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Friday, January 24, 2014

Holy Bull / Holy Crap

This is the TimeformUS Pace Projector for the Holy Bull, at Gulfstream on Saturday.

By the way, this race is one of our free races of the day on Saturday, which you can see now (Friday) over here.  We just ask that you please register with an email address at which we won't bug you too much.

This race doesn't get the 'Fast Pace' designation that you'll see in the more extreme projected pace scenarios.  But it still suggests something contentious.  The #1 horse is Coup de Grace (4-1), two-for-two, for Chad Brown.  Thinking that he figures to face a tougher pace scenario in his first try around two turns than he has thus far.  He stalked and led in his debut through a slow pace, and his allowance win over this track came in a pace rated not much faster, and on a day that we show the main track as favoring speed.

He may have his hands full early with #4, Almost Famous (8-1), who set a hot early pace when adding blinkers going two turns in his last.  This is a son of Unbridled's Song out of the speedy multiple graded stakes sprinter Wild Gams.  Don't know about his ability to handle longer distances, but he figures to be prominent at least early on here.

Cairo Prince (#7, 3-1) comes out of two races at the opposite ends of the pace spectrum.  He middle-moved into a hot pace to win the Nashua; and then missed by a nose after tracking the aberrantly slow pace of the Remsen.  He has the highest TFUS speed figure in the field, the 100 earned in the Nashua.  That, as well as his ability to handle each of those two widely different race situations surely makes him a threat here.

Quite interested to see the dirt debut of Mr. Speaker (5-1) after four races on grass, including his win in the G3 Dania Beach last time out.  As I noted in this post, he really is bred for dirt (his second dam is Personal Ensign); but, at this point, he's an unknown quantity on the surface, so we'll demand some value in this deep field.

Should a tussle up front indeed develop, Wicked Strong (8-1) could be the ultimate beneficiary, for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.  Taking a look at his running lines...and I have the fractions line below the points of call set instead to pace figures for the race leader.  I've spent the last 30+ years staring at fractions in running lines, and it took me about two days to get used to using pace figures in their stead. (If you click on this image, you'll get a blown up version that you can actually read, and then X out at the top right hand corner to return to the blog.)

His debut came in a race that we have rated as being on a strongly biased speed track that day (in dark red).  Next out, he took over in a fast-paced race, and improved his speed figure by 11 points.  And his last was that quirky Remsen; and note just how slow those pace figures are.  Hard to judge his performance.  Think he could do some really good things in this spot if the pace is indeed contested....or at least fair!  This is a son of Hard Spun, out of a Charismatic mare to Gulch Approval, a graded stakes winner in turf routes.  This is also the distaff family of the two-time Grade 1 winner Student Council (two graded wins at a mile and a quarter); as well as Don't Get Mad.  Remember that dead closer?  (As in, he had no early speed, not that he's dead....which, unfortunately, he is.)  Think Wicked Strong would be excellent value at that morning line.

What would an early season three-year old stakes be without the Toddster? Unfortunately for he, Intense Holiday (6-1) is stuck in the 11 hole with the short run to the first turn.  Still, it's Pletcher, and this son of Harlan's Holiday, out of an Unbridled's Song mare, has shown some late foot in his last two (and he was also stuck behind the slow pace of the Remsen).  In fact he has the best late pace number in the field (the number to the right of the running style; see the red arrow in the example above.  Think one could regret not using him on the ticket somewhere.

 - In the 5th at Fair Grounds today, there's a really nice looking three-year old in Unknown Road (3-5).  This colt was a close second to the abovementioned Coup de Grace in his debut, and then graduated by nearly 12 lengths, with a TFUS figure of 98.  He's stretching out from six furlongs to a mile and 70 yards....but one would have to like the chances of a Bernardini half-brother to the spectacular champion filly Banshee Breeze to get a distance of ground.

 - As I read about and learn more about the casino situation in Massachusetts, the more fascinating it becomes.  I hadn't been following it too closely, and I'm kind of learning about it with any of you who are following along with me here.  It's a story with many layers; tales of bids gone by the wayside, a well-organized effort to repeal the law that authorizes the casinos, and at least one lawsuit regarding at least one absolutely stunning instance of conflict of interest.  The head of the gaming commission which will decide between the two competing bids for the greater Boston area (assuming that voters in Revere approve the project next month) is a former business partner of a co-owner of the land on which Wynn is proposing to build its Everett site; and who therefore stands to make a windfall on the sale should that project be approved.  In addition, the commissioner, Stephen Crosby, apparently contacted Wynn at one point to urge him to stay in the running when he threatened to drop out.  I'm pretty sure that, even here in New York, this would not be permitted!  I mean, holy crap! (Stuck that in just to make the title of the post relevant)

MGM presented to the commission yesterday; they are the sole bidder still standing for a casino in the western part of the state, to be built in Springfield.  Part of their pitch is that they'd be building a casino that's not just a casino, an approach we've seen floated here in New York as well - here's a page from the Nevele's website touting it as a potential "family destination" have to dig deep to even find a reference to gambling here.  Similarly, MGM is proposing to make the city a destination for international conventions, and to build 19 different entrances to its facility, so that "If you don't want to interact with the casino, you don't have to." All of which reeks of the usual hypocrisy to me.

More here on the competing presentations by Wynn and Mohegan Sun to the commission on Wednesday; and Mohegan Sun ended theirs with a musical flourish courtesy of a local outfit called the Dropkick Murphys.  I listened to a couple of their songs, and I might have to support the Wynn project just on the basis of bad musical taste.

 - We have indeed added some great features to the TimeformUS past performances - the track bias indicators, pace figures, running styles, early and late overall pace numbers for each horse, result charts, and more.  We do offer a trial plan of three days of unlimited access for $2.99 for those who have never tried them.  If you had checked them out at one time, but haven't for awhile and would like to try them again, drop me a line at, and I'll set you up with the same trial plan offer.


Figless said...

I tabbed both Wicked Strong and Intense Holiday on my watch list immediately following the Remsen. Thanks for spilling the beans!

But before I wager need to watch the early races to see if the usual big race GP speed bias appears. Also, beware the ultra short stretch run for 1 /16th distance.

Think I may have just talked myself out of betting.

Figless said...

CP VERY impressive flattering Honor Code in the process, could we have a true rivalry developing? Intense Holiday made nice middle move just failing to hold place, costing me a decent EX. Wicked Strong didn't look good in stretch, hope nothings wrong.