Travers Weekend Selections

Travers weekend is here. With any luck Hurricane Irene will hold off until late Saturday night in upstate New York. Whenever it invades your area, here's hoping you and your family stay safe.


Assuming the track stays dry and everyone breaks well, I expect Shackleford to go to the front and Coil to chase him. Stay Thirsty should be among those tracking them from the next group. Shackleford is going to say catch me if you can turning for home and even though he gives it his all every time, I'm betting once again that 1 1/4 miles is beyond what he wants to go.

Coil and Stay Thirsty are just too sharp to ignore right now. Coil's only loss since November came by a head, he is the most explosive runner in this group, his sire won the race, and he has trained very well over the track. The way he ran down Shackleford in the Haskell was brilliant and it proved he can now win from anywhere on the track. The eye scratch he was dealing with last week is behind him. I say Coil wins and establishes himself as the 3-year-old leader, as I predicted in June.

I would be surprised if Stay Thirsty didn't run well. Obviously, he is proven over the track, seems to be in the best form of his life, and his sire also won this race. He is a logical pick; I can't argue with anyone who picks him and he will be included in all exotics.

My price horses are Rattlesnake Bridge and Bowman's Causeway. Rattlesnake Bridge is probably eager to go longer and has the looks of a progressive horse. He steps way up in class and the numbers say he doesn't belong, but he could be coming at the end for a piece. Bowman's Causeway has only a maiden win to show for nine starts. There is no logical reason to think he can handle these, but he seems to be a lot better under Chad Brown, who is as hot as any trainer in the country. And he seems to appreciate distance. Just a hunch.

I know a lot of people are on Ruler On Ice, and there isn't much not to like. He's been as consistent as anyone since the start of the year. But you can't play everyone.

King's Bishop

It's all about Uncle Mo's return. All indications are that he's ready to run big in his comeback and I hope he does. It's one of those races where I won't bet heavily because I have too much of a bias, but from a purely handicapping standpoint it's probably worth taking a shot against him for the top spot. He will be 9-5 or less against a very good field while coming off a four-month layoff and has several other speed horses to deal with. Logically, he's a bet against, even though on sheer talent alone he cannot be dismissed altogether.

I'm going with (some would say chasing) Flashpoint. This brilliantly fast horse is back at a distance that suits him perfectly and is as sharp as he's ever been for Wesley Ward. He comes off a dominating effort in the grade III Jersey Shore and ran the best race of his life in the grade II Hutcheson at seven furlongs. Breaking from the rail, he will have the edge on the other speed and he should be in position to win turning for home. Rain would only help him.

There is so much electrifying speed in here (Mo, Runflatout, Poseidon's Warrior, Dominus) that it's difficult to figure out who can keep up and who will be left is the dust. One horse that may sit just off the leaders and pounce is Justin Phillip, who likes this distance and would move up even more if it's raining. Off-the-pace horses like Caleb's Posse and Cool Blue Red Hot make sense in a race like this, but I say speed kills and Flashpoint and Mo will battle it out to the wire.

Pacific Classic

Out at Del Mar, the race for the top older horse in California is on the line and once again Twirling Candy will be favored at a distance he has not proven he wants. Will Sunday be any different? I say that this is the day he puts it all together, partly because he seems to prefer Del Mar, but mainly because other than Game On Dude, I don't see many other viable options to beat him.

Ten furlongs is probably not ideal for Twirling Candy, but he did run very well in the Hollywood Gold Cup and was only beaten a neck. He has come back to work very well since then, including a sharp one-mile breeze on Sunday. He is still the most talented horse in this group.

There is really no to think Game On Dude won't run well either. Those two could battle to the wire, just as they did in early July. Acclamation is the wild card I think. He is obviously a top-caliber turf horse and is proven at the distance, but it's a whole different race on synthetics and I'm inclined to pass.

Setsuko, though he never wins, is usually around the money and is probably a good horse to use in exotics.

Quick picks

Ballston Spa: Aviate to rebound if the turf is firm

Victory Ride: Maple Forest wire-to-wire

Ballerina: Hilda's Passion

Personal Ensign: Protesting in an upset over Super Espresso

Pat O'Brien: Smiling Tiger



Leave a Comment:

steve from st louis

It's Bob Baffert's world; we're just watching him get his picture taken--Coil.

26 Aug 2011 12:16 PM

Baffert has been targeting the Travers for Coil all along.  Coil is dangerous from anywhere.  The more I look at Stay Thirsty's pedigee the more I like him.  I think this is a two horse affair with Baffert coming out on top.

I would look for Smiling Tiger to pick up his 4th Grade 1 victory.  He's super consistent against the top sprinters and routers (Lookin at Lucky, Amazombie, Noble's Promise, Twirling Candy).  He just screams class of the race. I think he has failed to hit the board once in his lifetime.  He's also dangerous from anywhere.  

26 Aug 2011 12:36 PM


Hoping for Uncle Mo in KB but will be placing money on Flashpoint or Caleb's Posse.

26 Aug 2011 12:59 PM

Coil is a tired horse and I don't expect him to hit the board.  The race is between Shack and Stay Thirsty.  Box them for the exacta and I am still on Shack for the win.  I will have to see Stay Thirsty beat Shack to believe he is a better horse.  The King's Bishop is all about Uncle Mo and how he will dominate a good field.  After he whips this field many will then look at the field and tell us how bad it was and how he should have won by 5.  If you don't remember what a healthy Uncle Mo looks like please look at last years Breeders Cup race.

26 Aug 2011 1:33 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Dray. You are a tired handicapper and we dont expect you to hit a race.

26 Aug 2011 1:34 PM
The Rock

Agree with you on the Ballston Spa, Ballerina, Travers & Pacific Classic.

Pat O'Brien: Like The Factor. Not a lot of speed unless Rosario pushes with ST.

Victory Ride: Funny Sunny

Del Mar Mile: Our Natique. Could get loose on the lead. Already won the SF Mile.

Del Mar feature Friday: Mutually Benefit. Proctor stable has been hot.

26 Aug 2011 1:34 PM

Coils tired from what?  This will be only his 5th start of the year!  Sound likes the recent HOY schedule.  Your sitting on the tired pick.

Dray I think your confused as to how a trainer "races" a horse into shape after an injury.  7/9 He places in the Swaps and then Baffert wheels him right back in 3 weeks in the Haskell 7/31 after a cross country trip and runs against a Triple Crown group.  Sounds pretty fit to me.

Then he blows a 46 and change work over the track the the day.

Sure looks like Coil needs 6-8 months off.  

26 Aug 2011 2:22 PM
Carlos in Cali

Once again the Philly Philanthropist(pubs/bars) aka Jason Shandler comes out with guns ablazing. LOL!

26 Aug 2011 2:54 PM
Jason Shandler

Good point Householder: Whether Coil wins or not, he is certainly not a tired horse. He just worked 4F in :46-flat and like you said, has only made five starts this year. Ironically, Dray's pick is the one that would be more likely to be a tired horse since he has raced nine times. Handicapping 101 Dray.  

26 Aug 2011 2:57 PM

Mo takes the money and Flashpoint takes the win.  Flashpoint is capable of a 1:08 and change 6f and 1:22 and change 7f.  His 2 worst races were routing.  

Mo's been out since early April and is now ask to do something he has not done (sprint) since breaking his maiden and do it in a Grade 1.  

Seems a strange spot for Mo.    

26 Aug 2011 2:58 PM

Stay Thirsty is tipped to outstay Shackleford and company in the Travers. Expect good runs from Rattlesnake Bridge and Ruler on Ice.

In the King's Bishop I anticipate an impressive display of sprinting power from Flashpoint, although Uncle Mo should not be disgraced coming off the layoff.  Caleb's Posse will be flying late for a piece and Justin Phillips will tenaciously be trying to hang around at the wire.

In the Pacific Classic Twirling Candy should gain sweet revenge on Game On Dude and in the Pat O'Brien Smiling Tiger collars The Factor in the final furlong for the win.

Have fun folks.

26 Aug 2011 3:37 PM
The Rock

Forgot about the King's Bishop. Like Jason, going against Mo' due to price and for me, the layoff. Who knows what that thing he had did to him. At evens, i'll try to beat him. Like Flashpoint, but that rail is a killer. Justin Phillip has that tactical speed and solid 3/8th's move. He just has a problem sustaining it. Love that Runflatout is turning back. He scored a big beyer on the Dirt @ Santa Anita in the winter, and finally gets back on dirt here. Class is the issue, but at above 8/1, I'll take a stab.

26 Aug 2011 4:41 PM

Jason. Not only does Shack have 9 races in him, 3 of those were run within a 35 day period with the Belmont ran WAY beyond his preferred distance.  He's an honest horse with a big heart who gets my respect, but you got to let him re-fill his tank once in a while.  He'll be up against it again here.

26 Aug 2011 4:46 PM

Draynay, in the past couple years I've looked at your picks and have made a nice little profit by throwing them out. For that, I thank you!

26 Aug 2011 4:47 PM

The Travers looks like a nice upset waiting to happen. Raison d'Etat should love the distance, and has great connections who have not rushed him to this point. Big upside improvement expected. Box him with Coil and see what happens.

Calebs Posse and Flashpoint in KB. Way too many what ifs with Uncle Mo.

26 Aug 2011 4:57 PM

All the races seem very chalky to me, but I'll give it a whirl.

Travers: Coil, Stay Thirsty,  Raison D'Etat

Reluctantly not using shackleford (last time I said this he won the Preakness)

WPS money on Rattlesnake Bridge

Dray: WTF? nuff said.

King's Bishop: Flashpoint, Caleb's Posse, Dominus

I hope Uncle Mo is able to finish well, but I won't be using him at 9/5.

Pacific Classic: Game on Dude, Twirling Candy, Setsuko

Maybe some turf horse like acclamation or Jeranimo can sneak in there.

Pat O'Brien: Caracortado (if he enters) The Factor, Smiling Tiger, Crown of Thorns

Caracortado will win whatever race he enters, almost positive he'll run in the del mar mile.

To Honor and Serve looked nice winning by open lengths today.

Good luck to all!

26 Aug 2011 5:19 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. I am in for Uncle Mo, athough this is not a day at the beach in his first start back. But my heart is with him, so that's where I am going. I think Coil is the one to beat but my heart is with Thirsty. He has just improved so much. ITA with those that think Shackleford won't like the distance. Would love to see Thirsty win this one.

26 Aug 2011 5:30 PM

If you like playing underlays, then by all means play Uncle Mo!

26 Aug 2011 6:44 PM

What a difference a year makes!  

109.21 nets a 14-15 length victory for Uncle Mo last year.  

109.21 tomorrow puts Mo a full second behind Flashpoint.

26 Aug 2011 6:52 PM

I like Coil and Stay Thirsty in the Travers.  I agree that Shackleford will run his heart out but he isn't going to beat these 2 at 10 furlongs.

I'd love to see Uncle Mo dominate in his return, but after a four month layoff it is probably a bit much to ask against Flashpoint at this distance.  

Game On Dude in the Pac Classic.

