Friday, November 26, 2010

No Need to Cry Over The Matriarch

Today begins the Hollywood Park Turf Festival, stretching three days and featuring 5 graded stakes, including the last two Grade 1 turf races this year. (For my thoughts on the rest of the turf festival, check them out in the Thorofan's Handicapper Corner) Today is the Grade 1 Matriarch for filles and mares going a flat mile on the grass. This race has fabulous fillies in its list of past winners such as Royal Heroine, Flawlessly and most recently Ventura. There is a compact field of 7, and appears to boil down to a two-horse race.

The favorite and the foreign invader:
#6 Special Duty looks to continue the dominance of Juddmonte in this race. They have been the owners of six out of the last thirteen winners, and look to have another strong entrant in this Hennessy filly. She ships in from Europe, and retains the services of top local jockey Rafael Bejarano. She brings in top form, as she finished only four and 1/4 lengths behind the world-class mare Goldikova last time out. She has not crossed the wire first this year, however, as both of her wins came via the stewards, as the winners were both disqualified from the top spot. She will be rolling late with her late kick from the back of the pack, but can she get to the pick?

The pick and the Texas invader:
#7 Wasted Tears is a hard-knocking speedball who goes to the lead and tells you to come and catch them. I have a fondness for this type of horse, especially when it is a mare on the grass. Last time out, she was uncharacteristically rated off the lead early on in the Grade 1 First Lady. She then went too swift to gain the lead going into the turn and stopped late, being defeated . Taken back to her home base, she has thrown several good works since and will problem revert to her front-running ways. Rajiv Maragh maintains the mount, and looks to atone for his mistake last time out. The field may catch her, but can they pass this game mare? This blog say "No."

This blog will have plenty of pictures for his wrap-up of the race (and the rest of the weekend races), as he is headed out to the track to finally see "Ten Top T-bred" Wasted Tears in person. Good luck this weekend everybody!

P.S. Time constraints prevented me from writing about the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the pick #2 Apart aka Blame 2.0 aka Blame's successor. This son of Flatter has the same owner, trainer and breeder connections as Blame, and looks to carry the colors proudly in the Clark.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This blog wants to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of its readers, and may the holiday treat you well.

A few things I am thankful for this holiday:

I am thankful for Kevin Stafford, for without him, I would not have been dragged onto a more active role on social media. This time last year I just started to interact in this two venues, and they have made my life a richer, fuller experience. He also the reason I have this blog, as I finally got sick and tired of wasting all my good material in his comments. :-)

I am thankful for the members of #TeamBlame, the twitter faction that supported with me the 2010 BC Classic winner the entire year, with t-shirts to match. Steve, Brian, J.J, Dylan, Glenn, Ed, Connie, George, Kevin and Derek, thank you all for making being a fan of him a greater experience.

I am thankful for Zenyatta and Blame, who made this year an experience I will never forget. Form the travels to the crowd the emotional rollercoaster, it was worth every single minute of it.

I am thankful for those horses who were on the triple crown trail who I have cursed with my following of them coming back to the races off a long absence. William's Kitten is steadily working for a return, while Flat Out has made a recovery from his shoulder crack suffered either in or just after the 2009 Arkansas Derby. He makes his comeback from that race in today's 10th @ Churchill Downs. May he have a long and healthy career. (Hope he runs well, but he is in tough against Wise Dan in there, so will just watch and wait.)

Most of all, I am thankful for all of you for reading this blog. without your feedback and support it wouldn't be worth it. Happy Thanksgiving!

(P.S. A little bonus pick for the day. In Hollywood Park's 5th race, I like #10 U Turn Me Crazy to win from just off the pace.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Blame Countdown!

"Welcome back to the Blame countdown on Klay-born Radio, KLBN. If you're just joining us, here's a recap of the songs 5 through 2:

#5 "You Can Put The Blame on Me" (from the Akon song of the same name)

Im sorry that it took so long to see
They were dead wrong trying to beat me.
Im sorry for the hand that she was dealt
For the embarrassment that she felt.
Im sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around.
Why doesnt anybody wanna take blame
For rising back out disgracing my name.
Im just a horse trying to entertain
Because I love my fans Ill take that blame.

