Is Gio Ponti Still at the Top of His Class?

As we've talked about before in other blogs, there seems to be a larger than usual number of Breeders' Cup divisions with no true standout. Yes, we are only in July, but it's still a bit unusual to be searching for the top horse in several classes.

One of the unsettled divisions is the turf males, which was dominated by Gio Ponti last year. After missing in his first three starts of 2010, Gio finally broke through last weekend in the Man o' War, getting up late to win despite chasing a ridiculously slow pace. It was a tremendous effort considering the circumstances.

But will Gio be the top U.S.-based turf horse when the Breeders' Cup rolls around? The 5-year-old may answer that question in next month's Arlington Million. Until then, let's take a look at some of the other top contenders:

Acclamation: A two-time graded winner on the Hollywood turf this year. Faltered badly in United Nations last out in first start away from California.

Bourbon Bay: The California-based gelding is built for long distances. Has really come into his own recently, winning four straight at Santa Anita.

Chinchon: Won the United Nations impressively in only second U.S. start. A two-time group III winner in France, he might be a major player when all is said and done.

Compari: Set the pace and tired on Cushion Track in the Hollywood Gold Cup, but is stronger on turf, where he has won three times this season. Might be better suited for the BC Mile.

Courageous Cat: Two-time graded winner on grass has not started since coming back from Dubai.

Fluke: Started getting good at the end of 2009 when he won the grade Citation Handicap. Runner-up in both starts this year. Also might be better suited for the Mile.

General Quarters: Won the grade I Turf Classic in only second start on grass and returns to the lawn this weekend in Arlington Handicap. If he wins that, he might be on his way to the top of the division.

Karelian: Beat Gio Ponti earlier in the year and returned to take grade I Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland before narrowly missing in Shoemaker Mile. Another BC Mile candidate.

Paddy O'Prado: A win in the Virginia Derby this weekend makes him the clear-cut leader for 3-year-old turfers.

Take the Points: Having an unlucky year. DQ'd from grade I at Gulfstream, ran a good race in an off-the-board finish in Manhattan, and was runner-up to Chinchon after taking the lead late in United Nations. He will get back to winning soon and the thought is he'll be a major contender by year's end.

Tizdejavu: Has won three straight, including Firecracker. Versatile horse has won at four different distances at one mile or more.

Winchester: Also defeated Gio in a major upset. Came back to run a solid third in United Nations. Has been very consistent over the last 12 months.

Who do you guys like? Am I missing anyone?

201 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Footlick

I loved Chinchon's last race. Like Winchester at 12 furlongs too. And Bourbon Bay too at 12 furlongs. Many here are questionable at 12, so we'll have to take that into consideration for the BC.

16 Jul 2010 2:42 PM
Billy's Empire

If there is no pace on the BC Turf race, you could see Tizdejavu galloping alone on the lead. We all know he loves CD, as he has won 3 turf races, maybe 4 if I am not mistaken on the Matt Winn turf course.

Chinchon also has to merit respect the way he came flying home in the United Nations. He passed 2 great horses in Winchester and Take the Points.

I think the next month will paint  a very clear picture on who the one to beat will be. With the preps for the Million and Secretariat, plus those 2 races, and racing in VA,  the turf racing is heating up.

My top 5

Gio

Tizdejavu

Chinchon

General Quarters

Take the Points

I am also very curious to see what happens when Rainbow View and Tuscan Evening hook up this weekend.

Lastly, we could be just wasting our time. The last time the BC was at CD, Red Rocks won going away with Better Talk Now and English Channel 2nd and 3rd. Lasix helps Euro shippers tremendously when they come across the pond. I remember that race clearly b/c I bet on RR at 11-1, but missed the Exacta with English Channel!

16 Jul 2010 2:57 PM
davec

Yes he is.  He's had some bad luck this year but I believe he will win the million.  

16 Jul 2010 3:10 PM
DBS

I think Paddy O Prado is a very nice horse. He has demolished his peers on the turf this year and will continue the beatdown this weekend. In my opinion he is the only one other than Chinchon and General Quarters that could challenge Gio Ponti.

I think you may have forgotten Mine That Bird. Lol

16 Jul 2010 3:15 PM
It aint easy being the truth!

I am going out on a limb and think paddy o prado is a dominate force on the lawn and think he is unstoppbale and will def. wax any one of these horses. Paddy is just getting better and think he will win for fun this weekend and take the breeders cup on the lawn!

16 Jul 2010 3:26 PM
Draynay

Gio is clearly not the horse he was last year but he could be returning to form.  I really like General Quarters and believe his cream will rise to the top.  Paddy is very good but I give the edge to GQ.

16 Jul 2010 3:26 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         I like GQ alot ! I look for him to do quite well this weekend !

16 Jul 2010 3:54 PM
Pam S.

I think Gio is still on top.  He has lost a handful of races (some very unexpectedly), but has never run a really bad one.  He is quite a campaigner, traveling for the BC last year and running huge, and going to Dubai, where it looked to me like he was closing pretty well.  Gio has been around a while, and even the best horses are going to wax and wane a bit during a long reign at the top.  He has many challengers, but right now he IS still on top.  Go Gio!  Hope you repeat in the Million!

16 Jul 2010 4:00 PM
LStein

I like alot of the turf fillies this year, especially Harmonious and Tuscan Evening. As far as the males I like General Quarters and

Courageous Cat. Gio Ponte seems to have fallen a little off his game right now.

16 Jul 2010 4:17 PM
Ted from LA

You forgot Willie Nelson.  I heard he is good on grass.

16 Jul 2010 4:49 PM
Greg J.

Jason,

   Agree with you on two points, I think if General Quarters wins this weekend, he moves to the top of the division and Take the Points will be a force to reckon with by year's end.  I could be wrong here, but, wasn't Bourbon Street injured? or maybe being given a break? I forget!

16 Jul 2010 5:30 PM
Rachel

Gio Ponti is top class...man, jump off a horse, already. You'd never have survived John Henry. LOL

16 Jul 2010 5:37 PM
Gio 4 Horse of the Year

We shouldn’t face any difficulty with this question, it is obvious that Gio Ponti is an entirely different class. He has proven that he is top of his division, best American turf horse in my generation. Christophe Clement has created a freak! He has won a plethora of races at numerous different racetracks, and is still competing at 5 (Unlike most colts who retire after such a stellar campaign). Unlike Rachel Alexander and Zenyatta, he has traveled to countless racetracks, such as Dubai to face the best, and never chickened out of a challenge put forth by international horses. Another example that proves his class and domination over these other horses is when he ran in the Classic and the finishes he had in New York. Although turf is his ideal surface, his connections (Clement & Castleton Lyons) knew that a talented horse may overcome numerous obstacles presented to run respectable races! Would you rather he run on the Turf and simply sweep the grade 1’s in New York or run in the Classic, Dubai World Cup, Kilroe Mile and Arlington Million?

Although Gio doesn’t have a 100 percent winning percentage, we must first look at the situation. In some races, the racing luck wasn’t present causing him a second place in a grade 1.  His last race, although the speed was against him, he showed that he can undertake the challenge and came flying to win the race, even though he was last the whole way through. It was incredible.

He has become such a loved horse that he even has his own Facebook groups! One of which includes many comments with fans stating that they drive all the way to Belmont just to watch him run and others state the Gio is their favorite horse. The fans admiration shows us all that Gio has captured the attention of the audience and put them in awe. His life time earning is currently $4,123,800! What I don’t understand is how can Mike Watchmaker have Gio Ponti as second to Chinchon! That is absolutely absurd and it is a complete joke.  

16 Jul 2010 5:47 PM
Carlos in Cali

I'm not sure yet,but General Quarters looked good & was game as hell in his Gr.I turf win though.

What happened to that horse(forgot his name)who set a new world record for a mile on turf a few weeks ago?..

16 Jul 2010 5:47 PM
Danylson

Gio Ponti is the best horse in America on Turf.

He may be the best since Manila after all is done.

16 Jul 2010 5:51 PM
Meghan

Love General Quarters. Just hope he can be the same horse on a firm turf course as on a soggy one.

16 Jul 2010 5:53 PM
Freetex

Dubai trip is always so hard on the horses, a long trip.

But, I believe Gio is still on top.  I also am rooting for General Quarters and Paddy.

Ted from LA is a screech.  He almost always makes me laugh out loud.

16 Jul 2010 5:53 PM
helsbelles

Following his Dubai trip, The Usual QT has a recent allowance win and I would like to see him attempt the BC turf.  

16 Jul 2010 6:01 PM
ALGAJA

In my opinion Gio has just run into very bad luck. 1st start of the year coming off a short layoff understandable good race though not his best distance. After Dubai ran better then any horse coming back. Every other start BAD LUCK.

16 Jul 2010 6:03 PM
Gio the King

Gio Ponti is the leader of his division! It may appear that he may not be as talented as last year but the truth of the matter is, he is even better... Here is a recap of his campaign this year.

Tampa Bay Stakes- This race was off a layoff and served as his prep for the Dubai World Cup. He came into the race 80% fit and still almost won! The pace was ridiculously slow (25.15 & 49.61 & 1:14:15) with Karelian in the lead, Gio trailing several lengths in the 1 1/16 speed favoring turf course. Karelian beat Gio Ponti by a nose and he should have been disqualified. Not only did Karelian get away with snail like fractions but he also took Gio Ponti to the seventh path. In my opinion, justice did not prevail as the stewards did not take down Karelian. Karelian came back to win a grade 1 next start and then just missed another grade 1 in California.

Dubai World Cup- He got stuck in a terrible scenario, Gio is in the back of the pack while the leaders went 26:1 & 52:40 for this event. Then he went 7-8 wide on the final turn coming into the stretch to only get beaten by 1 ¼ for the 10 million dollar event. Gloria de Campeo was on the lead and once again, the pace killed Gio Ponti’s chances. How do you expect to win a 10 million dollar race with everything against you, and he still almost managed to do so.

Manhattan- He should have beaten his stablemate Winchester and ran a remarkable race. His talent trainer, Christophe Clement, told the press that he wasn’t nearly 100% because he missed breezes due to a cough. As a result he only had 2 works since the World Cup. Clement had a tremendous amount of faith that his class will prevail even with the lack of fitness and almost did. He gave Winchester 6 pounds, got stuck in traffic and unfit and almost managed to win the grade 1, that’s talent! Even with all that traffic, he managed to finish the last quarter in 22.07!

Man O War- Another ridiculously slow pace and many criticized that he barely won. There is no other horse in the country, possibly in the world, who would have overcame fractions of 52:27 & 1:18 to win from dead last (8 lengths from the lead on a rock hard turf course!). He finished his last quarter in 21:74 and his last furlongs in a powerful 10:55. At the top of the stretch, he was last by 4 ½ lengths, the leader finished in 22.7 seconds so it’s not like they weren’t finishing.

Unlike Rachel or Zenyatta, you HAVE to admire Gio’s connection. Instead of winning the BC Turf, they chose to take on everyone in the Classic on Zenyatta’s surface & home. Then they try to beat the World in Dubai. They allow him to run even when he’s not 100% fitness wise in grade 1’s because his talent can overcome many obstacles. Now we are trying to bash a horse for everything he’s done while we complain about Rachel running in a non graded stake at Monmouth & beating no one in races that aren’t even grade 1. Zenyatta has been facing no one as well in California and Oaklawn. Gio went to face her on her surface and across the world to Dubai. Zenyatta didn’t even compete on her surface in Dubai and is scarred to take on challenges on the other coast. She’s aiming for the BC Classic but it’s a long time away. She has no excuse not to run in Saratoga or travel. It’s hard to respect the connection of a horse for the ages when she has never been east of Oakland or west of Santa Anita!  It seems hypocritical to doubt Gio Ponti’s ability when he’s competed in all the big ones everywhere all the time when we criticize other horses for not competing.

