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Friday, July 27, 2007

Saratoga Notes

- Pat Kelly won the statebred Dancin Renee stakes on Thursday with Precise Lady at 16-1; the trainer had three double digit odds bombshells here last year amongst his five winners, so you might want to pay attention. She'd actually won her prior race, and two of the last three; but was merely and nearly literally the last horse standing in this case after the leaders dueled themselves into submission. When the quarter splits are 21.3, 23.2, and 25.4, a horse needs merely to run evenly to be there at the finish. That's my idea of ugly racing.

Twisted Tale (Tale of the Cat) was the baby race winner for Asmussen; she had run second to the Schuylerville winner Subtle Aly in her debut. And what a game performance this was. She was pressed on the backside by Pletcher's Alachua on the outside, and by second choice Cozy Mesa on the inside. And after shaking them off, she had to hold off Forest Trail at the end. The latter is trained by Shug McGaughey, and as we've been saying, Shug doesn't win with first-timers much these days. He's 1 for his last 33 with two-year olds in that category; three for 58 overall. And his last debut winner was the late Pine Island in March of last year.

Scott Lake took the Hush Dear Stakes with Truly Blushed at 14-1, and we don't see that much of the trainer around these parts of late. He's only had 39 starters on the NY circuit in the last six months as compared to 530 elsewhere. Over the last two years, his winning percentage is 15% in New York; and 25% elsewhere. Can anyone think of a possible reason for these disparities? Just thought I'd ask.

And the Toddster got on the board with Ready's Image, dominating some promising juveniles in the Sanford. Two year old stakes accounted for four of his nine graded wins here last year; and they were Circular Quay, Adieu, Cotton Blossom, and Octave.


Harl said...

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but when I saw Brass Hat listed at 20-1 on the ML for the Whitney, I was completely flabbergasted. Here's a horse who beat Magna Graduate not once, but twice, won the Donn (on a sloppy track, no less), finished 2nd in the Dubai World Cup (although disqualified under, in my opinion, a sketchy drug enforcement rule), and finally won his first non-stakes race his last time out (he won a stakes race as a maiden at astronomical odds). His sire beat Sunday Silence on the dirt and won the Breeder's Cup Mile (I believe, although could have been the Turf race). Brass Hat's only bad races came when he broke his leg in the Lone Star Derby the day before the Breeder's Cup in 2004 and a poor turf effort where he just kind of jogged around the track. Plus, his trainer has him totally cranked up for this one, just putting in his career-best workout.

I've backed this horse since his Ohio Derby and have always wondered why he gets away at such high prices. I'm opening up my bankroll on him this weekend. He'll be keyed in the majority of my pick 4 tickets and he'll appear prominently on my multi-horse wagers as well as a healthy win bet. After a summer of several bad beats (i.e. losing a ~$4500 pick 4 payout on what was virtually a deadheat and just missing a 5-digit payout about a week later in another stretch duel), it's a horse like Brass Hat that can turn things around in a matter of minutes. This is why we play the game, or at least why I play the game. Yesterday, I spent an hour on the phone with my brother-in-law just discussing this horse and reliving the memories of the past three years.

When I first saw the list of probables I was, ever the optimist, hoping for 7-1, 8-1 but would have been happy with 5-1. Imagine my surprise when I saw the ML odds. There's no way this horse goes off anywhere near 20-1, but I'm still holding out hope that he's at least 10-1 at this point.

You've been warned. Toss Brass Hat at your own peril.

Alan Mann said...

Kevin -

Well, I did kinda toss him in my Whitney analysis, which could be good for you. I thought he seemed a cut below even if the race doesn't really measure up as what we're used to as Grade 1's. But I'll take a second look.. I do see that he improved nicely in his second start off a similar layoff after recovering from that broken leg. (And I did say that he'd move up in the slop)

Harl said...

Do you have a link to your analysis in the Special? I looked for it online, but couldn't find it.

I was at Churchill for his recent allowance win and I don't think the connections were out to win this race after the layoff. It looked like a warm-up for something bigger. Martinez did show him the whip a couple of times while Albarado was all up in Student Council during the stretch drive. Brass Hat still got up by a nose or whatever. I know the track was playing fast that day, but he still set a 37 year old record rather effortlessly.

Of course, this analysis is coming from the same guy that was "all-in" on Notional in the Florida Derby.

Alan Mann said...

>>Of course, this analysis is coming from the same guy that was "all-in" on Notional in the Florida Derby.

:-) It is exciting when you like a horse, think it should be 8-1, and you look at the ML and see 20-1! You make some solid points, and I'm definitely taking another look, though that won't - luckily for you - make it into the column I wrote for the Special.

The analysis for the Special is for their print edition, but it should get posted on their site sometime this evening. But I'm going to do a synopsis of what I came up with here sometime today, as soon as I get a chance.

Superfecta said...

Good old Scott Lake - I could tell some stories!

Anonymous said...

Ready's Image did, indeed, look more than ready as Mr. Durkin suggested. But I also took note of Pletcher's other horse, The Roundhouse, who broke slow, went waaay wide into the stretch, and closed strong to just miss second. Maybe he looked good passing tired horses, but to me he had the look of a horse to keep an eye on as the races get longer.

I also liked the effort of a horse Forest Trail earlier on the card. That one broke outside, was wide into the stretch, and battled greenly to the wire, just missing the win. Looked like a lot of ability there, and I'm planning to bet Forest Trail next time back.

Also planning to take another look at Brass Hat -- that's one hell of an endorsement, Kevin.

Alan Mann said...

I noticed The Roundhouse too, nice close. And Forest Trail too - he should improve for Shug second time out.