#4 No Blame (to the song "No Rain" by Blind Melon)

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watchin' the puddles gather rain
And all I can do is just win a race or two
and speak my point of view
But it's not sane, It's not sane
And I don't understand why I sleep all day
And they start to complain that there's no Blame
All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
ya don't like my fan's point of view
ya think their insane
Its not's not sane.

#3 Do You Really Want To Blame Me (to the song "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" by Culture Club)

Do you really want to Blame me
Do you really want to make them cry
Precious kisses, words that burn me
Haters never ask you why
In my heart the fire's burning
Win the big race, be a star
Precious people always tell me
That's a step, a step too far.
Do you really want to Blame me
Do you really want to make them cry
Do you really want to Blame me
Just because I won and made them cry

#2 Forget About Blame (to the song "Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre f/Eminem)

Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say
But nothin' comes out when they move they lips
Just a bunch of gibberish
And them fans act like they forgot about Blame.

There's your recap. Here is your brand new #1, drumroll please (drumroll) to the theme of Fame, (originally sung by Irene Cara) Blame!:

Will you look at me
And tell me what you see.
You ain't seen the best of me yet
Give me time, I'll make you forget the rest.
I've got more in me, and I will set it free
I can catch the moon in my hand
Don't you know who I am?
Remember my name



I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly (High)
I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry (Blame)
I'm gonna win me the photo
Light up the sky like a flame (Blame)
I'm gonna live forever
And you'll remember my name

Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember

Will you hold my reins
Cause you can control my gains
I can shoot right straight to the top
Show me the stick and take all I got to give
Baby I'll be tough
Too much is not enough
You can ride me until I break
Ooh, I got what it takes.


I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly (High)
I feel it coming together
People will see me and die (Blame)
I'm gonna win me the photo
Light up the sky like a flame (Blame)
I'm gonna live forever
And you'll remember my name

Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember, Remember

(repeat chorus while fading out)

"There's your #1 right there folks. A great tribute to a horse who no one will ever forget his name. Talk to you next week folks!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was SO right. Yet why do i feel SO wrong?

Let's get the bragging out of the way. I was right about the Breeders' Cup Classic. WAY right. Blame won, like I have been preaching from the mountaintops the entire year. He beat Zenyatta in a thrilling photo, just as I predicted on the previous blog post. Lookin at Lucky finished off the board (just barely), as I have repeatedly said on Twitter. I should be on the top of the world, celebrating my predictions.

Yet I am not.

I know I watched from Hollywood Park what may end being the most emotional, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping race of my life. The only two horses who have ever impelled and inspired me to go out of my comfort zone of "the greater Los Angeles area" to see them run (whether it be in San Diego or New York). The two horses who a large piece of my heart, who I would become nothing more than a shell of a man if something happened to them. Those two horses ended facing one another, and I chose sides, somehow being able to keep my emotions in check for one brief moment of clarity. Yet I hoped if I had to be wrong, I was wrong just a little. But I was right. I should be throwing money around like it was going out of style.

Yet I am not.

Why? That is for another blog. But the part that I will mention is that rumors of Blame's demise via a quarter crack was the final straw that broke my already tenuous hold on sane reasoning, caused from the combination of life, Breeders' Cup and school all asking for my time. All of that lead me not to bet, but to just watch as a spectator. That I did, wearing my Blame shirt, my Blue TVG hat and my gray shorts, in fall contrast to the sea of pink and green signifying Zenyatta's fans. I knew I was one of the few who was going against the queen. After Blame successfully usurp the BC Classic throne away from the queen, I gave a couple of fist pumps, and a couple of gloating tweets about my prognostication. But that was all I could muster before an onrush of mixed emotion enveloped me. I should be happy that I was able to at least put into words my happiness over being right, in that moment.

Yet I am not.

I had to wait several days to write this post, to even try to understand and control my thoughts into something workable for the printed page. My mind was a swirl of happiness and sadness and excitement and depression, confusing me in a such a way that it took this long to fall back into at least some sense of normalcy. This post is more or less an odd of way saying thank you to both Blame and Zenyatta, as they mean so much to me that they made me do, see, feel things that I probably would not have done. I should be happy in how much they have, indirectly as it may seems, helped me turn into a better person.

Yet I am not.

