Haskin's Saturday Longshots and Overlays

JUVENILE FILLIES – Not sure what to make of Sweet Reason’s 1:46 4/5 work/non work, but as she is one of the favorites we’ll have to look elsewhere, even though she’s been very impressive in all her races.

There are a number of seemingly evenly matched fillies in here, but we’re here to find the potential value plays and longshots, so we’ll head straight to 15-1 Concave. After winning her first two starts on grass and Polytrack, she finished a solid third in the Del Mar Debutante, only to come out of the race with an infection that forced her to miss the Chandelier Stakes. Sent to Santa Anita following Del Mar, she has rattled off three brilliant works – a half in :46 1/5, five-eighths in :59 1/5, and five-eighths in :59 2/5. The daughter of Colonel John is sharp and fresh, and if she handles the dirt in the Juvenile Fillies as well as she handled it in her last three works, she could be a live longshot.

The other price horse who has caught the eye is unbeaten Untapable, but she is 5-1 on the morning line, so she really can’t be considered a longshot. Loved her race in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas, in which she defeated good fillies in Stonetastic and Rosalind coming off only one 5 1/2-furlong maiden race in a snappy 1:04 1/5, and looks to be improving for Steve Asmussen.

FILLY & MARE TURF – Every horse in this field has the credentials to win, but there is one who likely will be forgotten, as evidenced by her 20-1 morning line odds, and that is the ultra consistent Lady of Shamrock, whose only victory since Aug. 2012 came on a disqualification. But she did win four of seven last year, including back-to-back grade I scores in the American Oaks and Del Mar. Although she could do no better than fifth in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf, she closed from 11th and was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths.

This year, she encountered a terrible start in the Santa Ana Stakes and still finished second, beaten only a length, to leading Filly & Mare Turf contender Tiz Flirtatious, who is 7-2 on the morning line. In the Santa Barbara, she finished second after being forced to steady and was placed first a disqualification of the winner.

She came from 11 lengths back to finish third in the grade I Gamely before shipping to New York, where she was victimized by a tortoise-like pace (:50 and 1:13 4/5) set by the victorious Starformer. Still, she was flying at the end to finish second, coming home her final quarter in :22 2/5 in her first trip outside California.

In the John Mabee at Del Mar, wearing blinkers for the first time, she had no shot after being forced to race in second due to the absurdly slow pace of :52 4/5 and 1:17 4/5, but still hung on to be second to Tiz Flirtatious. In her last start, the grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes, she raced evenly throughout to finish fifth, but came home her last quarter in :22 1/5. She is coming off solid works of five-, six-, and seven-furlongs and seems to fit the mold of recent winners of this race.

FILLY & MARE SPRINT – So, which Groupie Doll are we going to see, the monster from last year or the consistent, but not as brilliant filly from this year. Unlike last year, Groupie Doll got a late start and trainer Buff Bradley says she’s coming up to the race even better than last year, as difficult as that is to believe. If that’s the case then Groupie Doll has it over this field.

But we won’t know until she does, and until then, when looking for a price, we have to look at Teddy’s Promise, who is on a roll, finishing in the money in her last seven starts, including four stakes victories. She’s run some big races sprinting at Santa Anita and there is no reason why she won’t again.

Check the odds on Book Review, who is consistent, fast, and possesses a strong closing kick. If she’s about 8-1 or higher, she could be an enticing overlay.

Our big angle at a price is Dance Card, making her second start sprinting after coming off a long layoff. This was a two-turn filly last year who romped in the grade I Gazelle and an overnight stakes before being sidelined. In her return, she finished third in the 6 1/2 –furlong Gallant Bloom Handicap and should move forward off that effort, having that sprint under her. Her only other seven-furlong race came in her career debut when she ran second to Book Review. She’s coming off a bullet breeze over the Oklahoma training track and could be picking up horses late.

TURF SPRINT -- Most everyone will be rooting for Mizdirection to repeat, and she will take a lot of beating. Looking back at the last several runnings of this race at Santa Anita, we’ve seen some heavy duty closing kicks in the final furlong, and that’s where we are looking again.

Unbridled’s Note, who was second last year is the logical horse to knock off Mizdirection, but we’re not quite sure what breaking from post 14 means, not being familiar with this course. But this horse’s four turf sprints in his career, all at Santa Anita, have been bang-up efforts, and he’s had half the starts this year as last year, so he’s a fresher horse.

Caracortado was our pick two years ago, and although he’s had only one start this year, we have to put a few bucks on him. It’s hard not to like this 6-year-old gelding, and whether he has the same kick now we have no idea, but at 8-1 he’s still worth a play.

But our main longshot pick is the late-closing Havelock at 10-1. This horse is ultra consistent sprinting on grass. His only blemishes were a 14th-place finish in this race two years ago when forced to check while making his run and losing all chance, and two poor efforts in group I races in Europe this year. He rebounded off those races to win the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland with a powerful late run.

JUVENILEMexikoma turned in one of the most impressive 2-year-old races we’ve seen all year when breaking his maiden by 14 3/4 lengths at Delaware going a mile. It was impressive enough for Team Valor to purchase him, and he’s made an excellent impression at Santa Anita. He’s a beautiful moving horse, and being by Birdstone, out of a Toccet mare, he will run all day. We just like this horse, and although he has a tough task coming out a maiden race and facing graded stakes winners, he still looks intriguing at 12-1 with Alan Garcia up for the first time. Also, watch out for this colt on next year’s Derby trail.

The other price horse worth a serious look is Diamond Bachelor, who will be making his dirt debut. While that poses major questions, it is very possible that the son of War Front will like the dirt even better than the grass. His early speed does not appear favorable in a race with quality speed, but he should be able to take back a bit with Havana and Strong Mandate breaking from his outside.

