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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Risen Star

Oh man, now this is a betting race! Should definitely be the best wagering of the three major Derby preps this weekend, with Galloping Grocer expected to be a heavy fave in the Whirlaway at Aqueduct, and the San Vicente shaping up as a two horse race between Roman Ruler and Consolidator. Where to start? You can make a case for virtually anyone here. So let’s start by deciding who we can throw out. The good news is we can start with the favorite; my preferred way of identifying a playable race is to be able to do just that. Harlington (Unbridled), the $2.8 million son of champion Serena’s Song may indeed turn out to be the champ he’s bred to be. But his 2-2 record has been achieved on sloppy tracks, and his 401 Tomlinson fig indicates that he had things his preferred way. He’s been nursed along slowly by trainer Todd Pletcher, and may need more maturing. And he has a bad post.

Rush Bay (Cozzene) has an even worse post, breaking from the 11 spot. His trainer Thomas Amoss is on fire in 2005, hitting at a 28% win rate. But his post and the fact that he’s been off since the end of November makes him another we will eliminate. Buzzards Bay (Marco Bay) may attract money off of his gaudy fig in the Golden Gate Derby and his blistering workouts since. But look closer, he beat only two rivals, nosing a horse that had never won on the dirt.

Storm Surge (Storm Cat) edged Smooth Bid (Rubiano) in the G3 LeComte here at FG. The winner made an impressive looking 4 wide move on the turn in that race, while the runner-up was making his first start in almost two months and first at the FG. Would like to throw them both out, perhaps because their two turn race Beyers have been slower than some of the others....But I don’t really need to have a good reason, I just will, especially if they get bet.

So who’s left? ICED OUT (Comic Strip) was running in 30K maiden claimers at Golden Gate last November. But switched to Doug O’Neill’s barn, he closed well for second in a 7f Cal-bred stakes and in the G2 San Rafael he sustained a long, wide rally from last to get the place spot. May be overlooked on the board a bit here. ELECTRIC LHT is trying two turns for the first time for the always-dangerous-this-time-of-year Nik Zio. His last was a 7f minor stakes win at Tampa against a weak field; but he was fairly close to a quick pace while boxed in swung 6 wide, and won going away, getting the last furlong in 12 3/5; his pedigree looks OK for distance (1.83 dosage index) and he's worth a shot at the right price, say 10-1 or more. SCIPION (AP Indy) is another royally bred and expensive colt, a 3/4 brother to 2 yo champ and BC Juvenile winner Vindication. He finished third in his 3yo return after 3 months away, but didn’t face much. You get the feeling he’s also being brought along slowly, and that Patrick Biancone’s main hopes rest with Spanish Chestnut. Nonetheless, Gary Stevens is in for the ride and if the price is right, he’s worth including on my ticket.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Harlington by 5.