Don’t forget that he beat everyone numerous times including Chinchon in last year’s Man O War. Chinchon ducked Gio by not running against him in this year’s Man O War. Chinchon’s trainer stated that whichever race Gio goes in (Either UN or Man O War), he’ll enter in the other one. He may go to the Arlington Million or the Pacific Classic (help his value at stud since he’s already won the Million). Either way, he’s been competing against the best and HE IS STILL BY FAR THE BEST!

16 Jul 2010 6:16 PM
Sirifargal

Gio Ponti is just as good as last year, he has been unlucky among other things. Just wait until later in the year, TRUST ME.

Winchester is good and I like General Quarters to.

Gio in the BC!

16 Jul 2010 6:17 PM
Draynay

If you want to make money on Breeders Cup Day on turf races throw out all the American horses.

16 Jul 2010 6:29 PM
Footlick

I might actually have to agree with Dray.  Euro's like Churchill and they will send a strong contingent to the BC again.  

16 Jul 2010 6:59 PM
Zookeeper

Gio the King,

I was agreeing with everything in your comment until you decided to bring up two horses who have not run on turf and probably never will. Other than that your post was outstanding and I completely agree that Gio Ponti is "the" turf horse in the U.S. and that his career is that of a true Champion.

I'll be rooting for him no matter what the Europeans send our way in November.

16 Jul 2010 7:37 PM
dustywhipp

Two words: General Quarters.

Sometimes, you just have to go with the underdogs... but he's one heck of a good underdog. Turf just might be his favorite...

16 Jul 2010 8:23 PM
jayjay

Jason : Did you forget Court Vision or do you not think he'd make an impact the rest of the year ?  I like GQ as my horse, the way he stayed with the pace and still have quite enough left to hold off Court Vision in his last race was pretty impressive.  It was also run on a yielding course at CD so he's got a bit of an advantage and there's a good chance it might be another yielding course on BC day so I'm liking him more.

Of course, we'll have to see who's coming from EU but I think GQ will be right up there with them.  Looking forward to his race tomorrow.

16 Jul 2010 9:58 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gio the King

Nice post.  I've always been a Gio fan, but when it comes to comparing him to Rachel and Zenyatta it's best to drop that comparison and stick to turf racing.  When Gio was good last year, he was very good and a win in the Classic on a surface that he favored just as much as Zen (he finished 2nd don't forget and looked like he was going to win) would have put him into serious contention for HOY (last six starts in ’09 were G1’s and a BCC win would have made it 5 wins and one 2nd).  But there are other things to consider and if he is going to rise up and beat the Euros he’s going to have to regain his consistency…….he is a 50% winner, had lost 5 in a row until the MOW victory, and others seem to be improving.  I don’t think Dominquez has been riding him all that great lately either and if I was the owner or trainer I would want to seriously look at Javier Castellano, who to me is the best turf rider along with Jose Lezcano in the east today.  Then there is also a really good crop of 3 Y-O turf horses coming and they will start taking on older as the summer progresses into fall.  Turf racing this fall isn’t going to take a back seat to dirt and sprint racing, it should be that good.  

16 Jul 2010 10:05 PM
Galileo

Victors Cry beat Karelian. No mention? Where will he fit post an Eddie Read win?

16 Jul 2010 10:06 PM
John T

It,s not often the Northern Free

Stakes winner run in early spring

in England on the same day as it,s Southern counterpart turns out to be the best horse but this year could be an exception as the Northern winner Monterrosso has went on to win the King Edward V11

Stakes at Royal Ascot and after a muddling type of race last time out in the Irish Derby he came on again to finish a fair fourth.His next race will be the German Derby

and Kiearn Fallon will have the mount.He could very well be the one for the Breeders Cup Turf this year.

As for Gio Ponti I thought he looked good winning the Man ,O War

but will they run him in the Turf or Classic?.

16 Jul 2010 10:20 PM
Tesio

Very very doubtful that Tizdejavu will ever again run at a distance farther than a mile.  I'm not saying that he isn't the best American-based turf horse because I actually think that he is, but his distance at the top level of competition is a mile.  No way he runs in the Million.

16 Jul 2010 10:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Gio Ponti

General Quarters

Chinchon

Gio Ponti gave Zenny a run last year in the Breeder's Cup Classic. He is not chopped liver. I was very impressed with his effort. If the Horse of the 21st Century hadn't been running, he would have won.

16 Jul 2010 10:25 PM
Gio the King

Footlick:

I was just stating that you can't knock him off the top of the division just because he has been tackling the best his whole life. For me, I felt that the fact that he ran in the BC Classic was a bigger move by his connections than those of Zenyatta to take on the males on her surface at home. That has just been one of many challenges the connections of Gio embraced.  

This is what I don't like, similar to the point made by Gio 4 Horse of the Year, I disagree that many knock him for losing race (he is 10 for 20), but then knock the top 2 fillies/mares for not being adventurous. You won't reach perfection if you tackle the world's best all the time. He has already raced four times while traveling the across the world for a race.

Mike Watchmaker put him second to Chinchon. There is no reasonable argument in my mind that you have him second in this division. If anything, we should admire and credit Gio for running in the best events. It almost seems that now, trainers run less because they are afraid that their horses aren't 100%, thus obviously running less. Zenyatta has many who have yet to jump on the bandwagon. Those who don't think she's one for the ages are those who tend to live on the east coast. Instead of making this an east/west coast debate, just run the mare in NY. Instead we will have to wait for Churchill. A super horse has no excuse for not leaving California in 17 starts. Don't get me wrong, she is a tremendous mare, in my opinion, one for the ages.

Rachel, she just hasn't been traveling or running against the best. She has no excuse not to run in Saratoga! Running in an ungraded race after the first 3 races she ran now. She is even coming off of a romp. The Delaware Handicap would have been even better than the race she will run in (I seriously doubt the competition she will be facing). I'm just stating that end result, Gio has won grade 1's or races worth 750,000 in California, New York, Illinois & Virginia.

16 Jul 2010 10:28 PM
CV

I like Gio Ponti, but I have a sentimental soft spot for General Quarters and his owner, who obviously loves and fusses over him. GQ is a classy horse who doesn't give up. I hope he does well this weekend.

@Gio 4 Horse of the Year a.k.a. Gio the King,

Was it not possible for you to praise Gio Ponti without dragging Z and RA into a thread that had nothing to do with them and cutting them down in comparison? You were doing fine until you did that.

16 Jul 2010 10:30 PM
Jason Shandler

Gio the King: Watchmaker also still has Eskendereya as his No. 1 3YO. His lists dont mean much.

16 Jul 2010 10:30 PM
jayjay

I agree with Zookeeper, not sure what Zen has to do with this blog.  I just find it amazing that she's being compared to male turf division.  Unless she runs against the male...never mind.  I'll keep my best to focus on GQ and the euro contingent for this blog.

16 Jul 2010 10:41 PM
Gio the King

LAZMANNICK:

I'm not comparing Gio to Zenyatta or Rachel. One is a pure dirt horse whereas the other can do synthetic & dirt. I am comparing the campaign he has been set to do and that we are now questioning his position as the leader in this division.

You mentioned that he is a 50% winner, that's exactly the point that I'm making. He can be a 80-90% if he just sticked in New York grade 1's or ran in ungraded stakes like some. He shouldn't be criticized for running against the best at different locations, different surfaces and distances. If anything, as fans, we should be thrilled and admire him even more for running gallant races even in defeat. He won 10 of 20, finished 2nd 6 other times. He competed at 10 different tracks, won from 7 furlongs to 1 3/8, won/place in grade 1's from a mile to 1 1/2 on turf and synthetic. There is a major possibility that he will run in the Pacific Classic and perhaps England and Honk Kong to wrap the end of the year.

I'm big fans of Zenyatta and Rachel. I would love to see that race happen when both are in form. I'm just stating that if I saw Zenyatta run second hypothetically to Quality Road in the Whitney or if Rachel ran in the Woodward again to get beat, we shouldn't think of perfection or leader of divisions based solely off of records as a win or loss stat.

The three year old division isn't there yet. Tomorrow will indicate more with the Virginia Derby. The older horses aren't improving on Gio Ponti in my opinion either. He's beaten them all and he is a different class.

16 Jul 2010 10:42 PM
jayjay

Jason : Finally, someone feels the same way as I do about Watchmaker.  I never liked his list, not sure how he got that gig.  This guy changes his list based on who wins that weekend.  It's not so bad except that he puts his own opinions on each of the horse in his list.  Kind of like Draynay jumping off from one flavor of the month to the next.  I wrote to DRF complaining about him and their reply was asking me to give them my mail (not e-mail), my home address so that he can reply to me.  LOL, it scared the crap outta me.

16 Jul 2010 10:45 PM
LH1216

You forgot The Usual QT.

Also, if Presious Passion gets back into form soon, he can be dangerous.

16 Jul 2010 10:56 PM
Footlick

Gio the King- I didn't know I did knock him.  12 furlongs was suspect for him last year which is why they went for the Classic, already knowing he ran well on Pro-Ride.  Against top Euro's he may have trouble at 12 furlongs this year too.  At shorter than 12, he's probably as good as any here, possibly as good as many there.  The other two you mentioned don't belong on this blog.  Please let's keep them out of it.

16 Jul 2010 11:18 PM
Carl

NPR radio is airing a story this morning on the the greatness of Zenyatta, and how we may never see greatness like hers again, in our lifetimes! Not making this up. I'm waiting for the story to air right now (08:40 Mountain Time)! Yes!!!!!!!!!

17 Jul 2010 10:41 AM
Draynay

7 days until Rachel Romps !!! New Track record coming up in the Breeders Cup Classic.  Will it be Rachel or Quality Road setting the new record ?

17 Jul 2010 10:55 AM
LAZMANNICK

Gio the King

I'm not picking on your (and my) boy Gio Ponti.  I think he is sensational and is currently America's top turf horse, but a couple of things to consider:

• Two of his recent losses WERE in New York G1’s and against horses he should never have lost to.

• The fields he did defeat during his 5 race win streak (maybe with the exception of Ventura and one or two others) weren’t exactly top WORLD CLASS TOUGH.

• Like Footlick said, 12 furlongs seems to be a little too far for him and that’s basically what he will be faced with overseas.

• IMO the 3 year-old crop this year is better on dirt than turf.  Paddy should emerge as the star.  I don’t think he is another Kitten’s Joy, perhaps our best turf horse in this decade, but he is above average and I have a feeling a couple of others are going to emerge as well.  Paddy will give Gio all he can handle.

• I’m not going to get into the Rachel-Zen debate, but they would be a lot better on grass than you might think.

Racing overseas will be a concern if the courses are off.  Gio’s losses usually aren’t by much and the only turf race where he actually lost ground during the stretch was in the Turf Classic when he had the lead at the last call and was passed.  However, the race was on soft, tiring turf (his only sub 100 Beyer in his last ten) where the 6-F were run in a dawdling 1.22.1, which is common in Euro racing when their tracks are off, and even though he did run well on yielding turf in the ’09 Manhattan it was much faster (1.12.3 6-F).

I would like to see him race in Europe.  However, I wouldn’t take him to Hong Kong and I definitely wouldn’t enter him in the Pacific Classic which is run on a surface that he might have trouble adapting too.

