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Wednesday, November 02, 2011


In the F&M Sprint, Turbulent Descent is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Three-year old daughter of Congrats makes her Churchill debut, faces older for the first time, and makes her first start in three months. (Though horses coming into big races off long layoffs like this just doesn't mean much anymore; in fact, I haven't heard any discussion about it at all.) Enough reason I suppose to take a stand against, but I'm just not inspired to do so in this field. She's three-for-three at the distance, and seems simply faster than these at the present time, at least based on her facile win in the Test (103 Beyer and a 2 on the Sheets), her last start.

Pomeroys Pistol (6-1) is a filly who really seemed to blossom in the summer of this, her three-year old season. Comes off a career-best Beyer, and has run very well in the second of the layoff angle. But looking back at the Test and seeing how easily the favorite handled her, hard to see her turning the tables here. And that last race was not as strong on the Sheets as her Beyer would indicate. Switch (3-1) continues to put in an honest effort in every start, but hasn't recently been able to seal the deal. Think she'll settle for minor rewards as she did in this race last year.

One longshot who I think could spice up the exotics is Golden Mystery (20-1). Five-year old daughter of Awesome Again has progressed big time since moving to the barn of 32% trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero, with two wins in as many tries, and pairing up career-best 6s on the Sheets. Dominant wins in her last two tries at this seven furlong distance too. I think she'll only have to improve a little bit to get a piece here.

In the Sprint, Amazombie (5-1) is a hard-hitting five-year old gelding making his 9th start of the year, but showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, he's been speeding up, progressing a point at a time Sheets-wise from a 5 down to a 2 in his most recent try, a win in the G1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita in which he glided around the field under confident handling while a good five wide turning for home. Gelded son of Northern Afleet got a nice pace to close into in that race, with The Factor pushed to a 43.80 second half. Could be a similar scenario here. Euroears will gun for the lead from the rail, at least according to Baffert. Big Drama has been sitting around practically all year waiting for this, and I imagine that Ramon will have instructions to be aggressive. Giant Ryan and Force Freeze also figure to be closely attending the situation.

While Amazonbie has run well on all kinds of surfaces, he's a head away from being four-for-four on dirt (all at SA). And though he possesses a nice turn of early speed, he seems to settle quite well on dirt surfaces, though with ample strategic speed to keep close and get a jump on others. With his regular jockey Mike Smith aboard, that strategy could surely serve him well here.

Big Drama (5-2) comes into this off of just one prep in September after being off since January; and that was little more than a public workout against three overmatched foes at Calder. What I said about layoffs with respect to Turbulent Descent notwithstanding, in this case, I'll surely stand against this horse as the favorite as he faces a pretty tough bunch off what seems like sparse preparation.

Force Freeze
(10-1) has the Sheets numbers to win this race with his two excellent efforts at this distance since returning from Dubai. The question with this son of Forest Camp, as alluded to above, is the possible hot early pace, which he figures to be either a part of, or an extremely close observer. Note however his win in the Teddy Drone at Monmouth, in which he survived a blistering pace duel which he attended three-wide before drawing off to win....and that on a day on which closers seemed to have an advantage. Last was a relentless second to a loose-on-the-lead Giant Ryan in the mud, on which the latter is three-for-three. Five weeks off should be enough time to recover from that effort - a 2 on the Sheets - and Johnny V picks up the mount. Would be rather enticing to use on top despite the pace scenario at double digit odds.

Jackson Bend (7-2) may very well have been my pick in the Dirt Mile, but Nick Zito knows better I guess. He muses correctly that his son of Hear No Evil, who has really flourished since the summer when turning back to one turn, can take the sprint championship with a win here. He's actually two-for-two at this distance, but those came a couple of years ago. Likely to find himself further back than usual with the cutback to six, and will have a lot to do. Definitely will use on the ticket, but will be betting that he runs out of ground.


Anonymous said...

Guerrero is dirty.

I like Tanda in this race. -jp

Anonymous said...

Heads up Alan.
Le Grand Artiste from the stable of Somali Lemonade and Union Rags makes his first turf start today in the 3rd at Laurel.