Let's start out by announcing the winner of the Breeders' Cup handicapping contest.
First of all, thanks to everyone who played; we had a great turnout, more than 50 entries. And the winner is:
Larry Sealy, whose picks added up to a total of $146. Larry's big score came in the Juvenile, as he had the exacta cold including Vale of York to win ($63.20). He also had Informed Decision, Goldikova, and Zenyatta to win, and Cloudy's Knight, Midday, Ventura, Life Is Sweet, Lookin at Lucky, Ready's Echo, and Crown of Thorns to place.
Larry beat out TCC, who had huge scores with Furthest Land ($44.60) and Dancing in Silks ($52.60) to win, as well as Goldikova, and had Informed Decision, Pounced and Lookin at Lucky to place. TCC wound up with $114.70 and also had Cost of Freedom for place in the Sprint. Hope you had the tri TCC!
Third place went to Ed Kane, who had a total of $100.60. Ed picked the most winners of any entrant--five. He had Informed Decision, Pounced, California Flag, Goldikova, and Conduit. He also had Man of Iron, Beautician, Ventura, Vale of York, Zenyatta, and Furthest Land to place. Nice job.
Congrats Larry. I'm not sure if you're a regular blogger or if you have a handle, but please send us a note to tell us how you fared over the weekend. If you were playing with real money, you scored big! We look forward to your guest blog.
Now for my Breeders' Cup wrap--mainly from a handicapping perspective. Let me know how you made out. Any big scores? Heartbreakers? I'll do my best to get the guy who won the $1.8 million Pick 6 on the blog. I would love to know how he structured his ticket.
I really thought my gambling weekend was going to get off to a good start after this race. All week I had seen Man of Iron on the track and thought he looked good. Although I didn't play him in my pick 3s, with about two minutes to post I was scanning over the PPs again and it occurred to me that he was getting Lasix for the first time. On a hunch, I decided to run up to the window and play a saver $10 win ticket on him because of that.
Ironically, if I had stayed with the first-time Lasix theory all week I would have made a big profit. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed but four Euros who were receiving Lasix for the first time won races--Man of Iron, Pounced, Conduit, and Vale of York. Coincidence? Well, I asked John Gosden about Laix after Pounced won and he had some pretty candid remarks about the medication. Check out what he said in this week's B-H magazine.
Looking back, this was the race that will stick with me and make my blood boil the most. I had a small win ticket on She Be Wild, but I also boxed She Be Wild in an exacta with Blind Luck, Always a Princess, and Biofuel. Watching the race live, I wasn't able to see what happened to Biofuel at the top of the stretch. When I saw the replay I was sick. If she doesn't get bodychecked athe top of the lane, is there any doubt she wins or at least takes second? Not in my mind. At 20-1, the exacta with She Be Wild would have been huge. I should have known my weekend was going downhill after the way this race played out.
I was way off in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and I keyed Forever Together in the F&M Turf. I had Informed Decision and Ventura in the F&M Sprint, but because they were favorites, I played trifecta in that race. I used Evita Argentina everywhere.
In hindsight, not using Life Is Sweet in the Ladies Classic was dumb. But I didn't like Mushka, so it probably didn't matter. Overall, Friday wasn't a bad day, but could have been much better if the Biofuel incident doesn't happen. Im sure the connections are more upset than I am.
Saturday was a nightmare from the start and it started with the Juvenile Turf.
I loved Interactif and five days after the race I still say he was the best horse in the race. I'm not quite sure why he wasn't able to go by Pounced and Bridgetown in the stretch, but I was standing right by the winner's circle after the race and heard Kent Desormeaux say this to Todd Pletcher:
"He was full of run past the wire. He wasn't even tired; he could have run in the next race. He's an amazing horse. In hindsight, I probably went too slow with him, but of course, we didn't know that going in. He's going to be a special horse."
It was a little bittersweet hearing that because it confirmed what I thought about Interactif being that good, but he just didn't get it done. Watch out for this horse as a 3YO. I have a feeling Pletcher will move him to dirt and we will hear from him come Derby time.
Pounced had the perfect ground-saving trip, and Gosden and Dettori confirmed it after the race. They said the inside posts were a huge advantage all week.
After being way off in the Turf Sprint, I had a feeling the Sprint wouldn't go my way. And it didn't. I'm still trying to figure out what happened to Zensational. Many are blaming the 1 post but I don't think that can be the only excuse. He broke fine and was in contention until the top of the lane. He just didn't have it.
When I saw yesterday that Zensational was being retired I could do nothing but shake my head. Another example of why horse racing is hurting. Here is a sound, ridiculously talented 3YO who is off to the breeding shed way too early. Until we can figure out how to make horses more valuable on the track than in the breeding shed we will continue to have problems. But I digress...
I didn't see Vale of York at all in the Juvenile and used Ferneley with Goldikova in the Mile. Way off on both. But I did single Goldikova in the Mile, and used "All" in the second leg of the Pick 3. When Furthest Land won I was alive and well going into the final leg, where I singled Spanish Moon in the Turf.
I could not have asked for a better trip from Spanish Moon. He was second behind a free-running Presious Passion the whole way and I was sure he was going to pounce once Passion tired. I was so sure that Passion was going to tire that I starting laughing when I saw the ridiculous splits he was running. What a gutsy performance by Passion to fight to the bitter end. To run a 1:09 and 1:34 and still have something left in the stretch in amazing. In hindsight though, I should have used Conduit.
It was all or nothing for me in the last race. After going back and forth all week with Gio Ponti and Einstein, in the final half hour I decided to use Gio on my biggest tickets. Instead of wheeling him like I said I'd do, I keyed him over all and played him to win. I really thought he was the winner in upper stretch. He ran a huge race and I can take solace in knowing he was in fact as great as I thought he was. Unfortunately for me, there was some big mare coming on the outside...
Overall, I took it on the chin during the two-day championships, but I had a great time in California. Santa Anita was a great host for the second consecutive year and I hope the Breeders' Cup comes back there very soon.
By the way, New York-based horses were 0-for-14. Hmmm....