TimeformUS Saturday Plays from Gulfstream and Fair Grounds

Saturday, Gulfstream Park, Race 11, Local Post Time 5:31pm ET
The G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, 1 and 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3YO
By Alan Mann

The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth is the final prep for the Florida Derby, an actual prep (finally) for the Kentucky Derby.  It will be run at a mile and a sixteenth with a short run to the first turn and a shortened stretch, both of which figure to be significant factors with an oversized and, for many, an over-ambitious field of 13 in search of sufficient points to qualify for the big race on the first Saturday in May.  We think this is a race that is not as wide open as the number of starters would suggest, and that many of the entrants can be summarily dismissed, as connections overreach in search of a box seat at Churchill Downs.

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It seems fitting that Todd Pletcher would appear to hold the key to this fountain given the way he has dominated this meet.  The Toddster sits firmly atop the trainer standings with 46 winners from 150 starters (from Nov 30); a winning percentage of 31%.  He recently had a streak of at least one winner on 13 consecutive racing days on which he had a starter.  He looks great with a tan.

He is also the beneficiary of the luck of the draw, with morning line favorite Commissioner (#1, 3-1) having been assigned the rail.  So, while others outside of him are vying for position in what figures to be a mad dash to the first turn, jockey John Velazquez can merely stake out his position while saving ground.  This son of A.P. Indy out of a Touch Gold mare (and a half-brother to the [sprint] graded stakes winner Laugh Track) has run exclusively around two turns, winning his last two races and improving his TFUS speed figure each time.

TimeformUS PPs

There's no doubt that the Fountain of Youth will present some new challenges for this colt in only his fourth career start.  It's a far larger field than he's ever faced.  He needs to build further on his speed figure progression.  Pace Projector shows him significantly farther back than he's ever been (though we suspect he'll be closer than it suggests).  So Commissioner will need some racing luck to find his way through traffic, especially if one assumes he'll be inside and amongst a crowd of horses.  However, returning from a layoff of 128 days in his last effort, he rallied determinedly while splitting horses in the stretch--experience that should serve him well in this larger field--and held off Top Billing (#12), the second choice in the morning line at 7-2.  While the PP lines may give the impression that the latter was gaining at the end, it was actually Commissioner who had edged away from the eighth pole, winning in easier fashion than the neck margin would suggest, and looking as if he wouldn't have been passed even in the proverbial "another time around."  While we prefer to be more creative with our selections, we find it difficult to oppose this horse here, unless the tote board gives us no other choice.

Top Billing, in closing against what was a moderate and steady pace, actually earned, in defeat, a TimeformUS speed figure that was three points higher than that of Commissioner.  This son of Curlin (out of a [turf] graded stakes winning A.P. Indy mare) then went on to improve his figure even further in a highly impressive allowance win over a pretty decent Pletcher horse in Surfing U S A.  There are a lot of things to love about this colt, including his trainer, Shug McGaughey, and his stellar late pace rating of 112.

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However, what we don't love is his #12 post position.  Jockey Joel Rosario figures to take him to the back of the pack to save ground around the initial turn, and he will need some help from the racing gods to navigate his way around or through the pack.  That makes him a shaky value proposition at his expected odds.

TimeformUS PPs

Looking at some of the other contenders:

We Miss Artie (#2, 8-1) is the "other Pletcher," and we recently documented how dangerous they can be.  He's shown versatility, winning on turf and synth, from close up and coming from behind.  Running without Lasix in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, his only two-turn dirt effort, he lost by only four lengths after being within a couple of lengths of the hot pace.  As a son of Artie Schiller, his eventual home would seem to be turf, but it surely would be no shock to see him run well here.

Medal Count (#3, 15-1) is the most interesting of those listed at double-digit odds, and the one we like to spice up the exotics.  Throw out his BC Juvenile race, in which he ran without Lasix, and you see a horse who has run respectably around two turns on all three surfaces while dealing with slow paces that compromised his closing style.  Son of Dynaformer (with a good pedigree rating, for dirt routes, of 81) has a ways to go in the speed figure department, but has a favorable inside post, and could show up late should the expected quick pace materialize.

Wildcat Red (#4, 6-1) won the Hutcheson at seven furlongs and has been as far as a one-turn mile.  His defeat, by a head, in the latter is the only blemish on his four-race career.  But his pedigree rating of 66 for dirt routes may suggest that this son of the crack sprinter D'Wildcat is better suited for shorter.