17 Jul 2010 10:57 AM
Handi-capper

Just beat a horse claimed in the last month for $35k & only gave him 4 LBS.

17 Jul 2010 11:00 AM
christina

If you guys dont remember the last time Gio Ponti started at a 1 1/2 he lost to interpertation in the joe hirsch turf classic i dont think he is up to his form from last year so in that i would pick the two grays Take the Points and Paddy O' Prado

17 Jul 2010 11:33 AM
Ann in Lexington

The Usual Q.T. ran a better race in Dubai than many do (4th Dubai Duty Free) and recently won his first back allowance race. He is effective from 8f to 10f, a bit unlikely for 12f, so the BC Mile would be his logical goal. On the turf course, he stood at the top of the sophomore class last year, IMHO, and the transition to open company has not fazed him.

17 Jul 2010 11:50 AM
Colleen

I'm a fan of General Quarters  but that doesn't change the fact that in his entire career he has never won 2 races in a row.  Even if he wins this weekend, he still needs to win at least 2 races in a row before he'll make his way to the top of any division.

17 Jul 2010 12:24 PM
Brian Appleton

I think Gio Ponti is still at the top of his class. He just needs to keep on winning this year and hopefully make some noise at the Breeders' Cup to retain his position.

17 Jul 2010 12:47 PM
LuckySon

There are enough blogs about two certain girls, we don't need another one here, since they aren't even the topic.  

That being said, Gio Ponti is a true champion.  When it matters most, he gets the job done.  Does he win every time?  No.  But I have a soft spot for him and I can't help myself, so this may be mostly emotion, but Gio is the reigning turf champ, and hopefully will remain so.  Also,  General Quarters is another one not to be fooled around with.  Just as most of us thought his injury side-lined him for good, Tom McCarthy pulls him off the shelf bigger and badder then ever, and watching him in person at Churchill brought tears to my eyes.  He has turned from a nice "people's story" to a bad ass turf monster.  So my picks for best turf horse of the year are obviously Gio Ponti and General Quarters.

17 Jul 2010 1:23 PM
champagne

how can marsh side not be in this conversation?

17 Jul 2010 1:24 PM
Paula Higgins

Carl, I just listened to it. Go to Google and type in "Zenyatta" and you can hear Laura Hillenbrand talk about Zenyatta for 6 minutes. Nothing we don't know, but she has a spectacular way of describing things.

I love General Quarters too. Love to see him win. A wonderful story. Gio Ponti is at the top I think. As I said above, I was very impressed with him at the Breeder's Cup. He's a very good horse with heart. Chinchon, General Quarters and Paddy O'Prado next.

17 Jul 2010 1:26 PM
Carl

"PH", you're right. Nothing new. I just like seeing/hearing the tribute.

The other horse I'm still high on is Gio Ponti. I disagree with those saying he's only a turf specialist. He's got four legs, so he can run on anything. I'm afraid of Gio Ponti in the Classic. Much more than any other horse.

Too weird: "Party Girl" by U2 just came on my mp3 player...it has my most favorite line ever...

"When I was three I thought the world revolved around me..I was wrong"...makes me think of some of the more opinionated bloggers on this board.

17 Jul 2010 1:44 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gio the King

I know Gio Ponti is considered a distance horse, but I think he could also excell at a mile.  Perhaps one way to solve his perceived difficulty at getting the 1 1/2M distance would be to consider the Turf Mile.  It might sound far fetched, especilly considering the race has been owned by Goldikova the past two years and she is pointing to it again this year.  However.  Gio did win the Kilroe Mile in 1.33.65, his closing fractions in that race and in his recent at 1-1/2M would be exceptionally strong in the final 2-F and 1-F of a mile race.  Like Goldi, he is explosive when finishing and I believe he would give her all she could handle at a mile and then some.  

17 Jul 2010 3:04 PM
LDP

Just putting up some pick I have for the stakes at DE Park.

For the RRC, I like OE, Alama d'Oro, and Edgewater.

I like Rcuandry, Gozzip Girl, and Tresna in the RGD Memorial.

And for the Del Cap LAT, MA, and Miss Singsix.

Anyone else want to share some picks.

17 Jul 2010 3:26 PM
Footlick

I wish I could LDP- but I haven't really looked at them.  I do like Gozzip Girl if she ever gets untracked and actually gets to race.

17 Jul 2010 4:41 PM
LDP

TE wins the Modesty. Rock, where are you???? Dang I wish I bet more often, lol. I'm just kidding.

17 Jul 2010 4:44 PM
thomas

gio ponti might have lost a step but showed thats theirs something left closing into those unbelieveable slow fractions. mission approved had a couple of G3s under his belt before the claiming ranks. plus ken rudolph was raving about him on tvg.

17 Jul 2010 5:28 PM
LAZMANNICK

If Paddy O'Prado with his devastating close in the Virginia Derby is not the best 3 year-old male or female, dirt, turf or synthetics running right now, who is?

17 Jul 2010 6:07 PM
Citation

Although this is off topic, I wish to mention it here: Sidney's Candy is running again! I love him and fully believe he is a possibility for the best 3-year-old around. I worry about his readiness for this race, but hopefully he can still win, especially considering the small field.

R.I.P Dixie Union. He was one of my very favorite sires and I was heartbroken to see his early demise. Hopefully one of his remaining crops will give a super horse to be remembered by.

On the topic of turf horses, I think Courageous Cat is an excellent horse and he is one of my most liked as well. I would say he is my early choice for champion turf male. I think that the division is kind of weak, honestly.

17 Jul 2010 7:01 PM
Jodie

Life at Ten was impressive today. So was Paddy O'Prado and Working the Hops.  Always liked Gio but think there is going to be some stiff competition coming his way.

17 Jul 2010 7:27 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA Carl!

Tuscan Evening continues to shine and Life At Ten. Pretty impressive girls. Paddy O'Prado likewise. Not too shabby this year.

17 Jul 2010 7:34 PM
Runfast159

Gio Ponti is still the leader of the division based on consistency.  He just hasn't run a bad race.

After today's Virginia Derby, I have to think Paddy O Prado is right below Gio Ponti.  His last two races have been sparkling, and what a beautifully built, elegant horse.  It's hard not to like ones that look like that.

I also like Bourbon

Bay but he needs to prove he can take his game on the road.  I've liked Courageous Cat but have to think the trip to Dubai took alot out of him.  Compari messed around on synthetic when they should have kept him on turf, another one who needs to show he can run someplace besides California.

17 Jul 2010 7:52 PM
Draynay aka handicapping LEGEND.

Paddy won just like I said he would. Once again I have lead the common folk to the winner.  You are all welcome and have my permission to spend your winnings lavishly and without remorse.  The LEGEND lives.

17 Jul 2010 9:02 PM
Bill Daly

I'd like to see Chinchon do that again.  That move was breathtaking. Talk about a powerful kick, wow!  Bourbon Bay is as solid as they come and Gio is still the man. His Man 'o War was impressive and he won with something left although the quality of the field he beat is open to question. Those three I would put up against anything on this side of the pond.

17 Jul 2010 9:11 PM
jayjay

christina : The JH Turf race was ran in a boggy course, I don't think you'll see GP run in that kind of course again, he didn't like it.

17 Jul 2010 9:47 PM
LDP

Paddy, IMO showed he's the best today. He absolutely inhaled the field and the horse he beat last out won by open lengths. Gio is still reigning champ, but if these two meet I think Paddy might be the one who comes out on top.

17 Jul 2010 10:10 PM
jayjay

I don't know what Bejarano was doing with GQ being that far back in that race.  Is it just me or is Bejarano doing unusual things lately.  He rode him perfectly in the Woodford, but he was so far back in this race and also wide, not sure why he didn't get closer to the lead.  The splits were faster and he couldn't make up ground.  I wonder if the soft course in the Woodford helped him.

17 Jul 2010 10:10 PM
sodapopkid

I turned on the TV and saw a horse running in the race, and I thought to myself,, Where is his jockey?  Well , he had left him back in the gate....and the horse knew exactly what to do, he ran his race....tell me they dont know were the finish line is.....

17 Jul 2010 10:17 PM
LDP

jayjay,

I was wondering the same thing! He was way too wide and too far back, does that positioning ring a bell to anyone else, RT in the Gold Cup. I think the widness was why he flattened out. He was so wide for the entire race, it would be a wonder if he ended up making up some more ground.

17 Jul 2010 10:21 PM
sodapopkid

I hope they continue having KD as POP's jockey,  Kent is a very good jockey, he was good with SB and many more....He is great with POP.

LAT, she is something else..something special.

17 Jul 2010 10:41 PM
sherpa

hey, sodapopkid, did you see that your namesake won today?  Nice move :-)

www.bloodhorse.com/.../race-7

17 Jul 2010 10:51 PM
Ida Lee

Love Gio but boy that Paddy O'Prado is something else and if you put a gun to my head, I'd say Paddy is it!! I also adore General Quarters but today was not his day. I understand he does not do well in hot whether. Whatever happens though, this is going to be some BC this year. And WOW how about those Fillies today, Tuscan Evening and Life at Ten. Great day of racing!!!

17 Jul 2010 10:52 PM
sodapopkid

Thanks Sherpa??  I had no idea, Well knock me over with a feather, Damn, thats great, and best of all, he won!!!    I will have to look him up and find out more about him......  Thanks again,Sherpa!!

17 Jul 2010 11:02 PM
GunBow

I still think Gio Ponti is the top American turf horse.  I don't believe he's quite as good as last year and will have to carry more weight in handicaps, but I would take him over anything else this side of the Atlantic.

Paddy o Prado looked good again today, but horses have looked good in these two Colonial 3 year old races only to be exposed when facing older and Euros.  Last year Battle of Hastings swept both the Colonial Cup and Virginia Derby too.  

Paddy's the best 3n year old turf, but even very good American 3 year old turf horses like Kitten's Joy and English Channel(both won at Colonial) couldn't win the Breeder's Cup Turf(English Channel would win the BC Turf at age 5).  English Channel, Artie Schiller, and Kip Devile all ran in one of the two Colonial races for 3 year old turfers and then won a Breeder's Cup turf race, but all 3 won their BC race as an older horse.

I'm not sure Cali has a legit turf horse of national ability.  I think the best is The Usual QT, but he's best at 9 and 10 furlongs, and there's not a BC race at that distance.  Bourbon Bay dominated Santa Anita, but he hasn't run since April and wasn't beating strong fields.

With Gio not quite what he was last year, I would have to think that any top Euro would be a major favorite for the BC Turf.  As for the Mile, well there's still Goldi to worry about.

17 Jul 2010 11:07 PM
LAZMANNICK

I didn't think that General Quarters was overly wide, no wider than others that responded much more willingly at the end.  When it appeared he was trying to move up turning for home he was kind of nudged out a bit by Just As Well when that one made his move.  Just as Well went on but whatever momentum General Quarters had suddenly disappeared.  That said, GQ didn't seem to display any form that would make you think that he was a threat at any time during the race.  Maybe the hot weather, or maybe he just isn't good enough, but today he ran like a 25-1 shot.  He never at any time put anything into the race and I was very disappointed.

LDP…..It’s 11:00 PM on a Saturday night.  Why aren’t you out on a date?

17 Jul 2010 11:23 PM
GunBow

Another shocker Saturday at Hollywood Park!

It pains me to write this, but I'm beginning to think that Sidney's Candy might be best as a turf miler.

