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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BC Friday Picks

In the wide open Filly and Mare Turf, Lady of Shamrock (12-1) is a blossoming three-year old daughter of Scat Daddy who's a nose away from being undefeated on the grass, in six races, for trainer John Sadler, who purchased her privately for Hronis Racing after she graduated about a year ago.  Nice pick there.  She climbed the grade ladder and won two Grade 1's, most recently the Del Mar Oaks, which followed her American Oaks win at this mile and a quarter distance.  This was all against three-year olds; this will be her first try against older horses, no small ascent in class at this level.  Whatsmore, her Beyers, though steadily increasing, don't quite match up with the other top North American contenders here.

However, the figs I've been looking at, and her Sheets numbers, do.  That tells me two things: that her final time was compromised by the pace scenario and ground loss.  The last 3/8ths of the Del Mar Oaks were run in 35 1/5; and Lady of Shamrock was way wide on the turn heading into the stretch; six wide according to the chart while Trevor Denman had her out there in the eight path!  Yet she rallied past the field to win, with Mike Smith wrapping her up in the closing strides.  The Beyer speed figures don't take pace or ground loss into account; so one can see why she was rated higher by the Project Ultra performance figures, which factor pace into account; and by the Sheets (on which she earned a 4), which consider ground loss.  In any event, it was a highly impressive performance which built on all the ones that preceded it.  She's had 76 days to recover from that effort, and has worked steadily, increasing the distance of her drills from a half mile to seven furlongs along the way.  A concern is the lack of pace on paper in this race.  But all of the top contenders in this race face the same problem, so at her 12-1 morning line - and even at a more likely, in my opinion, 8-1 - I'm willing to roll the dice on this filly showing further improvement and scoring an upset here.

Nahrain (6-1) disappointed overseas at age four after her second place finish to Perfect FREAKING Shirl in last year's edition of this race.  Man, what a glorious day I would have had...still can't believe I lost to that dog.  Anyway, reunited with Lasix, Nahrain returned to win the G1 Flower Bowl at Belmont last month.  It was a somewhat odd performance visually I thought - looked like she didn't have it after they turned for home, but she managed to get home over Zagora with a late surge under a persistent Johnny V.  I think maybe she didn't love the yielding ground, and surely won't have that problem - if that was the case - here.  She ran back to her career best 5 on the Sheets which she earned in this race last year.  I think she'll have to do a little better to take the top honors here.

The Fugue (7-2) and Ridasiyna (4-1) are the two top European shippers, and both come in with highly impressive credentials.  Three-year old Ridasiyna is taking the same route as Nahrain did last year, having won the Prix d'Opera at Longchamps on Arc day.  Tried a different running style, waiting confidently towards the rear of the pack before exploding home for an impressive win at 6-1.  Might be better served being closer to the front in this field as she'd been in the past, though it is sure impressive to see a young horse have the ability to smoothly change tactics like that.  The Fugue, also a 3yo, comes off a couple of excellent Group 1 efforts, and cuts back from a mile and a half to what I think is a preferred distance.  Obviously, either of these fillies can win this race.  The Fugue is rated a point higher by Timeform, while the Racing Post rated Ridasiyna's last race as faster; whatever the hell those numbers mean with respect to ours.  The Sheets, which attempts to rate them on the same scale, has each of the fillies' last efforts as a 4, the same as Lady of Shamrock.  So, at these expected mutuels, I'll use these two underneath.

I'm A Dreamer (8-1) was off a step slow in the Flower Bowl, which had to compromise her chances in that lethargically-paced affair; but she nonetheless rallied for a close 4th.   That followed her Beverly D win, in which she seemed uncomfortable in tight quarters before shifting out to a clear path.  11 post won't help, but can't count her out.  Marketing Mix (9-2) looked like she would have passed I'm A Dreamer in the Beverly D had it been a sixteenth of a mile longer at this distance.  But my numbers rate her slower than the above runners.  Zagora (8-1) is one tough mare, but I think she prefers shorter than this.

I'll use Lady of Shamrock to win, and on top in various combinations and permutations with some or all of the others mentioned.  How's that for being specific?