TURF – There actually are no real longshots that stand out, with the presence of The Fugue, Point of Entry, Indy Point, Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution, and Little Mike. That doesn’t leave much room for price horses.

Vagabond Shoes could be an interesting overlay at 15-1, coming off three big efforts in stakes, including seconds to Indy Point and Jernaimo. This horse has run big in group races in France and Germany and is top quality.

At 20-1 is Twilight Eclipse, who was a world-record holder at 1 ½ miles, winning the Pan American Handicap, and ran a big race to be second to Big Blue Kitten in the Sword Dancer. He’s an up and downer, but his ups make him dangerous.

As we said, however, there are way too many good horses in her to fall in love with a longshot.

SPRINT – This is not the strongest running of the Sprint, and while we’re not crazy about drawing the rail, we really like Justin Phillip to mow then down in the stretch. This is a tough, hard-knocking 5-year-old who always runs hard and is as fast as ever. That’s not exactly a longshot pick, so how about boxing him with Gentlemen’s Bet, who whipped the speedy Delaunay in the Iowa Sprint Handicap before getting caught up in a wicked speed duel and finishing third behind Justin Phillip in the grade I A.G. Vanderbilt. In his last start, the Phoenix Stakes, it was his first start on Polytrack and he was all but eliminated at the start after getting bumped soundly. He still made a good run to finish fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

If you’re looking for a third horse for the trifecta, Bob Baffert has Secret Circle sharp after an 18-month layoff. In his first start back he won an allowance race in 1:07 4/5. That’s an amazing achievement coming off such a long layoff.

But Justin Phillip is the lick here.

MILE – Forget this one. Despite the presence of some fast classy milers, Wise Dan has it all over this field. We said months ago last year’s Mile winner would never lose another race at a mile on the grass and despite his defeat at Keeneland, we still believe that. At even money, he actually could be the overlay of the Breeders’ Cup, so how about a Wise Dan/all/all trifecta wheel?

CLASSIC – This is one tough race to figure and we keep changing our mind, so we’re just going to go by what we’ve seen in the morning. Palace Malice looks terrific, as does Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned. And Game On Dude’s and Paynter’s last works were powerful. Will Take Charge and Moreno also have been doing well.

With the unfortunate injury to Ron the Greek, that leaves stablemate Flat Out as Bill Mott’s only Classic starter and this remarkable 7-year-old looks as good as anyone we’ve seen out here. His gallops have been eye-catching, his coat has a summer shine to it, and  his energy level has been strong. He’s been a pleasure to watch. We like the fact that he was beaten in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, as were the last three winners of the Classic – Blame, Drosselmeyer, and Fort Larned. The last two were beaten in the Gold Cup by Flat Out and then turned the tables on him in the Classic. Now, at 12-1, it’s his turn. Even though no horse 6-years-old or older has ever won the Classic, we still expect a big performance from this warrior.

In a race this perplexing and wide-open, we try to look for something different. We have always been convinced Aidan O’Brien is going to win the Classic one of these years to reward his perseverance, and this could be the year.

Declaration of War was originally meant to be a Kentucky Derby horse, but after a setback while trained by Todd Pletcher, he was sent to Ireland. He was targeted for  the Classic last year, but it was just too much too soon for the then 3-year-old. This year he has developed into major force from a mile to 1 1/4 miles. He’s tough, durable, and fast, and not only is he by red-hot sire War Front, his dam is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags. He’s three-for-three on synthetic surfaces and four of his seven victories have some on left-handed courses. And he gets Lasix for the first time.

About 10 days before the breeders’ Cup he was sent to Southwell Racecorse in England to work out over the fibersand course, which is the closest synthetic surface to dirt. He worked with a pair of group I winners and handled them pretty easily.

A big question is jockey Joseph O’Brien, who has no experience on dirt, but did become the youngest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup two years ago when he won the Turf aboard St. Nicholas Abbey at the age of 18.

So taking all that into consideration, Declaration of War is a horse we’re definitely going to put a wager on.

Just as a side note for all Thoro-Graph pundits, one horse who has proven to be as fast as the others on a given day and who is on an excellent pattern is Last Gunfighter, who will be one of the longest prices in the field. Make of that what you wish; just thought it was worth a mention.


Leave a Comment:

lunar spook


01 Nov 2013 2:33 PM
steve from st louis

Steve, do breeders value a Kentucky Derby win higher than a Breeders Cup Classic win for their 3-year-olds? I like the four pounds that Palice Malice and Will Take Charge get here.

01 Nov 2013 3:06 PM
Mister Frisky

Good luck Steve,Hope the speed bias subsides by Saturday.As great as Southern California weather is,I would rather see a fair racing strip in a cooler climate.

01 Nov 2013 4:16 PM
lunar spook


01 Nov 2013 4:32 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

I, too, like Lady of Shamrock and Concave as long longhots and also Flat Out -- I think Flat Out is the anti-wiseguy pick -- betting him will depend on how the track is playing, though.

Among the other horses you mention I also like Dance Card (though this will now depend on how the track is playing), Book Review, Unbridled's Note, Declaration of War.  That is very useful information, by the way, about their Kentucky Derby intentions.

Sounds like we're going to make a lot of money.

01 Nov 2013 4:39 PM
Tiz Herself

2013 BC Picks...

Still like Private Zone for the BC Sprint

Turf- Point of Entry or The Fugue. Magician is tough, too.