Zenyatta was the first horse in a long time that I fell hard for on more than a paper level. From witnessing her maiden win live, to leaving an ER to see her El Encino win, to helping me understand the game is more than the gambling aspect (via her 2009 BC Classic win). That win made me realize that this game was more than about the big score, the life-changing payoff, the fact that ever time you were cashing a ticket it means you defeat all of those other people, it was about the horses. Her win was a "game-changer", so to speak. So to cheer more for someone else than her hurt me more than a little. But the one who I cheered for was more than a passing fancy. So I should be happy that she ran a huge race, yet did not win.
Yet I am not.

Blame was the horse who piqued my interest in a defeat of all things. His Super Derby second caught my eye, when I all I was watching the race for was to see how the track was playing after William's Kitten snapped my attention to the TV with his win earlier on the card. I love horses who don't give in, even if they are beat. His win in the Fayette validated my initial thought on him, and the Clark victory sealed in the love. The Blame Facebook page followed in the spring, when the time drew near for his first race of the season. I tried not once, not twice, but three times to see him in person, but each time the plans fell through. Finally this blog decided that enough is enough, and made the fateful trip to Belmont. Seeing Blame in person was worth the wait, even if this blog did not get a picture of him. But the trip ended being up so much more than just the horse, it was about the people, the experiences, the change. He made me move myself to a better place personally, socially, spiritually. They both did. So I should be happy that they both ran a huge race, and ran one-two, well clear of the others.
Yet I am not.

My heart, my mind, my entire being is filled with happiness over being right in the Classic, that the fact that ran their best and that they both came back safe from the race. My heart, my mind, my entire being is also filled with sadness over their retirement, their being no chance of a rematch and that they both will never be on a track again. The joy and pain of having the two horses that occupy a place in a person's heart going against each other in combat, with only one of them being able to declare victory on the day, is a feeling that many will never experience. But I would rather suffered through all of the agony and the ecstasy of the ride than never have experienced any of it. The change in my life brought upon these two is unquantifiable. Many would be ashamed by this post, and how i have claimed ownership over two things that I have nothing more than an emotional attachment to them.
Yet I am not.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Breeders' Cup Classic

"Gates closed and they're all set for the five million Breeders' Cup Classic..... and away they go, Pleasant Prince off a bit slow.

First Dude goes right to the lead, Haynesfield broke well and moving towards the front, Quality Road taking a good position down on the rail. The Japanese invader Espoir City on the outside of that along with Etched. Behind that is Musket Man, two lengths further back to Blame. Two more lengths back to Lookin at Lucky caught three-wide, with Fly Down and Paddy O'Prado inside of him. Then Pleasant Prince and finally Zenyatta is her customary last, 7 lengths back early as the past the Churchill Downs grandstand first time around...

(opening quarter 23:67)

First Dude out on the lead, not winging, but not crawling either. Espoir City tugging his way to be second. Quality Road sitting a length and half back down at the rail, with Etched and Haynesfield on his outside. Two lengths back to Musket Man and another one to Blame. Three more to the champion two year-old Lookin at Lucky and Fly Down, Paddy O'Prado behind him. Three more to Pleasant Prince and last is still Zenyatta, Zenyatta is still dead last early...

(half-mile 47:88)

First Dude is joined by Espoir City on the front end, with Quality Road getting a perfect trip down the backside in third, a length and a half back. Etched and Haynesfield are outside of him, with Musket Man four lengths back. Blame and Garrett Gomez is moving up on the inside getting closer to that leading group. The three-year old trio of Fly Down, Paddy O'Prado and Lookin at Lucky sitting 7 lengths back, Pleasant Prince and Zenyatta last, biding her time to make her run at destiny...

(3/4 in 1:11:77)

As they reach the end of the backstretch, First Dude is still on the lead, Espoir City is struggling to keep up in second. Quality Road waiting for room down at the rail. Haynesfield, Etched, Musket Man all poised to strike. Blame just behind them, with Lookin at Lucky launching a five-wide move, Fly Down, Paddy and Zenyatta is starting to uncoil her patented charge. Mike Smith looks for a path...

