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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taking a Stand

My buddy DiscreetPicks writes of Friesan Fire:

Personally, he's not my top pick, but i think it would be foolish to underestimate Friesan Fire. Don't forget, he was very much flattered when Papa Clem came back to win the Arkansas Derby. And of course Jones has saddled the second-place finisher each of the last two years, one of whom was coming off a similar layoff.
I'm not underestimating him, I'm just throwing him out. Yeah, maybe Larry Jones will pull it off after seven weeks off, but I'm betting against that; and I think, if he is around the 6-1 that Crist estimates here, that the odds will be in my favor. You gotta take a stand at some point, and I'm not betting this horse off seven weeks rest. I miss those old rules; they at least provided some order along with some automatic throwouts. Now you can't automatically eliminate anyone. Just a few years ago - even less! - I would never have believed that I would think that a colt who never started at two and hasn't raced in five weeks is amongst the most probable winners of the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Pioneerof the Nile is another one that I've soured on....though only provisionally in this case. I loved his determined win in the Robert Lewis; it's up there with the Wood is my top prep performance. His two races since did not go according to plan however, with the son of Empire Maker, impatient with dawdling fractions, tugging to the front and put under a drive to hold on; in the SA Derby he held off Chocolate Candy, a horse I'm not in love with (I just decided that after sending in my Paulick list with him at like #6). I like that POTN got tired and got some good conditioning in those races, and he's in fine fettle from all accounts. But there's also that nagging synthetic track question, and that alone would make him a tough play at 6-1 or so.

However, I'm thinking that this might be a horse who goes off a bit higher than we think. One horse in particular that I believe is being way underestimated in terms of his probable odds is Papa Clem....especially in relation to Pioneerof the Nile. Papa Clem may have lost to POTN by a half length, but since then he won on dirt with a 101 Beyer that's five points better than anything Baffert's horse has ever run. I know, I've been repeating that the Beyers on synthetic tracks don't mean anything. But probably about 99.99% of the people who will betting the Derby don't read this blog, and the smarter ones amongst the remaining .01% don't care what I say anyway. So, I wouldn't be shocked if Papa Clem and POTN are sent off at comparable odds of, say 8, perhaps 9-1? (Damn that Quality Road scratch!) Around those odds, then I'm looking at Baffert's colt differently.

Win Willy is over the dosage limit, at 5.0. Well? As I said, I miss those old rules. His sire Monarchos won the Derby of course, but has done little at stud; and the broodmare sire Carson City does not inspire distance confidence. His dam won the six furlong Correction Handicap. Win Willy actually closed quite well in the Arkansas Derby, getting the last eighth in 11.93 in finishing 4th. But I dunno, he comes off to me as one of those horses who will close well for 8th or so after being far back early.

- Well, I guess the Rangers might as well not even show up for Game 7 tonight. They seem to have been completely written off, even by many of their own fans. And even I have to admit that it wouldn't be much of a surprise if they went down meekly. However, I've kept the faith all year, so why should this be any different? Personally, I think that the Caps looked beatable in both Games 5 and 6, despite the lopsided scores. I believe that the Rangers have been better defensively; - other than in goal - not perfect to be sure, but better. I also think that their D has been more assertive and aggressive against Ovechkin, who, despite his two goals, has not been as dominant as earlier in the series. I believe that they can beat Varlamov if positioned for rebounds, or if they shoot the freaking puck on net, or simply don't shoot right into his pads, which has been largely the case in my opinion. The Caps have been the better team for the most part for sure, and the Rangers will sorely miss Blair Betts, their top penalty killer (no coincidence that the Caps power play, largely held in check to that point, went two-for-two after Brahsear's unpenalized assault for which he was suspended for five games)(and hopefully Brandon Dubinsky won't develop rabies). But it's just one game folks. The Caps are the second seed in the East, and were expected to breeze in this round. They got this far after trailing 3-1 last year, and didn't get it done, at home. The pressure is squarely on them. If the Broadway Blueshirts can get an early lead and a big save or two from Lundqvist, the Caps may really start to feel the heat.


Anonymous said...

Alan- there is absolutely no way in "heck" POTN and Papa Clem go off at the same odds. POTN will be 6 or 7-1 and Papa Clem will be double that. Papa C has been working like crap and the reports on POTN have all been good.

El Angelo said...

Wholly agree with the previous commenter. Papa Clem is going to get lost in the betting and be around 12-1 or 15-1, not 7-1, I think.

The price horse I love that's getting absolutely no hype is West Side Bernie. Not to win, but to run in the money at 40-1.

Alan Mann said...

>>Wholly agree with the previous commenter. Papa Clem is going to get lost in the betting and be around 12-1 or 15-1, not 7-1, I think.

We shall see. I could of course be wrong, but I think this horse is going to get bet based on the pure black and white of what is in his PP lines, which, in my opinion, does not show much separation between he and POTN. A half length to be exact, followed by a triple digit win, and on dirt. POTN cannot stake claim to either of those qualitites. If you guys are right and Papa Clem is 15-1, then he's my win bet on value principles.

Anonymous said...

Alan, you should wait another week to dive back in the gambling pool. What a crap opening day card at Belmont, they should have just run this at the Big A.

Three maiden claimers, two turf sprints. Even the featured Stake, while competitive, could be an overnight stake on the inner.

El Angelo said...

I agree if you go based off speed figures alone Alan. The problem is that POTN has 4 straight wins in stakes races including a pair of G1's. That alone will get him a ton of attention, especially from the West Coast defenders. While hard-core players and handicappers will compare horses the way you did (who beat who in previous races), I'd be shocked if much of the 150,000 at Churchill did that.

Harl said...

Using the "old rules" of traditional handicapping, can't you throw the majority of these horses out based on speed alone? A lot of these horses are simply too slow to win the Derby. In my opinion, the Derby is a 7-horse field (I WANT REVENGE, FRIESAN FIRE, PIONEEROF THE NILE, DUNKIRK, PAPA CLEM, MUSKET MAN, and WEST SIDE BERNIE) with the other runners serving as additional obstacles.

It would have been totally different with QUALITY ROAD, OLD FASHIONED, THE PAMPLEMOUSSE, and a 100% SQUARE EDDIE in the field. But, the field beyond the top seven appears no better than a typical afternoon allowance race at Santa Anita.

Anonymous said...

Musket Man. All he does is win.

Anonymous said...

"Beyers on synthetic tracks don't mean anything".

For the umpteenth time, Beyers are just opinion,period.

Sorry, it's my pet peeve.


Anonymous said...

This year's rule to be broken is the one about not being able to win the Derby prepping overseas.

Desert Party is a very legitimate contender at a price.

Anonymous said...

I said Yitzka for the rangers

Anonymous said...

Alan must be in a 24 hr mourning period for the Blue Shirt Collapse, that must be the only reason he won't post Derby Week. My Condolences. Hang this one on Tortorella

Alan Mann said...

No, not in mourning, I'm a big boy, and it's not like it was a horrible loss to a team they should have beaten. Just too busy at work today, and not really that into the Derby this year. Stay tuned though..

Anonymous said...

News from Hollywood Park:

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 28, 2009) — There will be several variations from the regular schedule at Hollywood Park during Kentucky Derby week.

Live racing resumes Wednesday with a 1 p.m. post time, but there will be simulcast wagering only on Thursday due to limited entries.

Anonymous said...

This was a best 5 out of 9 series?
when is game #8?