General a Rod (#5, 5-1) is the horse that beat Wildcat Red in the mile test, and he also tries two turns for the first time. Since he's by the Haskell winner Roman Ruler, out of a mare by the distance influence Dynaformer, we like his chances of getting the distance.  Whether he can avoid getting caught up in a fast pace and improve from his career-best TFUS speed figure of 91 remains to be seen. Given his connections--he's trained by the red-hot Michael Maker, who actually has a better winning percentage (33%) than Pletcher--his value prospects seem shaky.

C. Zee (#7, 12-1)  Obscurely bred sprinter figures to add some heat to the early pace.

Almost Famous (#8, 10-1) shares the top spotlight and last-out TFUS speed figure of 102 with Top Billing.  He is the projected leader on Pace Projector, which, given that it's labeled as a Fast Pace, may not be such a good thing.  However, he does at least have two-turn experience, and a win at this distance at Churchill when he showed improved early speed with blinkers on.  He got to the lead at the three-quarters mark in the hot-paced Holy Bull and faded to 4th.  (And for that effort, his raw final-time figure was upgraded from 95 to 102.)  He figures to have no easier time of it here.

Casiguapo (#6, 30-1 ML). This colt sold for just $4700 as a yearling, but earned that back many times over with a second place finish in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot.  It was his only two-turn effort, and he earned a competitive TFUS speed figure of 94 in the process.  Son of Sightseeing has held his ground or passed horses in the stretch of each of his races. With the expected fast pace, a similar effort could earn him a minor award at long odds.

Selections: We'd play Commissioner to win at or above his morning line of 3-1.  In any event, we'll look for some value in the exotics with him on top of We Miss Artie, Medal Count, and Top Billing (with a little Casiguapo sprinkled into the bottom of trifecta tickets as well).

 

Saturday, Fair Grounds, Race 11, Local Post Time 5:25pm CT
The G2 Risen Star Stakes, 1 and 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3YO
By Robert Finnegan

Derby fever makes its way to Fair Grounds today, where 14 three-year-olds will be running 1mile1/16 in the Grade 2 Risen Star. With the announcement that Bond Holder will scratch, we can add the also-eligible Emmett Park to the body of the race, which amounts to trading one closer for another in a race that has quite a bit of early speed in it.

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The TimeformUS Pace Projector designates the Risen Star as a "fast pace" race, and with 14 horses in a starting gate that is situated not all that far from the first turn, there seems to be a reasonable chance that the pace will prove to be destructive. According to the Pace Projector, Rise Up will be the early leader, with the maiden, Vigorish, and Albano tracking, followed closely by Hoppertunity (who might well have more speed than he has shown), Vicar's in Trouble, and Interchange. The others should be considered closers today.

Risen Star Pace Projector
 
The morning line favorite, at 5-2, is Vicar's in Trouble. Talented though he obviously is, we see him as vulnerable in this spot. For starters, on our speed figures, he is not the fastest horse in this race, nor is he the second-fastest or even the third-fastest. Rise Up, Hoppertunity, and Intense Holiday are all faster. Indeed, Quick Indian (20-1 ML) is just as fast. And according to our Race Ratings, Vicar's in Trouble does not exit the strongest races--that distinction belongs to Intense Holiday. Yes, Vicar's in Trouble looked great while dominating a Grade 3 in his last start, and he's lightly raced and eligible to improve today for his superb trainer and leading rider. But at 5-2 odds in a 14-horse field, a horse who needs to improve to win is not our idea of an enticing play--especially when he drew an awful post and may well find himself at odds with the pace of the race. So we are stamping Vicar's in Trouble as a strong contender but an underlay.

TimeformUS PPs
 
At morning line odds of 8-1, Intense Holiday is our selection in the Risen Star. He has the top lifetime speed figure in this field--a 102, which he ran as a two-year-old. As mentioned, he has been facing the best competition. He is proven at today's distance. His most recent speed figure, a 98, is highly competitive in here even before one factors in that it was earned with a difficult trip: a wide journey from a nasty post, with a nice middle-move and a strong 6F pace figure, belying thoughts that he might be developing "plodder" tendencies. And then there's his trainer. Todd Pletcher has been setting the house on fire with these stakes sojourns to Fair Grounds. Plus he has a circuit switch rating of 94, a 3YO-stakes rating of 92, a 3YO-route rating of 100, and of course an overall rating of 100. And with his closing style and powerful Late Pace rating of 95, Intense Holiday figures to be moved up considerably should the expected fast pace materialize. With money rider Mike Smith riding, at odds that figure to be somewhat better than decent, Intense Holiday seems like an attractive play in  here.

