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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Picking Four, Flying Home

In the 8th at Saratoga, the state-bred Lake Luzerne, hopefully on the grass, Sonic Sound (15-1) could be sitting on an improved effort for trainer/owner Charlton Baker. This four-year old daughter of Sligo Bay (Sadlers Wells) made her 2009 debut in rousing fashion, breezing through the state-bred allowance conditions with two come-from-behind wins. Then she had no shot in a slow-paced open allowance, and in an off-the-turfer we can disregard. In her last, she was hard held at the back of the pack before exploding 5-6 wide on the turn and missing by a half length to the improved Why West. Jockey switch shows that barn means business today; live one at long odds in the Pick Four opener.

Vivi's Book (12-1) was 5-1 in the Why West race mentioned above, waited for room that never materialized. Four-year old daughter of Lycius has improved since switching to the live Rodrigo Ubillo barn, and Johnny V hops aboard. Here Comes Rita (8-1) encountered traffic problems in her 2009 turf debut; showed determination winning on a soft course last fall and gets reunited with Garcia. Graded stakes placed Chestoria (7-2) is the class of the field, but seems to be sputtering after running her best races a year ago. Barclay Tagg has had a tough time keeping Pastel Gal (5-1) on the racetrack and she has a bad post. Love Cove (3-1) also shows a lot of recent layoff lines and two disappointing efforts in 2009; strong stand against in a race which I think calls for a different point of view.

I'll come back to the 9th, the Diana. The 10th is the Jim Dandy, and a particularly ponderous edition this year. The top four choices in the morning line are a combined 0-for-five around two turns. That has me peeking at a couple others. Miner's Escape (15-1) was on a straight line of improvement since stretching out over the winter before running in the Belmont; could be set to bounce back here for Zito. Flat Bold (10-1) is on the improve for Kiaran McLaughlin and Ramon Dominguez for West Point Thoroughbreds. This son of Flatter (AP Indy) is 0 for two around two turns himself, but comes off a career high Beyer and seems set to move further forward should he handle the distance of course. I loved Kensei at 6-1 in the Dwyer; not so much at 5-2 here; still, he handles the route on pedigree and can't be eliminated so easily. Convocation (4-1) had his only poor effort around two turns at Gulfstream; viewing with skepticism here. I don't like the overrated Charitable Man for the same reasons I didn't in the Belmont.....though his 4-1 morning line seems like a fair price (certainly more reasonable than the still underlaid 9-2 he went off in the Belmont).

The 11th features dropdowns Stevil (7-2) from Zito and Hype (3-1) from Pletcher. Both of these barns are usually honest with droppers such as these - decent horses who just don't make the stakes grade. Pletcher is 30% over the last three years first time for a tag; Zito is 7 for just 19 (18%), but 3-2-1 in his last six. So I expect both or either to run well. I'll also have to throw in Liscaroll (8-1), second off the layoff from Weaver, mostly because I can't let that barn beat me in the last leg if I make it that far.

Back to the Diana, I personally need a single somewhere along the line; and this, to me, is a case of either singling Forever Together, or having to go four deep with the evenly-matched Carribean Sunset, My Princess Jess, and Rutherienne. Since those three have thus far proven to be a cut below Grade 1 material while the favorite clearly makes the grade, I'll close my eyes and hope to get by with one.

So here we go, a potentially lucrative, while slightly wacky and probably a highly unlikely pick four....but it's all just fun, right?

Race 8: 1/2/6/8
Race 9: 10
Race 10: 2/3/6
Race 11: 1/6/8

$36 for a buck.

- Of course, as has been the case, by the time I scrape myself off the beach and actually make it to Del Mar, the above sequence will be long over. I'll have to watch the races on Cal Racing when we get back on the redeye Sunday morning. No luck for me on Friday, thanks in large part to Colonel John. He was 2-1 in his turf debut, and that's a bet against for me every time - the name horse taking money first time on a new surface. Just goes to show you that nothing is foolproof in this game. I had the second and third place finishers very well-boxed, damn, and would make the bet again if they ran the race 100 times. Having said that, good to see last year's Travers winner back in form.

Thanks for checking out the site during this trip, and thanks to the readers who provided updates on the Aqueduct racino situation. I'll catch up on that during the week. Until then, good luck and have a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

More regulatory concerns for potential Aqueduct bidders with past or prior relationships to The Macau Ho family. It's being reported that New Jersey gaming investigators want to re-examine the license for Borgatta Hotel Casino & Spa amid concerns over co-owner MGM Mirage' Inc.'s partnership with an Asian businesswoman (Pansy Ho) and her possible ties to organized crime.

Steve Wynn said a couple of years ago "I will make a prediction for you: the Pansy Ho inquiry will result in her not being an issue with her partners." It sounds like NJ isn't that convinced. Wynn sold license rights that he controlled in Macau to James Packer and Lawrence Ho, Pansy's brother, in 2006 for $900 million.

Seems more than just numbers, drawings and timelines for Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate President Malcolm Smith to stew on when making the Aqueduct award.

Anonymous said...

Viewing Convocation with skepticism, huh? I'm glad to hear it. Did you see the race he had in Florida? Everyone knows he finished dead last. It was what he did during the race that was nothing short of incredible. He will love the distance and the 2 turns at Saratoga and getting Kent back who handled him best. Don't say I didn't tell you so. I'll tell you about that Gulfstream race later.

I like Zimmer in the Saratoga 2nd.

case said...

Congrats on the Pick 4. I also singled Forever Together and ... also singled Flat Bold in the Jim Dandy in order to chase my elusive dreams of a cheap Pick 4 ticket with a decent payoff.

Flat Bold had a real bad start.

Alan Mann said...

Thanks case. None of my price horses came through, so nothing to write home about, but sure nice to be right about horses like Love Cove and Charitable Man, 6-5, are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

What happened to Convocation in FLA? Just asking.

Kensei was a mortal lock, only question was the extra distance but if anyone could get him to stretch his pedigree it is Assmussen.

I lost ten races Saturday but left almost even thanks to Kensey and the silly better that made CM 6-5.

Cant wait for CM to run again against lesser so I can play against.