- Maleeh ($13.40) won the Caposella at Aqueduct on Saturday as he ran by the 3-4 favorite Clawback in his first try against winners and his second career start. Why was this his first start since Jan 6? He's “a little fragile.” Join the club. Maybe we'll see him for the King's Bishop. Maleeh is by Indian Charlie out of the two-time Princess Rooney Stakes (at six furlongs) winner Gold Mover, by Gold Fever, also a sprint stakes winner. So he's a sprinter; a fragile sprinter. Not so trendy, but I'd take him.
- Hear the Ghost rallied to win the San Felipe at Santa Anita, but he doesn't get the "ran by" description as Maleeh did; let's say he "got past" the leaders (and two favorites) when they just stopped running inside the 1/16th pole, exhausted as they were from the overheated early pace. But credit where due; he won. Can't criticize a horse for that; race set up for him but he did what had to do, and refused to let Tiz A Minister, who hardly ran early at all, get by him, in his first try beyond six furlongs. Hear the Ghost is by Ghostzapper out of a Coronado's Quest mare, and a half-brother to Mani Bhavan, who won two of the 2yo fillies stakes at Saratoga in 2008 and then disappeared shortly thereafter. This is the distaff family of the champion sprinter Speightstown - the 2nd dam of that one is the 3rd dam of Hear the Ghost. But Alan Porter wrote of ample distance influence deep in the distaff family when writing about Mani Bhavan here.
- So would I be going out on a limb by saying that Verrazano won't hit the board in the Derby? If I said he'll finish behind Hear the Ghost (should both make it there.) If I said he wouldn't make the Derby at all?
- Good piece in Harness Racing Update by Dean Towers, who writes that "quality," in the sense of faster horses running for bigger purses, is overrated. For one thing, there simply aren't enough good horses to support some 80,000 flat and harness races a year.
Quality in harness racing, or racing in general, should be looked at in only one fashion, and that is how the end user consumes the product. A bettor bets when he or she has a good bet. A good bet comes in various forms, of course, but in general it's formed from three things: Field size, takeout and pool size.Well, Dean is one of those takeout guys. I might substitute 'competitive races.' But we're generally in agreement. I also noted where he wrote that "probably three quarters of [races] are unbettable." I dunno, I follow him on Twitter and he doesn't seem all that picky to me.
He also mentions that the Meadowlands is rockin and rollin with highly competitive races thanks in large part to the letter-number classification system that the track adapted this year; and I've heard that from other people as well. This is the same system that New York Fan Advisory Council said that bettors did not want at Yonkers. "Their handle has trended upwards and might end the year up 20% or more."
- Fort Larned ran really fast on Saturday. True, he didn't have a jockey and was therefore being spotted around 120 pounds by the rest of the field. But Trakus timed him, his splits are here, and they include a furlong, following the half mile mark, of 4.98 seconds.
After countless hours reviewing data, we cannot recall a time where we saw a horse run a sub five-second sixteenth, as Fort Larned did just before hitting the far turn. Then again, no one had ever seen a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner run rider-less and care free, 25 lengths in front of an accomplished group. [America's Best Racing's Gambling blog]Glad that everyone involved seems OK and we can chuckle about it now, though those who bet him at 4-5 are probably still not amused.