Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gamely - An Aptly Named Stake for a Aptly Named Horse

This Saturday at Hollywood Park, The Grade 1 Gamely Stakes will be run at a mile and an eighth on the turf course. This stake will bring together the multiple Grade 1 winning mare Forever Together versus the multiple graded stakes winner Tuscan Evening. But combined they have won as many graded stakes as the horse for whom this race is named for, the great mare Gamely.

Gamely did not run at two, mainly due to her size (16.2 hands). Her career begin at age three in California, where her first stake win was the Princess Stakes up north. Then, after two seconds in the Railbird Stakes and the Hollywood Oaks, she was sent east to Saratoga. Once there, she became a revelation. First, she won a division of the Test Stakes, setting a track record at seven furlongs in the process. Then she went on the win the Alabama, and finish third in the Beldame against older. She won the Eclipse Award for outstanding three-year-old filly.

At 4, she would go on to win the Vanity, Santa Maria, Santa Margarita, Inglewood (on the grass), Beldame & Wilshire (run at 7f on the main track) Handicaps that year. She also was 2nd in the Santa Anita Handicap and The Californian (to Dr. Fager) versus males. She would go on to win the Eclipse Award for Older Female. She would also share the award, with Gallant Bloom, the next year. At age 5, she would go on to defend her Beldame and Wilshire crowns, while adding the Diana & Santa Monica Handicaps to her ever-growing mantle. (To see a program of her, when she ran in the Santa Barbara Hcp. in 1969 (where she would run 3rd), click here)

She sadly died days after giving birth to her to her second foal in 1975. She was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980. She is buried at Claiborne Farm. Her legacy continues on with the stake named in her honor. But who will add there name to the list of such past winners as Estrapade, Hollywood Wildcat, Fiji and Tranquility Lake?

Beside the two big stars entered in the Gamely, there is one more horse that bears some acknowledgment. This filly is named Medaglia D'Amour. She is an undefeated daughter of Medaglia D'Oro, winning all four of her lifetime starts. Last time out, she won her stakes debut in the Wilshire Handicap at a mile on the Hollywood Park lawn. She was bet down from a 15-1 morning line down to 3-1 2nd choice. She stretches out another furlong and steps up in class, facing probably the top two older grass mares in the country. Will she be able to overcome such obstacles? Will Tuscan Evening continue her hot streak across town? Will Forever Together be able to reel her in? This Saturday, all these questions and more will be answered.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Preakness Day Wrap-up: Plenty of Blame & A Little Lucky

As the middle jewel of the Triple Crown is now in the books, the drought will continue as Super Saver could not capture the Preakness Stakes to keep alive his chances for the sport's first Triple Crown in 32 years. Lookin at Lucky finally got a clean trip, took advantage and willed his way to victory over a game First Dude, who set the pace, dropped back and came back on for 2nd.

Lucky was ridden for the 1st time by Martin Garcia, who won in his first Triple Crown race.

But this blog is going to pay a bit more attention to a race that happened about 4 hours earlier on the card. In the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer, multiple graded stakes winner Blame made his 2010 debut. This blog is very high on this son of Arch, to the point that he is this blog's choice for who we think will be the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic winner, which will hopefully lead to him be chosen as the 2010 Horse of the Year. The Albert Stall trainee sat off a so-so pace, split horses at the top of the lane, and won going away under s stern handride by Garrett Gomez. He broke from post 6 in this field of 7, he is the #7.

With this stylish win, he is now being pointed to the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 12th at Churchill Downs. Blame has already won at Churchill Downs in the past, most recently winning the Grade 2 Clark Handicap last thanksgiving weekend to close out his 3 year-old season. In this race he beat Grade 1 winners Einstein and Bullsbay (who he also defeated in the Schaefer), along with Misremembered, who this winter won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. He is #5.

The sky is the limit for this homebred of his owners, Adele B Dilschneider & Claiborne Farm. Hopefully he will move forward in the Stephen Foster and be one step closer to the Breeders' Cup Classic, which this year is at Churchill Downs. If he continues on his winning way this year, Horse of the Year is not out of the question. This blog waits for the second Saturday in June with bated breath. Will you?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Preakness Stakes Card Stakes Picks - Hoping to Lay Some Blame

As the 2nd jewel of the Triple Crown arrives, this blog hopes to rebound from a miserable showing yesterday at Pimlico. So here are the selections for the stakes on the Preakness card. This blog cannot wait for Race 8 as the horse who is held in high regard is running. First things first however...