TimeformUS PPs

As far as the rest of this sprawling field is concerned, in addition to Vicar's in Trouble (who we feel will be overbet), the horses we fear most are Rise Up, who has strong speed figures and projects for a ground-saving trip as he to tries to take this field wire to wire, and Bob Baffert's Hoppertunity, who has the best last-out speed figure in here, a number that he earned while saving all the ground when breaking his maiden (with an assist from his uncoupled barnmate, who was racing off the rail at an Hoppertune time, thus giving Hoppertunity room to shine). Longshots who interest us are Commanding Curve, who was visually impressive last year, Quick Indian, who has a Late Pace rating of 97, and Emmett Park, who has a puncher's chance off the surface switch should this race collapse in the final 1/8.
 
The play: Intense Holiday to win. Exacta boxes of Intense Holiday with Rise Up and Intense Holiday with Hoppertunity. Defensive exacta of Vicar's in Trouble over Intense Holiday. And the longshots underneath Intense Holiday in exotics.

 

Saturday, Fair Grounds, Race 10, Local Post Time 4:55pm CT
The G3 Fair Grounds Handicap, About 1 and 1/8 miles, Turf, 4YO+
By Jason Perlmutter

Saturday's Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap is proof that the Pace Projector need not predict an exceptionally fast or slow pace in order to provide horseplayers with an interesting perspective on how a race may shape up.

TimeformUS Pace Projector

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What's interesting about this view is how spread out the field is, and yet the Pace Projector does not indicate a fast pace.  This leads us to conclude that horses on or near the lead may end up with an ideal trip.  The projected leader, #3 Ground Transport (6-1), has run once on synthetic (poorly) and once on turf (badly).  He's also a tad slow relative to the other key contenders, and it's possible he will scratch out of this race and instead run on dirt in the Mineshaft Handicap.  This would potentially improve the chances of the following two horses, projected to sit second and third early:

#2 Skyring (20-1 ML) is an intriguing longshot.  Only ten months ago, he posted huge back-to-back speed figures of 118 and 117, the second one in upsetting the G2 Dixie ($50.40) at today's distance.  Since that score in Baltimore, Skyring's form has been dreadful.  He has finished no better than sixth in his last six races.   But he has not been without reasonable excuses.  His last two races have featured difficult post positions and less than optimal breaks.  Prior to that, he was foolishly entered in the 12f Breeders' Cup Turf, and in the race before that, he faced Silver Max and Wise Dan in a monsoon on the Keeneland poly.  If ever a horse could have used some time off, it was Skyring, and he finally was given 63 days of rest leading up to today's effort.  While it's entirely possible this one is finished as a racehorse, he's an interesting key for those looking to hit a home run.

TimeformUS PPs

#5 Gentleman's Kitten (9-2 ML) figures to have a nice clean trip near the lead.  The well-bred son of Kitten's Joy out of a Deputy Minister mare should have no problem with the 9f distance.  He's coming off a huge career top figure of 113 in his first race for hot trainer Michael Maker, who has a 98 rating with horses coming in off good rest, in this case 44 days.  We also like that Gentleman's Kitten posted his huge top on this quirky Fairgrounds circuit, and that it was only his eighth career start.  He feels like the most likely winner and offers value at the morning line.

TimeformUS PPs

For us, it comes down to those two horses as potential keys.  We think Gentleman's Kitten is more logical, but think he may get pounded at the windows (especially with his owners possibly emptying their capacious pockets on him), whereas Skyring is going to be very long odds and is a more speculative type of play.   It depends on your philosophy as a horseplayer.  Do you favor a 20-1 shot who should be 6-1, or a 7-2 shot who should be 2-1?   As always, we recommend letting the odds help make the decision for you.

Of the others, #4 Daddy Nose Best, the 5-2 ML favorite, has won five out of his last six races, but his figures haven't been tremendously fast relative to the field, and he carries a lot of weight in here.  Let's try to beat him.  #8 Slip and Drive should be forwardly placed and has some fast figures (a 111 and 112) in recent starts.  #9 Unitarian looks like a healthy, improving four-year-old and we don't want to lose to Todd Pletcher and Mike Smith at anywhere near the 5-1 morning line.

