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Friday, April 04, 2014

Wood Day (Early)

I did some of the early races on the Wood card and now I'm going out, so this could be it.  I also previewed the Bay Shore on the TimeformUS blog, and wrote about the Wood in these two posts here.  That race will ultimately be a game time decision based on the tote.  But I am enamored with these NY-breds as I've said.  I also did a preview of the Ashland for TFUS.  But if my Horses in Focus at Keeneland on Friday are any indication, you should probably stay far away from that!

In the 1st, Denzel (3-1) has improved since being claimed by trainer Rudy Rodriguez.  There's a surprise for you.  Cuts back to a sprint after trying two turns for the first time in his 14 race career. Prior to that was a sharp second, missing by a nose (to an uncoupled stablemate) from well off the pace at Laurel, at this seven furlong distance.  That race has produced three next-out winners.  It also featured a hot pace, and a muddy track. I know he's not getting the latter, but he could possibly get the kind of pace he would need.  The 5 and 6 horses have good speed, and Jacobson has a couple entry including a speedy steed in Stealth Steed.  And try saying that four times, no less ten.  Thing about this field is that none of them have won at the distance, and most of them have been going shorter most of the time.  So I see some weary horses in the final eighth, and Denzel, with the best late pace rating in the field, should be coming at the end.

In the 4th, Starship Captain (3-1) makes his first-ever start on the main track here, for Contessa.  He claimed this 5yo last month, moved him up in claiming tag, ran him back six days later and scored a game win, earning a TFUS speed figure of 94 which is better than any recent number earned by any of these.  In his last, he was three wide in futile pursuit of a leader allowed to set a slow pace, and faded. And we have the track that day rated as very speed favoring.  Pace Projector has this as a slow pace as well, but we have issues with the projected leader, Pleaseandthankyou (5-2), who was uncharacteristically lethargic coming off a layoff and now, after an additional 76 days, drops in class. Extra half-furlong could be a question for Starship Captain, but I think 3-1 is about fair.  And Wilmer Garcia, in the saddle for the win two back, returns to ride here.

In the 5th, Chilton (6-1) is an interesting one, returning three days after his first off the claim for trainer Michelle Nevin.  Over the last year, she is one-for-six, and three times in the money, with horses on running 1-7 days rest.  This 5yo gelding has been racing mostly long, but he won two races back when he cut back to six furlongs for his prior trainer, Bruce Brown; earning a TFUS figure of 88 which is quite competitive here,.  In that race, he tracked a pace which we have rated as fast, and went on to win by three.  Has some pretty good turf sprint efforts in his back form too.  On Wednesday, he debuted for Ms. Nevin in a flat mile, and showed early speed before fading to 4th. We'll see if he really goes, but surely this sharp barn sees some good reason to do so if he does.  Here Comes Tommy (5-1) has earned figures in his last two that can take this race.


ballyfager said...

If Social Inclusion is the horse he appeared to be in Fla., post position won't matter. If Samraat or Uncle Sigh are a big factor in this race it will be because Social Inclusion doesn't run back to his last race. The two NY breds are ham sandwiches compared to the SI who ran in Fla.

In the Bay Shore, Kobes Back & The Admiral are the obvious choices. But the horse from Philly can't be ignored. Philly horses don't do well shipping to NY but this horse's last two races are good enough that attention must be paid.

Going back to the last thread, your position on synthetics (and the other commenters) completely misses the point.

Synthetics introduced another major level of uncertainty to a game that already has more than enough uncertainty. And to no good purpose. There was never any substantive proof that it was better for the horses.

Recently, when Del Mar announced they were getting rid of it, I said that Kee would soon follow suit. They have to, or become irrelevent.

In fact, from the day that these two tracks installed synthetic I said it was a mistake. And that they would insist it was okay right up to the day they announced they were removing it.

I'm sorry but I'm an I told you so person and this is definitely an I told you so situation.

Figless said...