And no one is really talking about the return of The Factor who was one of the most scintillating 3 year olds on the Derby trail before he was sidelined.  I'm absolutely ecstatic to see him return!  I love Caracortado but I don't think he'd catch a fit Factor or Smiling Tiger for that matter.  This race should be just as thrilling as the 2 at Saratoga.

So it seems like it should be a chalky weekend but with this crop of 3 year olds you never know.

26 Aug 2011 7:24 PM

I think one of the new contenders in the major 3yo races will win either rattlesnakebridge or r detat.I think ruler on ice wont hit the board, and 1 1/4 is too far for shack.I like the numbers 1,2,6,7,9,10 in the exotics stay thirsty has run over the track with a win but I think he likes to be inside, with shack in 10 he might follow him out of the gate and I dont think he gets a good trip this time, but I wont leave him off my ticket for 2nd thru 4th.Ruler on ice I will pass on he has great slop pedigree as helped him in the belmont and ran in the money last time at his home track.I wont leave coil off my ticket either but this field is stronger than the haskell.

26 Aug 2011 7:30 PM
Old Timer

Dray, you may be right, but my feeling is that Shackelford won't hit the board even if you carried him the last 1/8. Forestry is not a classic distance sire. In addition, Coil did not look too tired in that workout. I'd bet Coil and box Coil, Stay Thirsty and Ruler on Ice.

I hope that Uncle Mo can make his come back a winning one. However putting money on a horse who hasn't had a race in months and was ill and will be less than 2-1 is crazy in my book. He does have Pletcher going for him. For a price, however, I'd bet Justin Phillip in the KB.

26 Aug 2011 7:31 PM

I'm lovin Motts runner in the Travers...this colt can run till the cows come home and not blow out a candle. Why would Mott enter in here off an over nite stake. He be closing when Shack and Coil are lookin for the bench. Thirsty ain't gettin an ez quarter like he got in the Haskell. Lookin for Ruler on Ice to improve off Jersy run, and lastly think Rattlesnack can shake up an exotic play...good luck to all. Here's hopin that the 'Mo man returns and gives a strong showing. He aint gettin my cash, but then again, am not a fan of playin an even money shot. It would be damn good for the game if he came back strong.

26 Aug 2011 8:15 PM
Carlos in Cali

Travers: Coil looks tough in here,Martin Garcia is a good judge of pace so he'll place him in the right spot.Stay Thirsty has obviously improved since the spring and is almost unbeatable in NY.Shackleford is game and his trainer said they're sending him,but 10f is too much for him.I say after his grueling TC races combined with his front running style he gets cooked in here and fades out-of-the-money.Ruler On Ice is probably more effective when he's closer to a moderate pace,only if they stagger home does he have a shot to win,IMO.Raison d'Etat has never met this kind,he is improving though and his #'s fit with these.Connections took their time w/him and had no real expectations until this summer because of his pedigree...BINGO! He's my longshot play. I'll play> wheel-box Coil,Stay Thirsty,Raison d'Etat on top w/ROI in bottom of exotics.

Pacific Classic:  I have no idea why Twirling Candy is favored over Game on Dude,he has already finished behind the latter twice @ 10f.The field isn't that tough so class should prevail here.I'll play> The Dude on top w/TC,Setsuko,Acclamation wheel-box in exotics.

King's Bishop: The pace should be blazing with Flashpoint on the rail.WWard was not happy w/the draw,he said they'll be gunning for the lead.I'll try and beat Uncle Mo in here for obvious reasons(short odds/lay-off).I like the fact Runflatout's connections think he belongs in here,love the cut-back in distance and I personally think his best chance to win is if they rate him behind horses like they did in the Affirmed where he closed strongly vs. Coil.He's my longshot play.Caleb's Posse will get a hot pace to run down again.I'll play> wheel-box Runflatout,Caleb's Posse w/UM w/Flashpoint in exotics.

Pat O'Brien: The Factor should control the race/pace in here,catch him to win.Smiling Tiger will finish ITM as usual. I'll play> Chalk! wheel-box The Factor,Smiling Tiger w/Caracortado,Crown of Thorns in exotics.

To Honor and Serve did look dominant today,quick splits and he finished well.He'll have to prove he can beat anyone of significance though.We'll see.

26 Aug 2011 8:35 PM

Pletcher and Repole know Mo has to win big and Coil to loose if Thirsty or Mo have shots at the 3YO crown. Shackleford's blind connections have him running too far again sadly. Should be such a great day to watch races! Hope the weather doesn't get too bad and all the east coast horses are safe Sat night...I thought The Factor had the other F word thrown around this spring...Freak? Not sure I liked the speculation that Baffert really wanted another weak for him though...good safe trip to all!

26 Aug 2011 8:47 PM

Folks,  the only thing I am truly confident about this weekend is that Game on Dude will finish ahead of Twirling Candy.

26 Aug 2011 8:53 PM

Here's my Saratoga $1M Pick 4 ticket:  2,5,6/2,6,7/1/2,7,9.

26 Aug 2011 9:30 PM

My thoughts on those I consider major factors:

ACCLAMATION’S 7 lifetime wins are all on turf and even though turf horses usually do well on synthetics, he is zero for 6 on the surface.  The distance won’t hurt, but the surface will and he will also have early speed to contend with in Don Cavallo and Game on Dude.  Tough spot.

BOURBON BAY might be one to reckon with after his 12F pulling away victory in the G3 Cougar when he was more than 4 lengths ahead of Setsuko.  If Setsuko can always be a factor with these, then I have to like Bourbon Bay.  The thing to remember is that in the final quarter of that 12F race his individual time was 24.21 seconds, very impressive, especially since the preceding quarter was in 25.82, a 1.61 second gain (8 lengths) in the 6th quarter of the race.  His United Nations race was all over the place, up close early, dropped way back, then came on again in the end.  Joe Talamo will ride him for the second straight time and he is one hot jock right now and as for weight, this guy always carries in excess of 120 lbs.  I also realize that that Bourbon Bay is a turf specialist with 6 of his 7 lifetime victories on grass, but his last was on synthetics (he is 1 for 2 on synths.), and he won that race on the often difficult Delmar surface.  Definitely a major player

SETSUKO, in truth, is still only a maiden winner (on synthetics) in 15 lifetime races.  However, he has 6 seconds and four of them are in graded stakes.  A concern now is that he will have to carry equal weights and is actually picking up 6 lbs. and carrying over 120 lbs. for the first time since all the way back to last year’s SA Derby.  His works don’t particularly jump out.  I consider him an opportunist who might pick up a share.  Minor player.

GAME ON DUDE looks like he is poised to run on or near the lead and will possibly be hounded by Don Cavallo, and Acclamation.  Though I like neither of those two for the win, I firmly believe that there efforts will have an affect on the early part of the race for sure and, Game on Dude, if he battles with one or both will be drained physically for that stretch run.  He has been working extremely well with that mile in 1.38 H two works ago and a sharp 5F in 59.1 which makes me feel they will be up close and personal.  Major player.

QUINDICI MAN occasionally shows something against this kind but he needs a setup and he could actually be a factor in deep stretch if the others run each other out.  I like him better than the balance.  Long shot.

That leaves TWIRLING CANDY.  This time he will not be giving weight like he did in the SAH when he gave the top three (after being bumped into submission) 7 and 8 lbs., nor the HGC when he lost by a nose and a neck while giving 4 and 6 lbs.  He has worked tremendously, coming out every week like clockwork for the past five weeks, is coming off three straight bullets and has built his stamina starting at 4F and progressing through 5F, 6F, 7F and a mile.  The mile work in 1.37.4 H was sensational, but so was the 6F (1/29) in 1.11.3 H and the 7F in 1.25.1 H.  The major key is if they can get him to relax.  Judging by his work pattern that looks like the plan and if Rosario gets him behind horses for at least a part of it and lets him go at the right time, I think the race is his.  Major Player

1. Bourbon Bay……I think he pulls the upset

2. Twirling Candy……will still fight the bit too much

3. Quindici Man……lay back off the pace and close in the end.

26 Aug 2011 9:57 PM

The Travers:

Coil……is a G1 winner of a race that included the Preakness and Belmont winners……has tactical speed but needs to relax and be placed about mid pack, not too far back……his works at the Spa (4F 46H <1/16>, 6F 1.13B <1/2>, 4F 46B <1/32>) and recorded on good and fast tracks which suggests that he is very sharp and adapts well to the Saratoga surface……always closes but perhaps was on the bit too much two starts ago, a mistake they won’t make twice…..Pick on the basis of his final better individual 3/8ths to Stay Thirsty in 36.57.

Stay Thirsty……got to like a horse that can run well on the often difficult (when around two turns) Saratoga track (he has 2 wins and a 2nd in three starts at the Spa)……..his best races (all) have been on the NYRA circuit……can get the 10F and can stay close enough so that he doesn’t get lost back there in the event there is any kind of a speed or front end bias……runs well on an off track as well as a fast one, and has the best last race Beyer……second on basis of slower final 3/8ths to Coil’s in 37.36.

J W Blue……long shot special for third……big close in the Barbaro in last (13L and missed by a neck)……working well at Saratoga…….closed extremely well from far back in the Tesio (13L and missing by 2) but only a neck behind Ruler On Ice who then went out and won the Belmont……third by passing tired horses and out gunning other closers.

26 Aug 2011 10:55 PM
Forbidden Apple

Ballston Spa: Mekong Melody

Victory Ride: Oflee Wicked

Kings Bishop: Flashpoint

Travers: Rattlesnake Bridge/Coil exacta box

26 Aug 2011 11:31 PM
Master E

I cant stand by and let you dismiss dra Shackleford is the winner of the Travers his tactical speed and heart will prevail.Although it has nothing to do with Coil being a tired horse Shacklefords just a better racehorse his defeat in the Haskell was hardly a disgrace he rebroke 3 times in the race and Coil was practlicly pulling himselp up after passing him just giving Baffert concern

26 Aug 2011 11:56 PM

Flashpoint, but I am hoping for some good runs by Uncle Mo and Runflatout.

Travers:  Bowmans Causeway is coming up good --did some nice running recently.  Too bad that Shackleford might be going just that little bit too long.  I like StayThirsty better than Coil but for no reason.

Bourbon Bay can get the distance although I have always liked the Candy Ride's in any races.


What a whacky year for 3yo's and weather!  To top it all off, I have further back to back weirdness tomorrow: first, a funeral and then, a wedding.

Seems like the right time for upsets.

27 Aug 2011 12:33 AM


Bourbon Bay is scratched out of the Pacific Classic.


I hope Flashpoint can get some back for you.  The KB at 7F is much better for him than the Preakness.  Uncle Mo has way, way, way too much to do coming back after all he's been through, will not use him.

KB:  Caleb's Posse to win and box him with Flashpoint and Runflatout for an exacta.

Travers: Coil to win, box him with Stay Thirsty and ROI for an ex.  Shack will be backing up.

Pacific Classic:  Game on Dude win only.

Pat O'Brien:  Look no further than The Factor--best bet of the weekend.

A great weekend of racing, Good Luck to all!