(1 Mile in 1:35:67)

They reach the top of the lead and suddenly the whole picture changes. Quality Road is in front, Etched and Musket Man on his outside, with Zenyatta swinging well wide. Blame looking for room at the rail and he found it! He burst to the lead, Zenyatta is rolling home on the outside, and she has dead aim on Blame! She is gaining on him, but Blame is fighting on. Zenyatta is 1/2 length back with 70 yards to go. Blame is all heart on the rail, Zenyatta is a head, a neck, she's gaining on him, they hit the wire...

and Blame has pulled the plug on the pursuit for perfection. He holds off Zenyatta by a nose. Etched, Fly Down and Musket Man three across the track for third, then back to Quality Road, Paddy O'Prado, Haynesfield, Lookin at Lucky at Lucky who didn't fire today, Espoir City, First Dude and Pleasant Prince was last."

Breeders' Cup Saturday

The day is here. Day 2 of the Breeders' Cup brings the big show to town, with Zenyatta attempting to end her career a perfect 20-for-20. Goldikova attempts to become the first horse ever to win the same race three times, attempting the three-peat in the Mile. With a flurry of competitive fields, this day will have plenty of chances for a great payoff. Let's dive right in with the first Breeders' Cup race, the Juvenile Turf.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf - Grade 2 - 1 Mile - (turf)
The first BC race of the day brings together a evenly match field of thirteen. This blog does not have a great feel for this race at all. The very lukewarm selection is #9 Soldat. Last time out, he finished second as the favorite in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes over a yielding Belmont turf course. Two good works in the interim and the feeling that he will improve with the return to a complete two turns. Some large prices on the morning line that catch the eye are #11 Rough Sailing and #12 Humble and Hungry. Rough Sailing returns to the turf after a failed attempt routing on the Poly in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. The cut-back and the return ti turf interests this blog, along with the two steady works. With a pedigree that is very strong for the grass, he may sneak into the exotics. Humble and Hungry is interesting because his pedigree says two turns are not a problem and the presence of jockey Olivier Peslier, the rider of Goldikova, is a bit of surprise, since H&H is making his first start against winners. The best of the Euros appears to be #5 Master of Hounds. He has experience around a turn, and should be fine at the distance.

Master of Hounds
Rough Sailing / Humble and Hungry (trifecta bombs)

Breeders' Cup Sprint - Grade 1 - 6 Furlongs
This field of 12 comes in without a clear favorite, as the early and dominant leader Majesticperfection was lost to injury in September. This group has a wide variety of running styles.for everyone to have their favorite style represented. The 3-1 morning line favorite is #2 Girolamo. This son of A.P. Indy, who won the Grade 1 Vosburgh last out, is trying to give his sire a win at the shortest dirt race (6 furlongs) after winning the longest race, the Marathon (1m & 3/4) yesterday. He comes in third off the layoff and has worked well in the interim, but he will bet tossed from the win spot because he violates the "Three Furlong Rule", a cardinal sin for this blog. The choice is #7 Kinsale King. This son of Yankee Victor runs on the dirt for the first time, but did have a workout over it at the BIG Fresno Fair a few weeks back. Earlier this year, he won the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita, which he parlayed into a win in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. He went abroad to the UK for two prestigious grass races. Off since July, he comes in fresh and may float higher than his 8-1 morning line. #1 Big Drama is an ultra-game horse has not run since finishing second to a contender in the BC Dirt Mile Here Comes Ben. The cutback to 6 furlongs can only do good and the steady work pattern adds to the appeal. #5 Smiling Tiger has earned this blog's respect by being one of the few three year olds in the country to beat older, doing so twice in his last three starts. He also is making his first start on dirt, and popped a bullet work here last week. This blog is taking a stand against #3 Wise Dan, who seems to have picked up some "steam" this week, but is making only his 5th career start.

Kinsale King
Big Drama
Smiling Tiger /Riley Tucker

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint - Grade 2 - 5 furlongs - (turf)
This race was quite literally impossible to figure out for this blog. The horse who we had hoped to pin our hopes on, #1 Chamberlain Bridge, popped an abscess on his foot last week and missed his last work. That does not bode well for him in this race, and he no longer the pick. Instead of offering analysis, this blog will just point out a longshot in #13 Tropic Storm. The reason we point out this horse is that the cutback in distance and the abundance of speed in the field lead this blog to believe that if he can get over into a decent spot down the backstretch, he may be able to hang on for a share. The "if you put a gun to my head" selection is #9 Rose Catherine, because of her undefeated record at the distance.

