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Friday, February 27, 2009

Aqueduct Notes

In the third at the Big A on Friday, Meetmeatthechapel makes his debut for Kasey K. We claimed this three-year old son of Chapel Royal from Asmussen for 20K on Feb 16, when he was a disappointing third at odds of 3-4 (still can't get used to those prices). He's 5-1 in this five horse Starters Allowance field with a generous $44,000 purse, but he's actually second choice since Hatfield is listed at 2-5. I bet that horse when he debuted on Feb 1, after some top-heavy tote action. Jorge Chavez was looking around for competition after putting away Geno Green (who dropped from 40K to 16K when he graduated on Saturday) as he turned for home, going on to win by 10 with an 89 Beyer which is in a class of its own in this field. Hatfield was also trained by Asmussen, and was also claimed, he by Contessa.

Here's two prototypical handicapping questions at work - a horse facing winners for the first time, and attempting to stretch out to two turns. To me, the second of those is the key question, and makes this horse one that, in my opinion, one can not possibly play at the expected odds. At 2-5, you won't see a more classic application of Harvey Pack's advice to not take a short price on a horse doing it's never done before.

Hatfield should like the route. He's by Proud Citizen, out of a Bates Motel mare, has a high Tomlinson, a low dosage index; he's a half brother to the dam of Liquor Cabinet, his second dam is a half-sister to the Irish champion Ministrella (a half to the granddam of Saint Liam). But we won't really know until he tries it. I wouldn't want to find out at those odds. In fact, I think he'd be a good candidate to bet against.

But I prefer to recuse myself when Kasey K is involved. You do understand that sometimes I'm not at liberty to comment one way or another, so I figure I just shouldn't comment in any case. For example, some of the boys may be looking to make a score at the windows....and that's not (necessarily) due to any hush hush inside info. More likely it's just something that a sharp horseplayer might notice anyway, like a trip more troubled than indicated by the race chart, or an anticipated change in tactics hinted at by a rider, equipment, or distance change. Something they're hoping you don't notice, and they don't need me to point out.

Honestly, in this case, I've been too busy working and watching the Rangers lose to have spent too much time on the phone with Bob, and I honestly don't know a thing other than the horse was fine upon arrival. But, you don't need me to tell you that trainer Bruce Brown has a fine record first off the claim - 9 for 29 (31%), two in a row and three out of the last five. Or that the only win for Meetmeatthechapel was at this two-turn one mile distance. Or that he was a solid second in this class three races back. So you might conclude that he has a shot if the favorite isn't what he's supposed to be.

Asmussen has a claim of his own in Early Response (6-1), and Dominguez sticks despite the trainer change. Weekend Action (6-1) is an interesting case, moving up to face winners despite losing his last two against maidens. He was retroactively declared the winner of his Jan 9 effort when Wild Conga tested positive for excess carbon dioxide. Pretty interesting little race for such a short field and short-priced favorite.

- The Rangers suffered a loss which was as demoralizing and damaging as one can imagine, at least at this stage with still 19 games to play. The Broadway Blueshirts, more energized and aggressive on the forecheck in two games under their new coach, still cannot score; just two goals on some 73 shots for the two games, not to mention all the glorious chances which didn't even result in a shot on goal. They outshot the Panthers 41-22. They've fallen to last in the league in goals per game. In their last 12 losses, coming in the last 14 games, they've scored all of 15 goals. It's just unbelievable. I just can't accept that any professional hockey team not named the Islanders could be this pitiful offensively.

Still, coach John Tortorella remains upbeat. “I think we did some really good things. Our pressure was outstanding.....I think our weakest moment was our 5 on 3. Other than that, I think we played a hell of a game.” And I remain on board.

14 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched a couple of the Ranger games earlier this year. I was astonished to see that they don't know how to execute a pass without turning the puck over to the opposition. If you can't pass, you can't score, and you won't win. Hmmm, come to think of it, that just what the Rangers are doing.

Anonymous said...

I watched a couple of the Ranger games earlier this year. I was astonished to see that they don't know how to execute a pass without turning the puck over to the opposition. If you can't pass, you can't score, and you won't win. Hmmm, come to think of it, that just what the Rangers are doing.

Anonymous said...

All Harvey Pack references are greatly appreciated.

2-5 on this horse is absurd, and a must bet against.

El Angelo said...

Alan: I wish you guys the best of luck on your new horse, and I'm curious to see how he does, given that you claimed him out of Asmussen's barn. Instinctively, I always question whether it's a good idea to claim a horse out of a top trainer's barn, on the theory that what are the chances your trainer can do better than him/her? It's not a stretch to think that your trainer can find a misused talent from the barn of Joe Aquilino, but usually the big guys are firing good shots. That said, I have no data to back up this theory, and hope that I'm wrong for your barn's sake.

alan said...

El Angelo - Fair point to be sure, and we shall see. I know that Asmussen is a trainer that Brown is not afraid to claim from, though I don't know the specifics.

And Rap Tale turned out to be a profitable (if not particularly speedy) claim. Pletcher is still a top trainer. Right? :-)

El Angelo said...

You're 100% right. Like I said, it's a theory based on absolutely no data and pure guesswork.

steve in nc said...

Thanks for posting on race 3 and good analysis. Good luck with the claim, and as another Harvey Pack devotee, I'll also try to beat Hatfield. But I'm going to cover him defensively, though because he could back up considerably and still end up beating these.

And I'll probably focus on Weekend Action in that race rather than your new colt. Although the Beyers for 'Chapel are fairly close between sprints and routes, his sprints are consistently faster on Sheets:
sprints:
19, 20, 15, 15, 10-1/2 in last
routes:
18, 19, 19 two races back.

I know Sheets haven't been helpful in handicapping Rap Tale's races, so maybe B Brown will make me burn my sheets (or my $$) in this case too.

By the way, the wind is really strong at AQ right now from the south, which is at the horses' backs in the backstretch. This could help frontrunners in sprints. It'll be hard to tell though, with a legitimate heavy chalk on the rail figuring to wire-to-wire in the first, and the fourth race being a bad maiden race where any horse able to clear has a strong chance without any wind help.

alan said...

steve - Bob told me that our colt got a 7 on the thorograph sheets last out, and he is concerned that this race may be too closely spaced after a forward move such as that.

steve in nc said...

yeah, the last was a big move up on Rag as well, as you saw. If he runs poorly, will it be a bounce or the distance?

Look at that wind!

steve in nc said...

Hatfield looks super on the track. Given the way speed has played the last two races (the mile has such a short run-up to the turn, I think the wind affects it like a sprint). I'm not going to try to beat him.

Erin said...

Well Alan your new acquisition certainly did not disgrace himself. He looked strong before fading just at the end.

alan said...

Yeah, thanks Erin. Not a bad try, I think he can be a useful horse for us.

jk said...

"I just can't accept that any professional hockey team not named the Islanders could be this pitiful offensively."

Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

The 2009 edition of the Broadway Blues look like they were put together by the idiots recently put in power down in Washington DC


Reggie Fleming