Mile - Wise Dan of course :)

Marathon - London Bridge, Ever Rider or Suns Out Guns Out

Juvenile Turf - Giovanni Boldini or Wilshire Boulevard

Juvenile Fillies Turf - Vorda, My Conquestadory, Clenor, and Chriselliam

Juvenile Fillies: Artemis Agrotera

Juvenile - Celburne, Strong Mandate or Smarty's Echo

Turf Sprint - Mizdirection

Filly & Mare Turf - Romantica (Love the pedigree on this baby - a daughter of Galileo and out of the mare Banks Hill (2001 Filly & Mare Turf) and half sister to Intercontinental (Filly & Mare Turf winner) and other major turf runners Cacique, Champs Elysees, Dansili, Heat Haze...)

Filly & Mare Sprint - Dance to Bristol, Sweet Lulu, or Groupie Doll

Dirt Mile - Broadway Empire, Verrazano, or Brujo De Olleros

Distaff - hard to pick - would love to see Royal Delta get her 3x, but love Princess of Sylmar and Beholder

Classic - Paynter, Palace Malice, Game on Dude, Will Take Charge, Ron The Greek, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out, really really hard to choose

pray for safe trips for all these horses.

Tiz Herself 31 Oct 2013 12:45 AM

Right on London Bridge - had you on top but not the rest. Didn't make it to a betting window but that's okay :) What better way to start things off than to have Mike Smith  win? Huge run from BlueskiesnRainbows - did not see that effort coming.

Forging ahead, am not altering my picks too much for the weekend however will replace Celburne with Bond Holder. Also like longshot New Year's Day (I like the pedigree. Street Cry over Dixie Union mare - Street Sense was result of Street Cry over Dixieland Band <sire of Dixie Union> mare) pictures of New Year's Day, he is gorgeous.

Onward we go! Looks like a beautiful day at Santa Anita

01 Nov 2013 5:11 PM
Tiz Herself

Congrats again to Mike Smith, love it! Keep going and bring our girl Royal Delta home!

Am kicking myself that didn't pay closer attention to Outstrip, but am thrilled to see the grey horse come through. A son of the mare Asi Siempre, what's not to like?

Wonder if Godolphin will keep Outstrip steer him to the Derby next year... Asi Siempre was a G1 winner on Dirt in the Spinster Stakes. Certainly a possibility for him. Is on the horse tracker now.

01 Nov 2013 5:36 PM
Tiz Herself

Dance to Bristol looks like a beautiful mare. Steve, what do you think of her?

01 Nov 2013 5:41 PM

Steve, from what I have seen thus far, thank goodness for the turf races.

The speed bias at Santa Anita has made the dirt races worse than predictable - and seeing Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar flounder just soured the day for me.

A cavalry charge to the first bend does not a champion make.

01 Nov 2013 7:58 PM

Good analysis Steve, I too really like Caracortado, but was recently compromised when that chalk-eating weasel Andy Beyer picked him too.

The track is RIDICULOUS speed favoring. Just as I suspected on your post about Friday's races.

Saturday's Picks:

Juvenile Fillies: Artemis Agrotera,Secret Compass, Sweet Reason, She's a Tiger.

FM Turf: Dank, Romantica, Tiz Flirtatious, Kitten's Dumplings, Laughing

FM Sprint: Judy the Beauty, Groupie Doll, Teddy's Promise, Dance to Bristol

Turf Sprint: Caracortado, Chips All In, Boat Trip, Mizdirection

Juvenile: Tap it Rich, Havana, Strong Mandate.

Turf: Point of Entry, The Fugue, Indy Point, Big Blue Kitten

Sprint: Private Zone, Justin Phillip, Secret Circle

Mile: Wise Dan, Silver Max, Olympic Glory, No Jet Lag

Classic: Paynter, Game on Dude, Mucho Macho Man, Palace Malice

I've made a good amount of changes just based on the track. Most which is coming on all the dirt races, with the exception of Juvenile. It seems like the track is the same as last year, whoever gets the lead at 1/2 mile pole will win.

Good luck to all!

01 Nov 2013 8:47 PM
Tiz Herself

RIP Harlan's Holiday :( will never forget you. Had followed your racing career from start to finish (including your rivalry with the forgotten colt Booklet) and it was a shame that when I visited Airdrie Stud in 2010 that you were shuttling and not able to see at the farm... your sons Into Mischief, Shanghai Bobby, Majesticperfection, Holiday Justice, My Boy Luke, Denis of Cork, and Twinspired who are at stud currently will carry on your legacy I'm sure.... fitting that your grandson Goldencents won the BC Dirt Mile today --- your legacy will live on.

01 Nov 2013 10:21 PM
Tiz Herself

Congrats to Beholder and Mandella! Sorry Princess had that stumble at the start... hope Royal Delta is okay.

01 Nov 2013 10:25 PM

It seems the Santa Anita Freeway is being true to form today, hope it slows up a bit for Saturday too.  Congratulations to all winners today.  Beholder was impressive, Royal Delta looks spent, and I don't know what happened to Princess of Sylmar, maybe the shipping and track, she broke to the side as well.  A win by any one of those 3 was ok with me in the Distaff.

I'm for Wise Dan tomorrow, Justin Phillip, and Paynter or GOD.  If Justin and Paynter win Mr. Zayat is going to have one hell of a day!

I'm also rooting for one called Secret Compass in the Juvenile Fillies.  

Good luck everyone.  Steve have a marvelous time in Santa Anita.  May all come home safe.

01 Nov 2013 11:37 PM


Below are extracts for one of my Oct 20th post's:

"In the case of Princess Of Sylmar, I did not address her HOY gredentials. I focused on her being prematurely awarded the Eclipse for Champion 3YO female. She defeated the top fillies in the Oaks as a big long shot. She subsequently defeated two moderate fillies and caught Royal Delta on an off day."

"My contention is that she needs to contest the Distaff and defeat the top fillies again to solidify her claim as being the best of her age group sex."

