- That was a nice turn of speed by Lady of Venice in taking the $1 million Cash Call Mile at Hollywood. Trainer Patrick Biancone was not present, and I believe this was his first win since the cobra venom story broke. The Beyer figures didn't tell the story with this filly, whose numbers had been on a decline, and were several points less than those of First Word, sent off as the 4-5 favorite. This four-year old daughter of Loup Solitaire, is now unbeaten in three starts this year. 'G. Stevens,' as he's come to be called on the TVG set, compared her to Gorella; and though Julien Leparoux waved off any physical similarities, the comparison certainly fits in terms of running style and consistency.
Regarding Biancone, whose troubles were not mentioned during the TVG coverage, instead awkwardly hanging over the proceedings in silence, when I suggested that his horses be barred from the entry box while the investigation goes one, the flip side of that was that the process be carried out in an expeditious manner so that the trainer wouldn't be too unfairly penalized before his guilt or innocence is determined. That apparently is not going to be the case. I mean, what's going on, he either had the substance, or he didn't. Matt Hegarty points out in his long piece on cobra venom in the Form that the substance can be easily identified in the crystallized form. It's clear that this matter is going to drag on, and the loser, as usual, is the betting public and the game. Each time one of Biancone's horses steps onto the track, it does so under a cloud which doesn't figure to clear up too soon.
- The betting public is a winner at Ellis Park, where, as reader davidrex points out, the takeout has been reduced to 4% on the Pick Four. That combined with a 50 cent minimum bet, makes it the best deal in town, and a bold move by the new owner Ron Geary. John Pricci, writing on MSNBC.com, urges us to participate:
Parenthetically, if the Ellis Park signal is unavailable, demand it from your neighborhood simulcastor. If you can’t support an idea aimed to help you win, what will remain is staring mindlessly into a VLT because everyone should reap what they sew.
This makes the effective takeout rate on the Ellis Park Pick Four one percent per race. Now, if your handicapping is skilled enough to safely eliminate one 30-1 shot per race (on balance, a 30-1 has about a three percent chance to win), you have an expected positive return of two percent per race or eight percent for entire sequence. Think of it as free money.
Now how does that stack up against the 50 percent withheld by your state’s lottery? [MSNBC.com]
- It seemed like a lot of Pick Six bettors at Belmont on Friday were alive going into the 8th....and that many of them were eliminated when 3-4 favorite City Attraction couldn't hold off 7-1 Memphis Mon. I saw a couple of programs and Forms fly through the air afterwards. The fans were not happy. The ten bettors who survived collected $78,774 from the $1 million+ pool on a series which started with an even money shot, included a 2-1 shot and in which Memphis Mon was the highest priced winner. And that's with the standard 25% takeout.
The Prioress is today; always seems a little odd to see this Grade 1 at six furlongs for three-year old fillies at this time of the year. Dream Rush, according to Dave Litfin in the Form, is a "triple fig, with three straight figures superior to anything the others have recorded." She most recently earned a 100 when she couldn't hold off Cotton Blossom in the one mile Acorn after leading throughout. The cutback to six furlongs will presumably help, though it seems that she's improved since stretching out.
A longshot in the race that caught my eye is Graeme Six, trained by Tom Amoss, making a rare appearance at Belmont. Throw out her sloppy track race, and she's 5-2-3-0, with all three of those losses coming by the narrowest of margins. Most recently, she finished within a nose of Burmilla, an undefeated Storm Cat filly racing for Darley. She was eight lengths in front of the others. She's been moving up in class and speed slowly but steadily, obviously faces a huge jump here, but looks live to me for a share.
It's a big sprint day of course between the Prioress, the Summit of Speed at Calder, and the return of Surf Cat in the Triple Bend at Hollywood. Right now, with the encouragement of the Head Chef, I'm sprinting off to Fire Island for the day to lie on the beach and wish I was at the track. Good luck and have a great day!