Thankfully back to racing I am going to try the horses for courses concept. Wicked Strong ran a huge race against the grain in The Remsen, so huge that I tabbed him as one of my Derby favorites.

Disappointed the world in his return at GP, going to draw a line through that one as it was just too bad to be true.

Matched his Remsen (dinosaur alert!) Beyer (sorry Alan) in his last perhaps signaling another move forward today.

Jerkens reunites him with Remsen pilot Maragh. Going to assume he enjoys getting off the Gulfsteam super highway, and there is plenty of pace to set up a late run after saving all the ground on both turns.

As long as the Big A surface appears bias free today, going to take him to run down the speed, saving with Samraat and Sigh in EX and TRI.

I am going to assume 35k purchase Social Inclusion's big fig is yet another product of the Gulfstream Park surface, an angle that has made me a lot of money over the years. Not impressed that he blew away an obviously not right Honor Code in his last.

Faces a much more formidable task here especially from that PP, this is not a match race with three warm bodies like his last.

If he wins this he will have earned my admiration and probably Derby favoritism, but he is a bet against. They should have taken best offer.

Figless said...

I think Gary Contessa is VERY motivated to win the race today, by the way.

I would agree with the concern that Uncle Sigh might be ridden to simply make the gate in Kentucky, IF he were owned by "super" connections, but being a lifetime hard knocking NY trainer Contessa would LOVE to win the Wood. His Grade One wins are few and far between. And I am sure the connections are tired of losing close races to Samraat, this has developed into a bit of a rivalry.

A win today would make the horse who, despite some close calls, still is not a stakes winner much less a G1SW. Of course there is also the matter of the $1M purse, if you think the jock is going to ride for a minor award think again.

So Alan, if you like the horse, play him without concern.

Alan Mann said...

ballyfager - Yes, you told us so! No need to apologize for that! :) But we'll have to agree to disagree about whether it is/was for any good purpose. The safety issue is unclear at the present time, but I think that when the statistics are sorted properly and the dust clears, it will be shown that they are indeed somewhat safer. They also brought us bigger fields, less track biases, "dry" tracks with far less scratches on rainy days, more flying finishes rather than the speed/stagger we see so often on dirt. (But definitely NOT less kickback!) Personally, I will miss them.

Pull the Pocket said...

"Synthetics introduced another major level of uncertainty to a game that already has more than enough uncertainty."

I have to disagree. Uncertainty breeds handle, and this, in the modern game of horse racing, with high takeout and sharks against sharks, is needed.

The average field size of 7.3 horses, is a one way trip to the poor house for bettors banging their heads on 21% rakes.

Hong Kong, with 15 horse fields and wacko exotic bets can provide value. 16 horse fields in Britain fuels a $20B betting market that focuses on win, through chaos and uncertainty. 6 horse fields at SA on a speedway? Feggedaboutit.

KEE, 9.61 horses per race, poly angles, trainer angles. Turfway, 9.13 horses per race. Woodbine, plenty of field size and uncertainty. Look at that versus 6 horse feilds at Santa Anita on some sort of pavement.

More easy to bet races mean only one thing: A quicker way to lose money.


Figless said...

The legacy of synthetic tracks will be more emphasis on safety, and for that we can all be thankful.

Had a great day today thanks to Wicked Strong, now rooting for him to win the Derby for the Jerkens family and the people in Boston.

Cali Chrome appeared the real deal out west but will be facing a tough pace scenario which should set up a rally from way back, and WS is a good a guess as anyone at this point.

Figless said...

NYRA press release;

"This year, the Aqueduct winter meet (January 1, 2014 through the conclusion of racing on the inner dirt track) has experienced a racing fatality rate of 1.2 per thousand starters. This compares to a rate of 2.0 per thousand starters during the 2013 Aqueduct winter meet and 4.2 per thousand during the 2012 winter meet."

Figless said...

So when will The Times run the front page article commending NYRA?

I would settle for a small acknowledgement in the next hit piece on racing.