27 Aug 2011 12:37 AM
Matthew W

Great Travers Day Card! The Midsummer Derby lured the Preakness/Belmont winners--and I like them both! Will box Shackleford/Ruler On Ice, and play them both to win....Kings Bishop came up strong--too bad The Factor didn't show up, but its still one tough race--I'll box Uncle Mo/Caleb's Posse/Runflatout, and remind you Runflatout ran one of the finest debut races, and it was on dirt....Tamarind Hall in Ballerina....I also like Funny Sunny coming back quickly in the Victory Ride...what a card! Uncle Mo faces a tough task--there is good speed/good close in there, he drew nice, outside the speed, where he should stalk--he should be good enough, his races last year were nothing short of spectacular--speaking of spectacular, tonight (friday), in a 40k purse at Los Al, a future star goes in the race (race #9): the grey filly, 3 for 3, A First Down Snow, 3-1, yeah, right--she'll be 3-2 maybe! Am leaning towards Jeranimo and Tres Borrachos from off the pace--for that matter, I wonder if it's time to take Twirling back at the start, and give him a target....LOVE Factor over Smiling Sun--think Smiling wants 6fur over 7fur--love him in BC, unless Sidney runs--but think he'll hang this Sun at 7fur...

27 Aug 2011 12:42 AM

Rangulzion has been reading my mind all week(or maybe I've been reading his), and it continues.

Travers: Stay Thirsty and Shack.  Saratoga has been a weird track and I don't think Baffert was purely bluffing when voicing his displeasure.  He's had a couple of stakes runners finish up the track.

King's Bishop: Flashpoint, Caleb's Posse.  If Mo wins he's a other-worldly.

Pacific Classic.  Twirling Candy

Carlos, you are correct that Game on Dude is the better 10 furlong horse on most maintrack surfaces.  But not turf, and I anticipate not Polytrack.  Game on Dude's style doesn't fit the track profile.  Game on Dude is about setting solid paces of 23, 47, 111, and 135/136 and stretching the field out so it becomes a war of attrition.  That style doesn't typically do well around 2 turns on Polytrack.  My guess is the race turns into a sprint for home, and Game on Dude's strength is not his acceleration.

Acclimation is the x-factor.  Surface aside, he's the best horse in the field(3-time gr.1 winner).  Last year I would've said he has no chance, and I'm skeptical this year.  However, I was skeptical of him in the Eddie Read, and then he won in a laugher.  Clearly, Acclimation is running at a different level now, and he is a beast of talent.  If a horse wins this by running away from the field on the far turn, it will be him.  But ultimately I'll just need to see him do it first before I'm a full believer.  

Pat O Brien: I say Smiling Tiger catches The Factor late.  But Baffert knows how to beat Smiling Tiger, and The Factor is the type of horse he's had success doing this with.  There's not much pace to go with The Factor, so Smiling Tiger MUST break well.  If not, it's over and The Factor cruises.  I also worry that Smiling Tiger is just 1 for 5 over the surface.  If Smiling Tiger breaks well and The Factor still runs away from him in the stretch, then The Factor is also other-worldly.

27 Aug 2011 4:25 AM
Mike from Michigan

Ballerina-Sassy's Image

King's Bishop-Flahpoint

Pat O'brien-Smiling Tiger

Travers-Rattlesnake Bridge

Best Bet: Del Mar Mile-Champ Pegasus

27 Aug 2011 6:02 AM

Kings Bishop:

Tons of speed really like Calebs Posse coming of the pace.


Stay Thirsty.

Upset hance to Bownas Causway Brown hot

Good Luck to all  

27 Aug 2011 9:37 AM


I see you like Stay Thirsty. I consider him a risky proposition as he has never won consecutive races. Below are some historic data that you might find useful.


2010:  Afleet Express dam sire Distant Review - Mr. Prospector (RAN)

2008:  Colonel John dam sire Tukoman -Alydar (RAN)

2006: Bernardini dam sire Quirt American -Fappiano Mr. P. (RAN)

2005: Flower Alley dam sire Lycius - Mr. Prospector (RAN)

2003: Ten Most Wanted dam sire Criminal Type - Alydar (RAN)

2001: Point Given dam sire - Tukoman -Alydar (RAN

You will note 6 of the last 10 Traverse winners’ dams were form Raise A Native dam line led by Mr. Prospector and Alydar. There is a bred in the purple colt in the 2011 renewal of the Travers. See Below:

Raison D’etat dam sire Distant Review - Mr. Prospector (RAN)

Moonshine Mullin dam sire Distant Review - Mr. Prospector (RAN)

Can broodmares from Distant Review produce consecutive Traverse winners? The best way to answer this question is to reference the 4th and 5th Triple Crown winners War Admiral and Whirlaway. These consecutive TC winners were both produced from broodmares sires by Sweep. One colt is at 10-1 and the other 20-1. On PP they do not have a ghost of a chance of to win but it’s a horse race and strange things happen at times.

27 Aug 2011 10:41 AM

King’s Bishop

If I was betting real money this race would definitely be a pass.  A race like this is why they call it gambling.

Caleb’s Posse……didn’t beat a fairly strong field in the Amsterdam with horses like Wine Police, To Honor and Serve and Travelin Man struggling lately and today’s opponent, Justin Phillip, having no excuse; but it’s the way he won it that impressed.  He stalked the pace, closed like a confident winner, winning by four with his final 5/16ths in 30.02.  He also has a router’s foundation which will bode well when the real prolonged running starts.  His win was also on the Saratoga surface and his works are just fast enough to keep him sharp……Pick

Flashpoint……rocketed home in the Jersey Shore, but beat only three undistinguished horses and his closing quarter, while visibly impressive, was a rather slow 24.27, well off his previous quarter of 22.67.  He might have been shutting down at the end, but it is important to note that when they hit the half he was head and head and at the 8th poll was only a little more than a length in front and this against competition much weaker than he will meet today.  This win was also in the mud and was his first win since dominating the Hutchison in February, also at 7F.  I think he will have some pure speed to deal with and that will take the starch out of him and set it up for Caleb’s Posse.  Second.  

Uncle Mo……While I am a true blue Mo fan, I think that he is going to be in tough because of his circumstance of the past 5 months.  This is a sharp group right now and they are sharp because they have been on the track competing in tough races while Mo has been recovering and getting ready for his ultimate goal, which will be a BC race of some kind in November.  I also (what do I know) don’t think that a win here is the ultimate goal for his connections.  What he really needs to do is run a really, really good race so they have something positive to build on.  Quite often when horses come back they run a good race (maybe not their best, a mediocre race (bounce), and then are ready for their best race, the third of their form cycle.  So as much as I think Mo will run well today and would love to see him win, I don’t think he will and if betting the race would look elsewhere.  Third.

27 Aug 2011 11:07 AM

First off, in the Kings Bishop, you cannot compare times from different years from different tracks to each other. Flashpoint ran that 1.08 over a sloppy and speed biased Monmouth main track, as a three year old. Mo ran his 1.09 over a dry, deep and demanding Saratoga as a juvenile. What you can compare, while noting the track differences, is how each came to the wire. Uncle Mo was under wraps after running each furlong of the race in 11 and change, that includes his final furlong, where he was under wraps. For that track, consecutive 11's even over 6fl is just unheard of in recent years. Discreetly Mine, that same day came home his final furlong in around 13 seconds.

Flashpoint ran a very fast final time at Monmouth, but again, it is Monmouth that is to be expected. His fractions were extremely impress, but yet again you have to account for the track. A muddy sealed main track at Monmouth is almost always very quick. The same cannot be said about Saratoga, which has show this year that it can be extremely demanding.

Seeing that his is on the rail and has an abundance of speed to his outside, Flashpoint will either have to take his chances with getting in a heated speed duel with PW, while also being hounded by Dominous, Mo, and RFO. Or he can also take his chances with trying to rate back then getting boxed in on the rail.

Uncle Mo being on the outside of all the speed will be able to relax into a good beat while Johnny V can adjusts to what is going on inside of him.

27 Aug 2011 11:21 AM

King's Bishop:

The Mighty Mo is back. I was of the opinion that the decisions made prior to his 3YO debut were bad. However, the one to enter him in this race equates to craziness. The Mighty Mo has never competed against such a formidable field. The field contains a number of contenders who are capable of 44 plus for a half mile. The Mighty Mo is coming back from a substance induced liver problem. To put such stress on this colt can only result in something bad. This decision could back fire and end this colt’s racing career. The $1M PA derby must have been an easier spot for a return race.

How will The Mighty Mo win? He cannot lead this field. He cannot track the leaders and kick clear as he is not sharp enough to quicken pass Flashpoint and Poseidon's Warrior. These are the colts I expect to be in front at the top of the stretch.  This race will be completed in about 1:21 plus. To ask a colt returning from sickness to content in race that fast is plum crazy. The colt is good but not exceptional. Bad decision!


Poseidon's Warrior

Caleb's Posse


I am of the opinion Poseidon's Warrior can upset this field and could go on to be a major player in the sprint division. Has thoroughbred racing driven me crazy? Probably!  

27 Aug 2011 11:31 AM
Bob from Boston

Stay Thirsty, Coil, Shack, Ruler on Ice.

Irene to show.

27 Aug 2011 12:04 PM

Bob from Boston,

With that comment about Irene to show,  confirms that you are all wet.

27 Aug 2011 12:24 PM

Ballaston- Mekong Melody

King's Bishop- Runflatout (Zookeeper!)

Travers- Raison d'Etre (Sightseek!)

Pac Classic- Stately Victor

Pat'Obrien- The Factor (have to think Baffert has him ready to roll after two stellar 6 furlong works)

27 Aug 2011 1:27 PM

Bourbon Bay a scratch

Twirling Candy

Quindici Man

Game On Dude.

27 Aug 2011 1:27 PM


I agree that J W Blue can hit the board at a huge price. I was extremely impressed by his performance in the Barbaro Stakes last time out, where I thought that he moved too soon. Seven lengths behind after six furlongs, he launched a huge bid that took him to the lead before he was caught on the wire by Awesome Bet. And he was third to Ruler On Ice in the Federico Tesio Stakes despite encountering traffic in the stretch. In my opinion, he will get the mile and a quarter distance better than most.

Another factor which makes me like his chances is that he is trained by Anthony Dutrow, who doesn't run horses where he doesn't think they have a chance. I have this feeling that J W Blue is set to run the race of his life. Will his best be enough to win? To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be surprised if he does win.


27 Aug 2011 2:08 PM

Travers: Coil, Shackleford, Stay Thirsty

King´s Bishop: Flashpoint, Justin Phillip, Dominus

Pacific: Twirling Candu, Setsuko, Game on Dude

27 Aug 2011 2:20 PM

my picks for saratoga

ballston spa: tapits fly dale said she'll run big

Victory ride: AZ warrior and funny sunny to spice things up lol

Ballerina: tar heel mom is the only horse i can see beating sassy image.

Kings bishop:i like dominus alot i think he'll run lights out. ill use him with cool blue red hot and calebs posse. i think its too much for uncle mo. i can see him hitting the board but if he wins it will have to be a marvelous performance.

