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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Odds and Ends

That's Morning Line galloping at Churchill on Tuesday. He's the 7-2 favorite in the Dirt Mile. (And yes, you can actually find the complete fields and morning line odds on the Breeders' Cup site without having to get directions from Art Fern.)

Morning Line is one of the favorites, should he in fact be one, that I will definitely be betting against. Nice colt, this son of Tiznow, and he's shown the kind of improvement which suggests he could be peaking at the right time. But this will be a different game for Zito's colt, who has excelled in two-turn races, the last three at a mile and an eighth. This is a one-turn mile, the pace will be quicker, and the competition, which includes several who specialize at this route, will be far better than what he's faced before. I think he's a horse to leave off the tickets entirely should he be bet as oddsmaker Mike Battaglia expects. Here Comes Ben (6-1), Tizway (6-1), and Thiskyhasnolimit (10-1) (all of whom I discussed here), all seem like far better value to me.

Girolamo (3-1 in the Sprint) is another favorite I don't care for. This must be a really weak year for this division if this horse is favored. He excelled last year going a mile around one turn, though he surely didn't beat too much amongst the four he faced in the Jerome. He has just two races this year - 5th in his return in the Forego, and his win in the Vosburgh. That was his first six furlong race ever, and he was fairly impressive....but against what? As I've said before, you need to take the 1 and Grade 1 with a grain of salt these days. That Vosburgh field barely qualified as a Grade 3. The eight opponents accounted for a grand total of three graded stakes wins, a G2 and two G3's. I can't believe they, off that race, would make this horse the favorite over a horse like Big Drama (7-2), an established and consistent graded stakes horse over the last two years who has settled into a sharp groove since concentrating on sprints in 2010...and I discussed him in more detail here.

Harder for me than throwing Girolamo out is coming up with the right value horse to use on top. Atta Boy Roy (12-1) has impressive running lines, good speed and the ability to stalk, but has only a wasted turf effort to show over the last 2 1/2 months. Smiling Tiger (6-1) and Supreme Summit (15-1) ship in from California, and I'm interested in the latter at those odds. Unlike Smiling Tiger, Supreme Summit does have a couple of races over dirt, including a not-at-all bad 4th in a mile race at Gulfstream last March. Switched to the barn of Mike Puype, he's cut back to six furlongs for his two starts after a layoff, and comes off a career best effort, falling just short to Smiling Tiger in the Ancient Title. His late-running style may serve him quite well here, and owner Joseph Lacombe is putting up the big bucks to supplement him to the race. Warrior's Reward (12-1) likes the track and could also benefit from a contested pace.

Here's Goldikova (7-5), and whoever picked out this outfit must be colorblind. According to the morning line, this is strictly a three-way race between she, Paco's Boy (6-1), and Gio Ponti (4-1). Yes, the latter is in the Mile, and aren't I a jerk to think that the fact that her connections publicly indicated that she would run in the Classic and made it her first preference in the pre-entries meant anything.

The funny thing about Gio Ponti's past performance lines is that her Beyers are down a solid 6-10 points from last year. I don't really know if the Beyer figs mean any more on the turf than the seem to do on synthetic tracks. But if you think they are meaningful, the fact that Gio Ponti was nevertheless first or a close second in each of his four Grade 1 races this year can't bode very well for the North American turf division overall.

In any event, I'm not inclined to try and beat Goldikova, but I am surely willing to try and beat the second and third choices - Paco's Boy has to be considered a question mark in his North American debut despite his fine form overseas - to create some value in the exotics - and I've mentioned The Usual QT and Proviso as possibilities there.

And Zenyatta is ranked at 8-5, lower than I'd been seeing quoted overseas, but more sensible in my opinion. Lookin At Lucky (6-1) drew the far outside, and I'd have to consider that to be good news for the favorite's camp. Yeah, I know, I've been disparaging the three-year old crop, and him by extension. But his improvement and recent dominance is no doubt impressive, as his ability to handle different kinds of surfaces. His last eight races - five wins, and a tough luck second and third - have come over eight different tracks, with wins on synthetic, fast dirt, and slop. So he's growing on me; I'll definitely be working him into my tickets, and would take a flyer on top if Dirty wants to give me 15-1.


Anonymous said...

Lookin At Lucky is a Cali-based horse which means Dirty respects him. If he were an East Coast horse, Dirty would probably offer you 12-1 on him.

I think Zenyatta will get bet down to even money, or lower, in the win pool, but might offer slightly better value in exotics. -jp

El Angelo said...

Concur completely on Morning Line and Girolamo. I'm probably crazy for saying this, but I like Court Vision to pull off the upset in the Mile.

SaratogaSpa said...

I hope everyone ignores Lookin at Lucky so I still can get him at around 6-1. He has really filled out this year as he has grown, he is all muscle and looks ready to go.

Figless said...

Am I the only one to find the Marathon fascinating?

Not from a quality perspective and 500k could certainly be better spent, but a dozen horses running 14 furlongs on the dirt, a true marathon. Plus it was the only race I hit last year.

Taking Prince Will I Am to win the thing, Awesome Gem is going to be a huge underlay and Romp (50-1) is not impossible to make, at least to light up the board in the exotics.

onecalicocat said...

Lookin at Lucky is all guts.
He reminds me of Alysheba.

Hope he gets even a decent trip because that is all he needs.

Anonymous said...


I respect Lucky because of his past performances, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Okay Gang.

I like this mare named Goldikova in the mile. My upset contenders are Proviso, The Usual Cutie, and Delegator.

Then in the Dirt Mile, it's a thre horse race between Tizway, Here Comes Ben, and Hurricane Ike.

Don't believe the negative talk about Workforce not wanting it too firm. He's going to demolish these other horses in the Turf.

Then Big Z probably wins the classic, but Lucky, Blame and Fly Down have an outside chance at the upset.

In other races, I like Supreme Summit in the Sprint, Grand Adventure in the Turf Sprint, Midday in the F&M Turf, Life At Ten in the Distaff, and I don't give a shit about the other races.

But Giant Cock is a terrible favorite in the Marathon. That horse never wins. -jp

jeph said...

I think the horse Zenyatta is going to have to run down in the Classic might be Haynesfield. His only recent flop was after he smashed his head breaking through the gate; otherwise, he's looked great. Sure, he may be a horse for the Belmont course, but I love the way he destroyed Blame, and I'm not so sure that can be written off as a loose-on-the-lead triumph. If he handles the Churchill track, Haynesfield's going to be tough Saturday.

Anonymous said...

He will have to deal with First Dude and Quality Road. Haynesfield does have a positive pattern, but he is dead meat in this race. -jp

BTW, one of the 50-1 shots will win the BC Marathon. That field STINKS. I'm dutching those two bastards in the win pool.