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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Opening Day Spot Plays

- In Race 2, opening day's baby race, let's take a shot with Bold Trust, 6-1 morning line for Asmussen. This son of Trust N Luck is the veteran of the group with two seconds and a third in three starts. He was game, but couldn't quite last in his most recent at Churchill, succumbing late to Blackberry Road, subsequently a wide and respectable 4th in the G3 Bashford Manor. 4th place finisher Pulaski Runner won a maiden special at Ellis. Last year at Saratoga, trainer Asmussen was...... oh, we don't know, because his horses ran in the name of Scott Blasi. Two years ago, Asmussen was six for 21 overall with two-year olds. And I remember that Tiz Wonderful won last year, so there's at least one more.

I'd prefer to see Garrett Gomez on board my top choice, as he was four for 12 for Blasi here last year (who, as I now discover via the Form's excellent Saratoga Stats [in their paid DRF Plus section], was 10 for 45 overall). But he goes to Immortal Eyes, and who can blame him? This son of the $5,000 Mr. P sire Greatness (and who sold this year for $220,000) ran up against his stablemate Fed Watcher in his debut, and that one earned a 98 Beyer getting the win. The 2-1 morning line favorite, he looms as the logical choice. Forest Prince debuts for Pletcher, who of course is worth a look with any first-timer he sends out, though he did his best work on the grass here last year. In fact, he's actually just three for 28 on the dirt with two-year old debut runners here over the last two years; vs. 22% overall over that time. Hmmm. A statistical anomaly? This colt doesn't have the long series of works that we often see with the Toddster, and sire Mineshaft is looking for his first winner. Still, he's out of Forest Heiress, a graded winner at two and a full sister to the speedy Wildcat Heir; and we ignore at our own risk. Bill Mott has Doctor Cal, a son of the 16% first-out sire Distorted Humor. Note that Mott is 1 for 32 with these over the last two years at Saratoga.

- In the 5th, I like All Verses, 10-1 morning line in his second career start for Christophe Clement. The trainer has won at 24% on the grass here over the last two years. This four-year old son of Pulpit, out of an Alleged half sister to Forest Camp, was wide throughout the turn in his debut, swung very wide turning for home, and finished with interest five lengths behind Buddy's Humor, a close second in the Lexington. He was just three behind runner-up Seastate, a winner by six with a 91 Beyer in his next race...and 1 3/4 behind Rocket Legs, who is in this race, but saved far more ground on the turn. Loses Prado to Frankel, but Gomez won four for 14 (29%) for Clement here last year. Needs to overcome the nine post, but shows a sharp half mile work and looks like good value in what may be an open race....if that is, Frankel's Borobudur, a half to Aldebaran, isn't a monster in his first North American race. I'm not having much luck with this trainer of late whether I support or oppose him; but his running lines are nothing special, and there may not be much value there. Let's leave him out if that's the case.

Warn was freaking huge in his last race, his first on the grass. Man, he was really far back entering the turn, and came very wide - with Calvin Borel no less! - eating up ground in the stretch while sharply weaving left and right faster than Rudy Giuliani. If Calvin can keep him straight here, he could be one to watch in the stretch. Virginia Minstrel has two solid seconds on the grass for Tagg. His race two back has come up very strong, with three winners and four seconds having emerged in subsequent races; including the awfully-named War Monger, the winner of Virginia Minstrel's last race, which has already produced a first, second, and third.

- In Race 7, Kill Devil Rum, another horse with an idiotic name, is listed at 10-1 despite winning his last on grass and running in the money in his prior two starts at Colonial. Yes, he set a slow pace in his last, but he finished very gamely, holding off a host of challengers late. You have to go out to the eight post to find the next possible speed, and with a short run to the turn, Kill Devil Rum, a five year old gelded son of Devil's Bag with only those three lifetime starts, could control the pace with Gomez and be tough to run down while cutting back slightly in distance.

Phil Serpe will try to put last year's Saratoga meet behind him; he was 1 for 36! We know he's a better trainer than that (he had seven winners here in 2005, and he's 23%, with only 64 starters this year). Hangingbyathread has speed, and he'll need it from the 12 post. He has some quite decent running lines against the likes of Distorted Reality and Red Giant, and, other than the post, fits well here dropping into state-bred company. Stately Pegasus is certainly consistent; he hasn't finished more than 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner in any of his last eight turf starts. Unfortunately, he's only won one of those. Good post, Kent D. sticks with him over the top choice; so he should be good for his usual share. Dantastic has improved for Albertrani and begs inclusion on your superfecta tickets.

- In the Schuylerville, I was going to point out that each of Pletcher's fillies come out of maiden wins against small fields at Monmouth, and thus try to beat him. Then I noticed that Pletcher took this race last year with Cotton Blossom. Whose only prior start was against only two others, at Monmouth. She paid 8-1 last year. I doubt we'll get that on this entry, but remember that Pletcher won some stakes at nice mutuels here last year. Four of his nine graded winners paid 5-1 or more, including another two-year old filly in Octave, who took the Adirondack at 9-1. New York City Girl is a daughter of Forest Camp who took her debut by 11 [Update: Pletcher planning to scratch her, according to the Daily News]; and Lady Chace, by Tiznow out of a stakes winning Carson City mare, won hers by 10. Both have solid works for this; take your pick.

According to Plan, the house horse (she's part owned by Charles Hayward), is the filly who "ran promptly to the man" according to the chart caller when she breezed in her debut for Barclay Tagg. We'll find out if that's a good thing today. Blitzing was well-bet in her winning debut at Churchill for Asmussen. This daughter of Montbrook chased down and put away a speedy filly in Reen, a winner of her next race with an 88 Beyer. The race has produced an additional two winners and one runner-up.

Good luck, and have a great opening day!!


Anonymous said...


fyi, steve crist gives you a nice plug in his first spa blog entry. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Alan, could a guest appearance at the DRF Handicapper's Seminar at Siro's be far behind? I expect that Harvey or Steve will be calling soon! Good luck at Del Mar, hope to see you at the Spa for the Travers!/S/Green Mtn Punter

Patrick J Patten said...

where is the Crist spa blog?

Patrick J Patten said...

Got it

Here's to hoping I'm not one of the dreadful ones.