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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Travers Notes

- The Travers field is either wide open, or tepid, depending on your point of view. Sure is a great betting race, that's for sure; but that can be faint praise if the division lacks depth of quality, as the three-year old division seems to do quite often. Especially at this time of year, with the memory of the Triple Crown quickly fading. You look at the Travers over the last decade as the game has changed, and you don't see many stars. You probably have to go back to 2007 and Street Sense for the last one (arguable perhaps given that Summer Bird was coming off his second in the Haskell and his Belmont win....I didn't consider him a star, which is why I lost on the race last year, though I think history indicates I was right).....Benardini in 2006, I guess so. But you probably have to go back to Point Given in 2001 for the one before that. Some stars couldn't make it due to injuries, both temporary and permanent - Funny Cide, Empire Maker (not a star), Afleet Alex, Big Brown, Smarty Jones immediately come to mind.

The point is that this thing with racing horses so infrequently during their developmental stages, at two and in the winter and spring at age three, sure hasn't led to a betterment of the breed, has it? Perhaps horses should be doing what they were bred to do - run, not stand in the stall and watch Fox News (horses are fooled easily). Maybe one day it'll be like that scene in Sleeper, when Woody Allen wakes up in a future where cigarettes have been discovered to be healthy....and they'll race horses every other week, hell, 3-4 times a month! Because this sure isn't working.

The Travers, and all of Saturday's card - Monmouth-sized fields and not a horse for sale until the 13th race - is an example I think of what people mean when they say that, as a smaller bettor, the quality of a race or a betting card in terms of competitiveness and class is a more important consideration than takeout rates on a given individual day. I think it's fair to say that most people who hit that late pick four is not going to be disappointed about the payoff. No, please don't flame me, I am not saying that lower takeout is not crucial to the health of the industry. Just that anyone who will be playing elsewhere in search of lower rates on Saturday is a more serious player than I.

If there was exchange wagering in New York, I might want to check out the odds of none of Zito's three nor the Derby winner finishing in the money. Ice Box and Super Saver sure haven't flattered each other since the Derby, have they? I'd have drawn an large X through the both of them even if the Derby winner hadn't drawn the outside post. I just think they've both left their best form in the spring. I don't like Fly Down; his two-turn wins were slow races with slow final fractions over 1-for-9 First Dude. Formwise, I actually like Miner's Reserve the best of Zito's trio, even though he's the longest odds at 12-1. He's one horse who is on the upswing of his form, which one might expect from a son of Mineshaft as time goes on. Tough pace prospects though from the rail with the now-blinkered-though-already-speedy (though faint-hearted) First Dude three positions to the outside.

Well, I could find some more stuff to ramble on about, but I guess I should start handicapping. I intend to post a full analysis, but it might not come until Saturday morning since I'm working and then taking my mom out for her birthday. Happy Birthday, mom. (Unlike the Head Chef, she actually checks this out once in a while.)

25 Comments:

denissugrue said...

I like Trappe Shot and A Little warm as well

denissugrue said...

that will be my triple box Trappe SHot,A Little Warm and Miner's resever

jk said...

I will not flame you but will point out the Meadowlands and Mohegan Sun give its customers a 1% rebate on horse bets starting with dollar one. NYRA needs to get rid of its high minimums required for any rebate and offer this basic courtesy to its customers.

First Dude said...

There is nothing "faint hearted" about me, I am still learning.
Look for me in the winner's circle.

Anonymous said...

After watching interview with Zito, I wouldn't expect him to run if Nick gets his way.

I'm thinking Derby exacta has to be a similar price here.

Know way will A Little Warm be favored at post time. Trappe Shot and Afleet Express will be the live plays!

Good Luck to all!!!

El Angelo said...

Afleet Express is the way to go. Reminds me of Unshaded in the 2000 Travers.

alan said...

Anyone like Friend or Foe? He was awfully wide both turns in the Jim Dandy and battled on hard; just missed the show after having some late trouble. Pretty impressive for his 4th start, first in open stakes company. Seems poised to move forward, doncha think?

