate horses picked for minor awards if there are surprises on the board with horses such as Round Pond and Great Hunter, or if others like Pine Island or Gorella are bet too low. And I'm hoping that I'm in a position of being live with Bernardini in the Pick Four (or even the late double) so that I can fool around a bit in the Classic.
I'm going to stop now. Good luck everybody, and thanks so much for reading and commenting.