The Wager:  #5 Gentleman's Kitten to win (consider #2 Skyring as alternative or a dutch play if the odds dictate).  Use #2 Skyring and #5 Gentleman's Kitten in multi race wagers.  Exacta Part Wheel:  Skyring and Gentleman's Kitten with those two and Slip and Drive and Unitarian, pressing up on the Skyring / Gentleman's Kitten exacta box, and double-keying Skyring and Gentleman's Kitten in all positions in the trifecta with the all button in the other slot. 

 

44 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Brontexx

I am comparing the post time favorite in the Holy Bull with the same in the FOY and with Commissioner if he is the favorite and dosent go off at more than Cairo Prince(2-1) did at the same distance race on the Gulfstream oval then you might want to get creative in your wagers, if you like him to win.

Comparing Top Billing to Orb,Orb had a good trip last year and never had to stop in traffic.The 2013 FOY had a sprinter setting the pace, Majestic Hussar and he ran 6 furlongs in 1:08 and change and Orb needed the entire stretch to pass Violence who was tracking the leader too closely.This race could be won by a colt that stays close to the pace and gets the jump on the route closers, Commissioner and Top Billing.I wouldnt take less than around 15 dollars for the$1 exacta box of Top Billing and Commissioner unless I was using this bet as a hedge to cover my other bets and to include more combinations.This is a 13 horse field and they start on top of the turn, with the top two wagering interests not having stakes experience.

21 Feb 2014 7:59 PM
Rusty Weisner

Brontexx,

I like Intense Holiday in the Risen Star.  "Like" may be too strong a word; I'll take him by default.  I like that he gets class relief.  Vicar's In Trouble is the best horse, but eligible to regress and in the 13-hole.  Just looking at paper (what else can I do?) I like that Intense Holiday paired figs when he stepped up in class to the Champagne, then paired figs again off the layoff in the Holy Bull, where his move was eye-catching and the track was maybe not ideal for him.  Now there's a big field, lots of stretch, Pletcher has luck here, I like Mike Smith, so I'll take him as a single in some multi-race bets as yet to be determined.

I considered others:

Vicar's In Trouble

Gold Hawk -- I don't see it

Hoppertunity - I won't take the step-up in class and has Baffert shipped anyone here lately?  Code West was disappointing last year.  His shippers to the OP/FG preps have been the blazing types, but this one doesn't stand out and VIT looks better.

No idea in the FOY.  I am looking at a horse in the 12th at GP, Dolan's Joy, for lack of better.

21 Feb 2014 10:29 PM
Rusty Weisner

Top Billing begs comparison to Orb, and Orb took four tries to break his maiden.  There's too much potential speed here to settle on one, but if I had to it might be Almost Famous, who I can excuse for fading last out, and whose trainer/jockey combo won the Florida Derby two years ago.

GP10 is inscrutable.  Maybe someone can help me out with that one.

21 Feb 2014 10:33 PM
Monarchos Matt

Going to stick with FG tomorrow. Gulfstream, anchored by the FOY, looks impossible, and I'll choose to watch and learn.

At the FG, I'll be looking at the 9-11 Pick 3 with outright bets on those races as well.

My key horses will be Untapable, Gentlemen's Kitten, and Intense Holiday, all for different reasons.

I'm giving Untapable a pass for the BC Juv Fillies fiasco, where she was my pick, and I'll overlook her 3rd place over poly in her last, and hope it drives her price up a bit. Will play against Ria Antonia off the layoff and flukey BC win post DQ. Streaming could wire here and worries me, but feel like Untapable will be close enough to the pace and is the better horse.

Gentlemen's Kitten seems like a single here. I have a long standing tradition of trying to beat all Scat Daddy progeny and now seems like the time to do it again. GK top Beyer this year is 100 to DNB 96. Granted on form, DNB looks really tough right now, but as the likely favorite I will try to get him to bounce after two strong showings...his closing moves may not be as effective here with so little speed signed on. Agree with the contributor that Skyring could be interesting here at a price, but man, he hasn't ever done anything outside of that Dixie race, which as a sidenote, killed me. But, maybe he needed a break? Tough call as I'd really like to single here and go deeper in the Risen Star, but at 20-1 or higher with no pace in here, I'd hate for him to kill me again.