If you want to see the difference between Pro-Ride and Cushion Track, compare how comfortable Sidney's Candy was in the San Vicente or San Felipe or Santa Anita Derby with how he looked today in the Swaps.  On Pro-Ride, Sidney just bounds along, his ears cocked, completely relaxed.  Today on Cushion, he pinned his ears, and just didn't have the same fluid stride.

Sidney has run some monster races on Del Mar's Polytrack and Santa Anita's Pro-Ride. At sprint distances, he can run fast, but at longer distances he has needed the benefit of slow paces.  On Pro-Ride, he was able to parlay slow paces to victory, but a slow pace wasn't enough for him today.

Away from Santa Anita and Del Mar, Sidney has now run a disasterous 17th on dirt in the Derby and a mild 2nd on Hollywood's Cushion.    Sidney did have to carry 6 lbs more than Skipshot in the Swaps, but it wasn't like Skipshot really ran fast.  Even though the early pace was mild, it still took Sidney and Skipshot 13 seconds + to run the final eighth; this wasn't a strong race.  

By the way, another graded stakes winner on Pro-Ride, Alphie's Bet, ran 4th and last in the Swaps.  The top 3 year olds at Santa Anita were repeatedly beaten by proven Hollywood horses.  Cushion is not Pro-ride.

The TVG guys I talked with after the Swaps were convinced Sadler's other Candy Ride, Twirling Candy, would have romped in the Swaps.  I think Sadler might have gotten it backwards putting Sidney in the Swaps and Twirling Candy in the 1 mile Oceanside on turf.

17 Jul 2010 11:23 PM
GunBow

I really like that Tuscan Evening.  She did her thing again today in the Modesty.  That's now 6 graded stakes wins this year.

I would have to believe that Jerry Holendorfer is a contender for the Trainer Eclipse.  He has been great with Tuscan and Blind Luck, and he hasn't been afraid to ship.  Skipshot was a nice bonus in the Swaps.

Life at Ten looked sharp in the Del Cap.  But she was able to set a ridiculously slow pace.  I still like Rachel in any matchup with Life at Ten; I think Rachel can run her into the ground.

17 Jul 2010 11:28 PM
sherpa

spk - you're welcome!

17 Jul 2010 11:38 PM
Gio the King

LAZMANNICK:

1.The Joe Hirsh Turf Classic at 1 ½ should be more closely watched. After winning the Man O War twice with the trips he had there isn’t a doubt that he can go 1 ½. He was completely switched off in the back of the pack last out. In the Joe Hirsh, it was a complete bog. The fastest quarter in the entire race was 27.06! The final time was 2.41.22 for 1 ½ so just that gives you the reason that Interpretation, the 43-1 long shot won. He could have scratch but opted to go anyways as the ideal prep for the Classic which proved to be correct. I mean after all, he beat all the males in the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

Like I’ve already said about the Manhattan this year: 2 breezes since Dubai, got sick, gave weight and had traffic troubles only to lose by ½ a length.  

2. Horses he beat in that 4  Grade 1 win streak includes

Frank Kilroe Mile: Ventura, Global Hunter, Dixie Chatter & Artiste Royal

Manhattan: Marsh Side, Court Vision, Better Talk Now & Cowboy Cal

Man O War: Musketier, Quijano, Chinchon, Grand Couturier, Dancing Forever, Midships & Marsh Side

Arlington Million: Just as Well, Cima De Triomphe, Stotsfold, Glorida De Campeo, Einstein, Presious Passion & Mr. Sidney…

Looks like the best America had at the time and few top Euro’s. This doesn’t even include the horses he beat in the Classic such as Rip Van Winkle, Twice Over, etc..  Future Dubai World Cup Winner, UN winner from the Euro’s he beat in his win streak, the list goes on from what these horses have done since. Although I do agree that this bunch was no Sea the Stars, but it was no easy task. Quijano, Just As Well, Marsh Side finished 1-2-3 in the 750k Northern Dancer and Ventura won  the million dollar Atto Mile (all in their next start after Gio Ponti).    

3. I’m still convinced he can go 1 ½. Having a turf course in that bog just made the 1 ½ seem like a 1 ¾ event. He is too relaxed in the morning when he trains and in his races not to be able to get the distance. He practically ran 1 ½ in his 2009 Man O War if you consider how wide he went.

4. Paddy is great but not nearly as tough as the crop from 2 years ago when Gio , Sailor’s Cap and Court Vision ducked it out in the Virginia Derby or last year’s crop. They both weren’t capable to take on older horses their 3yo year. He’ll be a dominant force but as a 4yo in my opinion. He had a dream trip on the rail throughout and won all out by a little over a length against 3yo’s. He won’t give Gio all he can handle as a 3yo, although I would take that bet that he would be a force next year with whoever’s left next year.  

5.The two superstars, no reason for them to ever go on the grass. Zenyatta would probably lead the female turf division as well in my opinion if she ever had the chance.

6. He already won the Million so as a stallion, it may not hurt him to take a chance in the Pacific. Just curious, why do you believe he would have trouble adapting on Del Mar’s surface? Will be interesting to see how the surface will shape up. Honk Kong would be perfect for him. Clement has already taken many there and they competed well. Hopefully, he won’t blow the right handed turn like Kip Deville.

Btw Handi-capper: With the pace that Mission Approved had, he finished 22.70 so imagine what Gio had to finish in when he was trailing the field. Expansion was flying as he made up a length and a half (second most distance a horse made up in the stretch) but Gio was the only who made any significant ground (4 ½ lengths from the quarter pole, 4 wide while getting stuck behind Expansion at the 3/16 pole).

I think today’s Arlington Handicap (presence of Just As Well, Marshside & General Quarters) really solidified his status as the leader of his division.

17 Jul 2010 11:47 PM
The Rock

LDP,

Haha. Yea, I'll eat a little crow on that Tuscan Evening deal. Although in my defense, she did go 51 for the half, which allowed her to run the latter 5 1/2f's in around 1:04. Plus it was a G3. Next stop the Beverly D. I'll be shocked if the pace is near 51 seconds in that race. I still believe in Grade 1 company she won't be able to stay. I'm stubborn! What can I say =)

18 Jul 2010 12:10 AM
Footlick

Gio the King- it was his connections who said they were going for the BCC last year because they didn't feel 12 furlongs was his strongest distance.  They decided going against Conduit at 12 furlongs was not the best idea.  When running against strong 12 furlong horses, your horse had better love 12 furlongs also.  As far as Del Mar, the Tapeta course in Dubai was called sticky by many trainers and many horses didn't act on it.  Del Mar tends to be a sticky Polytrack, so Laz's concern may be based on that.

18 Jul 2010 12:14 AM
Footlick

I agree with Gun Bow- Paddy was impressive but it was at Colonial.  He's obviously a top, talented horse, but to rank him ahead of Gio Ponte is a little premature.  Plus if he does go for the BC Turf, it's another 2 furlongs farther against older, more seasoned horses.

18 Jul 2010 12:18 AM
Jose93

Gio Ponti is the division leader until something else conclusively is. I do feel Chinchon would beat him if they met over 12 furlongs on a Firm track, provided Chinchon was rode the same way as he was in the United Nations, but Chinchon is going to be resting up in Europe for some strange reason. He's the type of horse who is perfectly suited to American Turf racing with that acceleration.  

18 Jul 2010 12:45 AM
Pam S.

So many good performances on Saturday!  My top 3:

1. Tuscan Evening. She is getting Zen-like in her consistency.  She looked like she was rationing out her speed herself, rather than the jock doing it, and she did a great job!

2. Life at Ten.  Couple decent fillies in that field and she dominated.  She went slow because, well, why not?  But I think she could have gone faster.  

3. Paddy O'Prado.  Maybe it has something to do with Colonial Downs as Gun Bow suggests, but he looked awfully good and seemed so courageous going through that narrow opening on the rail.  Wonder if he has any Breeders' Cup aspirations?

Sidney's Candy didn't look as sharp as he did at SA, but 9F might have been too far for him after the short layoff. (Kind of like I Want Revenge.)  But would he have the finishing kick to be successful as a turf miler?

18 Jul 2010 1:24 AM
LAZMANNICK

Gio the King

Gio had no excuse in the Turf Classic.  He got beat at equal weights by a long shot, coming from off the pace to grab the lead and then was passed.  The race should have proven to be an ideal prep race for the Turf instead of the Classic.  The BC Turf wasn’t nearly as deep as the Classic and though Precious Passion gave a big time effort Gio would have handled him just like he handled him in the Million.  That would have left Conduit as the main threat and even though he won the race in 2008, I believe that Gio could have taken him.  Perhaps the reason they opted for the BC Classic was either (A) maybe they thought the turf would be too hard or (B) because a win in it was their only possibility of gaining HOY.  In looking at Gio last year though he physically looked like a horse that was at his limit at 10F.  The losses he suffered in his last two races last year possibly bear this out because he had no fight left in him.

Of all the horses you listed in No. 2, how many of them do you think are capable of winning the BC Turf against top Euro horses especially this year at CD with the real possibility of turf that will have a little give to it at the least and could be off?  Two that might come to mind are Twice Over (appears that 10F is his limit) and Chinchon, (couldn’t beat Group Two competition while in Europe).  Artiste Royal who might even be retired now would need rock hard turf and had never won beyond 10F.  Court Vision is a nice horse but is inconsistent and doesn’t appear to be a 12F horse.  Ventura is a miler, a pretty good one, but nothing more.  Grand Couturier is a nice horse but he’s seven and his best years were 2007-08.

How many horses from N/A win at Hong Kong?  My reasoning for Gio not going there isn’t that I don’t think he’s good enough.  It’s a different hemisphere.  If a horse ships there he should be given a sufficient amount of time to properly acclimatize, maybe even several months.  If that’s not the case then don’t go.  My reasoning regarding the Pacific Classic is the often quirky Delmar strip.  That’s the race that put Rail Trip out with an injury last year.  If they wanted something different then a second Arlington Million, then why didn't they pass up a second MOW and run in the Hollywood Gold Cup on a surface that they know Gio is comfortable with?

I still think that Gio would be a top miler.  Don’t forget that he is undefeated three times at the distance, two on turf and the Sir Beaufort (off the turf).  If you compare his closing 2F and 1F times in some of his better races to Goldikova’s final 2F and 1F times in both her BC races you will see that he is right there.

My feeling about Paddy is that he is a star of the future.  He is improving every race and the way he won today was awesome.  I know he has much to prove, especially against older, but if he goes in the Secretariat and wins and his time is comparable to the Million, he might be ready to step up.  In any event, I believe he is Gio’s heir apparent.

18 Jul 2010 1:31 AM
LAZMANNICK

GunBow

I agree with your logic regarding Paddy O’Prado.  With him it’s wait and see though it appears that he will be able to go longer because of the long drive he had to win today.

I totally disagree about Kitten’s Joy though.  He was the best turf horse in N/A in 2004 at three and won the Eclipse award.  He won the Turf Classic and should have won the BC Turf at 3 to 5, but was royally screwed when Better Talk Now caused interference with him and also took Magestretti out of the race.

If you watch the race on You Tube you will see that when they were coming through the stretch the final time Kitten’s Joy moved off the rail to challenge Powerscourt and was cut off by Better Talk Now and then brushed against the rail when he tied to alter course and go inside.  He was then forced to take back and move to the outside, eagerly ran past Powerscourt, and was inching into BTN’s lead but it was too late.  There was an inquiry, but this is the BC.  How many times has a horse been DQ’d?  Ramon said that he felt he held his position with BTN.  My feeling is how can a horse moving from the four path over to the two path and clearly interfere with two horses and this not be called interference.  In any event, Kitten’s Joy clearly lost valuable momentum and was more than good enough without the interference to win the race.

