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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeneland Thursday

The 4th at Keeneland on Thursday is the kind of race that I instantly know I want to bet. Just takes a quick glance at the 8-5 morning line favorite to determine that I want to bet against it.....if it really is an 8-5 favorite, that is....and that there will therefore be value on the others. Not at all that Macias is a bad horse. Quite the contrary; two overnight stakes wins amongst a record of 12-4-2-2 achieved entirely against stakes company after his two starts in maiden races. However, he hasn't been out since August, when he was far back in the G2 LaHolla, ending the year with six straight losing tries. He returns here for new trainer Asmussen, whose 180+ record (13%) lags behind his usual 20% overall win average. Whatsmore, and perhaps most damningly, he's never raced over the Keeneland Poly.

Having said that though, the horse has worked in sparkling fashion over the surface, and I might like him in this spot at 7-2. But if he gets bet like the morning oddsmaker thinks he will (which most assuredly doesn't mean that he will...especially, it seems to me, at this meeting [just plain bad lines or particularly sharp players he's not giving proper due to?]), then I think it's definitely worth looking into an alternative. I mean, to me, the only way to make money in this game is to pounce when you think that the public is just dead wrong.

Agastache (3-1) ships in from Oaklawn for trainer Rick Niles, 0-for-20 overall for the year, but a 10% guy who has been getting close of late. Son of Mutakddim raced pretty well at Hot Springs. Yeah, I'd rather not see that his Beyers have declined in each of his four races this year. But he's run into pretty tough company in his last two, fruitlessly chasing a couple of fast horses in Chief of Affairs; and Inktado (who has returned in extremely fine form off a long layoff for new trainer Anthony Dutrow and could bear watching down the road). In his last, he was forced to go four wide on the turn, and couldn't run down Delong Road, an up-the-ladder four-year old who's come on strong for Wayne Lukas, who has come on strong himself! Best of all are the two excellent tries over this track last fall with Beyers that would put him right there even if Macias is ready to roll. Those races plus the good recent form should make him the favorite in my view, and I think he's a good play if he's not (at least to an extent somewhre in the neighborhood indicated by the morning line).

- Larry Collmus gets the call to call the Derby. Personally, I don't really have a strong opinion on the selection either way. I think he's fine, I'm sure he'll deliver a workmanlike and highly accurate call; but I don't know that he'll deliver a memorable one. Maybe I've simply heard too many race calls in my day, but I just don't get the thrills I used to when I was just learning the game, and listening to the likes of Dave Johnson, Chic Anderson, Jack E Lee, Ed Gorman, and, a bit later on, a young Tom Durkin just coming upon the scene calling the trotters at the Meadowlands, and bursting upon the scene with his classic Classic call in the first Breeders Cup. Just don't make 'em like they used to, at least to my ears.