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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stay Skeptical

If I'd had time to post in advance of Saturday's races, I would have written that Stay Thirsty was a horrible morning line favorite in the Jim Dandy. And even though he went off second choice, I wouldn't have felt any different. My attitude was the exactly the same as that of Randy Moss, as he told a national TV audience on the Versus telecast. "Ehhhh...I'm not a fan. Not a big fan of Stay Thirsty. He's the most interesting horse in the world yada yada yada. But I think his last race [his second in the Belmont] had more to do with the sloppy racetrack than any improvement. I would be surprised if he won, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't hit the board."

Well, he, and I, were wrong in this case. But, while the horse ran well, leading Moss to concede that he ran big and was right back in 3 yo championship hunt yada yada yada, I'm still not much of a fan. Got a nice trip behind the speed (as precisely predicted by Mike Battaglia) against a highly suspect field. Dominus turned out to be the horrible post-time favorite; 9-5 despite never having been around two turns. Brilliant Speed and Alternation, both 7-2, have not proven themselves in two turn graded stakes races on the dirt. So I could very well be looking to beat him again should he be bet down in the Travers. If the field proves to be any stronger that this one anyway.

Stay Thirsty, who earned a Beyer of 99 106, was the 4th winner on the day for Pletcher, his first multi-win day in his streak of appearing in the winner's circle every day of the meeting, which now stands at eight. Two of those winners were 2 year-old first-time starters (which have now accounted for four of his 11 winners at the meet). Second race winner Giant Surprise ($7.80) is by Giant's Causeway, out of an AP Indy mare (and I've been typing that name a lot this past week); he's inbred 4x4 to Secretariat. His second dam is Twist Afleet, who won the Test here in 1995. Captain Webb ($5.10), who took the sixth at a mile and sixteenth on the grass, is bred and owned by James Scatuorchio, who owned his sire, the turf champion English Channel.


steve in nc said...

Are you playing the Haskell today? I'll go on a limb and say that Shackleford is today's bad chalk. (Does this guarantee he'll be the second coming of Stay Thirsty?)

It's a weird race with lots of speed but all of it rating-type speed and I think Shack'll be wide from post 5. I'm hoping Coil (and maybe Joe Vann) duels with Shack and I'll be looking for Pants to catch fire round the turn. Not a big value, I know, but to me, betting the hot pants is much better than the 7-5 or less I think you'll get on Shack.

alan said...

Yeah, unfortunately for you, I agree about Shackleford. I was briefly on his bandwagon for the Belmont, and now I'm off. Pants on Fire seems an erratic type, and is due for an 'out' in his in-out-in-out pattern. But he had excuses in the Risen Star and the Derby (as in, it was the Derby), and his Beyers cycled back to his top fig last time out, are you seeing that on the Sheets?

steve in nc said...

On Sheets, he had a 3 and a half point move forward in his last, with his previous top coming in the LA Derby. He surely could bounce, and the guy who rides the Ragozin Insider column in TB Times doesn't like him.

But a number of the others are also coming off tops that should set them back.

Shackleford could move forward, and that commentator likes him. But his top is a 7, and Pants is coming off a 3 3/4. I'm hoping Pants will pair or only regress a little.

This isn't a big play for me, it's just that on sheets, Shack is no faster than anyone else, I think Ice is likelier to bounce than Pants, and Pants is next fastest.

Anonymous said...

You can take those sheets #s and run them right up the flagpole. Pants On Fire can't hold Shackleford's jock. I don't believe for a second that Shackleford's career top is a 7. TG is probably closer to the mark. -jp