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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Godolphin Triple

- Godolphin had three winners at Saratoga today; two of them returned nice prices. Astronomia, making her first U.S. start, was 7-1 with Johnny V in the first. Palace Episode was 6.60-1 with Jean-Luc Samyn. And Council Member, though the co-favorite on the tote board at 8-5, was in fact the second choice, with Ramon Dominguez. Who sez that the Sheikh doesn't spread the wealth? The trainer for all three was Saeed bin Suroor, who I imagine was nowhere to be seen for his great moment.

Paint ($8.70) was the second baby debut winner of the meeting for Zito. He moved into midpack after a slow start, and if I'd bet him (I did pick him in the Special selection box at least), I wouldn't have thought much of my chances as they were going around the turn, as wide as he was and as hard as Cornelio Velasquez was working. Then, once in the stretch, he raced greenly, zig-zagging in and out, and I think his victory, in 1:05.04, could be attributed more to the others tiring than some great late burst of speed. Still, he did win, and he's a $400,000 son of Include, a sire who, while successful, is only 9% with first timers. And he obviously needed the race in terms of experience. Paint's dam, Pat Copelan, won the Adirondack over this track, so I'd say to watch him for next time. But these days, we're already at the point of this meeting at which next time probably means Belmont.

One more thing, and then I gotta write the Friday handicapping column for the Special, sitting in for Pete. I did Thursday's too, and those picks should be up right here for Thursday, or Friday (or not at all) depending on when you're reading this. Now, I would understand if you were wondering why you would bother given the crummy horses I've been giving out on this site lately. But I've actually done pretty well in the selection box, which is pretty much my first impression picks after studying the Form. So, for example, I looked at the Adirondack, and picked More Happy for the paper.

Then, on Tuesday night (I did those picks on Monday), I was looking at the race closer, and I read this guy Track Bandit on BRIS. He (maybe a she, but then I supposed she'd be Track Bandita), does a really fine job doing horse-by-horse analysis for stakes races. In his preview of the Adirondack, he raved about the debut win by Passion, saying that she easily drew off through the stretch under nothing more than a mild hand ride. So I then went to watch the race, and, in fact, she was pretty much eased up inside the sixteenth pole. Then, I used Formulator to see that the race had been productive thus far, producing a 2nd and a win.

So, I picked Passion here. I didn't even include her in my top three in the Special. It wasn't at all a bad selection. She was 6-1, and it looked to me as if she had traffic problems for quite some time in the stretch before she finished very well for third, just a length and a half behind the tired winner. Perhaps she could have been closer with a clean trip, especially if Phantom Income wasn't the latest starting gate casualty and had challenged the winner up front. But, in this case, my first impression was the right one, and the extra information turned out to be too much, though producing good value and without terrible consequences.

For Baffert, it was another front-running winner from the Del Mar contingent. More Happy went 21.88 to the quarter, another 23.05 to the half, the next quarter in 25.19, and staggered home a sixteenth in 7.39. If that's what Baffert was referring to when he talked about showcasing "the brilliance of a good horse," I'll maintain my open mind to the synthetics.


Jim L said...

Frankel's assistant and Bejarano's valet have been fined and suspended for having a horse come back light by 1.5 pounds. They used the wrong saddle.

Cornelio appealed a 7 day earlier in the meet. Coa is bound to get days for causing Luzzi to take up on the Godolphin mount the other day in the Troy.

Anonymous said...

The starting gate incidents continue, with no explanation.

I am not litigious but would consider a lawsuit if my highly regarded 2yo filly was still in the hands of a starter and had its neck twisted when attempting to win a graded stake at Saratoga.

This game is tough enough without having to worry about the competance of the gate crew.

I know, it's a tough and dangerous job, there are different horses shipping in, a lot of 2yo's, yada yada yada...

This has been the case forever at the Spa (and KEE, and GULF, and FG etc) and there has never been a rash of incidents like we have witnessed the last two summers at the Spa. In fact, I am positive this happend way more than usual at the Big A in the winter too, when no such excuse exists.

There are many potential reasons for this, but he fact can not be ignored that the starters are in a unique position to influence the outcome of races.

Are they bonded? Do they undergo background checks? Are they prohibited from wagering? Do they carry cell phones when on the job? Are they drug and alchohol tested? Are records kept of which starter is in the gate with which horse? Are they disciplined when they screw up?

I am guessing the answer is that there is no oversight whatsoever.

Perhaps I should contact Gelnick and Gelnick and let them earn their $125,000 per month.

You may think I am very suspicious of these guys. I am. I have been watching racing for too many years and seen to many scandals to not think something is going on here.

If pro referees can be on the take, these guys are certainly vulnerable.

Assuming for a second there is nothing crooked and they are just incompentant, the real crime is they are going to kill a jockey or a horse if they keep this up.

On a lesser note, there are only 9 or 10 races per day, of which a serious handicapper will be lucky to find 3 or 4 horses he targets.

When one of those horses is the latest victim of the gate crew, as mine was yesterday, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth and a hole in your pocket, making you wonder why you bother to try to play this game seriously.

I play multiple race wagers, and when my horse was scratched I was moved to the favorite, who luckily happened to win. But when investing my hard earned money I want my handicapping to matter.

At least give me the option of picking an alternate in these races.

They push these gimmicks like crazy, then drive me away with this situation.

Sorry for the rant, but I am totally pissed at this situation, moreso at the nonchalance of NYRA about it than at the actual individuals in the crew.

Even Johnny V and Steve Christ cant get them to take it seriously.

Anonymous said...

There were five horses yesterday with the hot trainer/jock combo angle, unfortunately grouped in the first two races limiting it's statistical value.

The Bush/Corny V runner was victorious at $13.80.

Two day total of 11 runners, 2 winners with $25.20 return for a 1.15 ROI if my math is correct.

Today at the Spa there are 4 qualifiers, before scratches.

R4 #7 - Galluscio/Kent 15-1 ML
R7 #2 - Dutrow/Prado 6-1 ML
R8 #5 - Mott/Prado 3-1 ML
R9 #5 - Dutrow/Prado 7-2 ML

The R4 animal looks impossible on paper, but maybe would consider throwing him under in the exotics based on the connections. The other three all appear viable and will key in the late P3 and 4.

Alan, I am only using trainers and jocks from the "top trainer" list provided by NYRA.

I know this eliminates other "hot" trainers like Dollase, but I can rationlize leaving them out based on smaller sample size. If they are hot yet still do not qualify in the leading trainer list their sample must be too small.

My study, my rules :)

Alan Mann said...

>>My study, my rules :)

Fair enough! And I appreciate you sharing your results, and please continue to do so if you have the time. I just think that sometimes the best value can be found flying just under the radar, - a low sample size guy like Dollase, or a guy like, say, Schosberg, who may not have made the official leader list, but has eight of ten in the money.