Travers: i like shackleford but i think bowmans causeway can cause an upset. dominguez has been himself lately and i take that as a good sign. plus he's always there at the finish. i think coil will be a heavy favorite. i also like raison d'etat for the upset. i gotta say its a good travers field.

Personal ensign: i like tiz miss sue and protesting

Pat O'brien: i gotta go with the factor and i use crown of thorns with him.

Pacific classic: i think game on dude will run a big race chantel stays aboard what more can you ask. i like statly victor for the upset and ill use setsuko with them.

Good Luck everyone and stay safe!!!

27 Aug 2011 2:30 PM

Just going to try a late pick4 at Saratoga.


27 Aug 2011 3:44 PM
Mike Relva


Good luck today w/ RFO.

27 Aug 2011 5:10 PM
Mike Relva

Coil,TC,RFO,The Factor for the win.

27 Aug 2011 5:12 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, Uncle Mo ran a really great race after such a long layoff. Very impressive. Caleb's Posse just nosed him out. Pretty much  tie in my book. I am not sure I see Mo in the classic. The sprint but not the longer distance I think.

27 Aug 2011 5:21 PM


I think caleb's Posse is going to be the best sprinter this year because of the fact that he has that ability to close so fast from so far back in the stretch.

I also think that Uncle Mo won't be bothering with sprints or even the mile from here on is.  The way he rated and went when JV said go tells me that he just might be the one to beat when the BCC rolls around.  Great race from both.

27 Aug 2011 5:22 PM

Uncle Mo is gonna comeback and reclaim past glory huh? Seems it wasn't that long ago I was hearing the same thing being said about Rachel Alexandra and we all know how that played out.

27 Aug 2011 5:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Congrats to Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher on their win! Really happy Thirsty did so well (my pick woohoo). He is the best 3 year old in the country right now. He has two great horses in Mo and Thirsty.

27 Aug 2011 5:52 PM

Well, I have been saying all year that the two best 3yos, in terms of numbers, in America, are Stay Thirsty and To Honor And Serve. Nice to see I am not far off the mark. You just cannot beat DRF Speed Figure+Track Variant, no matter how you try.

Today I had a great day. That exacta was sweet.

Castellano has found the key to Stay Thirsty. Pletcher had thought the horse needed blinkers. He tried the blinkers in the Spring but they did not help.

Stay Thirsty is similar to a horse Angel Cordero rode years ago, Sunshine Forever. He becomes somewhat disoriented towards the second turn and has to be ridden hard to stay in touch. Nice to see Castellano has found the key.

Now can he beat To Honor And Serve? We will see.

27 Aug 2011 6:21 PM

RANAGULZION and LAZMANNICK great handicapping.  I follow both of your picks and would love some "training" on how you do it--cause as my girlfriend says, my handicapping sucks.  She picks by numbers and names and does better than I do after tons of research.  

27 Aug 2011 6:30 PM

Greetings Jason and all from Meknes Morocco.  Finally found a nephew and neice of my husband's with an internet connection.  Congrats to Stay Thirsty, wow great job.  Mo ran huge and looks great, gosh he almost got it.  Congrats to Mo too, I am thinking about him here in Morocco.  Those back east stay safe with the bad weather coming.  I cannot play the race replays so all I have are the articles so far.  Going to see the Arabian horses next week.  Miss all of you bloggers.

27 Aug 2011 7:16 PM

i guess i can say uncle mo is back that was a great performance by him looking forward to his next race. although i think the cigar mile will be a perfect race for him by the end of the year.(long term wise)stay thirsty ran  a great race but i think that he has to win the gold cup or breeders cup to solidify his chances of top 3yr old. poor shackleford and coil I hope they came out of the race sound.

27 Aug 2011 8:08 PM

Wow!  Today is a showcase of Pletcher's talent:  Hilda: more than bouncing back; Stay Thirsty:  potential achieved; Mo: awesome effort in the toughest possible return to racing for him...a really great horse race!

Jason:  when is Todd eligible for the Hall of Fame?

27 Aug 2011 8:33 PM
Jason Shandler

Stay Thirsty was brilliant and Mo was game in defeat. But Mo lugged in badly at the end, I wonder how he will come out of it.

skyfire: Pletcher? He makes a mockery of the sport every weekend. He owns the sport.

27 Aug 2011 10:39 PM

Hopefully people will stop raving about Uncle Mo already. He's a nice horse, but no superstar. No horse should be called super at age 2; they're too young. Real racing doesn't start til age 3. Stay Thirsty's the real star of Repole and Pletcher's barn.

Looks like Draynay was right for once. Coil was a tired horse.

27 Aug 2011 11:28 PM


Unless Mo picked up some kind of an injury, I wouldn't worry too much about him lugging in.  Seven furlongs is one of the most difficult distances to race, too long for a true sprint and too short for a true route.  This was a demanding race and JV was very patient and for the first time Mo actually rated nicely several lengths off the fast pace, which could be part of their learning strategy.  However, he closed his final 3/8ths in 35.97, excellent for a guy that hasn’t raced in several months.  Caleb’s Posse was just too ready for him and actually closed his final 3/8ths in 35.02.  Great race for both.

28 Aug 2011 12:54 AM

I don’t know what happened with Coil, but he never ran an inch.  He reminded me of Inglorious last week who ran virtually the same race and was beaten by 35L compared to Coil’s 41.  Inglorious might have had a synthetic to dirt excuse, but Coil didn’t, having come from Monmouth.  Usually when a horse shows absolutely nothing, as opposed to at least being in the race and then falling back, something is wrong.

28 Aug 2011 1:01 AM
Matthew W

The Kings Bishop Beyer should be high--and Uncle Mo ran lights out--so did Stay Thirsty--think Twirling Candy must take back--and if Aclimation runs like his Eddie Read--thry're all in trouble--will play Jeranimo, also think he'll creep up in odds--he should sit a good trip--maybe even get first run (!!) am thinking about boxing Acclamation/Jeranimo/Tres Borrachos--I wouldn't bet Twirlybird with your money, and Jeranimo hobknobs with Caracortado on the grass, and that places him near the top, class-wise--I like a closer, which is why I bet Jeranimo and Tres Borrachos--I bet Acclamation because his latest race was superb--the kind, as they say--and I'm a sucker for a Cal-Bred, or a New York Bred, for that matter, but leave him off your exacta box at your own peril! But if he can just get Jeranimo to relax, and sit an inside trip through the clubhouse turn--he should come out of that four lengths back--and he'll get first run--hoping for a strong pace, and we'll see if he gets the distance--but there is pace! He has (turf) class--I' give Jeranimo a punter's chance tom, I'll play him across the board--now I am hoping Pedroza waits on him--and pounces to the fronb, turning for home--14, 15-1 and I'll thank you very much--"GERONIMO"!!!!

28 Aug 2011 2:07 AM


Stay Thirsty won as the best horse, no doubt.  And he should be ranked the #1 three year old male.  But, not by alot.  The Eclipse is still wide open.  And to win or even hit the board in the Breeder's Cup Classic Stay Thirsty's going to have to do something he has yet to do, run well outside the state of New York.

Aesthetically, I just did not find the Travers very appealing.  I give Stay Thirsty credit for being up on a solid pace, but he came home in 26 and change.  That's slow.  

But the fact they were walking down the stretch is more of an indictment of the horses behind Stay Thirsty.  At least Stay Thirsty was involved and battling the entire way.  What's the excuse for Coil or Ruler on Ice?  With Stay Thirsty staggering in the stretch, the race was open for some horse to come pick up the pieces, but while Rattlesnake Bridge and JW Blue flirted with doing so, ultimately they didn't have the class or talent to pull it off.  If there had been a a truly quality mid-pack runner or closer in the field, they would have caught Stay Thirsty the final sixteenth.

While I clearly am not overwhelmed by Stay Thirsty, the fact is, in this sub-par crop of classic horses, a repeat of his Travers is likely to be good enough to beat his contemporaries down the road in the big Fall races.  But if the Travers really did represent the best this crop currently has to offer, ugh.  On the bright side, it's not like the older males are anything great, so a horse like Stay Thirsy will certainly have a punchers chance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and maybe even the BC Classic.  In the JCGC, at least we know Stay Thirsty wants the distance, while Tizway remains a question.

It was tough watching Shackleford and Coil run so poorly.  Saratoga has been playing oddly, very deep and tiring; horses with a race over the track or success from past years have really had an advantage.

For Shack, it's possible he finally hit the proverbial wall.  Even at his best, 10 furlongs is probably a stretch for Shack, especially on a track as tiring as Saratoga.  But, Shack clearly wasn't near his best; his poor performance was the result of something beyond just the distance.  

As for Coil, I had a strong feeling he wasn't going to like the track.  Some thought Baffert was bluffing when he threatened not to run Coil, but I believed he was quite serious and that he's likely regretting not having scratched the horse.  Baffert had been struggling at Sartoga with Cali shippers; Plum Pretty had run decently in the CCA Oaks but then fared poorly in the Alabama while Irish Gypsy and American Lady had run up the track in their stakes starts. There's nothing out in California remotely similar to the deep tiring Saratoga dirt track, and it was obvious a number of Cali shippers were struggling to adjust.  Runflatout and AZ Warrior are two more examples just from Travers day.

It was clear to me going by the stands the first time that Coil was not enjoying himself on the track.  He was climbing noticeably, pushing hard but not going anywhere.  This was not Monmouth, a surface traditionally kind to Cali shippers and Baffert in particular.  As many good 3 year olds as Baffert has had, I don't think it's coincidence that he's won only 1 Travers.  When Baffert has had a healthy 3 year old at this time of the year, he has typically chosen the Pacific Classic over the Travers. He probably is wishing he had done so again this year.  On the positive, I bet he's happy he kept The Factor out West and running over a surface he clearly likes.

The King's Bishop:

Asthetically, it was everything the Travers wasn't.  And this shouldn't be surprising because the strength of this crop has always been its sprinters.  The King's Bishop featured a fast early pace AND solid closing fractions, two big performances, and an exciting finish.  Note the time for the King's Bishop was a couple of lengths faster than Hilda's Passion in the Ballerina even though that horse won by about 10.

Uncle Mo ran a fantastic race.  He settled perfectly, made a quick move to the lead, and sustained his run well through the stretch.  It was a winning performance, but unlike his stablemate in the Travers, there was a quality closer to exploit a slight weakening in deep stretch.

I know the plan for Mo has been the BC Classic.  Clearly, he's a special colt, so who's to say he can't climb that mountain.  But, such a schedule is going to be very demanding, and Mo is going to be under the gun for the next 3 months.  He's going to be put in the meat grinder just after coming back from serious illness.  In my book, there would be nothing wrong with pointing for the BC Dirt Mile.

A few words on the winner.  Caleb's Posse ran another outstaning race.  This little horse has some motor in the stretch.  He's a very legit contender for the BC Sprint.  As long as there's some pace on up front, he has a shot.

28 Aug 2011 3:55 AM

On second thought.


Todd Pletcher has said that the goal for Stay Thirsty is the Breeders' Cup Classic, but I think that in a few days reality will set in.