Race 6: Chick Lang S. - Grade 3 - 6 Furlongs
This race looks to be a one-horse race. #3 Comedero is coming in on a 3 race win streak, is undefeated sprinting (6-for-6) and showed a new dimension by laying just off the pace in his last two starts, taking over in the stretch and drawing clear. His running style will have him sitting just off the #5 Latigo Shore and/or the #4 Quiet Invader, making his move turning for home and he looks to extend his winning streak to four races. #2 Gary D is shipping in from Woodbine for Steve Asumussen, where he finished 4th in a stake. His two lifetime wins both came at the distance and looks to be sitting just to the inside of the #3. #6 Charles Russell has only made one start lifetime, but it was a winning one. He did it stylistically nice, though it was 10 weeks ago and there are only three works in the interim. He has been working fast, but gives up a world of experience.

#3 Comedero
#2 Gary D
#6 Charles Russell

Race 7: James W. Murphy - 1 Mile (Turf)
This race is a scramble. This blog is going to take a stab with #11 Thunder Brew. He is riding a modest two race win streak, which includes a small state-bred stake at Tampa Bay Downs. He seems to be on the improve, and has three nice works since his last race. He can rally into a slow pace or come from far out of it, and looks like to have a good chance. #2 Beau Choix comes in with a nice series of works and out of a race that produced at least one next out winner in Our Douglas, who won on Friday at Churchill Downs. He has definitely improved on the turf, and willing be rolling from the back of the pack. #6 Regal Warrior is not really bred for the grass, but is a local horse, and the locals always seem to find there way into a trifecta or two. This son of Preakness winner Louis Quatorze has a nice tracking style, and if he takes to the grass, could fall into a nice trip. Others to consider are #7 Manhattan Fox, coming in 3rd off the layoff, and #5 Kera's Kitten, a multiple winner on the grass and a small stakes winner on the Poly.

#11 Thunder Brew
#2 Beau Choix
#6 Regal Warrior

Race 8: The William Donald Schaefer Hcp. - Grade 3 - 1 mile & 1/16
This race marks the return of Blame, who finished off his three-year-old season with two wins over older in the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Clark at Churchill Downs. This blog is so high on him that the blog thinks he can be Horse of the Year. The campaign starts here against a suspect group of older horses. He has been working steadily the last 6 weeks and towers over this field on class. He has run well off a similar layoff, albeit it at a much shorter distance than his optimum, and looks primed to go. #4 I Know Why comes in on a tidy two race win streak, both won in gate-to-wire fashion. However, in the past he shown the ability to track and win. If Blame doesn't bring it, he could be the one to upset the apple cart. #8 Indian Dance comes in off an okay 4th in the Charles Town Classic, but the cut back of a 16th of a mile has to help this son of Indian Charlie. While he has won further than this, the distance strikes this blog as one that hits him right in the wheelhouse. He will sitting mid-pack and can factor in the exacta.

#7 Blame
#4 I Know Why
#8 Indian Dance

Race 9: Gallorette Handicap - Grade 3 - 1 mile & 1/16 (Turf)
There is a formidable favorite in here in #4 Rainbow View. She comes off of a facile win in a conditioned allowance at Keeneland. This multiple group one stakes winner in Europe looks to come into this race in fantastic shape for trainer Jonathan Sheppard. But one man can take only so much chalk, so this blog shall try to beat her with #7 Denomination. This daughter of Smart Strike comes in 2nd off a layoff for trainer Christophe Clement and looks to capitalize on a wicked pace. She has worked well in the interim and looks to be sitting on a big race. #6 Payton D'Oro won the Black-Eyed Susan on the main track here last year, and makes her turf debut today. This daughter of Medaglia D'Oro won in a grinding finish, wearing down the lone speed in her last race. She has fired two bullets in the interim for trainer Cindy Jones. If she takes to turf, she could be a force to reckon with on two surfaces.