The following year in the Million, Kitten finished second to Powerscourt after going five wide into the stretch.  The winner actually went six wide and flew past him but Kitten out gutted Better Talk Now and another horse to hold second.  The thing about the Million was that it was only his second race of the year (since the BC 2004 Turf) and he showed a lot of guts.  He clearly was not the same horse he was in 2004 though and he was retired after the race.

18 Jul 2010 2:43 AM
Rachel

How about that Tuscan Evening? 6 graded stakes in a row, giving 11 lbs. to the runner-up of her last race...

18 Jul 2010 6:26 AM
LDP

Rock,

I'm pretty dang stubborn too. The thing I liked about the race is that when the horse came to pressure her she simpley did not respond, she kept going at her leisure. She'll rate if some other horse wants to try and take the lead. Also as somebody else pointed out, 11lbs to the runner up, who was the horse who kept pressuing her. One last thing I didn't see all the races, but the races I did see didn't seem to have much quicker fractions. Not sure if the track was slow or what.

18 Jul 2010 10:03 AM
LDP

GunBow,

On the RA/LAT thing, I was thinking the same way. RA runs slow when she's able to get away with a 1.12 or 1.13 for six furlongs. I do think LAT could've gone faster if challenged, but how much longer if she was going to try to keep up with a filly who likes 12 clips. I hope they meet in the PE, it will be a good race, maybe the race between RA and CJ we never got to see, but I still think RA would win.

18 Jul 2010 10:08 AM
LDP

Laz,

For one, I don't have a BF, who wants a girl who hangs out with horses so much she probably is half horse herself. Secondly, the horses are my date, lol.

18 Jul 2010 10:10 AM
Zookeeper

The only money I made yesterday was in the Swaps. The odds on Sidney's Candy were so ridiculous that I took a chance on Skipshot. When I placed my bet his odds were 6-1 and I couldn't resist putting a $20 win bet on him. Although the odds desintegrated to 4-1 when the race started, it made up for all the errors and small winnings of the rest of the day.

I'll not get a 1099 for the Trifecta bet in the VaDby, that's for sure, but I enjoyed Paddy O's win very much. I lost my butt in the Arlington Hdp. Rahystrada was completely off my radar and watching General Quarters' poor showing made me sad.

Congratulations to all the winners and their connections!

P.S. Jason, you were right about Stately Victor. I should have listened to you. :)  

18 Jul 2010 10:23 AM
Footlick

There was really no chance for Hot Cha Cha and Rainbow View after that pace.  And Tuscan Evening should be able to give Eclair de Lune 11 lbs.  I'm not saying that Tuscan Evening can't rate, but as long as she gets to set that kind of pace she will be extremely hard to catch and confirmed closers will always be at a disadvantage.  I would like to see her contend with an honest pace for once, but what happens happens.  She always finishes well.   Life at Ten was so relaxed the whole way, she certainly could have gone faster if she needed to.  And it was 10 furlongs.  Just watch her Ogden Phipps where she stumbles at the start and then runs Unrivaled Belle into the ground.  I think they were being cautious, especially since there was nobody willing to try to push her.  It was a good introduction to 10 furlongs.

18 Jul 2010 11:50 AM
Zen's Auntie

OMG TOM you crack me up and Gio lets not anthropromorphise and sa Zenyatta or any other of these fine horses is "scared" of anything racing would throw thier way.  If theres one way I have never seen that horse look in particular it would be scared. When where and who they race is never up to the horse. That said.  I think the BC classic last year took something out of Gio.  maybe it wasnt the classic but his very taxing schedule followed by shipping 1/2 way across the worcccld and backl that just kept him out of his peak form.  He is still and looking better now an amazing versitile and well trained horse.  If miles covered getting to races counted in some form of handicapping he would certinly be among the tops EVER.  I do think if he stays closer to home - whats that just the continental US? thenhe is a huge factor in this years Turf best.  I must say I LOVE Paddy O (what is not to like about this handsom boys pedigree and presense) and think he continues to be amongst the nicest 3 year olds out there. GQ is a hellofa horse No question there.  But after the arlington run does he like the turf as much?  all indications say he's more confortable on dirt? Since we are looking at top grass horses here maybe hes not in that mix. Its going to be an interesting rest of the year in racing.  I hope all them make it safe and sound till and through November.  

18 Jul 2010 11:53 AM
Gio the King

How didn’t Gio have an excuse in the Joe Hirsh when it was beyond soft? It poured for days in New York. The fastest quarter in the entire race was 27.06! The 1 ½ event became more like a 2 mile race with how impossible it was to run. Dynaforce in the Flower Bowl who thrives in the soft couldn’t even handle that turf course. It was a complete bog.

His limit is not 10 furlongs. He won 2 grade 1’s now at 1 3/8! Last year he was 4-5 wide throughout the entire race in the Man O War and well this year, just watch what he had to overcome. That last furlong doesn’t look like a horse who can’t get the distance, it was more like solidifying his status as the leader of the division. He has no distance limit on the grass for Grade 1’s that are contested in America.

What are you talking about that he had no fight in him left. He almost won the Breeder’s Cup Classic. He beat all the males in the Classic and if Zenyatta wasn’t there, then he would have been a nominee for HOY.

In that list of horses that included Euro’s such as Gloria De Campeo or Stotsfold, I don’t think I would invest in America’s chances for the BC Turf, at least not now. Gio Ponti on the other hand, the reason that those horses were on that list is because he beat them, and I think he has the best chance out of all the American horses to win the BC Turf. Lets not forget that the division should also go to the most consistent and best horse throughout the year, not just one race. That explains why Lookin at Lucky won 2yo male and not Vale of York & why Gio Ponti beat Conduit even though Conduit won the biggest Turf race in America.

The connection had no chance not to run in the MOW. It’s because of the reaction from these type of blogs, Mike Watchmaker’s list, journalists and those exclaiming that the division belongs to Chinchon, Paddy or General Quarters that enabled him to make another adventure. All of this must have forced Gio to secure his hold of the division before traveling across America.  Since everyone was so concerned that Gio couldn’t win, they had to prove it wrong by winning a major turf race (600k @ a prestigious track). Imagine if he took another risk to fall short in Cali, look at how many new faces everyone claims is the leader of this division with the manner he just won the MOW.

The Hollywood Gold Cup in prestige or stallion value can’t compare to the Pacific Classic. The Pacific Classic is twice the purse than that of the Hollywood Gold Cup and is the biggest race for an older horse to win. It’s also contested at a distance that breeder’s want stallions to win at, 1 ¼.

I agree about Paddy, but he can’t be called the leader of this division and he has yet to contest a single older horse. I think he is the horse of the future, just not good enough to give the top of this division all that they can handle. They may very well go for another second Million win, but Pacific Classic I bet is an option too.

The connections didn’t say that they could not win the BC Turf or not handle the 12f. They said that since they had nothing to prove in the turf division, then they should take a shot in the richest race for a possible HOY, stallion value and for once in a lifetime opportunity for Gio (synthetic Classic).  

18 Jul 2010 11:56 AM
Chris

I really like Draynay's posts. He is pretty funny, and not too bad a handicapper either.

Regarding Gio Ponti, I think he has definitely lost a step this year. He is not running poorly, but not great either. I do, however, give A LOT of credit to horses who ship everywhere because we all know how taxing that is on an animal. Horses who don't have to ship have it MUCH easier. Maybe he will round into form again, maybe not...but at least his connections are attempting a worthwhile campaign.

I would have to say that Paddy O'Prado looks like the one to beat this year...

18 Jul 2010 12:11 PM
Ted from LA

LDP,

You're a centaur?  Cool.

Tuscan Evening will win the Beverly D.

18 Jul 2010 12:28 PM
Draynay

Please don't put Life At Ten in the same sentence as Rachel it just sounds silly.

18 Jul 2010 12:29 PM
Gio the King

www.brisnet.com/.../article.cgi

Check out this website by Reilly, i think it sums it up.  

18 Jul 2010 12:58 PM
It aint easy being good

I told you guys that Paddy is a star in the making. He won for fun yesterday. I dont know what you guys like about GQ but he is way overrated. He is not a turf horse. His only win on turf was when it was pouring out!

Did anyone see the turf race at colonial it was horse #1 son of ghostzapper it crushed by 7 lengths and it was his second race...that horse will be great not sure of his name someone help me out!

18 Jul 2010 1:16 PM
The Rock

LDP,

Rafael Bejarano said the turf course was extremely firm, which did the trick for General Quarter's performance. IMO, I think in this day in age these jocks have been accustomed to trying to save a horse for the last 3/8ths and aren't really crazy going 22 46 for the first half mile going a route of ground. I remember not long ago that a 23 47 flat pace was moderate. Now we considerate to be a bit quick. That's one of the reasons why I posted those splits that TE ran. The way she ran that first half mile it was as if she was only asked to run a total of 5 1/2f's for that race. Arlington's turf course is a little slower than other tracks. Maybe because the grass is longer out there which produce slower splits. I know this much. If TE is in a race going this long and she gets hit with honest splits (47 4/5 48:) regardless if she's on the lead or tracking the pace, she'll get beat. She'll take a lot of play in the Beverly D & I'll be playing against her. At the end of the day, who knows, I might just not learn my lesson. lol

18 Jul 2010 1:16 PM
Paula Higgins

Pam S. totally agree with your post. Paddy O'Prado is something special and I think Tuscan Evening is too. I wonder if we have a mini-Zenyatta in the making? I agree that Rachel should beat Life At Ten without any problems.

18 Jul 2010 2:11 PM
SPLITS OF 12

Gio Pointi, in my opinion, looks bigger, stronger and faster than he was in 2009. I believe he is just starting to warm up and that spells trouble for his opposition. If you look at the way he closed his last eighth, in 11.17, it's no wonder, he was able to get up and beat a very game Mission Approved, in the last couple jumps of the G1 Man O' War stakes. The runner-up, crawled around the track, setting a snails pace of 26.13, 52.27, 1:18.07, 1:42.30, 2:05.03, with a  final time of 2:16.20 for the mile and three-eighths on the Belmont turf. What was so impressive about Gio Ponti's triumph, is that he was 8 to 10 lengths behind the pace turning for home. Incredible, considering the very soft fractions. For all those doubters out there, let's call a spade a spade, this horse is the real deal, an absolute beast!  

I've watched Gio Ponti, run brilliantly on turf and synthetic surfaces throughout his whole career. But what I remember distinctly, is that when he was younger and racing in Southern California, I'd  tell my friend, Fast Eddie, "the way this horse hits the ground, he'd be much better racing on real dirt." Eddie would just scratch his head and reply, "well, he ain't gonna get any of that out here in California."  

Here's what I believe the scenario will be when the BC Classic comes to Louisville, Kentucky. It will be hard for Christophe Clement, to resist the temptation of racing Gio Pointi, in the Big One, just as it was last year. GP, was a super game runner-up, in the 2009 edition. So you know he stacks up very well, against the other runners who will be in this race. If the connections decide to try the Classic again with GP, he should be primed and ready, for his best effot yet. This time, it will be under the twin spires, on the Churchill Downs strip. I couldn't think of a better scenario for Gio Ponti and the Mo-Mon Man, to bag the ultimate prize, on Breeders Cup Day!        

18 Jul 2010 2:52 PM
LDP

Ted,

I think that would freak my parents out just a bit. One day I wake up clip clop down stairs with my upper half human and the rest a horse! They might think they were in Narnia or Harry Potter, lol.