He and Mike Repole will have to deal with the fact that the horse has a pedigree that might be causing  breeders to salivate. He is a  member of the AP Indy sire-line out of a mare by Northern Dancer to whom he is inbred 3x5. Breeders must be lining up to make offers.

The horse has already gone to the top of the heap as a stallion prospect. There is not much to gain by racing him further.

If I owned him he would be retired today. Why risk injury to this horse?

I won't be surprised if he never races again.

28 Aug 2011 7:40 AM

Great races.   I went for some prices and they ran like it.  Oh well.  Maybe today will be better.  Great comeback race for Mo but as Jason said, he lugged in badly so hope he is ok too.  I've read on other sites that Repole was intimating this was his last race.  Is that true?

28 Aug 2011 9:03 AM


Of Stay Thirsty, I said:

"a mare by Northern Dancer to whom he is inbred 3x5"

I meant:

"a mare by Storm Bird by Northern Dancer to whom he is inbred 3x5".

Poor cut and paste from Word. Must be the water in my basement.

28 Aug 2011 9:06 AM

"The mighty Mo is coming back from a substance induced liver problem."


Really? You know this to be a fact? I didn't think so. I think someone who claims to state nothing but the cold hard facts shouldn't post something that is based on nothing but pure speculation.

28 Aug 2011 9:17 AM

BTW- Mr Commons has obviously found a home on turf.  Ran a nice race in the DelMar Mile.  Caracortado is a tough older horse.  Mr Commons almost beat them.

28 Aug 2011 9:20 AM

JS Pletcher has stayed at the top for years,but so have Baffert,Frankel and others.Success breeds success in horseracing,so since he has reached the top he starts with many more great prospects every year.He attracts new owners wanting to make a name for themselves in the sport.I have heard it written on this blog that Chad Brown is one of the hottest trainers in the country.Brown runs a much smaller stable than Pletcher,but if you look at his win percentage at Saratoga, he is on par with Pletcher.One other thing I would like to ad about trainers in general they point to certain meets during the year, to bring most of their horses into the meet at peak form.Pletcher does this at Saratoga especially with 1st time starters,but he runs so many 1st timers at the Spa that he wins by quality in numbers.Btw Chad Brown is a trainer that runs his horses primarily on the NYRA circuit, but now he is doing well at Monmouth also.Brown points to the Saratoga meet, at least I know this to be a fact for the last two meets.If you check his Saratoga standings last year he did very well with a smaller number of horses than say Baffert and Pletcher.It makes a lot of sense for Brown because Saratoga is a meet to do well in, so the well monied owners will give him a chance and turn good prospects over to him.Their are trainers all over the country that do well in certain meets every year, and the average horseplayer doesnt know this because they do not get much press coverage.These trainers do not get coverage because they do not win the major grade one races.I know of other trainers who dominate meets on a recurring basis,but the average horseplayer does not know this because they are trying to figure out who is the NOW horse by reading past stats(pps)The jockeys and the owners,and trainers also read the(pps)and they know when to take an opposing horse out of his confort zone by the manner in which they run their horse in the same race you are handicapping strictly by using historical stats(pps)I would like to read a post from anyone that post on this blog that wins at a higher than 25% rate using only pps.If you watch the races and make notes mental or written you are not handicapping strictly by reading pps.I know to win at a high rate you must have an edge and work a lot harder than just reading past performances and thinking you have a better idea of who will win and come in the money,than your mutual pool opponent next to you who is hoping to outthink his neighbor just by using pps.Handicapping for contests is another matter entirely,which I know is different from playing with actual money for profit.In contests, handicapping the winner of any contests is usually the one that wins less races but with wins the ones with the biggest payouts,at least in contests with 200 contestants or less.In free contests with 10,000 or more players to win or finish at the top you need a lot of luck.

28 Aug 2011 10:43 AM

I know it's early, but I have to ask - has there ever been a 4th generation Champion 3yo?

28 Aug 2011 11:22 AM
Paula Higgins

I know what you are saying about Mo lugging in Jason. I saw it too. But it was his first race back. As long as he comes out of this race o.k. I would try one more race and see how he does. But if he is having any issues at all, I would retire him. I know they will do what is best for him. I like Todd Pletcher, he IS a great trainer and a very nice man. But do I thnk that if another really good trainer had Uncle Mo as a two year old and Thirsty as a 3 year old, that they could have done equally as well? Very possibly. It's also about the horse. I know Pletcher is patient etc. and gets the best out of his horses. I get that. But he is also the beneficiary of some really good horses because of his reputation. More talented horses/bigger stable, more chances to win. It's a cummulative effect and it is to his benefit. I think Baffert is in a similar situation. No argument that Pletcher's handling of Uncle Mo has been superlative and his patience with Thirsty masterful. I think part of Pletcher's brilliance is that he doesn't ruin good horses by pushing them too far, too fast. But his situation reminds me of a great actress (Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren), getting all these wonderful roles, even though there are oher great actresses out there (Kathy Bates). The more roles they get, and the better the role, the better they look. What is more interesting to me, is a trainer who gets a talented horse with issues (like Seabiscuit), and does something great with that horse. This is going to make you crazy  (sorry, and I mean that because I am not trying to be obnoxious), but John Shirreffs comes to mind with Zenyatta. She was a huge horse with issues, and potential issues because of her size. He couldn't race her at 3 yrs. because she wasn't ready. How many other people would have pushed her out the door at age 3? Probably a few. But ultimately, because he was patient, he was able to get the best out of her for a fairly long period of time. So I don't think Todd Pletcher "owns the sport." No one does. The sport is lucky to have some very good trainers out there, who rise to the occasion when opportunity presents itself in the form of a very good horse.

28 Aug 2011 3:07 PM

Gun Bow,

I know Stay Thirsty ran a slow final quarter, however final quarter at Saratoga for the last five or six years have been progressively getting slower and slower. Mid packer/closers in last years nearly ran a 26 second final quarter. As the distances get longer the effects of the track become more exaggerated.

28 Aug 2011 3:12 PM
Matthew W

Acclamation's damsire was a beast! I drove out to Hollywood Park, on a cool Sunday EVE-to watch and bet French Sassafras--and who wires them at boxcars? Silveyville, the big chestnut front runner! Beat him and me a nose! Acclamation is a beast, and if they win today, they will be ranked near the top, that's a nice horse, he either romps or doesn't hit the board, it seems....

28 Aug 2011 3:31 PM

Have always said Stay Thirsty was the better of the two Repole's horses.  I never thought Mo was going to dominate this crop, seems like he's more like a sprinter, miler at best than a distance horse.  ST will probably be up there in the Horse of the Year category the way he has been racing and that includes his TC run.  Not a knock on the "Mo" but do you see anyone who was all about Mo earlier in the year commenting about him anymore ?  Only Paula seems to be a genuine fan of Mo, who sticks by him no matter what :)

Has Draynay hit anything yet besides the board ?

28 Aug 2011 3:32 PM

Great post from GunBow written early this morning.  I agree with everything you said.  Stay Thirsty looks to be the best of a weak crop.  They crawled home yesterday.  I think the track compromised a lot of chances in the race.  Can never figure out how the track could be rated fast and the horses come back covered with mud.

28 Aug 2011 3:41 PM

PC : I think GoD will be right up there but I'm going to play the shots on this race :

Don Cavallo with GoD, Setsuko, Jeranimo, Quindici Man (Exacta boxes and Tris).

I don't know if Martin Garcia's magic is only with Baffert's horses so I'll play some Place and Show bets on Quindici Man.  I've been betting on QM for quite some time now, this might be the race I win back some of my lost money on him hehe.

Has Draynay hit any P3s since the last time he posted a P3 bet ?

28 Aug 2011 4:00 PM

I can't believe that even after winning one of the most prestigious races in North America, the Travers, Mike Repole was still complaining about losing the King's Bishop. Aw, poor Mike only gets one grade 1 in a single day! What a big baby!

28 Aug 2011 4:30 PM

This talk of possibly retiring Mo is surprising.  I don’t quite get it, but there are lots of things about Mo and his condition that we are probably not aware of.  One thing we do know is that some, including Mike Repole, are disappointed in Mo’s loss yesterday.  This I don’t get either.   Mo was off for nearly five months, but not because of some physical injury.  HE had deep rooted gut wrenching intestinal problems, the kind that take humans many, many months to try and overcome.  He ran a sensational race without even a prep and the loss was more like a win in my book.

What I can see though at this time is that a collision course with Stay Thirsty might be eminent.  Could it be that after all the past hype about Mo and the BCC and the fact that at this point he possibly can’t beat his stable mate at 10F, that maybe they think his best chance at winning a BC race would be in the Dirt Mile and they possibly wouldn’t want him in that race because that would be admitting that he is not the be-all, end-all that they once touted him as…….so hence, retirement. It’s a thought and maybe way out in left field but is it a possibility.  With this sudden retirement talk after yesterday’s huge effort, who can say for sure.

It is also interesting to note that Mo scored a 106 Beyer yesterday, this with a final 3/8ths individually timed in 35.97; was rated back in fourth, the best rating of his entire career; moved 4 wide coming into the stretch to gain a clear lead; and just failed to hang on and this while apparently running on three shoes and one of the shoes he lost was on his thrusting right hind leg.

What is all the more encouraging for Mo is the fact that even though Stay Thirsty appeared to dominate the Travers, after good quarters throughout, they limped home that final quarter in 26.29 seconds, certainly not all that impressive when you consider that the final quarter in the Derby was 24.55 seconds.  Some other facts……Stay Thirsty’s final 3/8ths in the Jim Dandy were 37.39 and Coil’s final three eights in the Haskell were much better and were timed in 36.57.  However, none of these finishing times comparing to Mo’s final 3/8ths yesterday.

I say give him a chance to gain his place.  A BC raced would be Mo’s third off a layoff and he should be at the top of his game.  He might also give us some much needed respect when considering the so-called European dominance or at least hype at this time.

28 Aug 2011 4:44 PM

Laz- the final quarters in route races at Saratoga have been slow for two years.  I'm not sure you can compare them accurately with other races at other tracks.  You would have to compare them with other route races at Saratoga to get a better picture.  I just think there is something weird with the route races at Saratoga.

28 Aug 2011 6:05 PM

Gunbow wrote:  "There's nothing out in Cali remotely similar to the deep tiring Saratoga dirt track."  

There once was.  It was called PRO-RIDE.  I fear Cali shippers have lost their advantage, all due to dirt-lust.  

Baffert threw in the clunker, not the horse.  With all the public mental gymnastics he was doing prior to the decision to-run-or-not-run Coil.  I think he realizes he blew the call.  It happens.

28 Aug 2011 6:07 PM

How's it going jayjay?

28 Aug 2011 6:09 PM
Paula Higgins

Lazmannick, I hope they give Mo another shot too. Unless he has issues, they should. He is still a very impressive horse. I did not know he lost a shoe. Another reason to give him anothr chance if he is healthy.

28 Aug 2011 6:43 PM
Linda in Texas

I am happy with Mo's performance, and agree with Paula and Laz as usual. I hope they allow Mo to run another race if indeed he came out healthy. It is hard to make any comments about his health because we never heard what really caused his isssue(s).

