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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Belmont Wednesday

- Interesting opener at Belmont on Wednesday - a lively seven furlong maiden affair on the grass. Barclay Tagg has the morning line favorite with Laffans Bridge (5-2), a close and well-bet third in each of her first two starts. Tagg is still smokin' here; four winners, a second and a third with his last six starters, wow! He's tied for the meet lead with the soon-to-be-suspended Dutrow with 18 winners, but with 20 less starters (54). He's batting .333.

So tough to take a stand against this trainer. But let's look at a couple of under-the-radar barns to find some value, and try to beat a filly who has had trouble at the start in each of her races. Unique Citizen (6-1) goes for Paulino Ortiz; this barn has won its last two races, breaking out after compiling two seconds and two thirds with its prior ten starters. This daughter of Proud Citizen was 58-1 in her turf debut last month, and finished third by 2 1/2, full of run after enduring a four wide trip the entire length of the turn for home. Second place finisher Its Not For Love was a strong second in her next start; and winner Receipt was a decent 4th against winners (edging out Rap Tale on Friday). Unique Citizen has some fascinating breeding, inbred 2x3 to Gone West and his full brother Secret Claim; and 4x4 to Northern Dancer and his full sister Arctic Dancer. May not have anything to do with her chances of winning this race, but pretty creative nonetheless; perhaps her Tomlinson of 325 is more relevant.

Qualquin (12-1) makes her debut for trainer Robert Ribaudo. This barn has just one winner out of nine starters; but his three seconds and two thirds make him the kind of trainer I like to follow. This is a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid with a Tomlinson of 340. She has a long workout tab, and has picked up the pace nicely in the A.M. in the last couple of weeks.

Queenofalldiamonds makes her second start for Frankel. This is a four-year old daughter of Kingmambo, out of champion and Distaff winner Escena, who sold for $2.7 million as a yearling in 2005. This is not what the buyers had in mind, I'm sure. She was 7-2 in her debut, and backed up badly to sixth. Figures to take money shortening up today.

[Please see the comments section for a free selection at Hollywood from]


Anonymous said...

Good morning, kids. Beginning today, i'll be posting a free selection from my website ( once per racing week. No set times or dates, just whatever catches my eye. Please don't blame Alan for any losing picks (as i've seen done here before), he has nothing to do with it. Just trying to provide you guys with some good information, and give you an idea of what's available on my site. Anyway, here we go:

Hollywood - Race 8

#4 Veranda Cafe (6/1 ml)

Just spent a good bit of time digging up the dirt on this one; it's not easy coming up with info on the San Luis Rey trainees. Anyway, this Peter Miller trainee worked the fastest furlong at the March OBS (9.4 seconds). I pulled up the video from that drill, and she appears to have a nice reach on her. The video can be found at in case you want to take a look. Miller generally uses Nakatani on his live ones, and he goes to Bejarano here, but the Miller/Bejarano combo is quite strong from a small sample-size (3-for-9). I also checked to see if this filly has worked with Miller's 2yo stakes winner Backbackbackgone, and she has not. That one is a colt however, which may have something to do with it. Many trainers don't like working fillies and colts together, for obvious reasons. And speaking of 2yo fillies, Miller was quite strong in that category at Hollywood last year. He debuted his stakes-winning filly Set Play about this same time, i think. Anyway, the bad news is that this filly is owned by Little Red Feather (Jim Rome's outfit), so there's a pretty good chance Rome will be shooting his mouth off about this filly today, particularly if she's live. I visited the Little Red Feather website, which had a nice page on this filly, and it mentioned that Peter Miller purchased a "sizable interest" in this filly. That has to be a very good sign, particularly since they paid a good bit of money for her ($150k) at the sale. Bottom line, i would expect this filly to break fast and put forth a very good effort today, likely laying right off the inside horse Lippy Rules, who showed a ton of speed first time out. Here's a piece i found on Veranda Cafe from the afore-mentioned sale; she must've had her named changed because she's referred to here as Seekingthediamond:

Forest Wildcat filly works fastest eighth at OBSC

Seekingthediamond, a Forest Wildcat filly, turned in the fastest one-furlong breeze and three colts tied for the fastest quarter-mile move at the first under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March sale of selected two-year-olds in training on March 18-19.
The dark bay or brown filly, out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Seeking Success, breezed one furlong in :9.80. Consigned by Hendry Training Stables, agent, Seekingthediamond hails from the immediate family of multiple Grade 1 winner Classy Cathy and multiple Grade 3 winner and sire Sports View.

Anonymous said...

In the first I landed on Palace Cat, another starter from a low profile barn.

Beaten only 3.5 with a trouble line at 72-1 in debut at 6f on the turf, stretch out to 7f should suit her fine at a long price.

I am also using Unique Citizen and Laffan's Bridge.

Standing against probable underlay Queenofalldiamonds and Qualquin, whose 75k sales price was very light for such a well bred filly.

Mr Ed

Valerie Grash said...

Nice call with Unique Citizen ($15.60)! With Queenofalldiamonds, she fleshed out a $48 exacta.

Anonymous said...

rsce 8 hollywood

#4 Veranda Cafe has no chance

free selection LOL

Anonymous said...

Yes, i see your point. Good handicapping.

Anonymous said...

Update: Veranda Cafe deserves an upgrade now, after Miller won Race 4 with his 2yo Glorious One. Those two may (or may not) have been working together. They worked on the same day and distance June 3, but Veranda Cafe worked a full second faster. I sure hope they did work together, but that's a rather large difference. They did also work from the gate on the same day, June 10, but were clocked at different distances. If they did indeed work together there, it's safe to assume Veranda Cafe blasted her, because it took Glorious One 13.3 seconds to get an extra furlong. In any case though, Veranda Cafe has been working faster than the Race 4 winner, which is a very positive sign.

Anonymous said...

Damn. The race went exactly according to plan until deep stretch, and i don't know what happened after that. Looked like she hit a brick wall.

Anonymous said...

I invite anyone to watch the replay (available at Cal Racing), and determine whether Veranda Cafe was live or not. Personally, i think she was a very good pick.

Will all my selections here be that good? Of course not. Some horses will run well, others won't. That's the way horseracing is. I'm not going to post 100% winners, and neither will anyone else. In fact, over time, i'll win with only 30% of my selections. That means 70% losers, if you choose to look at it that way. All i can do is provide some quality information, and let the chips fall where they may. That's gambling.

Anonymous said...

Just heard from my friend Crick that Veranda Cafe was vanned off the track today. No word yet on her status.

Actually, at the very end of the replay, you can see Bejarano pulling her up before she even hit the finish line. Crick and i were speculating earlier that she had lost her air, but now it appears it may be more serious than that. I hope she's okay.

steve in nc said...

Good call in the 1st, especially given the nicely bred horses you went against, and the speedster with the hot wkt that drew clear but wilted (my selection).

Nice win in the 9th for Count this Senora from Juan Ortiz. Is he a relative of Paulino's? A Sheets standout (at least for me), so it was no surprise she went from 12-1 ML to 5-1 at the wire, despite having an 0-40 / 0-70 jockey.

Alan Mann said...

Steve - Thanks. I tried to look up if they're related but couldn't find anything.