18 Jul 2010 3:32 PM
Kit J

My gosh, calling yourself a legend for picking a horse that went of as the favorite,  paid 3.20,2.20 and 2.10? Silly.

One word of advice for him, don't quit your day job.

We had a better time fishing and hunting for geodes and arrowheads.

18 Jul 2010 4:02 PM
The Rock

Baffert just unleashed a good looking 2 year old in Smash @ Hollywood today. Word was out as he was sent off around the 3/5 price. Won by 3 in hand. Looking forward to him participating in the stakes races @ Del Mar this summer.

18 Jul 2010 7:25 PM
sherpa

Jason -

This is off-topic and I hope you won't mind...

I should've been keeping track for myself of those horses whose trainers have said they're pointing to the Pacific Classic, but I haven't.  Could you come up with a list of probables/possibles? If you can, thanks in advance; if not, no problem!  

Oh, and back ON topic, my answer to your blog question is "yes."  As long as Gio is The One to beat, he'll be at the top of the heap -  though not unbeatable, as it's ever been with him.  Paddy shows a lot of promise and may well be his heir apparent.  JMO.

18 Jul 2010 7:43 PM
The Rock

Jason,

Did Juddmonte ever come to the conclusion if they were going to continue to send horses to Humberto Ascanio? Since Bobby Frankel's passing last year, I wonder how much of an affect that will have on the California turf division. Every year you'd expect at least one import from Juddmonte to make a splash on the turf division.

18 Jul 2010 8:47 PM
Ted from LA

I am a sad clown, but my big red shoes bring me happiness.

18 Jul 2010 9:29 PM
NoblePromise

Handicapping legend...3.20 win heh heh ha ha please stop...haha...no stop really I can't take it. But seriously, now that I/we all have access to the Handicapping Legend, I'm really curious who you like in the Lady's Secret? Heh Heh Ha Ha.

Separated at Birth...The Handicapping Legend and William Hung.  

18 Jul 2010 10:58 PM
Bellwether

DIFFERENT CONNECTION$ HEAR & THIS FREAK $HATTER$ CURLIN$ $$$ RECORD & THEN $UM...BELIEVE IT PEOPLE...LONG LIVE THE TRIPLE CROWN!!!...

19 Jul 2010 2:35 AM
Slew

Top three have to be:

Gio Ponti

Bourbon Bay

Paddy O'Prado

19 Jul 2010 9:34 AM
Goober

This is a joke, right? Gio is clearly the best older turf horse in training, while Paddy O'Prado is an emerging superstar!

19 Jul 2010 10:14 AM
Greg J.

Draynay,

    Thank you so much for going out on a limb and picking Paddy O'Prado, You truely are a legend in your own mind.

    Too bad about General Quarters having to go wide the whole race and coming up with a bum ankle, Hope the x-rays come back negative and we see him come back shortly, even though the Arlington Million is out.

    I was wrong in thinking that Bourbon Bay was injured, He is just being given a break after sweeping Santa Anita’s three turf marathons.

    Top two have to be Gio and Paddy now...

19 Jul 2010 10:18 AM
Kit J

Greg that's what I first thought but look at this post: "Paddy is very good but I give the edge to GQ.

Draynay 16 Jul 2010 3:26 PM "

Then the comment that he supposedly told us to bet on the favorite?  Sorry but I think this person has a need for attention or thinks he's being humorous. It really kind of sad and pathetic. I guess Jason giving him an outlet is a kind and humane gesture.

19 Jul 2010 10:33 AM
Billy's Empire

Sad to see GQ get hurt. What a shame for Tom.

19 Jul 2010 10:42 AM
Billy's Empire

Ummm, Kit, they did not race in the same race. One was at Arlington, the other at Colonial. I am pretty sure he was referring to the better horse in training that had won a grade 1 turf race this year, The Woodford Reserve Turf on Derby day. I would give the edge to a 4yo grade 1 winner as well, and did in my list above.

19 Jul 2010 11:38 AM
It aint easy being the truth!

That would be interesting if they send Gio to the classic this year. I think that is highly doubtful but you never know especially since he was runner up last year. Either way we finally get some exciting racing coming up after a month of straight yawners. PS Stately Victor is the most overrated horse of 2010!

19 Jul 2010 11:54 AM
Draynay

Greg J, it's just another example of me putting my expert mind to work to give you the winner of the race.  After careful thought and analysis I came up with Paddy as the winner.  I announced it here to give you and many of my other fans that opportunity to bet and score big.  I do it for you the fans because I care and because I want you to experience winning at the races like I do everyday.

19 Jul 2010 12:30 PM
LDP

I agree with the comments saying Gio is top until dethroned. He had very valid excuses in his losses, and then came back like the champ he was last out.

However I do think Paddy O Prado is the better of the two and could be the horse that can dethrone Gio at his best. His last race was stunning. I've not seen many horses with such a devestating turn of foot then with the ability to sustain it. Yes, it was at Colonial, and yes it was against three year olds. But you cannot deny it was extremely impressive, to say the least.

19 Jul 2010 12:41 PM
Greg J.

Draynay,

   As long as you do it for the fans, I guess that is all that matters, lol...

19 Jul 2010 2:36 PM
Householder

When do we get to talk about Tuscan Evening?  Another Californian now exporting "terror."

And what do we do with Lookin and Lucky after he takes the Haskell besting the Kentucky Derby winner again?  

And Blind Luck shows no signs of slowing down.  Along with QR she has to be one of the best horses in training right now.    

19 Jul 2010 3:03 PM
Kit J

I knew that, my mistake, I was still on the trip with the gk's in my mind I guess. Sorry.

I should have remembered, the favorite, always the favorite.

The rest of the statement stands though.

So happy he has one or two who admire him on here.

19 Jul 2010 3:24 PM
sodapopkid

Billy E.  What happened to General Quarters?  I havnt read anything on him.  Please inform me, Billy or anyone.

19 Jul 2010 3:34 PM
Billy's Empire

He was a little off on his front left in the stall after the race. According to his trainer, he did not even try in the race and cooled out after 10 minutes, which is odd considering how hot it was in Chicago. So, he is having x rays today or tomorrow, but he is out of the Million for sure now.  Bejarano said the track was way too hard for him as well. I hope it is minor and he can come back after a little stall rest or even if he had to have a chip removed, he could be back next year. Tom referred to it as a bum ankle!

19 Jul 2010 4:03 PM
Billy's Empire

No worries kit!  You should feel good knowing that everytime there is a beaten favorite (70% of the time), Dray is losing money.

19 Jul 2010 4:06 PM
Kit J

Yes one of the little guys got the older one to break open a geode. Of course right when I was on the computer, but I had to admire the beautiful amethyst color they exposed and listen to the wild story that accompanied it.

I don't like to see anyone lose money in racing. Eventually they give up on it. Racing needs all the bettors it can get. Terrible drop in handle at Lone Star and Hollywood Park.

I just don't understand what someone sees humorous in being a over the top braggart.

Sodapopkid, sign up for Brisnet, you'll get the alerts from the Handicapper's Edge etc.

www.brisnet.com/.../edito...e.cgi

19 Jul 2010 4:50 PM
Greg J.

Sodapopkid,

Regarding General Quarters:

"He came up with a bum ankle," McCarthy said. "The jock (Rafael Bejarano) said he thought the ground was too hard for him, but the ankle was probably already bothering him during the race...We'll take some X-rays when we get him home to see what they show, but I would say the Arlington Million is out.  To try and come back in five weeks is too quick for us, even if nothing shows up on the X-rays."

19 Jul 2010 4:57 PM
Greg J.

Sorry BE, didn't notice you answered already about General Quarters...

19 Jul 2010 4:58 PM
Kit J

Well it would help if I copied the whole address, duh.  

www.brisnet.com/.../article.cgi

I'm giving up for a while too many need my attention, getting a request to go outside and swim, I'm the lifeguard, :)

19 Jul 2010 5:26 PM
It aint easy being the truth!

Householder Looking at lucky is not taking the haskell I can guarantee you that. He is a good horse and will be there at the wire but Afleet Express is a breakout star if he runs in the Haskell look out he is the "MONSTER" of the 3 year olds right now!

19 Jul 2010 6:07 PM
Aluminaut

Just read that the Sunset Handicap paid the winner only $60,000 for 1st place purse.  I'm wondering if I misread.  Sad to see a distance turf race lose status and purse.  That's how it is now with owning costing so much more and purses down.  At least you get a better shot in a smaller field.  Not so hot for betting though.  Bigger fields mean higher odds.

Bloodhorse keeps emailing me about the partnership seminar. I'm more interesting putting one together than joining up.

I have a young horse coming up and  I'm probably going to race her solo, even though I have a few friends that are interested.

On topic:  Gio has won and is at the top of the Turf runners right now. I agree with those who said the trip to Dubai gave him a bit of catching up to do....

19 Jul 2010 6:22 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          I feel really bad about GQ ! I hope he heals up OK ! Looks like Paddy O' Prado's going to be a good turf horse , he's bred for it ! Life at Ten also makes things a little more interesting for the Distaff division! Looking forwards to the Haskell , I think Trappe Shot will make it a helluva race :)

19 Jul 2010 7:45 PM
jayjay

Draynay : So now you forgot about First Dude for Afleet Express???  LOL

19 Jul 2010 7:46 PM
Rileywill

Gio Ponti is the best right now. I doubt that Paddy can catch him, he has yet to run in a big one and only beat 3yo's with a perfect ride. It's not like he was on the bridle or being eased, far from it!

19 Jul 2010 8:50 PM
jayjay

Aluminaut : Do you breed your own horses ?

19 Jul 2010 9:16 PM
sherpa

Speaking of the Sunset...I thought Marlang has one of the oddest running styles I've seen yet.  His head stayed almost level with his body throughout, even while galloping out and even coming off the track.  Don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it.  Did anyone else notice?  JR seemed to be trying to get him to bring his head up after winning, but he would not.

Not dissing him in any way, he ran a remarkable race gate to wire and looked like wanting to go 2 miles. Maybe he was just 'in the zone'..?

19 Jul 2010 9:32 PM
Aluminaut

jayjay,

Not in this economy.  We had mares in the 70's and trained their offspring at Rancho California and San Luis Rey Downs.  

Right now it's a buyer's market and there are some nice young horses available at a much lower price.  There are also mares that need a home.  If I were buying a empty mare now, I'd be looking for an older proven mare that's well bred or taking a chance on a proven mare/stakes producer with fertility issues that can be overcome.

I know most people don't like to wait, but it's fun to watch a young horse change and grow up.  

19 Jul 2010 10:59 PM
Zookeeper

sherpa,

You're right about Marlang's odd running style. I didn't notice it at the time but after reading your comment, I watched the replay and I agree. He looks like he's reaching for the finish line the whole race and even when he gallops back. He could have gone around again, I think. It took him forever to slow down.

19 Jul 2010 11:54 PM
The Rock

Can't wait for the Del Mar meet to kick off to see what kind of 2 year olds the West Coast will present, although it will bittersweet. This will be my first year not attending opening day since I turned 18 in 01'. Opening day at Del Mar is just electric. Plus the eye candy helps out a lot too. lol

20 Jul 2010 12:19 AM
jayjay

I'm not quite ready to invest but working my way to it.  Hopefully next year.  I agree with the fun of watching a young horse change and grow up.  I know of a mare now that was purchased for 60K, she was so big and mangy, they waited on her to develop and it paid off for them to the tune of 6M and they're still having fun with her :)

20 Jul 2010 12:36 AM
Fish

The Rock

I heard Baffert on the radio talking about SMASH about seven weeks ago.  He also mentioned ROCK SO HARD who starts Saturday @ Del Mar as one of his best two year olds so far.