It would be a great disservice to Beholder and Close Hatches if either should wins the Distaff and not be awarded the eclipse based on one loss to POS"

POS defeated Beholder by a narrow margin in the Oaks. This was after the filly fell either prior to during being saddled.

If POS was absent from the Distaff field, Beholder victory would have been dismissed and discredited.

POS's multitude of emotionally fans were posting crazy statements that were not supported by carefully evaluation of the cold facts.

POS has now been beaten twice by Close Hatches and Beholder exacted revenge for her Oaks loss.

Is POS still the front runner for the Eclipse?

02 Nov 2013 7:35 AM


Rosaline is an interesting longshot. Three starts at a mile and longer on three different surfaces. She has only been beaten by combined 4L by Untapable and My Conquescadory. What this big chestnut filly lacks in tactical speed she has in heart. Her enormous strides can play a major part if she can get close enough early.

Designer Legs won at Saratoga in a good time. She then flopped on a sloppy track and ran an even race in her 8.5F effort on synthetic. She returns to dirt and could surprise.  


The bomb of the day could be Great Hot and Chantal. She finished 8th beaten 41/2L in the Pat Obrien.  She was 31/2L behind Dirt Mile winner Goldencents who was second to Fed Biz. She then finished 2nd to Teddy‘s Promise in the A Woman at 61/2F.  She has 1 victory at 7F and is in good form. Using Goldencents performance in the Dirt Mile as a measure she must have a big shot.


The last time Capo Bostone returned from 2 month between races he won at 28-1. Without a doubt he has the best turn of foot in the field and is the only 3YO entered. If he is close when they hit the bottom of the hill, step to the cashier.


Difficult race that is primed for an upset. I am attracted to 3 longshots, Smarty’s Echo, Rum Point and Medal Count. Of the 3 only Medal Count has made a start on dirt. Medal Count is my #1 amongst them as he is well bred May foal that has been in trouble in both starts. On the first occasion he won by 61/4L and the next he was not persevered with close home. His pedigree leans heavily towards turf but he appears to be a Barbaro type.


Sum of The Parts, Majestic Stride and Laugh Track have a lot of appear. Sum of The Parts led the 2012 Sprint as a 3YO. AS a 4YO he must be a stronger horse and will have to be caught.

Majestic Stride has made two winning starts for 2013 and has 5 starts in total. He is a relatively unknown quantity. His dam was sired Great Above of Holy Bull fame and that is a plus. He like ML favorite Secret Circle are the only ones unbeaten in 2013.

Laugh Track is ideally drawn and is the one most likely to benefit from a pace melt down. Mike Smith can hurt as well. A horse produced by a Touch Gold mare is actually a sprinter. Not possible!

02 Nov 2013 8:28 AM

steve from st louis,

Breeders value the "Breeders Cup Classic" more than the Kentucky Derby.


...because your running against everybody under the sun. Beating your elders is much tougher than beating 3yr olds.

02 Nov 2013 8:31 AM

The dam of Sprint longshot Majestic Stride was sired by Great Above.

There was a champion sprinter who went by the name Housebuster whose dam was sire by Great Above.

Majestic Stride is as good as Housebuster he certainly can land the upset.

02 Nov 2013 8:40 AM
Pedigree Ann

The state of the main course at Santa Anita is a disgrace. If a race is going to be a championship level event, all styles of running should have a fair chance and it is the responsibility of the host track to make it so. Wet weather can mess things up, but that's racing. SoCal has had no weather problem to deal with, so its track management has no excuse.

02 Nov 2013 8:52 AM
Tiz Herself

Would love to see Royal Delta try grass... Empire Maker has sired turf runners Acoma, Emollient, etc....

02 Nov 2013 10:12 AM

Once again I agree with Pedigree Ann about the SA track.  Also, sad to hear about Harlans Holiday.  Someone needs to do a story about how many stallions we are losing to this shuttle business.  Keep our stallions at home and give them a rest.

02 Nov 2013 10:59 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Totally agree with you, it is a disgrace. Also, what's up with all the scratched horses due to foot injuries this week. Doesn't make Santa Anita's track look like a properly prepared surface , for races of this quality. Poor job! Santa Anita.

02 Nov 2013 11:23 AM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann, you are justified in making your remarks. It takes the fun out of handicapping and The Breeders Cup accolades should not contribute to the speed breeding that is the trend in the American Thoroughbred Industry. I love having the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita for many reasons but this is the #1 problem thus far with this venue. I hope it is addressed. And I hope the sound system works this year. Watching Tony Bennett mouth the words to the event theme-The Best is Yet to Come- was a bit embarrassing although accurate.  

02 Nov 2013 11:45 AM
El Kabong

For what it is worth,

Steve I love that we agree on Havelock. I kinda felt a bit crazy about that one but if there are two of us in the nut farm then it's not so bad.

Really looking forward to the Juvies. Artemis Agrotera has caught my eye and I hope she runs a big one.

I'll Tri box Dank, Alterite, Tiz and Marketing mix in Filly Mare Turf

I'll Tri box Bristol, Judy, Groupie, and Summer Applause in the sprint.

Boxing Havelock with Miz D, Caracortado, and Jeranimo.

In Juvie the post positions make it easy. Key 13 with 4,5,6,7 if the speed continues to destroy. Havana is the fastest horse in these conditions for sure but I will be rooting for Cleburne to throw Dale and Donegal a reason to look forward.

The Fugue.

If the situation of this track does not change, how can you not like Trinniberg and the Lumber Guy. I agree that Justin is ready to explode but have to include the repeats here especially the Lumber Guy.

Wise Dan. see comments from last year.