Live Horses: (not enough conviction to make them selections)
Rose Catherine, Tropic Storm, Silver Timber, Unzip Me, Bridgetown

Breeders' Cup Juvenile - Grade 1 - 1m & 1/16th
This race has the two big names from the east coast who have gathered all the headlines, #2 Boys at Tosconova and #7 Uncle Mo. These two have both put in breathtaking efforts in the most recent starts and deserve to be the first two choices in the betting. Both stretch out to two turns for the first time today, but neither should have a problem with the distance. Uncle Mo is a pure speedball, and seeing how he reacts to pace pressure is the main question with him. 'Boys' must overcome a two month layoff, but has actually passed a horse, a rare thing in this field. These two will hopefully cause the price on #10 Jaycito to climb higher than the 8-1 morning line. This son of Victory Gallop has already won going two turns (in the Norfolk), but must overcome the 1 for 18 record on the board for horses coming out of the Norfolk running in the BC Juvenile when it is held at Churchill Downs. These three are the only ones this blog feels can win.

Uncle Mo
Boys at Tosconova

Breeders' Cup Mile - Grade 1 - One Mile - (turf)
The first of the two horses attempting to win their third Breeders' Cup race is the deserving favorite and the wonderful mare #10 Goldikova. She comes in fine fashion, winning the Grade 1 Prix de la Foret against males at Longchamp. She is ultra game and there is no rela chink in her armor, Unless something unforeseen happens, she looks like a very strong candidate to make history. This blog;s crazy longshot is #8 Get Stormy. If for some reason the mare does not fire, Get Stormy looks to get a perfect trip behind speedball #9 Sidney's Candy. Whether he is good enough is completely other story, but at a healthy number, he is worth a shot.

Paco Boy (who has been chasing Goldi all summer)
Get Stormy

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile - Grade 1 - one mile
This race took a hit when probable post time favorite #8 Crown of Thorns went down with an injury on Friday. Favoritism will either fall to #5 Here Comes Ben or #6 Gayego. This blog is going to take a chance with the horse just to their outside, #7 Thiskyhasnolimit. "This" has been running effectively at two turns, but has always stuck this blog as a one-turn miler. The only other time h did this, he won the Grade 3 Iroquois on this very track. He has worked nicely in the interim and will probably go off at or near the 10-1 morning line. The morning line favorite #10 Morning Line is a horrible favorite, with only a single Grade 2 to his name. He appears to be a two-turn horse who cannot pass, and will be up against it.

Here Comes Ben

Breeders' Cup Turf - Grade 1 - 1m & 1/2 (turf)

The big question surround this relatively compact field of 8 is whether or not 2010 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner #6 Workforce will run or not. To this blog, it does not matter, as the selection either way is #7 Behkabad. He has run will over a surface with less give in it than hat the connections of Workforce are looking for and was well-bet in the Arc, losing by only 4 lengths with a spot of trouble. The #1 Champ Pegasus is interesting because he is the only on in the field who no one knows how truly good he is, since this is first trip outside of California. He should be on or near the lead, and this may give him a fighting chance with the lack of early speed signed on.

Champ Pegasus

That leaves the Classic. But if you are a follower of this blog, you know exactly who is the selection, and who the one to fear is. (Hint, it's a she). But forhow I explain it, you will have to find out in my next post, which will be put up later this BC Saturday Morning. Good luck everybody!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Breeders' Cup Friday Thoughts

Breeders’ Cup Friday is the first day of the World Championships. Today is mostly devoted for the ladies, with the five championship races for the females, but the Cup races will start off with the Marathon. There are other races on the undercard, but this blog will mention only the one precedent the Breeders’ Cup races, the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, then delve into the BC races. This blog has done well on the undercard, and cannot resist pointing out a horse that could be a future star in the making. We shall start with that race.

(Don’t forget to enter the “Off The Board” contest run by this blog. So much fun for chucking a low-odds horse it shouldn’t be legal!)

