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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wet (some places) Wednesday Morning Notes - July 23

- I'm not going to do much in the way of standard pedigree profiles and trainer records for Saratoga's two-year old races this year. My goal is to present stuff you don't get anywhere else, and there's plenty of such information available online on these races nowadays. Even if you don't subscribe to DRF Plus and thereby can't access Illman's Spa Babies exercise-in-overkill report, you can check out, for free, the Maiden Watch column on Bloodhorse.com; and there's always the Closer Look sidebar in the Form. It's quite time consuming, and why bother if people who are getting paid to do it are already doing it for us?

And ultimately, while they can be interesting, many of the factoids presented really don't amount to much in the end. In most cases, we can probably get a better idea of who's going to run well merely by watching the tote board or observing them on the track. So instead, I'll continue to follow which barns are firing first out, and which ones are coming up short. And I'll attempt to focus on angles that these other resources may not cover, and which may be more relevant anyway.

For example, in Wednesday's second race, I think it's far less important that Cognito was a $135,000 yearling (Keeneland September 2007), or that his sire was a multiple Grade 1 winner (23-9-7-1, $698,574, unraced at two, 8-12 in main track sprints) than the fact that he ran second in his debut to Proud Jefe, who subsequently romped in a stakes at Canterbury. (More on Cognito from DiscreetCat here.) And that it's far less significant that Bill Mott, who sends out a pair of first-timers in Pious David and Zensational, is 8-71 (11%, $0.90 ROI) over the past five years with juvenile debut runners at Saratoga than the fact that he's 0 for his last 56 debut runners going back to September. Just my opinion, but that's the way we'll play it over here.

Today's opening day card at Saratoga looks like a washout if I'm reading my weather maps correctly, so let's try the 6th at Del Mar, where I'm pretty certain that the weather is perfect without even checking weather.com. Honored Gold (5-2) looks like a solid choice for trainer Mike Mitchell, off to a rip-roaring start at the meeting at five for 14. Better yet, he has four winners (including Eddie Reade winner Monzante) and one second from five grass runners thus far. This filly returns to the grass where she just seems faster and better than the rest, at least based on her Beyers and the company she's kept. She also was two for three on the course last summer, including a second in an ungraded stakes. Let's try to complete the exacta with Marqz Melody, off the layoff for Mike Machowsky, 2-1-1-0 thus far at Del Mar, and three for his last ten 180+ day runners. This mare seemed to really take to the grass when she tried it last fall, improving her Beyers, and most recently rallying for 4th in a race which produced three subsequent winners and one second. She's been working up a storm for this too. Best of luck and have a great day!

2 Comments:

DC said...

Saratoga - Race 2

#1 Cognito (2/1 ml)

Asmussen 2yo worked the fastest furlong at the April Keeneland sale (9.3), then ran a bang-up race in his Churchill debut. In addition to being checked slightly on the backstretch, and steadied behind horses in the stretch, i believe the assistant starter still had a hold of his bridle when the gates opened. When viewing the head-on, i saw his head get yanked to the side as he attempted to break, and as a result he then swerved inward pretty badly. I believe that's why he wasn't on the lead, as he clearly demonstrated at the sale that he has a good bit of speed. Delving further into that race, notice the horse who beat him (Proud Jefe) returned a few days ago to win a $50,000 stakes @ Canterbury by 4 lengths. Also note that it was roughly 5 lengths from Cognito back to the rest of the field. More recently, Cognito worked heads-up (at Saratoga) with barnmate Ocean Colors, who starts as the 5/2 ml favorite in today's Schuylerville Stakes

Anonymous said...

Alan,

It's a total bog at the Spa. Will be interested to see the attendance fig -- it seemed sparse for an opening day. Weather was reminiscent of Medaglia D'Oro's Travers Day win -- rain, more rain, and then more rain.

Likely off the turf until the weekend.

It was perfect weather for a Dolphin; Bill Parcells was on the premises. You would think with the NBA having the Tim Donaghy problem, any professional sports team executive would steer clear from any form of gambling.

So, Dutrow wins two, Asmussen three, and Contessa claims the finale. Let's see: how many positives this decade among the three of these? The Donaghy Over-Under says 75.

It's also a hoot to see the Albany Mayor slapping down bills at the windows to get some bets in. Maybe there should be some type of post-Spitzer era (and Hevesi, too) edict where the elected leaders have to formally declare they are "off the clock" when playing the ponies.