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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blue Grass Day (Updated with later races)

- In the first, Pimm's O'Clock ships in from Fair Grounds for Asmussen, quiet at this meeting thus far with just one winner. Note that he's won the last two times he raced after a freshening of similar length to the one he comes off here. This always-trying gelding closed well against slightly cheaper over this track last fall, and his late running style fits. Papa Fuse goes for the hot Cody Autrey barn, who won yesterday with Lil Tree for the second time in six days. Pinpoint drops to a 50K tag off a six month layoff. Note that this horse won three in a row in the spring of 2005, including the Sir Barton Stakes, and then was entered in the Belmont in his 4th 5th lifetime start - he was just 15-1 against Afleet Alex. He was beaten by 34 lengths, and has never won another race. Just thought I'd point that out.

In Race 2, Processor's Turf is one of two TC-nominated colts who ship in from Santa Anita for Pletcher. He comes off two rousing late-closing wins at this distance there, one each on grass and Cushion. Meal Penalty won over this track last fall, and has since been toiling in stakes company out west. Class drop should help, and he gets Johnny V as the 5-2 morning line choice. But Processor's Turf gets Prado, winning at a 29% clip for the Toddster, and could be overlooked as the 'other Pletcher.' Dallas Stewart is smokin' here with three winners in seven starts; throw out the Lane's End for Macho Again, who thrives around one turn. But he raced poorly over the Poly as an 8-5 favorite last fall, and worked very slowly (91 of 91 at the distance) over it last week; question mark could be key to race.

No pick in Race 3, but Inny, the probable favorite for Clement, is a daughter of Pulpit, out of a full sister to the Florida Derby winner Vicar. Why West made a premature move into a lightning pace at a mile at Gulfstream, and was checked twice when beaten late; distance cut back and rider change could help. Some late foot in her debut, on the grass at 5 1/2, indicates that she could take to the surface here. But that was a dismal field and it took nearly 28 seconds for them to get home [her last race, at a mile].

In Race 4, Pick Six is an improving sort for Shug, and that's always a dangerous combination. This son of Dynaformer, out of Grade 1 winner Oh What a Windfall, was extremely wide on both turns on the grass at GP in his last, and closed well for second in a rather remarkable performance. He comes off a two month layoff, and has raced extremely well off of similar respites in the past. Pick Six worked a half on the Poly in 46.3 on 4/3, and the clocker commented: strong effort from the pole, galloped out 59.0. Equitable was also way wide when second in the Commonwealth Turf at Churchill in November for Mott. This is his first race since then, and he looms as the class of the field from the outside ten post. Son of AP Indy is inbred 3x4to Secretariat, and is out of a half to G1 winner Peaks and Valleys. Tiger Woodman improved nicely with Castellano, but switches to Gomez today. I don't like Sedgefield, but here's another case in which a horse hasn't been the same since being entered inappropriately in a Triple Crown race.

A couple of interesting first-timers in Race 5. Reve de Fille goes for Graham Motion, 11% with first-timers over the last two years. Here's a daughter of the faltering Storm Cat, 17% with first-timers, out of Bosra Sham (Woodman), a G1 winner on the grass in the UK, and a half to two other Euro stakes winners, and to the dam of the G1 Secretariat winner Ciro. This filly's pedigree is teeming with grassy stakes winners in his female family, which certainly shouldn't hurt her chances on the Poly. She's had a long string of steady works going back to December, capped with two quick moves this month. Embellish debuts for Mark Casse, 23% with first-timers over the last two years. This daughter of Mineshaft shows two blazing works over the track. She's a half to three stakes horses (two of those in Japan), and is out of a Storm Bird mare who's a half to the Grade 1 winners Judge Angelucci, Peace, and War; the latter won the Blue Grass stakes in 1987. However, note that her sire is 1-for-31 with his first-timers.

The sixth race is the G2 Jenny Wiley, a wonderfully wide open stakes on the grass. No pick here with several graded stakes winners coming off layoffs - Sealy Hill, Rutherienne, Bit of Whimsy, Lady of Venice, Precious Kitten, wow!! I don't think there's any getting around going quite deep on your Pick Whatevers in this race. Roshani has a recency edge on the rest for Pletcher with a facile win against a moderate six horse field at Santa Anita last month.