As much as I would love to see Aidan win in the same year that Conan called a race at Santa Anita(very funny if you have not heard it) I think Planteur might be the Long Shot of the Event if he likes the surface. Second off a 7 month layoff and he runs a game third to Animal Kingdom(at his best) and Red Cadeaux. Fingers crossed but the company should be no problem if his toes are happy.

Good luck to all. This is it until Derby Fever ignites us all. Have a good Holiday today, and the enjoy the others that follow as well.

02 Nov 2013 12:24 PM
Old Timer

if the DUDE falters, How about an exacta box based on the "BC Gods"?:

Palace Malice for Cot

Mucho Macho Man for the old guy, Gary Stevens and

Declaration of War for the O'Briens

02 Nov 2013 12:28 PM
Greg R

Juvenile Filles - You might have talked me into Concave, but I still like Sweet Reason.  I think of her "slow work" as a really fast gallop.

Filly and Mare Turf - Tiz Flirtatious.  I think her stretch kick will put her in company with the Euros.

Filly and Mare Sprint - 1)No matter what people say, I think Groupie Doll is really waking up at S A, happy to see the sunshine, and will relish the fight again.  2)Book Review - 7 furlongs at her home track will be her favorite cup of tea.

Turf - Another Richard Mandella local: 1)Indy Point.  Primed for best on pool table course.2) Big Blue Kitten.

Sprint - Didn't think Secret Circle would be co-second choice off one minor race, but I'll take it.  Others take turns winning.  He's born to lay rubber.

Mile - It wouldn't be so wise to pick against Wise Dan.  No Jet Lag may regress.  Will Olympic Glory's steering wheel turn left fast enough?

Classic - Declaration of War is a big threat and Palace Malice finished the traditional second in the J C G C, so why isn't it HIS turn?  But I'm sticking with 1) Mucho Macho Man, 2) Game On Dude and 3) Flat Out.

02 Nov 2013 12:55 PM
Greg R

I left out Turf Sprint.  Caracortado was going to be my pick!!!  Drat.

1) Capo Bastone 2) Jeranimo

02 Nov 2013 12:58 PM
Greg R

Pedigree Ann, et al:  People forget those Breeders Cups at Gulfstream when the horses were like rail cars on a train track...no passing allowed.  At Santa Anita, there was plenty of passing going on behind the winners.  Beholder and Goldencents were simply best on the day.  London Bridge came from midpack.  It is not as bad as you think.

02 Nov 2013 1:04 PM
Tiz Herself

Dont think it is the shuttling so much that is hard on our stallions as it is the number of mares that they are bred to in a season - although in past years those numbers have been more controlled, am wondering the health hazards for a stallion who would cover 100+ mares on both hemispheres in a season... I know in the wild they would cover any available mares so maybe am just looking for other reasons so many are suffering these issues. Am I out to lunch here?

02 Nov 2013 2:10 PM
Tiz Herself

Heard yesterday that the BC Dirt Mile was Hymn Book's final start before he transitions to stable pony - if that is the case, I wish him well. Have nothing but respect for the gutsy gelding and wish him well in his new career.

02 Nov 2013 2:11 PM
Tiz Herself

Sad about Secret Compass -not even a mention of it on the broadcast. Got to wonder about the track, how many injuries, death is that within the last few days? Celburne was out with injury, Ron The Greek out with injury, Graydar out, Pointsoff the Bench was fatal and now Secret Compass?

RIP Secret Compass.

02 Nov 2013 4:43 PM
Tiz Herself

Forging ahead, am not altering my picks too much for the weekend however will replace Celburne with Bond Holder. Also like longshot New Year's Day (I like the pedigree. Street Cry over Dixie Union mare - Street Sense was result of Street Cry over Dixieland Band <sire of Dixie Union> mare) pictures of New Year's Day, he is gorgeous.

Onward we go! Looks like a beautiful day at Santa Anita

Tiz Herself 01 Nov 2013 5:11 PM

Why oh why did I not put $$ on New Year's Day... he reminded me of Street Sense coming up the rail... similar breeding to Street Sense, I like him a lot.

02 Nov 2013 5:51 PM
Tiz Herself


Never had a doubt - not only did he repeat but he did it with a jockey change (thoughts are with Johnny V) ... never once doubted him.

Lure, Miesque, Goldikova -- his name belongs with them.

He sure looks good with the yellow and purple blanket of flowers!

Again, thoughts are with Johnny V....

02 Nov 2013 7:49 PM
Tiz Herself

And bless the Breeders Cup site for their live video stream of the BC today - for it would have been a LONG one without it... none of the channels available to me had the broadcast up until the Classic (TSN was scheduled to have the BC races, however NASCAR phased it out. Where would we be without online resources? Certainly in Alberta it is a life line :) With 20CM of snow outside, there was no chance of me going anywhere to watch simulcast anywhere else.

02 Nov 2013 7:55 PM
Greg R

Well, once in awhile I hit the nail on the head.  This morning (my time), I guessed four of this afternoon's winners.

 > I knew Groupie Doll was coming

   around just in time to act

   like her old self.

 > Secret Circle seemed like

   the real deal to me, while

   it hasn't been a banner year

   for sprinters in the East

   and California lost its

   best sprinter last week.

 > Wise Dan - Not a genius pick

   but some were trying to over-

   think it.  Thank goodness team

   didn't try to veer from the

   right path with his campaign.

 > I couldn't be more delighted

   for Mucho M M's victory,

   for the connections, etc.,

   but considering Will Take

   Charge's trip, he might have

   run the best, covering extra

   lengths of ground.

 Condolences to connections of poor Secret Compass and best wishes to John Velasquez.  Hardest job in racing:  Wife of a jockey.  