#7 Denomination
#4 Rainbow View
#6 Payton D'Oro

Race 10: Maryland Sprint Hcp. - Grade 3 - 6 furlongs
This blog will just come out and say that this race is nearly impossible. The pick ended up on #2 Malibu Kid. He just won 9 days ago on this course at this distance. He comes third off the layoff for the local connections of Jenkins & Dunkelberger. A upward-moving horse can overcome many of things, including the class rise to graded stakes. #1 Snapshot has run well fresh in the past, as he comes in today off a 7 week freshening. He can go to the lead or sitting just off. He has worked swiftly in the interim and the horse he just beat, Barge, just won Friday at Churchill Downs in a 5 furlong turf race. #8 Taqarub can run in a dogfight and keep going, as he did last time. Hopefully the connections have realized that he is a sprinter, and keep him running short. He has steady works in the interim and comes in 2nd off the layoff. Disregard his lone race here, as something clearly went awry. Also consider #11 Half Metal Jacket and #3 Roaring Lion, though there are others who have chance as well.

#2 Malibu Kid
#1 Snapshot
#8 Taqurub

Race 11: Dixie Hcp - Grade 2 - 1 mile & 1/8 (turf)
Another tough race. The top pick is #9 Rahystrada. This 6yo gelded son of Rahy is in great form, coming in off a win in a prep race at Hawthorne Park. He is using the same pattern he used to pull the massive upset in the Grade 3 River City Hcp. at Churchill Downs last fall. He comes in 2nd off the layoff with two steady maintenance works in the interim and could be ready to pop once more, albeit at a smaller price. #2 Grassy comes in off a decent 2nd last out, his first race in six months. With three steady interim works in the holster, this lightly raced son of El Prado hopes to move up right into the winner's circle. #4 Just As Well comes in off a throw out performance on the Poly at Keeneland in the Ben Ali. He returns to turf and looks to rally from way out of the pack, though this may be a bit short. #13 Nicanor is sure to attract some attention at the windows, but might be in a bit too steep at this point in his career.

#9 Rahystrada
#2 Grassy
#4 Just As Well

Race 12: Preakness Stakes - Grade 1 - 1 mile & 3/16
Another Triple Crown race comes around, and the horse this blog is most excited about ends up scratching the day of the entry. Endorsement was this horse for the Derby, and Hurricane Ike is the one for the Preakness. So once again, the selection is made without much conviction. One would figure that after having Super Saver rub it in over this blog's insistence of betting him to place, but insisting he could not win. After the win, i was all for seeing him as our next triple crown winner, even saying so in a few places. But then a huge monkey wrench was thrown into the mix when Pletcher decide to work him three furlongs. That simple act has forced this blog to look to another horse as he top pick. Nothing in the work itself was bad, but this blog has a policy about 3 furlongs, and it goes like this:

If a horse's first (or only) work after a race is at three furlongs, and the time between races is between 13-59 days, the horse is automatically tossed from the win slot.

Now why does this policy exist? It does because this blog has the ugly stat of 1 win from 143 starts when betting a horse that fits these conditions. This blog has stop betting them all together due to this stat.

So we move on to another horse. But who? None of the remaining new shooters excite me. That leaves me with only those who where in the Derby. Of the others who are coming out of the Derby, the pick is Paddy O'Prado. He has looked well in the interim, he draws the #10 again (always a plus) and might benefit from a change of tactics. This blog is under the assumption that one of the two Dale Romans horses, either Paddy or First Dude, will go to the lead to try and soften up Super Saver. If Paddy goes to the lead, he has shown he can cook and keep going. If First Dude is the one to go, Super Saver will have to prove that he can pass again, and Paddy will be right on his flank turning for home. #8 Super Saver is the 2nd choice, once again being the top choice for the place spot. He has done nothing wrong, but the work is enough to play against. If he wins, he will go to Belmont with the chance to win the sport's first triple crown since 1978 an Affirmed. The co-3rd choices are the ever unlucky (and ironically drawn in post #7) Lookin at Lucky, and the only new shooter to crack this list #5 Yawanna Twist. Lucky looks to avoid another rough trip, as he was mauled in the Derby. Yawanna Twist has been off 6 weeks, and with a deceivingly good run in the Illinois Derby plus a steady stream of works, this son of Yonaguska could give his sire another placing in a triple crown race, after Musket Man ran third in both the Derby and Preakness last year.

#10 Paddy O'Prado
#8 Super Saver
#1 Lookin at Lucky/#4 Yawanna Twist

There they are. I wish everyone good luck and hopefully this blog will lead you to a life-changing score.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Black-Eyed Susan Day selections

Here are some very quick picks for Black-Eyed Susan day at Pimlico. This blog is starting in race 4, since he had no clue in the 1st three races.