Ack Ack Handicap – Grade 3 – 1m & 1/16th
This race has some upcoming three year-olds and a couple of wily veterans. The defending champion returns in this race in #4 Demarcation, although the distance was only a mile last year. He ran alright last time out, and picks up jockey Calvin Borel. He appears to have a tough task ahead of him versus three improving three-year olds. The morning line favorite, and the selection for this blog, is #1 Apart. This son of Flatter has been training in the morning with the best horse in the Al Stall Jr. barn, Blame, who is the 2nd choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic tomorrow. He has been holding his own in the morning and is ready for his first race against older. #2 Colizeo won last out over #6 Jackson Bend, who was returning off the layoff. Colizeo likes this track, having won 2 of 3 races at Churchill Downs. He drew off to a nice win on that day, and should be on the lead. Jackson Bend should stalk him. Both have worked well in the interim. The other two in the field are the other two elder statesmen in the race, #2 Stream Cat and #3 Silver Edition. Stream Cat comes in off a year layoff and this has all the makings of a prep race for him. Silver Edition stretches out for the first time in a while, and looks to be overmatched.

Selections: Apart / Colizeo / Jackson Bend (maybe a straight trifecta to maximize value?)

Now we hit the Breeders’ Cup races. First up is the Marathon, going a mile and three-quarters on the main track.

Breeders’ Cup Marathon – Grade 3 – 1m & ¾
The morning line favorite is the Grade 1 winning #7 Awesome Gem. This gelded son of Awesome Again always comes with the same late kick no matter that distance, and should not be affected by the increase in distance. The one they will have to catch is #6 Gabriel’s Hill. He appears to be lone speed, and will take them as far as he can go. His pedigree states that he should be fine at the distance, and several close finishes at shorter distances. The buzz horse has been #2 Prince Will I Am, who is the co-2nd choice on the morning line at 4-1. He rallies from well back in the pack, and his pedigree just begs for as much distance as you can give it. The blog’s choice is a 15-1 longshot named #11 Precision Break. This son of Silver Deputy has been racing in Europe over the turf and synthetic in races no shorter than a mile and a half recently, and has plenty of stamina built in. He races on dirt for the first time on Friday, but has an American dirt pedigree on both sides. He may not have the class as some of the field, but he is worth a shot at 15-1.

Precision Break (win/place bet)
Prince Will I Am
Gabriel’s Hill

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf – Grade 2 – 1m (turf)

This field of 14 is filled with all types of horses, and this group proved to be quite a handful to come up with a selection. I ended up on #13 Together. She is a European invader who last time out finished third in a field of 20, so the large field will not be a factor. That race was a straightaway race, and her previous races shows that she may prefer racing around a turn. While she goes two turns for the first time, she should not have a problem with the distance. The favorite is #7 Winter Memories. This daughter of international known turf sire El Prado won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes last out at Belmont in fine fashion, with a burst she blew by the field and caught the eye of this blogger. She figures to be a short price favorite to remain undefeated, and one has to worry whether she will get encounter traffic problems. #11 More Than Real comes in off a 2nd place finish in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine, behind the #10 New Normal, but that race was around one turn. In her maiden win, More Than Real won a two-turn race at Saratoga rather nicely. She could spice up the exotics at 10-1. While I like Together, this race looks like a good spot to spread in the multi-race wagers if you think the favorites are vulnerable.

Winter Memories
More Than Real

Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint – Grade 1 – 7 furlongs
The first Grade 1 on the day is the Filly & Mare Sprint. This race has a full field of 14, and anyone of about 9 horses has a chance at winning this race. There are many speed types, a good amount of stalkers, and a few closers mixed in. The 7 furlongs distance is a specialist distance, and some may struggle to get that final furlong. The morning line favorite is #13 Rightly So, who hopes to continue her lifetime streak of never finishing off the board. She won the Grade 1 Ballerina last time out at Saratoga. She is a true speedball, and look to take the field wire to wire. However, her last win was over a track that was very speed-favoring, and will certainly find company on the front end. The defending champion is #4 Informed Decision. She won this race over a synthetic surface, in which is 10-12 lifetime. With the race on dirt, where she has run well, but not always her best, she looks to be vulnerable at short odds. The selection is #1 My Jen. This rapidly improving 3 year-old filly took the Grade 3 Gallant Bloom over #2 Sara Louise and #6 Moontune Missy. She relaxed a bit further off the pace than normal, and just got up. She should appreciate the extra 1/16th of a mile. At 15-1 morning line, I’m going to take chance at blowing up the toteboard. Sara Louise is another who I would use in the pick 3s & 4s, as that race was her first since November of 2009. #8 Switch and #9 Sweet August Moon ship in from Southern California, and look to maybe have a chance to add some value in the trifecta.