02 Nov 2013 9:50 PM

Oh.. so... close... almost had the superfecta, except dude throws in the towel when it counts the most. 5,6,9,10 super box. Had some trifectas with those horses but all were with dude. went against my own rule of betting the favorite. should have done a 5,6,10, all. or more trifectas without dude. live and learn. most importantly, a classic for the ages- what a run. I love will take charge, so glad to see him stamp himself as top 3 year old. and I thought declaration was a red hot dark horse. mucho looked fantastic before and after. what a horse race.

amazing races- heart goes out to all of secret compass's connections, johnny v especially. poor filly. but the mares, and the repeats, what a performance by groupie doll, mizdirection, wise dan, and secret circle coming back at 3 to win another breeders cup race.

02 Nov 2013 10:01 PM

what a great day of racing, and a tough day of close calls with handicapping. had 7-9-10 in the turf, and the 11 showed up instead. liked the 4 in the juvenile, and the 5, but the 5 could do no better than forth. liked the top three finishers in the classic, but had them in combos with dude, and 2 out of 3 and also 3 out of 4 count for nothin. really liked artemis agrotera, who was cut off in the stretch to maybe miss for 4th.. but what a horrible tragedy for secret compass and johnny v. liked secret circle in the sprint, but only bet him in trifectas where the other two fell through. hope everyone else did well!

02 Nov 2013 10:07 PM
El Kabong

Stand by the bias on Friday but today was perfect. Hats off to Ritvo and Stevens. That was a helluva race and a picture perfect ending to a great day of racing. Can't wait for next year and I am planning on returning to the Great Race Place for sure. Hope JV is doing well.

02 Nov 2013 11:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm happy for Mucho Macho Man, Kathy Ritvo, and Gary Stevens. They are were all masterful and all deserved it. It was a high quality Classic and only very talented horse and rider in peak condition was going to win it.

   Will Take Charge is clearly 3yo of the year and the horse to beat next year. Ultra talented. Good job Lukas and Will Take Charge, a nostril hair from the championship.

   I don't know what their plans are for Game On Dude for next year but here's what I would do. I'd give him back to Chantal. He raced very good for her. I'd point toward a peak performance for the Classic making it the 4th or 5th race after a layoff. Give the old man a break and try one more time. Even at that age if healthy he will be capable. Even though I thought he might win this year, I didn't think he would. I didn't think the break would help him, only diminish his chances of maintaining the peak conditioning needed for this race. Spectacular race, as were many of them this year. Just off the top of my head I think that Wise Dan is once again HOY but I'd give it more thought first before a final decision. A lot of tough losses, the worst being the recent deaths, then the loss of stallions to overseas. I'd pin a blue tail on the human that sold Hansen to Korea and trade him for the horse. Be careful eating the kimchee Hansen.

03 Nov 2013 6:23 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I am assuming they did something at SA for and on Saturday to make it a fair track. Friday seemed to be speed biased and Saturday seemed to be just right for a fair track. Whatever they did for and on Saturday is what they always should strive for, especially if they want to continue to hold the BC, or for anytime for that matter. After Friday I was definitely ready to alternate sites. After Saturday you could make a case for it being a permanent sight or close to it. It doesn't quite seem fair that it would never be in the east but there is a weather concern with the east. I still would like to see it alternate between the east and west if they can just do something about the weather issue !!!! Which appears to be getting worse.

03 Nov 2013 7:49 AM
Old Timer

That post race interview with Kathy Ritvo and family was the most touching moment since Carl Nafzger hugging Mrs. Genter! Who cannot feel happy for this horse and his connections.?

03 Nov 2013 8:20 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I don't think there is a better trainer than Charlie LoPresti, or a better owner than Mort Fink, or a better horse than Wise Dan. Rechecking his record confirms my instinct that he is HOY again. He had two wins on a yielding turf course, one at 9f, and a win on a good turf course. He has top notch speed figures and was 6 for 7 with the one second being on an "off track" albeit a synthetic, it was full of puddles. Nobody is more of a warrior. It's great that he is coming back next year with zero handicap races to weigh him down, and with fewer races overall. Personally I would go for the threepeat and hope that Europe send its strongest milers to try to dethrone The King. Enjoy your time off Wise Dan and thanks for the thrills and inspiration. I have to also congratulate the other repeat winners and especially loved Groupie Doll's win with her doubters. The Comeback Kid award goes to Secret Circle. Way to go. Caracortado's scratch was a disappointment. Was it his foot again? Paynter is also to be congratulated again for his victory in running in the Classic for that was an example of extreme courage and determination just to get there. He didn't do as well as I had hoped but he did better than Game On Dude who just wasn't ready for a top effort yesterday. Ron the Greek would have made it even more interesting, and might have blown by them all or at least been in the mix of what could have been nearly a four way photo. I love having all of these older horses running so well this year throughout the year.

03 Nov 2013 2:42 PM
Bethany Loftis

Congratulations to Mucho Macho Man and his connections!!! I was holding back tears when he crossed the wire, but then seeing Ritvo move people aside to run towards Gary and Macho made me blubber. Very few people are more deserving of this than her, her family, and his connections for their support. They truly were made for each other! What a great script too?! Hint hint Hollywood...just don't mess it up :)

03 Nov 2013 3:19 PM
Smoking Baby

Old Timer.  I agree.  Regardless of who you bet on or who you were hoping to win the Classic, if you weren't happy for the winning team, something's off and I'm not sure what I can do for you.

03 Nov 2013 3:29 PM
Smoking Baby

Actually, I'm happy for the first three finishers in the Classic.  What a race by all three.  The connections of both Will Take Charge and Declaration Of War should hold their heads high.