Stay Thirsty did not disappoint, i am glad he won it looking as healthy as he did.

The Factor did not disappoint either, i was for him all the way.

Camp Victory gave me some concern because he is a big handsome horse, but not good enough to cause a loss for The Factor.

Hilda's Passion and connections, good luck on your win, but even more good luck on Hilda's surgery. This is a roller coaster sport, never a dull moment.

jayjay, glad to see your post. Missed your educated comments.

Where is Dr. Drunkinbum? Ted from L A?? Hello to Alex'sBigFan blogging from Morocco.

And I hope you all kept your feet dry yesterday.

My son lost power in Gaithersburg but it came back on at 7:40 am.No damage in his area and the winds were not as bad as first predicted

but still up there.

Jason i hope it didn't flood out Di Bruno Brothers off Washington Street over by Taqueria La Veracruzana. A couple of my favorite places in Philadelphia and of course both Phillie Cheese Steak Places, one which lost Gene the owner last week. Never go to Philadelphia that i don't come back to Texas with a box of Cheese Steaks and Chocolate filled Napoleons from Isgros Pasticceria close by.

Thanks Jason.

28 Aug 2011 6:49 PM

After Watching Caleb's Posse, Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty and The Factor run really well this weekend, I no longer think that this 3 year old crop is weak. Just developing later.

28 Aug 2011 7:07 PM

In the pacific classic,at a mile and a quarter,I think the horses that start from the one to the four look like good longshot plays.One factor about this seaside track is how the inside of the track is playing today.I just looked at the preceeding races and the racing secretary has done a good job of not giving handicappers a good read of this,with no route to be run on the AW track,before the classic.One reason I like the inside 4 is their record on AW tracks.I think the four of them have made most of their money on AW tracks.I am leaning to the two shippers 1,3,but the other two 2,4 are local and Tres Borachos has a win over the track.I dont think Acclamation will be able to dictate the pace on the AW surface,especially after reading his trainer comment that they would give him one more work before the race, before deciding if he would run,that sounds familiar.I think Baffert was on the fence until the last workout,and he was there paid up so he took a shot with Coil.I havent decided who will win but its between the 9 and 10,I will play one and not the other.I am leaning toward TC he is only picking up two pounds from his last,eventhough I have said I dont think he is a mile and a quarter horse.All the horses are picking up weight from their last except Stately Victor in post three,a shipper.The only other horse I think has a shot to win is Setsuko,but I follow him and he never does enough to win,but he is good for 2nd thru fourth,btw Mandella has done very well in this race as a trainer.

28 Aug 2011 7:11 PM
Linda in Texas

Just now reading Lazmannick's comment that Uncle Mo lost his shoe on his right hind leg. I did not hear that til now.

Have you ever wanted a certain pair of shoes and you can only find one. You hop around looking and when your shoeless foot hits the floor you are off kilter to stand much less to run a race. I say that shoe lost the race as close as Mo and Caleb's Posse were.

And that means the farrier gets a clump of coal in his Christmas Stocking. Tacky, but that was not your local Texas Rodeo.

28 Aug 2011 7:18 PM
The Rock


The retirement talk isn't coming from the connections. Its coming from this blog. He lost his first race in 5 months. And he lost a nose. Its not the end of the world. And you can't compare 3/8th splits from 3 different distances and 3 different courses. The sprint race will always win. I do agree the dirt mile would be to Mo's benefit this year. His first race @ 10f in the BCC is not the way to go.

28 Aug 2011 7:30 PM


I think the retirement talk came form an interview on ESPN.  You can compare splits to show whether a horse is for real or not.  Mo is definitely for real.  I always doubted 10F until I saw yesterday's race and the fact that he actually rated.  That is another side that makes him more interesting if going a longer distance.

28 Aug 2011 8:20 PM

Great race by The Factor, beating older more experienced sprinters.

28 Aug 2011 8:22 PM
The Rock

Twirling Candy is reminding me a lot of Medaglia D'Oro in him. Just can't get that 10f G1...

Laz, I take my comment back on Repole and Mo's retirement subject. If he does pull the plug, he's not the kind of owner that he says he is. He talks about how this game needs stars and yack yack yack, but if he pulls the plug on Mo, its b/c  of his value taking a hit at stud. If you want to retire him, fine its your horse. But keep all that crap about how this game needs stars and then you pull him away after just 6 starts.

28 Aug 2011 8:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   How was your sabbatical? Been waiting for you to come back ever since you touted Stay Thirsty to take over the 3yo division in early June. The Factor is still the world's fastest horse however. I'd be inclined to go with him in the BC Sprint rather than the BC Dirt Mile but I could see going in that direction also. Baffert has Euroears also who is also one of the fastest sprinters. Good to see you back.

28 Aug 2011 8:30 PM

Prediction: A California-bred will be the 2011 Horse of the Year! Go Acclamation!

28 Aug 2011 8:38 PM
Paula Higgins

JayJay, good to see you back :). Yes, I still think Uncle Mo is talented horse and too soon to retire him if he is o.k. Thanks and back at you Linda in Texas. ITA about losing the shoe and its impact on the race. The Factor and Acclamation, pretty impressive. I wonder if the best horse is out west???

28 Aug 2011 9:12 PM
Jason Shandler

I was told Mo got a 106 Beyer and Thirsty 101. Didnt hear about Caleb's Posse, but assume 107.

Rock: If Mo checks out fine internally, he is running again. Book it.

28 Aug 2011 10:15 PM
Paula Higgins

I read on Facebook that Mo may be headed to race in Pennylvania. Don't know if it's true or not.

28 Aug 2011 10:26 PM
Mike Relva


Yes,the only way Mo should retire is if his health issues return.

28 Aug 2011 10:27 PM


Is it true that you took an around the world cruise with the money you won bettign the TC?

Caleb's Posse got the same 106 Beyer.

28 Aug 2011 10:32 PM


I read another interview today from Repole.  He was obviously a little more upbeat this time and said in effect that they would check Mo's vitals, etc., and that if he continues to improve like he has over the past six weeks then “We could have a horse that we could run in the BC Dirt Mile or Classic.”  Seeing that he said Dirt Mile or Classic instead of Dirt Mile and Classic sounds like they still might consider the BCC for him.

28 Aug 2011 10:37 PM
Mike Relva


How's it going? As we all know Dray forgets easily when horses he's hyped doesn't work out for him.

28 Aug 2011 10:38 PM
It aint easy being good!

My thoughts for the weekend. If your a horse racing fan this weekend was amazing. First of all Dray is horrible all of you betting Shaq need a wake up call he cant and never will get 10 furlongs. If they want to win they need to enter shaq in a mile race where he can dominate. Stay Thirsty is not flashy but he gets it done he is a 12 furlong horse and will probably win the classic!

The best race by far was the king's bishop....I was really impressed with uncle mo when he came around the turn I thought it was a done deal! Uncle mo is good for racing and hope he sticks to mile race.

Best sprinter ever....The Factor is a beast.....they should change his name to beastmode. All I heard was smiling tiger this and that. The FACTOR IS AWESOME favorite horse ever...ok I am done!

29 Aug 2011 12:18 AM
Matthew W

The Pac Classic Beyer should be very high! A first rate stretch battle, both ran winning races, Acclamation is making a strong case for an Eclipse, he has grown into a real nice horse! That says a lot about keeping them on the track--you just do not know what will happen when you let them age--Acclamation changed track surfaces and outran Twirling Candy--by the way, Twirlybird showed me something today--he's a real nice horse, there is no doubt--but he is a chalk burner! Compare him to Acclamation, who just seems to want it more--Jerry made the right move keeping Blind Luck home--no way does she make a dent in that exacta--no way, and I was right about Smiling Tiger, he prefers 6fur, and The Factor is some kinda sprinter! Doesn't mean I wont play Tiger in the BCup Sprint, but we saw some bigtime performances this weekend, on both coasts!

29 Aug 2011 12:42 AM
Matthew W

Great weekend for Cali noses--first Caracortado, then Acclamation, speaking of Caracortado, I could see why he gets beat in photos, his head is small and his neck must be a foot shorter than the average horse, but that is a gelding who'll be around for years, and he's becoming one of my faves...

29 Aug 2011 12:46 AM

Uncle Mo was simply unreal.  And Hilda Passion cost me 51k because I took her off my ticket to save a few bucks.  Dumb.

29 Aug 2011 2:14 AM


I see you are back with a wimper ...sorry my friend but no bang for your bucks with those rusty handicapping angles that gave you Poseidon Warrior in the King's Bishop and Raison D'etat in the Travers.  

Uncle Mo returned from his layoff with a very creditable performance (unlike a certain blog-rusty handicapper who like to serve us with facts).  

You said the following:


I see you like Stay Thirsty. I consider him a risky proposition as he has never won consecutive races."

Right now you appear to be keeping company with Draynay who hasn't spotted a winner in ages. You should've payed attention to my comments on the AP Indy / Bernardini line offsprings.  They are late (after-the-Kentucky Derby) bloomers.  I've touted Stay Thirsty in his last two victories and pointed to a resurgent To Honour and Serve following his run in the Amsterdam (just returned to winning ways). After rumbling with several AP Indy/Bernardini devotees in the Spring, who objected to my comments that their favourite sire-line would not produce this years Kentucky Derby winner, I can't help but enjoy enjoy when results on the track show who knows what they are talking about.

Better luck next time Coldfacts.      

29 Aug 2011 3:21 AM

I hope they don't give up on MO.  I think he deserves another chance.

I think he showed alot of heart and determination after such a layoff with his severe sickness.  

I was shocked he ran as great as he did.   Gotta love MO!!!

29 Aug 2011 6:36 AM

Stay Thirsty is as honest as they come and is the top 3 yo right now but lets face it who exactly did he beat? I hope Uncle Moe sticks around long enough to stretch out. His race was very impressive. The Factor is truly a Freak.

29 Aug 2011 7:08 AM

Wow, I was wrong about just about everything this weekend.  Only bets I cashed were win/place bets on Hilda and Caleb.  Lost the late pick 4 at Del Mar yesterday by a nose in the finale.  Totally wrong about Game on Dude.  Very impressed by Twirling Candy.  Any horse that can get 10 furlongs in under 2:01 can get the distance.  I don't care that he lost.

29 Aug 2011 9:25 AM

I was wrong about Acclamation not being able to dictate the pace in the PC,he did, no horse seriously challenged him.I think TC is maturing as a racehorse, and I think he has raced himself into condition for a mile and a quarter.I still think Tcandy on the west, and Tizway on the east are the best classic horses in this country.Acclamation has won 3 grade ones on turf and now aw,very impressive.Stay Thirsty has done what his sire did and won the Travers,but remember Berney lost the classic to the older horse Invasor in a walkover.

29 Aug 2011 10:38 AM

Enjoyed Acclimation's win.  But why do the owners still have to pay a $100,000 supplimental fee for the BCC, if the PC was a win and you're in?  Doesnt seem fair.  I hope it doesnt keep him out of the BCC.  Would sure love to see MO and The FActor run in the sprint too.