My Jen (WP bet)
Sara Louise
Rightly So

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – Grade 1 – 1m & 1/16th
Another tough race on this Friday card, as an evenly matched group of 12 is entered. #1 Indian Gracey has been scratched due to heat in her hoof. The favorite is #8 A Z Warrior. Daughter of freshman sire Bernardini won her first race on dirt in style when capturing the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont. The extra 1/16th of a mile could prove to be her undoing, but she has at least shown the ability to rate. The selection is #9 Delightful Mary. This daughter of Limehouse, who has some of his greatest victories over this very Churchill Downs track, will be running on the dirt for the first time. Losing as the favorite last time out to a loose on the lead leader, she projects to be sitting about 4th or 5th going down the backstretch. Hopefully she will kick on in the stretch. Another trying dirt for the first time is #12 Tell a Kelly. This daughter of Tapit made her two-turn debut last out when finishing second to Rigoletta in the Oak Leaf. She went straight to Churchill after the race and has put together three steady drills over the surface. With Calvin Borel as her jockey, you cannot discount her at all. Also of interest is the foreign invader #2 Theyskens’ Theory, who is also sired by Bernardini, and has a classic American distance dirt pedigree. A definite spread race. Anyone with a strong opinion in here should be handsomely rewarded if correct.

Delightful Mary
Tell a Kelly
Theyskens’ Theory

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Grade 1 – 1m & 3/8 – (turf)
This field is filled with international flair, as 5 nations have a chance at claiming the title. The favorite and defending champion is #7 Midday. This daughter of Oasis Dream has won her last three races this year, and looks like a strong candidate to defend her crown. She has already won at a distance further than this, and may be the shortest favorite the entire weekend. #2 Red Desire ran an okay 3rd last out in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl last out, and looks to be the one with the best chance of upsetting the favorite. She has better acclimated to the states, and should not have a problem with the distance. The best local hope is either #2 Éclair De Lune (SoCal via Germany) or #6 Harmonious.

Red Desire
Harmonious / Éclair De Lune (box the top 2 in an exacta. Play those over the other two in a trifecta)

Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic – Grade 1 – 1m & 1/8
For a more detail analysis, visit the Thorofan Handicapper’s Corner, where I handicapped this race. But any of you who read this blog know that I have said since April that #1 Life At Ten would win this race, and here win in the Beldame certified she will be tough to beat. I also think that all the travel Blind Luck this year catches up to her, and she finishes off the board.

Life At Ten
Malibu Prayer/Unrivaled Belle/Acoma/Acting Happy (key Life at Ten on top; put these four underneath in the exacta and trifecta).

There is the rundown for Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races. Tomorrow brings thought on Saturday’s card. Until then, good capping and great betting!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Breeders' Cup Post Position & Morning Line Thoughts

This post will cover some of my thoughts about the post positions and morning line for the BC, plus a tentative schedule of my thoughts on the BC races. Let's talk about the latter first. Tentatively, this blog will share its thoughts on the first day of races on tomorrow, with thoughts on Saturday (except the Classic) on Thursday morning. On Thursday night (9 PM ET), this blog's thoughts on the Classic will be revealed.

Now onto thoughts on today's post position draws:

  • Lookin at Lucky still can't catch a break, as he ended up drawing the outside post in the Classic. He will break from the #12 hole, and will hopefully not get parked wide on both turns.
  • Others who shall be at low odds who drew poorly are Harve De Grace in the Ladies' Classic, Pluck in the Juvenile Turf, Tell A Kelly in the Juvenile Fillies and Together in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
  • Some attractive prices on the morning line are Red Desire at 8-1 in the Filly & Mare Turf, Jaycito at 8-1 in the Juvenile and the entire field in the Filly and Mare Sprint except the favorites of Rightly So and Informed Decision.
  • Morning Line going in the Dirt Mile and not the Classic caught many off guard, but that was nowhere near the shock of when he was installed as the favorite in the race. The odds will prove to be dramatically different come post time for the race, with Crown of Thorns, Vineyard Haven and Here Comes Ben via for favoritism

This blog invites you to enter the "Off The Board" contest, where one can take a stand against low odds horses in a unique format that proves to be challenging yet fun. Don't think Lucky will hit the board? Put it on there!