03 Nov 2013 3:32 PM
Paula Higgins

First, my condolences to the connections of Secret Compass. It was another heartbreaking loss of a filly. I hope Johnny Velazquez is doing much better after his splenectomy.

03 Nov 2013 3:56 PM
Paula Higgins

First, my sincere sympathies to the connections of Secret Compass. Another heartbreaking loss that continues to plague this sport. I hope Johnny Velazquez is on the mend after his surgery. I truly hate this part of the sport. I don't believe in this case there was any way to save her.

I watched most of it on NBC Sports and it was quite a Breeders Cup in all other respects. I felt terrible for Bob Baffert, but at least he came away with 2 other wins. It was very much an up and down day for him.

I was thrilled to see Mucho Macho Man, Kathy Ritvo and Gary Stevens win the BCC. Not a more deserving horse, trainer and jockey there. It was very touching to see her there with her family when she realized she had won. Steve, I saw you there with Kathy and I think a tape recorder? trying to catch the moment. Mucho Macho Man did what he does best and that is never stop trying. He hung on long enough to win by a nostril, but it was enough in the end. I felt a little bad for Lukas, but only a little. He has next year and his horse is pretty impressive. Game on Dude was over matched at that distance. I do not believe he will ever win the classic. Just a bit too far for him against top class competition. Mike Smith did a great job, but it wasn't going to happen.

To me, the Breeders Cup Classic trumps every other race, including the Kentucky Derby. You are up against the best who have made it through to the end of the season. The sturdy battlers, 3 year olds and up, who have what it takes to go the classic distance. It doesn't get better than that.

Wise Dan was my other favorite moment. I never lost faith in him and I felt that he would win the mile. He did, in great fashion. IMO he is HOTY again. There is no other horse that you can put up there with him this season. GoD did well during the year but when the competition stepped up, he couldn't get there. So then you have the girls, Beholder ended that discussion. Last and certainly not least, is Mucho Macho Man. He is the only one you can put in the discussion, but he does not have Wise Dan's track record. So it goes to Wise Dan :).

03 Nov 2013 4:17 PM

Coldfacts 02 Nov 2013 7:35 AM

What a great day of top class throughbred racing on Saturday?

Beholder was brilliant in the Distaff but you are a body-of-work guy and should have no difficulty with seeing that Princess of Sylmar still deserves the Eclipse award for best 3YO filly of 2013.  Her participation in the Distaff was a great sporting gesture against good strategic judgment by the connections that should not be penalized. The track had a speed bias, the winner, Beholder, had home-field advantage and POS has apparently trained off (the only explanation for a dull performance from a filly that gives of her best every time).

Mucho Macho Man was simply awesome in victory in the BC Classic over three gallant performers Will Take Charge, Declaration of War and last years winner, Fort Larned (who, as I predicted, made HOTY pretender Game on Dude 'spit his bit'). Having seen MMM and FL feature in two of the most exciting BC Classics in back to back years, you should now forget about Alysheba and go eat some crow(LOL)

I'm thrilled to say that we'll be referring to Wise Dan next year as the two-time HOTY ...wow, what a champion!!! His loss in the Shadwll Mile to Silver Max showed that his campaign was not an easy one. This horse won at various tracks all over the country and displayed the heart of a champion even in defeat at Keenland. To come back and redeem himself like he did in the BC Mile with such authority makes him a sho-in for two-time Horse of the Year, don't you think? What a peach of a ride jockey Lezcano gave him? I might also highlight Rajiv Maragh on board Groupie Doll.  These two jocks deserve to ride more mounts in these big meets, with all due respect to the old guard, Gary Stevens and Mike Smith.

Here's wishing one of my favourite jocks, Johnny Velasquez a speedy recovery.

I'm going into semi-retirement from the blog but want to spot my Kentucky Derby winner from now. It will be Orb's Trainer Shug McGuehey in back to back derby wins and AP Indy's first, coming from his last crop, Honor Code !!!

See you in the Spring buddy

03 Nov 2013 4:32 PM

Steve, you were spot on with Declaration of War and Aidan O’Brien is an even better trainer than what has been written. Moreover, Claiborne's sire War Front  appears to be stamping his mark as did his progenitors   Danzig, Northern Dancer. Time will tell.

As Dr Drunkinbum wrote, after Friday's fiasco regarding the track's speed bias I thought an alternate site needs to be found but congratulations to the Santa Anita management for correcting the error overnight.

However, I wouldn't have Santa Anita as a permanent site - familiarity breeds contempt. Besides, when is Belmont Park going to be given the opportunity to 'show-off'?

There were many highs but alas, tragedy struck which was a reminder on how quickly joy and can turn to horror in this sport. Hopefully, Johnny V. makes a speedy recovery.

On to the Derby, I still think Honor Code is showing the most promise at this early stage. How befitting a Kentucky Derby winner would be for his great sire- A. P. Indy.

03 Nov 2013 5:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You do have an eye for talent. I remember that many, many, many, many moons ago you were touting the talent of Will Take Charge, and you always stuck with him, never wavering in your good judgement. It was after you first touted him but Bethany did also before he started really being noticed as one of the top three year olds. Well he is the top 3yo now and beyond that, one of the top horses in the country. I sure hope he races next year when he will really start maturing and dominating. Superstar potential.

03 Nov 2013 6:41 PM
Pamela Morgan

I'm just disgusted. We get to listen to idiots interviewing celebrities spouting inanities while a lovely filly full of promise lies dead. I know they don't want alienate viewers of "the game," but viewers need to know the fragility of all horses. (After all, two famous stallions, Danehill and Saint Liam died while being held on lead lines.)Viewers also need to know the great love that the caretakers of these horses have for them. Show some respect for the horses and the people that love them!!!! Put up a photo of Secret Compass and Points Offthebench,too. These horses deserve respect.  I HATED the Classic coverage.