I do think that Mister Mardi Gras and Ground Transport will scratch from here and go to the Mineshaft, although I hope they stay, as I'm against both on this surface. That may determine how I play the Pick 3 actually, considering the impact on the odds in the turf race if they defect. Single if they leave, go two deep if they stay.

In the Risen Star, man, this thing is a bear. Some of you know that my general play with three year olds is that as fields expand to capacity and horses are inexperienced, the pace will turn out to be hotter than expected. If this is the case, we can narrow this down to some closers. I prefer Intense Holiday based on the combination of that style and his class. However, I think my longshot pick is Quick Indian at 20-1. Look at that pedigree and that running style, and winner over the track no less...Frank on the chat today was loving Emmett Park, who likes to come from waaaaay back, and he enters unbeaten off two starts, but both were on synthetic...

Of course Hoppertunity seems logical as well, and should get a great trip between the mix of speed and closers, but I question his maturity. I'll try to beat Rise Up and Vicar's In Trouble on the pace angle, not to mention the layoff and post respectively...and who knows what to do with Gold Hawk.

Good luck to all!

22 Feb 2014 1:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Good to see you back.  Looks like we had the same winter hiatus.

22 Feb 2014 7:52 AM
Brontexx

Rusty Weisner I would like to see Intense Holiday win because I bet on Conquest Titan in the futures.I would like to see Commissioner finish 1st or 2nd in the FOY because of the same reason.

I wont bet on the Risen Star, and I dont know how I will bet Gulfstream yet,but I live 25 minutes away and I have seen many races on this track so I believe I have some insight on how this track plays.

22 Feb 2014 8:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

Uh-oh.  Intense Holiday is the wiseguy choice.  Still, while on paper he looks plodding he caught my eye in the last race where he had no chance.  I will hope for bad racing luck for Vicar's In Trouble.

22 Feb 2014 8:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

Brontexx,

I lived in Miami Beach in the last century, so I've been to Gulfstream.  I didn't know anything about horse racing at the time...and therefore did pretty well, winning a $1900 superfecta one day to get out of Florida a winner.  One of the horses was called "Mop Squeezer", a fate I've narrowly avoided so far.

22 Feb 2014 9:04 AM
Coldfacts

It's always difficult to handicap races involving developing horses. Some can become monster over night and produce shockers next time out. Some improve  significantly from race to race.

If none in the FOY field have under gone monster transformation, then We Miss Artie has to be the horse to beat. He has the best credentials going in:

Only G1 winner in the field

Most starts at 1 1/16F. (5)

Most victories at 1 1/16F. (2)

Most graded race starts (4)

The most successful owners in racing at this time.

Top Billing, Commissioner and many others will be making their graded stakes debut. We Miss Artie has been there and done that. He has the tactical speed to stay close to the leader as his BCJ performance reflects. A 4L loss the New Years Day, Havana and company in his only start on dirt should dispel any doubts about his capacity to handle the surface.

Blingo who was sired by Artie Schiller, recently defeat Game On Dude in the San Antonio Handicap.

Revisit the video of the BCJ and view the power and speed We Miss Artie displayed to get position heading into the 1st turn. Then view the move from the rails to take 3rd at the top of the stretch. All this occurred  while fractions of 22,45,1:09.70 were being recorded.

This colt must be stronger 16 weeks after his BCJ effort.

22 Feb 2014 9:11 AM
Coldfacts

In the 2013 renewal of the Risen Star, Palace Malice, Code West and Proud Strike represented trainers Pletcher, Baffert and Asmussen. Trainer Chad Brown had the post time favorite Normandy Invasion.

The race resulted in a shocker with the J Desomeaux trained Ive’ Struck a Nerve getting up late to win at the gigantic odds of 99-1. Ive Struck a Nerve had only a 6F, MSW victory to his credit scored over the FG strip.

In the 2014 renewal of the Risen Star, Intense Holiday, Hoppertunity and Gold Hawk represent trainers Pletcher, Baffert and Asmussen. Chad Brown is replaced with trainer Mike Maker who has the expected post time favorite Vicar’s In Trouble. Trainer J Desomeaux returns with Flat Gone who only a 1 70yd MSW victory to his credit scored over the FG strip. His Ml is 30-1. Could we se another shocker from the Desomeaux barn?