20 Jul 2010 8:29 AM
draynot

draynay you are getting very very desperate. Good for you that you finally picked a winner though. Paddy Prado at odds of .60 to 1 is the highest paying winner you have picked in a very long time. Congratulations on picking another favorite who actually came through. Now quit pounding yourself on the back and get real.

20 Jul 2010 8:56 AM
Springsmom83

It Ain't Easy, ALL OF the races at Colonial were on the turf Saturday.  Z Appeal is the Ghostzapper son and yes, he looked spectacular.  As far as Gio Ponti, I saw him win the Virginia Derby 2 years ago as well as Go Between (still miss him), English Channel, and others.  Because of age, i think that GP is on top of his game.  That said, Paddy O' Prado is a magnificent young talent and the Virginia Derby is producing top grass horses, again look at Go Between, Kitten's Joy, Red Giant, and Gio Ponti.

20 Jul 2010 9:33 AM
Springsmom83

I'm not sure about Marlang's style.  Stretching his head and neck is a sign of relaxation, and he sure appeared to be relaxed.  Maybe that is his key to a wire to wire at a mile and a half.

20 Jul 2010 10:43 AM
Greg J.

The Rock,

Also can't wait for Del Mar to kick off, One three year old filly I would like to see do well is Lava Girl, Lava Man's half sister, trained by Mr. O'Neill, She is racing tomorrow in race #7

20 Jul 2010 12:18 PM
LAZMANNICK

jayjay

The big mare was a bargain considering her sister, Balance, born a year earlier, was also a $1M earner.

20 Jul 2010 3:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Stately Victor looks like strictly a Keeneland AW horse who will win occasionally at best. The last race he ran like a first timer, green, green, green. Paddy or Tuscan Evening will dethrone Gio Ponti. My pick is Paddy to be the top U.S. Turf horse soon. Afleet Express could very well be the top dirt 3yo. None of the Triple Crown bunch is very impressive on dirt. I also like Afleet Again. We'll see soon how good Super Saver is but I don't think he beat much in The Derby. Smash had the most impressive 2yo performance so far. Next year's 3yo's will be much better, barring injuries of course like we had the last few 3yo seasons for the top 3yo's.

20 Jul 2010 3:05 PM
Springsmom83

Jayjay, mangy or rangy?

20 Jul 2010 3:06 PM
Billy's Empire

Good news, just confirmed that Kentucky Legislature has approved Instant Racing! it is not a VLT, but nonetheless will help out KY tracks, horsemen, breeders and the industry

20 Jul 2010 3:34 PM
hermosa jd

at 1 1/2 Bourbon Bay can carry his speed as good as any turf horse in california has in a long time. Dont forget the Usual QT, he could have a great second half of the year.

20 Jul 2010 4:18 PM
It aint easy being the truth!

Springmom .......thanks on Z appeal that race was very impressive and is def. one to keep an eye on. I thought that was chris johnson running when I watched that race. I guess when your betting 7 different tracks you forget that colonial was all on turf but thanks for the reply!

20 Jul 2010 4:39 PM
Kit J

Yes that was great news about the Instant Racing, not certain it will solve too many issues but it will help.

I did figure out where you get your inside infomation though.

Same time I got the Bloodhorse alert, ;), and the brisnet alert about General Quarters. A little joke there Billy.

sodapopkid if you're still reading sign up for those alerts as well as s virtual stable on Equibase include horses whose works and entries you'll want to be alerted on and you too can know things from inside sources. lol

20 Jul 2010 5:39 PM
jayjay

Springsmom83 : Sorry, it's not mangy, Moss described her as "big and gangly" when they first got her.  

20 Jul 2010 5:53 PM
Draynay

Draynot, just so you know that my expert pick of Paddy was not luck I am going to pick another winner for you and my fans.  This Saturday Rachel Alexandra will be racing.  Bet her to win and win BIG.  Keep this info to yourself I don't want it to get out that I picked her it could cause her odds to crash.

20 Jul 2010 6:33 PM
GunBow

Aluminaut:

The Sunset was an appropriate ending to the Hollywood meet.  It was a down meet, and the last few weeks went with barely a whimper.  The Rail Trip debacle in the Gold Cup and Sidney's Candy disappointing return seemed to take the air out of the track.

However, there were a few bright moments surrounded by the reduced purses, small fields, cancelations, and declining handle.  There was Zenyatta catching St. Trinians in that amazing Vanity, Tuscan Evening holding off Forever Together in the Gamely, and Victor's Cry outgunning Karelian and Mr. Gruff in a fast Shoemaker Mile.

20 Jul 2010 8:11 PM
sherpa

Zookeeper & Springsmom, thanks for your responses on Marlang.  :-)

20 Jul 2010 8:24 PM
sodapopkid

Dray,  With that field ,  Rachel A. should be able to walk past them.

20 Jul 2010 9:03 PM
The Rock

Speaking of Mr. Gruff, if they enter him in the BC Turf Sprint he'll be my best bet on that day. California Flag wouldn't be able to handle him IMO.

20 Jul 2010 9:58 PM
Footlick

Zookeeper- Congrats on Runflatout's mention in an article in the DRF.  He's now been mentioned in print!

20 Jul 2010 11:41 PM
Ted from LA

Draynay, Great hit on Paddy O'Prado!  I say double down on a show bet on Rachel Alexander.  These are high risk bets, but the rewards are "Arcangues Breeders' Cup" like.

 

21 Jul 2010 12:12 AM
Aluminaut

jayjay,

The big mare had a skin condition at the sale; also she was rangy.  So you're still close.  

Gunbow,

The 1984 Sunset was the best for me.  I can still see stretch run and finish in my mind's eye.

21 Jul 2010 12:36 AM
draynot

draynay,

So your expertise has led you to pick RA who may well go off at .20 to 1. Get back to me when you can start picking horses at 8/1 or higher. Everybody loves a favorite but the money is won by the rest of us who can find a way to beat them. By the way I made a ton of money betting against RA early in the year when you said she was unbeatable then too. If RA loses on Saturday it would be a complete embarassment. That's how easy she in in. C'mon a reigning HOY in an Ungraded Stakes her 4th outing of the year? That's a joke!!  

21 Jul 2010 7:58 AM
Billy's Empire

Kit,

I actually do not get alerts from either website. I do however, get updates from K.E.E.P, which is how I found out about the Instant Racing. I read a lot, and like to keep up to date, but not to the point where I get e-mailed updates. That takes the fun out of research!

Rachel could win this weekend with Butterbean riding her.....

21 Jul 2010 8:45 AM
It aint easy being the truth!

Draynot what is a joke is being 17-0 and runnning in the same races in the same competition that Z ran last year that is a joke! Some say she is the best ever and never runs against the males what a crock. Either way claiming crown this weekend at canterbury its going to be tight yo! lol!

21 Jul 2010 12:34 PM
Kit J

My point to sodapopkid is that he or she can get the same information that we all get, without having any supposed inside contacts or information.

The soda is a curious kid and I think would enjoy getting the updates and getting timely information from the same reliable sources most of us get them from. The internet, Bloodhorse, brisnet, DRF, equibase or whichever of those sources.  

I especially like the virtual stable, then I can see where the horses I like are entered, when they work and which of my favorite trainers have horses entered where and when.

I think maybe there is or was a very small minority on here who actually have contacts with some of these high profile owners and trainers so writers like Jason, Steve, Ron Mitchell etc as well as the updates are where almost all of us find the info then pass it on to those like sodapopkid.

Which reminds me Jason, is Vic going to be doing his blog from Saratoga for the Blood Horse?

21 Jul 2010 1:12 PM
Zookeeper

Footlick,

Thank you! Does it mean I'm not dreaming? lol!

21 Jul 2010 1:31 PM
Greg J.

Kinda off topic, but, I noticed California Flag has had five works since his trip to Dubai in March, Anyone know what races he is being pointed to? Thanks in advance...

21 Jul 2010 2:55 PM
sodapopkid

It aint easy:  You question the field Zen ran agaisnt,  So what do you think that field of unknowns that RA is defintlly going to have no problem with on saturday......Do you think they are tougher than St. Trinians??

21 Jul 2010 3:55 PM
jayjay

ZK : I read that snippet about RFO and was excited to read about it.  I posted something in the other blog but never got published, not sure why.

21 Jul 2010 4:48 PM
footlick

Zookeeper- you are wide awake!!! Enjoy the ride!

21 Jul 2010 4:52 PM
Zookeeper

jayjay,

Sometimes, our posts just bounce off into cyberspace. What I want to know is: Is there some giant cyberdump out there where all the lost comments congregate and argue with each other?

footlick,

Oh good! Now I can stop pinching myself... what a relief! :)

21 Jul 2010 5:25 PM
Gio the King

That field that RA is facing was one of the points I was trying to make with Gio Ponti's campaign. Campaign's are meant to be challenging and even if they barely lose, they should be given credit for facing tough fields if they still run a great race. I rather RA run in the Whitney, than beat that field at Monmouth, even if she finishes second or third in the Whitney. That race is an absolute joke for a Horse of the Year who has already raced 3 times & coming off a 109 beyer romp. She could have at least been running in the Ruffian.

21 Jul 2010 5:51 PM
CV

Looks like General Quarters might be back as a possible starter in the Arlington Million...

Per DRF:

"General Quarters turned in his first flat performance of the season in the Arlington Handicap, finishing a well-beaten sixth with no apparent excuse, and, worse still, owner-trainer Tom McCarthy was concerned that he had come out of the race favoring an ankle. A planned trip to the Arlington Million appeared highly doubtful.

But contacted Tuesday in Kentucky, McCarthy had a happier tale to tell. McCarthy elected not to have General Quarters's balky ankle X-rayed because the horse had ceased showing signs of discomfort.

"It seems like he might have just jammed it a little," McCarthy said. "That track was awfully hard. He runs without bandages up front, and we've never had any problems. It seems to be all right. We're going to walk him one more day, then gallop him and see how he gallops."

If General Quarters trains to McCarthy's satisfaction, he could still make the Aug. 21 Million, but McCarthy would like to hear of substantial rain falling in Chicago sometime soon. General Quarters won the Turf Classic this past spring at Churchill over a wet course and appears to prefer some give to the ground..."

21 Jul 2010 7:02 PM
Kit J

Zoo, isn't that the truth. I swore I read something, then come back and it's gone!

I may be older but the memory is still pretty good, as long as I don't have 5 or 6 people all trying to talk to me at one time. :)

I read about the race. I'll be watching and rooting!

21 Jul 2010 7:34 PM
GunBow

Speaking of the male turf division, the best race for this division so far in Cali will be run Saturday at Del Mar, the Eddie Read.  The field drew 3 gr.1 winners, The Usual QT, Acclamation, and Victor's Cry, as well as gr.2 winner Loup Breton, 110 Beyer horse and Lava Man's bro Enriched, and gr.1 runner-up Hyades.

At 9 furlongs, I really like The Usual QT.  He has the tactical speed to stay close to Enriched and Acclamation and can get the jump on the closers. His 4th in the Dubai Duty Free was the best by a strong contingent of American horses, and he has now finished ahead of Take the Points the two times they have met.  When on his game, and his recent allowance score suggests he is, QT is a heck of a fighter.