29 Aug 2011 10:53 AM

Loved the way MO rated in the King's Bishop, that could lead to big things going further, Enjoyed the Oaklawn form of Caleb's Posse getting the win in the King's Bishop though, been on Thirsty since he broke his maiden so that felt good to watch a horse win that Travers that when I touted him earlier this year people laughed, excuse in the FD, tough crowd in the Derby, but from that point till now, a nice progression and he's a consistent Grade 1 contender now when he enters the starting gate.  Think he needs to take his best game on the road though.  Acclimation looked tough yesterday, think he put his hoof on a piece of the HOY discussion, would rank Cape Blanco on top though, then Tizway but Acclimation looks good, what next for him though, back to turf, or try the dirt at SA, would think it would be daunting to get 10f on dirt the same way, maybe not at SA with its runway going back down but certainly at CD he wont get any easy lead.  

Havre De Grace ships to Saratoga tomorrow according to Rick Porter, looking forward to her Woodward run, a Win and she vaults to the top of the HOY discussion, Woodward, Beldame, BCClassic run would be nice for the big girl.  Lots of racing still to come.

29 Aug 2011 11:22 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

At Del Mar Sunday- You know about the return of the world's fastest horse, the phenom, The Factor but were you paying attention to the BB- The Battle of the Babes where the future top female jockey in S. Cal as soon as she starts getting the mounts, Kayla Stra outrode Chantal Sutherland. Stra rode in two races winning the 11th race at 54-1 in a very good ride weaving thru traffic, and came in 5th place at 35-1 in the 7th race in the only head to head race, with Sutherland coming in 7th place at 8-1. Chantal also had a 4th place finish at 10-1 in the 1st race, a 7th place finish at 41-1 in the 10th, and a 4th place finish on Game On Dude in the Classic at 2.80-1.

29 Aug 2011 11:26 AM
Pedigree Ann

Matthew W said:

"Acclamation's damsire was a beast! I drove out to Hollywood Park, on a cool Sunday EVE-to watch and bet French Sassafras--and who wires them at boxcars? Silveyville, the big chestnut front runner! Beat him and me a nose!"

Your memory must be faulty. Silveyville may have been tall, but he was slender, built like a Euro-stayer; frequently mistaken for a gelding. Not what we call a 'big' horse today. And he was "dark bay or brown", not chestnut. But he did like to lead and dare anybody to come get him, just like the grandkid.

The Hollywood Derby was in two divisions that year and the first was won by De La Rose, the best 3yo turf filly in the country that year. Imagine that! A filly beat colts.

Just noticed that French Sassafras was a full brother to Saros, another California stallion who quietly built a good stud career. His best was Fran's Valentine, who finished first in the inaugural BC Juvenile Fillies but had to give it back. Became a G1 winner at 3 (Ky Oaks) and foaled one of the public's favorite grey geldings, With Anticipation.

29 Aug 2011 1:22 PM


You wrote:

"After rumbling with several AP Indy/Bernardini devotees in the Spring, who objected to my comments that their favourite sire-line would not produce this years Kentucky Derby winner.."

I thought you favored Dialed In of the AP Indy line in the Spring. I am sorry if I forgot who your favorite was. Did you hear that To Honor And Serve was injured in the Spring? Did you see Stay Thirsy winning the Gotham?. Or are these your among your "exceptions"?.

RANAGULZION, you are back to typecasting people and attributing motives for their selections. New season. Same habit.

29 Aug 2011 1:29 PM

It was good that the best horse that California had came out east and made a mockery of that Travers field.  How impressive he was in going away at the quarter pole.  I believe Coil was beaten almost 40 lengths, thats representing California to the fullest and finest right there.  LOL

29 Aug 2011 1:37 PM
no_mo _mo

Unca Schmoe is lucky The Factor stayed home or he would have been beaten by 5 or more. I nailed the tri in the Travers. It was a no-brainer to disregard Shackelford and I loved Ratlesnake Ridge to hit the board in 2nd or 3rd. Only a rank beginner would have picked Shack to win at 1 1/4 right draynay?

29 Aug 2011 2:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Factor is one that I really want to see race at four. We'll be in for one of the greatest shows of all time if he runs the entire year, healthy at four. He demolishes accomplished foes while on cruise control. He needs to sprint or mile this year but I wouldn't put longer past him next year. Extraordinary talent. Good job by Baffert getting him ready for a G1 against older off of the layoff too.

29 Aug 2011 3:13 PM


Good to see you're back.

Zoo Keeper,

Did you get to Saratoga and see Runflatout run?  To have a horse run in a Grade 1 at Saratoga had to be special.  I hope he came back OK.  What did you think of Traver's Day at the Spa?

Travers:  Javier Castellano did a masterful job on ST keeping Shack to his outside and not allowing him a clear lead until they went almost 4F and had straightened into the backstretch.  Shack is 10F challenged to begin with and Javier made sure that Shack used himself just to get a clear lead.  ST went on to outclass the rest.  He deserves to be on top.  Look forward to the JCGC and to see how he does back at CD.  My pick Coil didn't run a lick.  I should have caught on to Baffert's wavering about the quirkiness of the track after Coil's last workout.  I agree with others that Baffert probably had real doubts.  Congrats to Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher and all who picked Stay Thirsty.

King's Bishop: I agree that UM is back and ran a gritty, determined race after all he has been through, and I agree with those who believe he is a sprinter/miler and should stay there. But my pick, Caleb's Posse does not have to take a back seat to any horse.  He beat the best field of 3 y.o. sprinters (minus The Factor) yet assembled.  I talked to Donnie Von Hemel when he came here to win the Ohio Derby at Thistledown and he thought that CP's best efforts would be sprinting.  Will be interesting to see if he ends up in the BC Sprint or Mile.  My guess is they will try and stay away from The Factor.

Pat O'Brien:  My best bet of the weekend, The Factor ran with the classy and older Smiling Tiger, put him away and extended his lead against the best from the west older guys, truly a standout performance. It sounds like Baffert would rather put him in the one-turn BC Mile vs. the Sprint.  If this gray ghost holds his form, no one will beat him. WOW!

Pacific Classic:  Acclamation deserves a hard fought victory, especially with P. Val "herding out" Game On Dude early, just out of the gate and then again crossing over on him at the top of the stretch, then again "herding out" and swinging his wip to the side of the face of Twirling Candy as they came down the stretch together.  Great race riding for P. Val.  IMO Chantel had a ton of horse with Game On Dude who wanted to go with Acclamation early on, but Chantel held him back and let Acclamation get 6F in 1:12.88 on his own, end of story.  Acclamation has a lot of options now, but if anyone let's this guy get an easy lead, they're done.

All in all a great racing weekend.

29 Aug 2011 4:00 PM
Mike Relva


Looking forward to hear your predictable spin control when it doesn't happen for Grace in Woodward.

29 Aug 2011 4:48 PM

What a mess in the Classic Division.  Stay Thirsty can't win outside of New York and in particular Saratoga and the "grinder" Acclamation's ventures outside of California have been a disaster, so much so, I say they skip the Breeder's Cup.

I guess there is always the Lady's Classic, Sprint, and Dirt/Turf mile.  Caracortado is interesting along with Mo at a mile.  

29 Aug 2011 7:55 PM

No way Blind Luck closes into those fractions.  Cudos to Pat V who brought the race to a crawl and had plenty left for Twirling Candy.  Another blogger noted that Acclamation scared away Blind Luck.  Now I think he was 100% correct.  That horse thought he was running another 1/4 mile.  No one was getting by him.  Unusual Heat...just grinding away up front.

29 Aug 2011 8:00 PM

Pacific Classic:

From a quality standpoint, I found the 21st running of the Pacific Classic to be quite satisfying.  Although he has been flying somewhat under the radar(with many undoubtedly remembering his swan dive at the end of his 10' campaign), something reflected in the fact he has been ridden by a different jockey in his last 3 races, Acclamation has suddenly placed himself right in the middle of the Horse of the Year discussion.

Even as a California based fan, putting Acclamation and Horse of the Year in the same sentence seems a little unbelievable.  But Acclamation totally deserves such consideration, now having won 4 consecutive graded stakes, with the last 3 being grade 1s(4 career gr.1 wins).

I had always considered Acclamation a quality horse, but had felt he had been placed in races that were a little above his head.  After Acclamation was thrown into the gr.1 Kilroe first start this year off a 7 month layoff(he ran 5th), and then was shipped out to West Virginia to run 9 furlongs over a dirt bullring(he ran last), it looked like Acclamation was the same horse at 5 as he had been at 4.  The fact he swept the gr.2 Murray and gr.1 Whittingham easily did nothing to change my perception given he had done the same thing last year.  Through June of this year, Acclamation appeared to be a solid gr.2 type that could run with the elite only over his beloved Hollywood turf course at distances of 10 furlongs+.  

I was strongly of the opinion after the Whittingham that Acclamation should come right back in the gr.3 Sunset and then point for the gr.2 Del Mar Cap.  However, his owners decided to throw him outside of his comfort zone yet again and run in the gr.1 Read at 9 furlongs over Del Mar's Durante turf course and then in the gr.1 Pacific Classic on Polytrack.  It all seemed like a stretch to me, but Don Warren and Bud Johnston have been completely vindicated, with Acclamation rising to the task and proving he is a much improved animal.

The article in the Bloodhorse by Jack Shinar suggested Acclamation stole the Pacific Classic by setting a slow early pace.  I don't see it that way.  No, Acclamation did not set a fast pace,  but the first quarter in 24 and 2, half in 48 and 3, and 6 furlongs in 112 and 4 were right at the average splits for the 4 runnings of the Pacific Classic over synthetics.

The pace of steady 24s was directly in Acclamation's wheelhouse, as is evident by the 4th quarter.  Even though the 6 furlong split was moderate, it doesn't take away from how impressive that 4th quarter was; the way Acclamation, Twirling Candy, and Game on Dude separated themselves from the rest of the field around the turn was a reflection of talent, brilliance and class.  The 3 leaders, the 3 favorites, covered that 4th quarter in a superb 23.73, and the others just couldn't keep up.  

Twirling Candy and Game on Dude had done the same thing in the Hollywood Gold Cup when they shook away from the likes of Setsuko and Miss Match during the 4th quarter(Miss Match had run Blind Luck to a length in the gr.1 Vanity a few weeks before the Gold Cup, but she simply could not handle an internal fourth quarter fraction in 24 and ended up getting beat about 8 lengths).

The 4th quarter turned the Pacific Classic into a 3 horse battle, which quickly became a 2 horse affair when Game on Dude couldn't match the acceleration of the other two.  As I had suspected, in a race that unfolded more like a turf race, Game on Dude didn't have the brilliance to keep up with Acclamation and Twirling Candy, horses that had demonstrated electric kicks on turf.  

After that sensational 4th quarter, Acclamation kept going, running the final quarter in 24 flat for a final time of 200 and 3, a new track record.  Acclamation had won his last 3 graded stakes by an average of almost 5 lengths, so it wasn't obvious before the race how he would do in a stretch battle.  The answer is that Acclamation has plenty of heart to go along with his immense talent.  Acclamation kept his head out infront of Twirling Candy the entire stretch, bravely holding off that horse's spirited kick.  