Anonymous said...

Alan, First Dude is not faint-hearted. Not in the least.

Anonymous said...

And happy birthday, Alan's mum, with many happy returns. Hopefully Mum reads the comments, too. Alan, shouldn't we ask your mother for her Travers pick?

And I always recommend that horses run instead of staying behind at the barn to watch Fox News. Race em into shape is the way the horsemen did it in the days before the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I'll be watching for your Travers analysis on Saturday morning. Wishing all a great day at The Spa, weather forecast sounds about perfect so far. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

The real action is today's Bernard Baruch Handicap with a very competitive field that offers the promise of a good payoff should Get Stormy be unable to negotiate 9 furlongs on the front end. I personally don't think he can do it so the price potential is there. Whatsthescript, Sudden War and even Radical Sabbatical all have a very good chance here.

El Angelo said...

Yes, Friend or Foe has a shot at a price.

Anonymous said...

The Bernard Baruch is a good betting race. Very curious to see if Get Stormy can get the distance. But at 9-5 ML I will be playing someone else. Rogue Victory is stepping up, but he is in good form and worth a shot at 12-1 ML.

Alan, as far as horses running more often, did you see that R Dutrow won twice this week at the Spa with El Real Madrid, who also ran 2d last week. I think that's 3 races in 8 days or something like that. Probably not exactly what you had in mind though.

Handride said...

shhh on Friend or Foe, at the right price i'd bet the maiden winner, there appears to be no stand out. though i will say i still like Ice Box, he looked awesome in Jersey, switches jocks and w a better trip who knows.

Figless said...

If Ice Box doesnt win this race he will never win another race, right up his alley. Enough pace, right distance, no excuse. Just remember the Alabama, slow pace, best closer still won the thing.

Like Alan, not a fan of Fly Down, but same story for him, now or never, and since he always comes running late I will include on my tickets.

Super Saver ran credibly in the Haskell, now or never for him too, if they can rate this time he might have a shot.

Boxing those three.

The maiden winner will not be on my ticket, in fact he is getting so much ink upstate that he may be an underlay at 20-1 or so. He beat no one on an uncontested lead over a speed biased track. Odds on to run last, there are better longshots to include.

Figless said...

Get Stormy is another that had everything his own way, short field, lone speed over a speed favoring rock hard turf course.

I too am against him wiring this field at the extended distance on a course where closers now a fair chance.

Anonymous said...

Good call figless on Get Stormy. Your picks for the Travers stink, too. They are a bunch of plodders. You can't pick a winner if your life depended on it. Keep up some of the worst handicapping we've ever seen, which all of us have gotten pretty used to. Too bad there is not an ignore button here to filter out your dufus race selections and your ignoramous comments. Anyone new here, please beware of the idiot.

DiscreetPicks said...

Frankly, I'll probably be looking to beat Trappe Shot. He was definitely second-best in the Haskell behind LAL, but his connections seemed pretty wishy-washy about entering him in this race. Considering his talent (not to mention the huge difference in purse money between the Travers and the King's Bishop), that seems like a dead-giveaway that they're highly concerned about the distance here.

Indulto said...

Alan,
Sorry if you felt flamed by my response to your previous piece. Getting horseplayers to agree on anything may be impossible, and the battle for bettors’ hearts and minds in support of takeout reform is uphill at best. It’s doubly frustrating to would-be activists like me -- who also want a level playing field for all competitors -- when an influential observer of the game like you appears to treat the issue cavalierly and shoot the messenger in the process. BTW I meant to say “ … equal EFFECTIVE takeout for every participant in each pari-mutuel pool.”

In Lookin at Lucky’s absence, we’re likelier to be lookin’ at a long shot win this renewal of the Travers. Indeed this convocation of Jim Dandy 1and Haskell survivors plus an undefeated NW1 by an up and coming sire appears to offer value regardless of takeout. I may actually play the P4 to try and leverage earlier top betting choices with one of possibilities mentioned here so far. However, the bulk of my weekend multi-race exotic plays will go to Monouth at 15%.