If both Enriched and Acclamation do indeed start, the pace for the Read should be quick, helping the cause of Victor's Cry.  I don't fully trust Victor's Cry because he had never run a prior race equivalent to his gr.1 Shoemaker win, but that performance was so good that I have to respect him.  His midpack style and ability to accelerate should be flattered by th anticipated quick pace.  There's no guarantee that he can reproduce his Shoemaker run, but if he does he will be right there at the wire.  However, 9 furlongs might be stretching it a bit.

If Acclamation was not in the race, I would like Enriched to be there all the way to the wire and drop a close decision to QT.  With Acclamation, I think Enriched is going to get softened up a bit, but I think he's a horse with big-time ability that is just coming into his own.  Even with the pace pressure, I can see him hanging on for 3rd.

Acclamation has been running every 3 weeks the entire year, and I wonder how much he has left in the tank after his drubbing 3 weeks ago in the UN Cap.  In his 2 wins at Hollywood, he was able to set uncontested paces, but faltered badly when challenged by Get Serious in the UN.  He'll have Enriched to deal with early in the Read, and I really think Acclamation's run-off and hide style is better suited for turf marathon races where there is less pace pressure.

Loup Breton came from Europe with a glowing reputation, but has frankly been a big disappointment.  In his US starts he has not displayed the ability to accelerate quickly, and it appears Cannani is not sure what his best distance is.  His close finish in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Derby day does not appear that strong given the subsequent losing runs by General Quarters, Court Vision, and Battle of Hastings.

Hyades ran a decent 2nd to Acclamation in the gr.1 Whittingham, but he never really threatened Acclamation and the field for the Whittingham did not have one horse with a previous gr.1 win.

21 Jul 2010 7:48 PM
Aluminaut

Zookeeper,

At least you're not walking around picking up abandoned copies of the form when one of your horse's sibs or close kin makes the cover....or looking descreetly in the trash.........

Bin thar, done that.

"The thrill that'll getcha when you get your mention on the Cover of the Racing Form....Racing Form for a dollar....(whoops, they cost a lot more than that now!)--Sung to the tune of "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone."

See all of you AT The RACES!!!!!

Yup.....

21 Jul 2010 8:08 PM
Zookeeper

CV,

Thanks for the update on General Quarters. That was good news.

21 Jul 2010 8:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Twirling Candy looks like a monster. 7-21, Del Mar 8th. In the 7th O'Neill might have another Lava star in Lave Girl. She ran like a pro in her debut, and looks like a champion.

21 Jul 2010 9:06 PM
Zookeeper

Greg J,

You commented earlier about Lava Girl racing today at Del Mar. Did you see the race? She won in a dead-heat with Go On Babe, a Baffert trained filly. She went off at 30-1. Wish I had bet a few dollars on her! Did you?

21 Jul 2010 9:17 PM
Kit J

Nice articles on Saratoga, will there be a blog?

21 Jul 2010 9:23 PM
Jason Shandler

Yes, new blog Thursday or Friday. Sorry, been very busy last two weeks

21 Jul 2010 9:35 PM
footlick

Gun Bow- Loup Breton has the look of a Euro who hasn't really acclimated here.  He still has the capability to run a top race, but he just doesn't run to his Euro level.

21 Jul 2010 9:39 PM
LAZMANNICK

Greg J.....the New and Authentic Handicap Legend.......

21 Jul 2010 9:42 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Twirling Candy looked great in only his 3rd race. Undefeated twice on synthetics and now a win on turf. Another late rising star?

21 Jul 2010 9:53 PM
sodapopkid

Am I the only one that can not for the life of me get excited about the LS race that Rachel is going to run in on Saturday?   It's no competition there, If they at least had one robust filly/mare in there, at least to make it exciting.  

If St. Trinians runs in the Delmar with Zen at least thats EXCITING.

JESS J. is putting her in races thats making people not want to see her race in.   BORING

21 Jul 2010 10:05 PM
GunBow

The Eddie Read field actually has four gr.1 winners.  Crowded House won a group 1 as a juvenile back in Europe.  His form the last year has been fairly dreadful though.

21 Jul 2010 11:24 PM
GunBow

One must wonder now if Twirling Candy is the best son of Candy Ride in the John Sadler barn.

I few weeks ago I wrote how impressed I was when I saw Twirling Candy romp in a sprint allowance on Cushion Track. He is a tall, rangy horse with a frame that suggests he is only going to get bigger and stronger.  He is a horse with great speed, but his pedigree and frame suggest that he should be able to get a distance. From today we know he can at least get a mile.

Twirling Candy had been entered, along with stablemate Sidney's Candy, in last Saturday's Swaps.  As I wrote that night, a couple of the TVG analysts expressed to me their belief that Twirling Candy would have comfortably handled Skipshot had he remained in the Swaps.  I agreed and even went as far as to suggest that Sadler should have run Twirling Candy in the Swaps and Sidney's Candy in the Oceanside.  Given today's results, it's hard to be too critical of Sadler's placement because Twirling Candy obviously relished the Jimmy Durante turf course at Del Mar.

My thinking is that Twirling Candy can run on anything.  He was powerful today on turf, but was just as explosive on Hollywood's Cushion Track.  Although it's not guaranteed, Twirling Candy's success on Cushion Track gives me confidence that he can run on conventional dirt.  Twirling Candy does not have the look nor the racing style of one of these stereotypical late-running synth/turf specialists; instead, he won his synthetic races displaying brilliant speed and the ability to maintain a high cruising speed.  Also, it's fairly well accepted that Cushion Track is the closest of the Cali synth surfaces to dirt, and there is a long list of horses that transferred their successful Cushion form to dirt.

As for Twirling Candy possibly bring better than Sidney's Candy, clearly Twirling Candy has much left to accomplish before a comparison to his stablemate is warranted.  However, Twirling Candy appears to be a horse on the upswing and with huge potential while it seems Sidney's progression has stalled somewhat. Also, Twirling Candy is a more impressive physical specimen. Sidney is not a small horse; he has a long body and carries alot of muscle in his chest and rump. While of normal length, Sidney is not very tall, and doesn't have those long, rangy legs many of the better distance horses possess.  During the stretch run of the Swaps, Skipshot eclipsed Sidney, making Sidney look small pinned on the rail. Twirling, on the other hand, has that tall and rangy look which often portends success at classic distances.  

It will be interesting to see how both progress and which races they will be pointed towards.  Logically, Sadler indicated that the Del Mar Derby will be Twirling's main summer objective. After that, a return to synth or perhaps a test-run on  dirt would certainly make sense.

22 Jul 2010 12:26 AM
GunBow

For those at Del Mar today(opening day), how did Twirling Candy behave in the paddock?  Any studdish behavior?

22 Jul 2010 12:27 AM
Bellwether

SOME REEL GOOD GRA$$ ONE$ HAVE COME THROUGH VA...BACK...BACK...BACK...IT$ COMMING BACK!!!...ty...

22 Jul 2010 3:11 AM
Greg J.

Zookeeper,

   Yup!  How about that, I wish I had put more then $20 on her to win!  What a great race, the funny thing is, I placed the $20 on her before I left work on Youbet, I got home and had no power(We had a tornado in CT. yesterday), couldn't watch the race, when I saw she had a dead heat and went off at 30-1, It sure made having no power and all the downed trees more bearable :)

22 Jul 2010 9:06 AM
draynot

itain'teasy,

At least Zenyatta sticks to G1 races and doesn't get races written for her where she only has to face allowance and former claimers. She's in G1 races and has no control over who comes to get her. RA's schedule this year has been a bigger joke than Zenyatta's ever has been.

22 Jul 2010 9:08 AM
Zookeeper

Greg J,

Good score! Congratulations!

What's with the weather in the East. Have they moved CT to the mid-west when nobody was looking? For some reason, I don't associate CT with tornadoes... Scary!

22 Jul 2010 10:20 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  Twirling Candy is definitely a rising star with a great stride. And I'll be shocked if Lava Girl doesn't win Stakes races too. She could be a rising star also. Her demeanor pre race was that of a champion, and it was her first race !!!

22 Jul 2010 10:40 AM
jayjay

Greg J : Congrats, that's what true handicapping is all about.  Finding those types of horses and picking them BEFORE the race.  Nice hit!

22 Jul 2010 1:46 PM
The Rock

GunBow,

How disagree with your statement of Sidney's Candy progression as being stalled. We was coming off a slight layoff and thrown in going 9f's. If the Swaps was a 1/16th of a mile shorter, he wins that race and there's no question about his progression. He was just a short horse going 9f's off the layoff. He was bound to get weary late in the race. I believe he's been ambitiously placed and would believe he'd be better at shorter distances. I believe he'd be very live in a race like the King's Bishop. Especially with that 9f race under his belt. He's got that high crusing speed with a little burst at sprint distances. I hope Sadler & Co. think about the Sprint for him.

22 Jul 2010 6:52 PM
Slew

Gio the King: I so wish you hadn't mentioned Sailor's Cap.  I remember his final race and how good he was.  It cast a shadow on my day knowing he was lost too soon.

I still think there are too few mentions of Bourbon Bay, and what is he doing now...when will we see him run again...he's Gio's biggest competition.

22 Jul 2010 8:13 PM
Gio the King

Sailor's Cap was a great horse, he killed everyone in the bog in the Colonial Turf Cup, he absolutely demolished them! Then he returned against Gio Ponti and Court Vision and ran a good third. As a four year old, he ran a huge race to start off his campaign, I think he got a 107 beyer for his win. He would have definitely made an impact last year. I still think last year's crop was one of the best years by far!

22 Jul 2010 10:32 PM
Tiznowbaby

Off topic, but does anyone know how Global Hunter is doing with his injury?

22 Jul 2010 10:33 PM
Greg J.

Tiznowbaby,

Latest info on Global Hunter:

"Dr. Herthel and Dr. Judy removed Global Hunter's cast yesterday and were very pleased with what they saw. There is no infection of the wound and the xrays are clean! This was one of the more important hurdles to clear because the incision needed for the operation was a large one (40 staples), and due to the swelling of the area it was very difficult for the surgeons to get the skin stitched back. We credit the skill of the medical team involved for this achievement, but the doctors point to the advancement of the hardware technology involved....we think we're right."

"Now there is a smaller, softer cast on Global's right front ankle which exposes his foot and gives him more control and feel of the reconstructed ankle. This will be a little less comfortable for him in the beginning until he acclimates. For that reason Global will be even more closely monitered to make sure he continues to bear equal weight on all four legs. So far the horse is showing the same focus and determination as a patient as he did in the stretch of the 2010 American Handicap."

You can follow his progression on facebook...

22 Jul 2010 11:11 PM
LAZMANNICK

Greg J.

Thanks for the news.  It is much more encouraging although we can never take anything for granted until he completely recovers.

23 Jul 2010 12:16 AM
Tiznowbaby

Thanks Greg J.

Funny enough, I had just come from facebook and was going to answer my own question :)

Fingers crossed for this horse.

23 Jul 2010 3:02 AM
JayB

  The Million lst year seems to have had better horses than who are entered this year, no prescious passion with his 10 lenght lead collapsing in the stretch, I feel the race in Dubai took something away from Gio and getting beat by stablemate Winchester who had a much easier trip was fine, but the Man o War where he closed from harness racing fractions proved he is still the number one turf horse in america and possibly the world. He should be flying at the end, watch last years race as a reminder how good he can be, took the lead at the top of the stretch and opened a few lengths and then 2 horses looked to challenge but jockey hit him once or twice and it was all over. He will be the champ again!!!!!!!!!!!!

16 Aug 2010 8:58 PM

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