RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday Morning Notes - March 15

- Besides using the Racing Form’s Formulator to look up race charts and historical trainer information when handicapping a race, I also find it useful to check on recent trainer performance at tracks that I’m not following every day, or if I’d been away on a tropical island somewhere. Taking a look at Wednesday’s 8th race at Gulfstream, a NW2 turf allowance, I noted that Shug McGaughey, trainer of Skagway (Seeking the Gold), has just three wins at the meeting, out of 20 starters for a 15% win percentage. But a closer look at his overall stats show that those three wins have all come this month, and in his last seven starters. In addition, they were all on the turf (out of five grass races). One of those was Pine Island (Arch), a first-time starter who paid a very un-Shug like $59.80! I can’t believe she was that price. You know I would have thrown her out like a shot; she was 10-1 morning line, no way! She’s a half to Chili Cat, who won for Shug at Saratoga at 2-5 last summer. Her dam is a half-sister to Shug’s BC Distaff winner Pleasant Home.

Skagway (Seeking the Gold) is making his first start since October, but another of those turf winners, Cologne, was coming off an even longer layoff. Most of Skagway’s races have been on the dirt, and he’s run creditably in finishing in the money his last eight (of nine career) races, winning twice and chasing horses like Ice Wynnd Fire, Wachmon, and War Front. Two of those races were on the turf, and one of those was a third to subsequent winners Whale and Port Chester. His dam, Magic of Life (Seattle Slew), was a G1 winner in England, and he has a full sister, Enthused who is a graded winner in the UK as well. So yes, he should have no problem with the turf.

He’ll have to contend with morning line favorite Remarkable News, a Venezuelan-bred by Chiyat (Woodman) trained by Angel Penna Jr., enjoying a productive meeting with a 11-3-2-2 record. This colt has two wins a second and a third in four career starts, and he beat Port Chester last fall. He had a little trouble in her last, settling for third in his four year-old debut, and looks to rebound.

- David Hofmans will announce on Thursday whether Balance will start again before the Kentucky Oaks. That would be a good seven weeks off, which does seem like a lot, but it’s the same layoff as the one prior to her win in the Las Virgenes. I still haven’t seen a Beyer for her win on Sunday; nor any mention whatsoever that any race at Churchill other than the Oaks is being considered. If she was trained by Wayne Lukas, you can bet that she’d be prepping for the Santa Anita Derby right now.