03 Nov 2013 7:03 PM
Pamela Morgan

I'm just disgusted. We get to listen to idiots interviewing celebrities spouting inanities while a lovely filly full of promise lies dead. I know they don't want alienate viewers of "the game," but viewers need to know the fragility of all horses. (After all, two famous stallions, Danehill and Saint Liam died while being held on lead lines.)Viewers also need to know the great love that the caretakers of these horses have for them. Show some respect for the horses and the people that love them!!!! Put up a photo of Secret Compass and Points Offthebench,too. These horses deserve respect.  I HATED the Classic coverage.

03 Nov 2013 7:03 PM

I understand why the Breeders Cup may be viewed as the most defining of championship races. However, I still say the Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious race in America, and the most popular. The derby is every trainers dream, period. The derby winners are never far from our memory, unlike the Preakness, the Belmont and the Breeders Cup, those who win the roses are an elite group of equine heroes. Even the ponies who never go on to do much more than win the Kentucky derby are remembered for what they did the first Saturday in May. Oh yes, open mouth, insert foot. Wise Dan just may have a chance to win back to back Horse of the Year honors. Princess of Sylmar***well, who knew? Way to go, Wise Dan. You deserve the honors.

03 Nov 2013 7:50 PM
steve from st louis

I was waiting all week for Trevor to give his Zenyatta call on Will Take Charge... ("this...is..unbelievable!") then I find out Larry Colmus was calling it for NBC. I think his call cost Will Take Charge the race. I'm still trying to cash my ticket but the machine won't comply.

03 Nov 2013 8:41 PM
steve from st louis

PS: Steve you were front and center on national TV standing next to Ritvo. That's what I expect from the most connected journalist in the sport.

03 Nov 2013 8:43 PM

Coldfacts : Not sure why you directed the Princess of Sylmar to me but the answer is no.  I commented on your previous post awhile back where you posted and compared the races of Closed Hatches and Beholder and I said you made a good point.  I said that Princess of Sylmar's connections have no choice but to run in the Distaff and beat the other two to win the championship.  

The quote you posted was from our discussion regarding Game On Dude's chances at HOTY should he win.   I think you got yourself confused with the two discussions.

04 Nov 2013 1:54 AM
El Kabong

Ok, We all like to share handicapping opinions here but I would like to share a betting strategy that worked. On a budget, I like to play $24 four horse tri boxes for the BC because trifectas pay so well, but after seeing my horses run 1,2,4 more than once on Friday, and similar to that right off the bat on Saturday, I made an adjustment I hoped would reverse my trend. To keep it a $24 dollar ticket, I took the best two of my 4 in the Filly and Mare sprint, Groupie Doll and Dance to Bristol and keyed them first. Put the full group of 4 in my tri box second and 4th(Groupie, Bristol, Judy, Summer Applause). Then keyed third the two horses everyone else said would ruin my trifecta, Steve's Dance Card and Sweet Lulu for a $24 dollar super to back my tri. Don't get mad get even. It worked. My  tri box was spoiled by Dance Card but my super saver made me forget all about it. If you suffer from 1,2,4 in your trifectas, try this. I laughed all the way to the IRS window. I'll use it going forward when I can. Betting and Handicapping are two different arenas and you have to make adjustments on the fly. This one worked for me.

04 Nov 2013 12:08 PM
El Kabong

Anyone planning on wagering the Melbourne Cup? I have been looking it over and like Fawkner and Voleuse De Coeurs for the win. I'm planning right now on  padding them with Mount Athos, Seville, Brown Panther, Green Moon, Sea Moon, Masked Marvell and Fiorente underneath. It's a 144 dollar tri I hope returns a bundle. Good luck to any others going for the cash down under. Gooday to all the punters wagering down under!

04 Nov 2013 12:40 PM

Dr. D : Thanks, I'm glad he didn't disappoint me in the Classic.  I may have lost my bet but watching him run was pretty exciting.  At the top of the stretch I watched him make his move and for some reason I lost track of him and thought he got blocked again and had to stop, it wasn't until MMM and DoW was clear of the field that I saw a horse coming hard on the outside.  I didn't know it was him until right at the wire when I thought he nipped him.  I yelled so loud " 10!  10 got it !!", everyone looked at me because they were all yelling the 5 or the 6... I raised my fist in the air thinking he really got him... then I saw the replay and realized it was another zenyatta moment.   It took me some time to get over the lost bet but yeah, it was nice to see him make that run like a professional, believe it or not, it was exactly the run I was expecting to see from him, way outside rolling like a freight train.  I was also very impressed at Secret Circle, another horse I really liked, and was my pick to win the KY Derby before he got injured.  Coming back from over a year layoff to win an allowance race in 1:07, then running down that field was very impressive.

Testa Rossi should've won the Juvenile Turf,  I can't blame Lezcano for trying to stick to the rail, it was unfortunate it closed before he could sneak through, had to steady then go wide to make their run.  She'll be a force to be reckoned with next year.

My other heartbreaking loss was the DQ of She's A Tiger, I had her and Secret Compass (very sick about what happened to her).  I had the P4 won if She's a Tiger wasn't DQ'd.

I may have lost my BC bets but I'm happy that some of my picks actually showed up, had a fun time watching all the races.  I'm actually starting to get the bug, derby bug ;)  I'm going to start looking at the 2 yr olds and see if I can spot next years KY Derby winner  (Keelerman got me started with picking horses to follow throughout the TC crown.)

Hope things are going well with you (and the family) and glad to see you back here, you were awol for a bit.  

06 Nov 2013 2:32 AM

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