Race 4: #2 Cleric
Race 5: #8 Got It Covered
Race 6: #10 Don'tgetsuspicious (30/1 M/L!) (using the #11,#7 & #2)
Race 7: #5 Pink Sand (Will be boxing with #8 Thundering Rose)
Race 8: Spreading & hoping with #1 Cardashi, #8 Heros Reward, #12 Blue Sailor
Race 9: #7 Argent Affair(This race was decimate by the scratches, including the 4/5 morning line favorite Cuff Me)
Race 10: Another woefully under-covered race: #4 Oh Me Oh My & #11 Phosphorescent.
Race 11: #8 All Giving, #6 Lights Out Annie
Race 12: Black-Eyed Susan I love #5 Harissa in here. She should get a nice stalking trip just behind the speed and inhale this field turning for home. Hopefully with this win, the Sunland Oaks will get closer to becoming a graded stakes. This blog believes that #6 Tidal Pool might be coming back too quick, and could end up like the 2008 favorite Bsharpsonata, who ended up last. #1 No Such Word & #2 Seeking the Title will be fighting out for the place spot.
Race 13: #5 Joharmony, #11 Potosina Exacta Box.

There will be a fully flushed out post for my Preakness selections, which will be tilted towards a horse on the undercard who this blog is very high on. Good luck everybody!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tan-da! Tan-da! Tan-da!

This weekend we witnessed another sterling performance by the best three year old filly no one knows about: Tanda. She won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park on Sunday. While she was the high weight of 121 and the morning line 5-2 favorite, she ended up going off as the 2-1 second choice in a field of 9, holding off 9-5 post time favorite Switch down the lane by a measured half length.

This daughter of Sweetsouthernsaint, out of the Dr. Caton mare Doc's Stormy Girl, has put together a 3 race winning streak, and has a lifetime record of 6-4-1-0 under trainer Dan Hendricks. She started this streak by winning a race on March 5th at Santa Anita going down the hillside turf course. She then stepped up to graded stakes company in the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes on March 28th on the Pro-Ride going 6 1/2 furlongs. Sitting off a hot pace, she won going away as the 5.90-1 longest shot on the board in the field of 5.

The sky may be the limit for Tanda. With Alex Solis willing to travel back across the country form his new base in Kentucky for her, she clearly is well thought of by the connections. She is so well thought of that she is being considered for the Grade 1 Acorn on June 5th, on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Wherever the #3 filly in the country (in this blog's opinion before today's events and certainly still after) goes to, we hope that you will pay a bit more attention to this possible future star in the making.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm Just Not Feeling It....

I actually struggled with writing this post as a gaggle of things (school, finances, etc) have been distracting me from the blog. But there is also a bit of apathy flowing through me about the happenings last weekend @ Churchill Downs. Part of it is from the results of the races run and the other part was my inability to correctly wager on those results. While there were some good moments, like General Quarters' owner/trainer Tom McCarthy being as giddy as a schoolgirl over his charge's victory in the Woodford Reserve, there was just no "spark" to this weekend's races for yours truly.

There was not a "wow" performance like in years past. No "Rachel demolishing the Oaks". No "Street Sense with an absolute perfect rail-skimming ride". No "Barbaro in a sublime performance". No "Orthodox shocking in the American Turf @ 45-1!". (Which this blog had singled in his pick four that paid $805) While the races themselves were exciting, none of them will be nothing but a footnote in the long run. Even with this blog hitting Atta Boy Roy @ 9-1, nothing on the wagering front inspired either due to poor betting. (No exacta, even with this blog's 3rd choice running 2nd.)

Maybe it is just this blog's "iffy" feelings for the group of horses who ran. Or maybe is the lost promise of the big "E"'s (Eskendereya, Endorsement) being taking out of the Derby picture so late. Or maybe it is just the vagaries of the game that come with the love of this sport. But whatever it is, hopefully is nothing but a brief state of melancholy that will be broken with the prospect of this blog's early (as in January, as I said here [note the date on the post]) pick for the winner of the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, Blame. This blog cannot wait for him to run on the Preakness undercard in the Grade 3 Schaefer. Hopefully that will be followed up with a win oir the Derby winner Super Saver in the Preakness to keep the hopes alive for the sport's first triple crown in 32 years. Hopefully by then this blog will be out of its post-Derby malaise.