With the win, Acclamation has guaranteed a spot in the BC Classic.  However, I would be surprised if he goes in that race.  Although Acclamation has been shedding his old image and conquering new worlds, I do think he is best as a marathon turfer.  Clearly he can run well on Polytrack, but dirt is another question.  At the very least we can say Acclamation doesn't like a muddy dirt track.  If Acclamation does run in the Breeder's Cup, something that I believe is complicated by the fact that as a Cal-bred he isn't nominated, it will likely be the Turf.  

Acclamation still faces two key questions if he were to run in a race like the BC Turf.  First, how will he handle soft going, something quite possible in Kentucky in November?  The second question is how well will he ship?  Acclamation has run outside California just twice, and he finished last both times(10' UN Cap, 11' Charles Town Classic).  However, he does have valid excuses, besides the shipping, for those poor effort.  For the UN, Acclamation was clearly going off form, and followed that effort with a next-to-last run in the Eddie Read(which he won by 4 this year).  For the Charles Town Classic, Acclamation had to run on a muddy dirt track around a bullring, in what was his second start in 7 months.

Finally, a discussion of Acclamation's win would not be complete without mention of P Val.  I found it quite amazing that 20 years after P Val scooted home Cal bred legend Best Pal in the inaugural Pacific Classic he wins the 21st edition on another Cal bred.  P Val has certainly had his share of problems, but the talent has always been there.

Twirling Candy ran like I thought he would, turning in an outstanding performance.  But he had no excuse for why he couldn't get by Acclimation in the stretch.  In the final sixteenth Twirling Candy needed to find a little extra, but with his distance capabilities being stretched to the limit, he just didn't have anything else in reserve.  Twirling Candy wasn't going to get by Acclimation even if they ran around again, and Acclimation galloped out well ahead of him.

Twirling Candy did himself proud in the Pacific Classic, but he did lose his 4th gr.1 race around 2 turns, all as the favorite.  Twirling Candy can get 10 furlongs, at least on some surfaces; afterall, he ran the last quarter of the Pacific Classic in 23 and 4( a final half of about 47 and 3).  

So, Twirling Candy can get 10 furlongs on Polytrack and he came close on Cushion Track.  My guess is that he could win a gr.1 turf race at 10 furlongs.  However, I don't think he's a 10 furlong horse on dirt, and thus I am skeptical about his chances in a race like the Breeder's Cup Classic.  If I owned him, I would point him for either the Mile or Dirt Mile and prep for the BC in the Goodwood(9 furlongs dirt) or Clement Hirsch(10 furlongs turf).  Given Acclamation is more likely for the Hirsch, the Goodwood would make most sense, a race Twirling Candy would be an overwhelming favorite for.

Game on Dude ran about as well as he could given the surface and race profile; losing 3rd at the wire was a cruel ending.  I expect Game on Dude to be much more formidable on dirt, and believe him to be a legit BC Classic contender; 10 furlongs on dirt is what he wants to do.

30 Aug 2011 1:35 AM

The most impressive race was the Factor,Martin Garcia really rode him well to keep the pressure on Smiling Tiger and then make him spit the bit turning for home.To have a horse finish like that after solid early pace,he's a big one for shure.I hope this horse stays healthy we're gonna see some fun.

30 Aug 2011 6:59 AM

Not to go off topic but Afleet's comment about Cape Blanco.Coolmore seems to be training this horse in Ireland to run in America and doing so sucessfully can't remember the last time i've seen that.Noted that they won't give him to Pletcher hummm.

30 Aug 2011 7:12 AM
Mike Relva


You mean kinda the same as when your comments represent someone living in a world far from reality?

30 Aug 2011 3:41 PM

2 things I would like to say.

1. To everyone jumping on the Factor bandwagon and saying he would of beaten Mo(and subsequently Caleb) by 5, they ran almost identical times, maybe 13/100th of a difference, but MO and CP did it on a very tiring and slow track. Travers 2:03 and change v P.Classic, 2:00 and change. With that logic, TC and Acclimation beat the Travers Field by 15?? I think not

2. Mike Revla, do you ever have anything to say? EVER? I think your comeback to everyone on the blogs is, "can't wait for your spin when grace loses the woodward" or some obsurd statement like that. You have a lot to say, for someone that does not know crap. You are what I like to call an old pair of Nike's, the kind with the very large SWOOSHTAG on the side.

Good for Porter and Jones for having the balls to run v the boys.

30 Aug 2011 4:36 PM
Mike Relva


You weren't being addressed,but since you brought it up ONE THING I don't say is pretending to own racehorses,which you clearly don't. When   called out,as predicted you wouldn't produce the name(s). Wonder why? You've chided me for visiting retired horses,of all things. Nice to know you could care less about a horse once their career ends. You're a major joke.

30 Aug 2011 7:06 PM


Contrary to what your buddy AAF said in his snide remarks about Coil, did it ever occur to you that The Factor's time was legit, was accomplished against older horses, and was when coming back from his own layoff.  And also did it ever occur to you that maybe the horses in the Pacific Classic were better, hence the much better time for their 10F race?

30 Aug 2011 8:57 PM
Mike Relva


Think you might re check your spelling,my name isn't Revla,also correct spelling is absurd,NOT obsurd.

30 Aug 2011 9:23 PM

Jersey Boy,

Have you ever heard the saying "whoever the cap fits let them wear it"?  Obviously it your size Buddy.

As for typecasting, you've typcasted yourself Jersey Boy. I've been very accurate on the AP Indys and Bernardinis.  its all recorded here in black and white.  Show me your record Bro.

30 Aug 2011 11:01 PM

Mike, no one ever addresses you, but you always chime in with your tired comments. I owe you nothing btw. You keep up the good work of saying nothing. It is the only thing you are good at. Lord knows you can't pick a winner

31 Aug 2011 8:51 AM

Laz, I give the Factor a ton of credit. I was addressing the fact that Mo and Caleb’s Posse ran in 121.6 vs. The Factor 121.4, but they did it on a track that plays much slower than Del Mar. You are smart enough to figure that out when you are not sticking up for you little minion. I was responding to a post that said the Factor would have beaten Mo by 5...

As far as the horses being better in Cali, 15 lengths better, can I have what you are smoking? la la land seems fun.

Hell, Baffert hated how deep the track was. He almost did not send Coil, and when Coil left his race on the track in his 46 work, he was done. Dray was right. For once...

Sorry Revla, I did not know you wore a dunce hat and tried to be the spelling police all at the same time. That is a bit of an oxymoron. You need to learn basic grammar, a space after a comma, and a dash in re-check. GMAFB

31 Aug 2011 3:11 PM
Mike Relva


How many winners do you pick? Not exactly like you're on a roll. If I ever need a dunce hat will borrow one of yours. Why don't you go polish your nails or something?

31 Aug 2011 5:49 PM


Here is a little secret.

When you say a particular sire (e.g AP Indy) will never sire a Kentucky Derby winner, you are making a statement that reflects on you and not on the horse. It is worse when you say you have studied this.

This is the reason.

Let us say that the typical sire produces 100 foals per year. Let us also say that the annual foal crop is around 25,000. The chance of any  sire producing a Kentucky Derby winner  in a given year becomes 100/25000. That is 0.4%.

So anyone can declare,  sire X will never produce a Kentucky Derby winner because  the sire  has less than a 1% chance of doing so in any given year.

In fact, I ask you to name any 3 sires and I will make the statement that none of them will ever produce a Kentucky Derby winner. I will have a 98% chance of being right.

It is  simple arithmetic. No study is required. You are not making a profound statement.

01 Sep 2011 12:14 AM

Mike, please tell me why then I hit the P4, a tri, 4 exacta's, and 2 pick 3's on Saturday at the SPA? It is all on twitter for you to see. You would know something about polishing nails, wouldn't you???? HA You couldn't pick a winner if it was gift from god

01 Sep 2011 10:28 AM



01 Sep 2011 11:45 AM


You give The Factor a ton of credit, but do you give him any respect?  Caleb’s Posse got a 106 Beyer and The Factor 104.  Two points on the Beyer 7 furlong scale is approximately ¾’s of a length so given the way they both ran, The Factor winning rather easily after setting and pushing fast early fractions against a salty older sprinter and the jock taking his foot off the pedal at the end, and Caleb’s Posse only running the last quarter mile, I would think that the race was about even.  I also wouldn’t forget the fact that The Factor defeated Caleb’s Posse very handily when winning the Rebel last spring.

I don’t believe that Coil necessarily left his race on the track when he worked the 46 second work.  Coil was always a pace type before the Haskell and the work would have at least prompted the horse to want to get up on the pace early on.  The truth is, Coil showed absolutely nothing and when a horse comes off a win like he did and shows nothing in its next, the race is a complete throw out.

Regarding those faster 10F races out west, all I can say is that of course the tracks are faster out there.  It seems to me that they’ve always been.  Spectacular Bid’s world record was set out there.  Alysheba’s fastest 10F races have been out west.  Here’s something to consider.  How many 10F dirt races have there been in he east compared to the west?  

01 Sep 2011 12:54 PM

Laz, have a good day. you always have something worthwhile to say, and I respect that. Good luck to all this weekend. I am off to watch the U of L cards baby! Football is BACK!!!

01 Sep 2011 1:59 PM


You have a good one too.

01 Sep 2011 2:47 PM
Mike Relva


You should check your ego, not impressed by how much you pretend to know.

03 Sep 2011 4:53 PM

MIke, I could care less if you are impressed or not. You don't know jack son. You were wrong again this weekend. So, what is going to be your spin now that Grace won? HUH Mike? Are you going to follow your boys and just say that is was a weak field. Oh wait, that would mean you post more more than 1 sentence.

NFL starts thursday! Let's go!!

Jason, let's take down a 4 teamer opening week!

06 Sep 2011 9:20 AM
Mike Relva


Since you post on NTRA with a few alias strange you didn't notice my comment. Stated congrats to Grace and Jones.

Amusing how much time you spend trying to convince others your a force in racing. Wonder what that says?

07 Sep 2011 6:52 PM

First of all, I do not post on NTRA. Do I read and laugh at you, YES. You are a complete follower with no knowledge of racing. It is comical. Second, who am I trying to convince of anything? Who on these blogs, at bloodhorse, at NTRA, at any of these sites, is a force in racing? You are so misguided I almost feel bad for you. I am just a guy with a passion for horse racing, and you are just a guy with passion for being negative, instigating confrontation, and repeating yourself.

Last, what is amusing is how much time you actually spend on horse racing blogs. Get a life man! Stop trying to convince yourself that the same people post with different names. That is not the case. That is just all of the different people on blogs that do not like you. I wonder why??

09 Sep 2011 9:59 AM
Mike Relva


You don't post on NTRA? Right.

Here's something you don't get,there's no pass or fail. My income isn't derived from if I know anything about beyer figures,published workouts,racing forms,etc. As for getting a life,I'm not on here everyday. Be great if you have your facts in  order before making accusations. Tell you what,I'll leave this blog when you do.

10 Sep 2011 10:28 PM
Mike Relva

AND....... guess everyone likes you,right? Please.

10 Sep 2011 10:30 PM

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