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Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Notes

In the 4th at the Big A on Friday, Nacho Saint (8-5) is one of those potential favorites that I love to hate. The unanimous pick in the Form's consensus box, this three-year old son of Yes It's True makes his first start since September, and first around two turns (in fact, his first foray beyond six furlongs). True, he drops back into maiden company from competitive efforts in two graded stakes last year....but, as we've discussed before, what really does early season two-year old graded stakes company mean? Really nothing, in my view, but a glorified allowance race. In the G2 Sanford back in July, all of the other horses save one were coming out of maiden races....and none of them have come close to winning any kind of stakes race since. In fact, only one has won at all, and did so in a restricted claiming race at Parx. Trainer Kelly Breen may be hot at Gulfstream, where he'd won with four of his last nine starters as of Jan 22...but on the NYRA circuit, he's 0 for his last 17 with his last winner coming in September.

I know, I sometimes end up looking silly when making an expansive case against a specific horse. He could win of course, but I think you have to take stands against favorites such as this in order to be successful.

Associate (2-1) figures to take some money himself on the ol' Alvarado-to-Dominguez angle. Last was a pretty good second in his first try on dirt. But horses sometimes get overbet on a jockey change (even when the new rider is winning at 35%). Iscar (6-1) finished some five lengths behind Associate that day, but that difference can probably be more than explained given the difference in trips. While Associate saved ground close to the pace throughout, Iscar stumbled very badly at the start, trailed the field (albeit closely) down the backstretch, and looped five wide turning for home before rallying rather respectably and finishing with interest for 4th. Not an overwhelming effort despite the trouble, but this son of the popular playboy Bernardini surely showed enough ability in his second start to earn a look here at a fair price, and Kiaran McLaughlin goes to Eddie Castro, winning at a 31% clip for the barn.

- Well-bet Prize Catch ($9) won Thursday's feature, on the grass, at Gulfstream for trainer Angel Penna Jr. in his first race since September at Belmont. He was 11-1 in his first against winners that day, but bet down from 6-1 morning line from the ten post here. This is a son of AP Indy with a highly unusual pedigree; his grandsire and broodmare sire are the half brothers Seattle Slew and Seattle Dancer. He's also a half-brother to the graded turf winner Lead Story, and his dam is a half to the Grade 1 winners Unbridled Elaine and Glitter Woman.


Figless said...

Against Nacho for another reason, I detest layoff horses going two turns, no matter their prior form.

Will use Endless Circle, who fits nicely in Race 3 with Iscar and Magnificent Moon off the stretch out in the DD and hope root for the upset. Should be nice value with those two.

Nacho Saint's connections should thank me big time in advance for standing against their horse, with me and Alan against him he should win for fun.

Figless said...

Nacho won for fun, Alan and I mushed the others.

steve in nc said...

I too would have played against an odds-on horse routing for the first time, regardless of speed figs, layoff or anything else. You lose some, but when you win, you make up for it disproportionately.

BUT, 3yos coming off long layoffs are one of my favorite plays when they go off at higher odds, stretching out or no. The public tends to go by their 2yo figs, forgetting that they are likely bigger, stronger and faster now. I give Mark Cramer credit for pointing that out in one of his books, and it has gotten me some of my biggest scores.

And if a horse that fits that profile runs really badly first out as a 3yo but has a good excuse, you can sometimes get an even better price.

But odds-on? That's for sure Nacho best value play.

Anonymous said...

Anybody see Desormeaux's ride on First Dude yesterday ? Yikes ! It was like the Big Brown ride on Belmont Day. Strangle back a horse with natural early speed, basically bring the horse to a stop to get him to the outside from the 1 hole, and then the horse doesn't run a lick. Maybe he wouldn't have won anyway, but the ride was awful !