In Race 7, Manager Boire confirmed a win in his debut and stretched out to two turns with a fine second against winners. The running line doesn't show it, but he was dead last heading into the first turn after brushing the gate. He saved ground from there, but had to wait for running room turning for home. Five of the horses from that race have run back, with two winners, two seconds, and a third; winner My Pal Charlie was second to Pyro in the La Derby. Makes his Poly debut here. Palmers has improved steadily for Mark Casse, and beat Recapturetheglory on the grass when running second in his last. Readys Echo stands to be a solid favorite for Pletcher off his spectacular late runs; tries winners for the first time, and needs to break more alertly.

The 8th is the G2 Commonwealth, and man, this is a tough seven furlong sprint here. I don't wanna be a wuss and beg out of wide open stakes like this, but there's something to be said for those who feel that, when it comes strictly to betting, they'll take a Thursday afternoon card over this stuff any day of the week. After all, we can just sit and watch races like this. Can't we?

Well, in case we can't, let's look for some value, and Rebellion looks as if he fits well in this spot for Motion. Forget the BC Mile...and by the way Kip Deville is the first horse to come out of that spot and win...prior to that was a fast closing second on this track in the G3 Phoenix. And before that a seven furlong turf stakes win in NY. The BC was his last race, and he returns off a solid string of works, culminating in a bullet (of six, including Grasshopper) six furlong work. As opposed to some of the others, he's had success with this track and this distance, and could present some value here (6-1 ML, and will probably be higher IMO). Frankel won two stakes this past week, and has a couple of sharp shippers from SA in Storm Military (9-2) and Thousand Words (7-2). The latter was the easiest of winners in allowance company in his last under a supremely confident hold by David Flores; runnerup Neko Bay ran second in a stakes in his next race, and the third place horse won a 50K claimer. He worked a bullet (of 49) 59.1 over the Poly on his own, according to the clocker. Tough to leave this one out of the top spot entirely to be sure, and I surely won't. Xchanger (4-1) returns off a layoff after a poor conclusion to his three-year old year, and tries Poly and the distance for the first time. No value at that price. Forefathers (4-1) has a couple of imposing figs and returned in sharp form for Mott last month at GP. I think that his odds need to reflect the fact that his one Poly try, at Turfway, was awful (though it was against Hard Spun), and his lone grass try wasn't so hot either.

So yeah, there's the Blue Grass too, but it's getting late, and I'm running out of time and mental energy. I think I have some pretty good ideas which sound good on paper at least; we'll see how they turn out in fact. I'd have to say that Pick Six in the 4th is my best bet of the day. In the big race, Pyro is, in my opinion as you may know, the clear class of the three-year old colts. He hasn't missed a beat, and he's trained confidently and steadily over this track. His last work was a half in a seemingly leisurely 50.3, but he was off in 26.4, finished well on his own and was not asked for effort, according to the clocker. I think he's the clear class here. But he doesn't need to win, and he certainly has not trained with any particular urgency it would seem. And there's the Polytrack question. So I'll probably fool around with a couple of others, all of whom should be fair prices you'd think. In particular, I like Big Truck for the reasons stated here (#9). Monba is an interesting possibility given his win over the track last year, of some concern is that he's yet to be too successful around two turns; and maybe look at Cowboy Cal or Lattice [oops, how did I get him into this race?] on the turf-to-Poly angle, which I consider a near given when it comes to this particular course.

That's it - good luck and have a fantastic day!

...Oh, what's this? Rangers in 60 is on again? How many times can one watch the Rangers defeat their rivals 2-1 thus taking a 2-0 series lead home to the Garden?


Teresa said...

"How many times can one watch the Rangers defeat their rivals 2-1 thus taking a 2-0 series lead home to the Garden?"

I'm up to three.

Anonymous said...

Good call on Monba and Cowboy cal! Wish I'd been that astute (of course, actually LOOKING at the past performances before making Pyro your instant choice can help, as well).

Anonymous said...

The best thing that ever happened to the Rangers is when the Penguins traded Jagr to the Caps and he inevitably lands in NY. Now the Ranger fans can watch the washed up gambling addicted Jagr lay down in the playoffs while Sid The Kid and Malkin the Great carry the Pen's to their 3rd Cup. But that's my opinion and I could be wrong.