Handride,
Shhhh is indeed the word on FOF. This is exactly the kind of improving contender I like to wheel up and down in the exacta when I feel a price can be had even with the favorite.

To me, Ice Box still looks like the best horse here at 10 f. I view the change to Leparoux, less traffic, a long stretch, no detention, no shipping, and hopefully a fair price as sufficiently positive factors to put him on top of a dime super boxing FOF, ALW, TS, MR, FDu, FDo, and SS with ALL in the bottom slot.

There’s a lot to like about AA besides breeding, I admire the owner/trainer’s confidence in acquiring the horse, selecting the jock, and choosing his spots. While I normally view an entry like this as an exercise in ego gratification, I’ll have to consider adding him to the second and third slots of my super if his odds become too tempting.

Good luck to all!

Anonymous said...

Under the radar and at much longer odds than the Jim Dandy will be Afleet Express.
The revenge factor Afleet Express beats A Little Warm and E. P. Evans in the Travers.
For a horse who spit the bit halfway through the Jim Dandy, he was the fastest thing moving at the end of that race. You don't see that too often, especially in a Grade 2 race.

Figless said...

Anon 857, it is quite easy to scroll on by my comments since I actually put a name on them, unlike you.

For someone that claims I should be ignored you certainly spend an awful lot of time reading and criticizing my comments.

Bizarre.

Figless said...

I rarely give out "handicapping opinions", the last two I remember were loving Blind Luck and being against Quality Road, both of which turned out ok even if I did not pick QR's conqueror.

I thought Stormy was vulnerable and provided what I thought were excellent reasons, in fact Steve Crist almost echoed my reasoning a few hours later.

Excellent training and riding jobs getting the horse to relax off the pace and he certainly handled the extra distance, a very nice horse.

I was wrong, not the first time, not the last.

Today I am taking a shot with Ice Box at a nice price. Do I love him, no, but this race may fall apart late as did the other races in which he ran his best and I will try him if he is close to his 10-1 ML, and love the jockey change.

Will also use Afleet Express, who was the best closer in the Dandy on a speed favoring surface ( was under a drive from the quarter pole though, which make take its toll) and will include Super Saver, who ran credibly in the Haskell despite a stumbling start, and Fly Down, who I would like more if they would change the jockey, in my exotics.

Anon 857, feel free to post your selections as you criticize my handicapping, but please do so proactively.

Figless said...

Quick Picks in today's other Graded Stakes;

Ballston Spa - PHOLA (#3) - 4-1 ML - Drops from a tough Diana, closer had no chance on hard speed favoring course.

Victory Ride - KATY NOW (#9) - 7/2 ML - Class relief, will be tough off turn back.

Ballerina - JESSICA IS BACK (#3) - 7/2 ML - Wolfson shipper should love long sprint (and lack of detention barn).

Kings Bishop - D' FUNNYBONE (#3) - 5/2 ML - Should be able to revert to rating tactics in heat loaded with front runners, runs them down in the 7th furlong.

No long shots, but no morning line favorites either.

Good luck to all, excellent card today, should be a lot of fun.

Figless said...

Close but no cigar in the Travers, did not box exacta.

Horrible job of handicapping the rest of the card.

Congrats to El Angelo and Anon 706, hope you played him well.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that dude taking potshots at you, Figless. There's no call for that.

I also liked D'Funnybone. Cost me a big day, as I was sitting on the P3/P4, everything.

Fortunately I had Dynaslew to win, but man o man, the bone really failed me. -jp

Figless said...

thx jp, I shouldnt let him get under my skin.

funny was my key also but really didnt matter since I usually play closers at 7f and that type had no shot on that surface.

Funny wasn't really bet so perhaps someone knew something, doubt we see him again soon, did not look right in the stretch.