 - I'm not quite as pumped for the Ladies Classic.  But since I'm not betting any of the 2yo races nor the stupid Marathon, might as well give it a shot.  Wish Royal Delta (9-5) would have run in the Classic, where I may have considered betting her at generous odds against a flawed field.  Now, I'm gonna try and beat her as I did last year, and that didn't turn out that well.  I thought her visually impressive Beldame was made so to a large extent by the competition not showing up, and her figures across the board indicate that it was not a step forward.  Same effort could win here, and I really don't want to get beat by this horse again.   So I'll save with her in some doubles and stuff.  But otherwise will use underneath.

The public workout by Awesome Feather (3-1) in her return to the races at Belmont last month was quite a display.  And, as effortless as it was, she earned some nice numbers, including a career low 5 on the Sheets, just one point higher than the best numbers in the field.  One concern might be that she's not battle tested enough in light of the long layoff (236 days) and the facile race against a weak field.  But I guess that's five-years-ago type thinking.  I think she only needs to move forward a little off that return.  And in the hands of the masterful Chad Brown (a typical, for him, 30% second off the layoff), and with her tractability and strategic speed, that seems a pretty good bet.

Love and Pride (8-1) defeated Royal Delta with a stalking trip in the Personal Ensign two back, and wired the field off a rated pace over this track in a good prep in her last.  With Questing in the field, she'll have to use the former tactics to win here.  Four-year old daughter of AP Indy has been improving steadily this year for the Toddster, and also would have to continue to improve her numbers just a bit to be competitive here.

Questing (4-1) won the Alabama by bottoming out the field with a display of raw field; and was edged out in the Cotillion after being nursed along to a slow pace.  Don't see her getting away with either tactic here.  Cotillion winner My Miss Aurelia (4-1) is undefeated, and if she remains so after this race, I will tip my cap and count my losses.  Just don't think these two are fast enough for this spot.

Include Me Out (12-1) is a little interesting based on a pattern of improvement on the Sheets.  Grace Hall (10-1) has a couple of impressive running lines, but those were against short fields and against lesser competition.

So I'll use Awesome Feather and Love and Pride in exactas with Royal Delta underneath.


jk said... is still down and the BC is tomorrow. They clearly did not learn their lesson from 9/11 which resulted in their servers being down for months.

El Angelo said...

Domestic 3yo fillies who haven't run against older horses generally fare poorly in the F&M Turf -- some examples that come to mind are Perfect Sting's first attempt, Light Jig and Harmonious. For a longshot to hit the board, I like Nereid, who closed stoutly in her last and I like Shireffs at the BC.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if DRF print editions are available?

Harl said...

I've heard east coast printer has no power, thus no print editions of the DRF. Who knows if they will get them up tomorrow. Updates out of DRF are sometimes inaccurate and misleading.

El Angelo said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks El A

Alan Mann said...

Formulator is working I know.

Figless said...

If you need a reason to stand against Royal Delta in The Distaff, the following nugget should be all you need (courtesy NY Times):

Although Royal Delta needed sutures to close a wound in her right hind end sustained while boarding a cross-country flight from New York, Mott said the injury would be a “nonissue.”

Non issue my ass. Stitched the mare up without anesthesia (prohibited so close to race) and living without pain killers. That has to hurt, good enough for me. Will play small box AWESOME FEATHER, LOVE AND PRIDE and QUESTING and root against Delta.

F&M Turf - Will box the Euro invaders in dime supers,4-7-8-10-11. Key NAHRAIN and RIDASIYNA (who is supposed to be the real deal but what do I know?). Less action on UP who probably still hasn't arrived as Aiden continues to try and prove he is smarter than everyone else shipping in five minutes before the race.

Juv F Turf - Similar strategy in this race where the 2yo's have even more of an advantage without Salix; Dime super box, 3-4-9-10-12. Key SKY LANTERN on top of the rest.

Not playing the rest of Friday card. Total investment to be determined, but way down over prior years due to combination of storm, semi-boycott, lack of TV and just plain lack of interest.

Also note that due to DRF being down I was forced to try to gather some useful information from the BC website but it remains so non-user friendly I punted after a few minutes. Embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Nassau OTB doesn't have enough gasoline to deliver the sheets to all branches????