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Monday, March 27, 2006

Don't You Hate When That Happens?

- I know I’ve been writing a lot about Pletcher at Gulfstream lately, but consider that his 51 wins is over twice as many as anyone else; and he’s an important player in many of the races he hasn’t won. Consider that out of his 177 starters, a mere 16 have been sent off at double digit odds, while 51 have gone off at 2-1 or lower (27 of those have won). So he’s certainly been a dominant figure, and it’s hard to talk about this meeting without him coming up.

This weekend, he had three winners in four starters, including what could be his newest star, Oonagh Macool, winner of the Grade 2 Rampart. The four-year old filly held off Sweet Symphony, the Alabama winner making her first start since her unsuccessful try in the Breeders Cup Distaff, after recovering from a stumbling start. She’s two-for-two on the dirt after an unsuccessful U.S. debut on the turf at Aqueduct last fall after shipping here from the UK. I don’t imagine that she was sent here with a future on the dirt in mind, but things always seem to work out for this barn. This daughter of Giant's Causeway is a stakes winner on the grass in England, and is a half to three Grade 1 winners on the grass, two in the UK and one in Germany.

After his three unsuccessful first time starters in turf races on Friday, Pletcher scored with one on Sunday with Regal Chime. Those who lost on the three well-backed maidens the other day must have been cursing if they missed this one at $20 even. Don't you hate when that happens? Like Oonagh Maccool, Regal Chime (Kingmambo) also had an eventful start, was dead last out of the gate, and three wide around the turn; yet got up in a bris 6 1/5 for the final sixteenth. And how about this for some unorthodox breeding – he’s inbred 2x3 to Mr. Prospector, his grandsire, and Mr. P’s unraced full brother Red Ryder. His dam, Rings A Chime (Metfield), won the Grade 1 Ashland and placed in the Kentucky Oaks.

- Our filly Christening (Vicar) had another impressive workout, getting a half mile in 49.14 seconds, the 12th fastest of 40 at the distance. April 12 is her hoped-for debut date.

- A couple of tough losses for me on Saturday in races that I had figured pretty well. You can be right about so many things in a race and still come out on the short end. The 5th at the Big A was a $15K claiming event for non-winners of two lifetime; that’s about as low as you get in New York outside of the Finger Lakes. Tech Valley was cutting back in distance and taking a huge drop in class from allowance races, and looked like a play at 5-1. I eliminated the favorite and played him on top of three others in the exacta, including Silver Forest, at 10-1 tied for longest shot in the field. So I felt pretty good, looking at a $100+ exacta when Silver Forest led my choice into the stretch, with the latter seemingly set to strike the front, as Trevor Denman would say. But instead, the longshot refused to yield, and two of the cheapest horses on the grounds made like Affirmed and Alydar down the length of the stretch. The problem is that in this case, the part of Affirmed was played by a horse with a lifetime record of one win in 17 attempts, sent out by a trainer with one win in his last 62 New York starters. Don’t you hate when that happens?

Another crummy loss came in the 4th at Oaklawn; another claimer restricted to non-winners of two. Timber Hunt blew a five length lead in his last, but did so with a lifetime best Beyer and was now being confidently moved up in class from 15 to 20K. He looked live in a race begging to be stolen on the lead, and though he was 3-1 to win, he looked overlaid in the exactas. I used him on top in triples with the 2-3-4. He cleared the field easily breaking from the rail in the two-turn affair, and was in front after a quarter mile. But all of a sudden, the 8 horse, Humble Deputy, at 10-1 the longest shot in the field, rushes up to challenge, and edges out in front on the outside. With the 2-3-4 right behind, I’m like, ‘get the 8 outta there!’ Timber Hunt was tough, held in there, and was able to retake as the 8 tired. But the damage was done as he faded to third in the late stages, with two of my tri selections passing him by. Of course, I can’t say for sure whether Timber Hunt would have prevailed had he been left alone on the lead, but I can ask how it is possible that Humble Deputy showed speed. OK, I know this looks really amateurish and I promise that I’ll never do this again. I'll learn how to do it properly from now on. But I just gotta ask you now how a horse with PP lines like this:

...could possibly be challenging my horse on the lead? Don’t you just hate when that happens?

1 Comment:

John said...

"Don’t you just hate when that happens?"

Alan I have the upmost respect for your handicapping abilities. After all you and I both thought the odds on Wilko were strange the other day.

Being a second rate handicapper I feel the need to sometimes remind you first rate handicappers that horses don't read past performances and s---t happens.