In his two races before breaking his maiden, he was beaten a combined 46L. He then returned to close from 12L off the pace to win by 2L at a 1 70yd. Has this Flatter colt turned the corner? His numbers do not match to the top guys but neither did those of Ive Struck a Nerve.

He is my longshot of interest.

22 Feb 2014 9:19 AM
Rusty Weisner

R13 at FG has four second-time starters coming out of the same statebred maiden race.  Rather than pick one, I may try the 8, who raced once in open company as a 2yo at CD.

22 Feb 2014 9:19 AM
Rusty Weisner

Make it the 4 and the 8.  The 4 chased a horse that went on to set the pace and finish 2nd is his alw.

22 Feb 2014 9:22 AM
Brontexx

Rusty Weisner I know  more about horseracing than Ive ever known,but what I knew from the very beginning is that this is a BUSINESS first, and that doing the same thing everyone else does dosent work.

What I mean is that if you think that by reading the same PPs as everyone else you have an edge,you dont but thats what outfits like DRF want you to believe.In this business as a bettor you have to inovate and come up with your own edge.

I guarantee you that good contest players have their own strategies and angles that they use in contests.Contest play is not like real play,but the idea is always the same you have to find a way to play this game, that your winners are gotten at higher odds than by playing favorites in every race,which btw win at about a 33% clip long term in the US.This might entail playing in the win place and show pools, or in the exotic pools,whatever you come up with it has to be repeatable for the long term.The best contest player in the world WONT consistently make a profit over a YEARS time playing double figure runners,what are double figure runners,horses that go off at 10-1 or higher.Single digit horses win I would say 80% or more of the races,thats why I play exotics to capitalize on probable winners less than 10-1, by pairing them with improbable in the money finishers.

BTW Intense Holiday is a closer so IMO he has a lot better chance at finishing  2nd and 3rd than he does in 1st. That should be common sense.Dont get caught up in the hype to pick the winner,if IH finishes in the money it will pay well in this race.

22 Feb 2014 9:27 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Here's my problem with Gentleman's Kitten:  romped on the lead in a weak 5-horse allowance race (so the figure, on turf no less, is mostly irrelevant), has found ungraded stakes too much of a class jump.

22 Feb 2014 9:28 AM
Rusty Weisner

Coldfacts,

Orb made his graded stakes debut in the FOY.  

22 Feb 2014 9:29 AM
Brontexx

Coldfacts I think We Miss Artie is a more probable contender than Mr Speaker was in the HB,but like I stated I would rather go with his stable mate Commissioner.

We Miss Artie might encounter a faster pace in this DIRT race at 8.5 furlongs on the Gulfstream oval than even in the Breeders Cup at least for a couple of furlongs.You have sprinters stretching out.None of We Miss Arties wins on AW or Turf will be run like THIS RACE.GL he could get the ultimate tracking trip and get the first jump on the rest.

22 Feb 2014 9:38 AM
Coldfacts

Rusty Weisner,

I agree but his victory was aided and abetted by the suicidal pace. Orb was more explosive than both Top Billing and Commissioner. He walked out of the gate on debut and closed from another zip code to be beaten < 2L in 1:22.91.

Neither Top Billing nor commissioner have ever been In a race where a half mile was recorded either 45 or 46.

Those two will have to be very good to win. I am not convinced either will.

22 Feb 2014 9:55 AM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty,

Good to see you as well. Ya, The Breeders' Cup cleaned me out last year and I had to regroup. I've been playing the preps small and now I'm ready to roll for the spring!

I hear you on Gentlemen's Kitten, but looking for something approaching value in that race, I landed there. I may add Skyring as I mentioned, but there's not a lot to like in there in my opinion.

22 Feb 2014 9:57 AM
Coldfacts

Rusty Weisner.

I like your angle on Almost Famous although I think he is best at a mile. If you are into patterns then he has not lost two in a row.

He won on debut in September and was blown six week later by 10L. Thirteen days after that bad loss he won by 6L at 1 1/16F. Ten week later he returned to contest the HB and was beaten 7L.

He is a very big horse and I think his trainer is being very cautious and not pushing him to hard. Who can blame him, he is a progeny of Unbridled Song.

Unless he has been training elsewhere there is only one recorded work since his HB effort and that was a half mile in 49. My guess is he has been galloping 10F to build stamina. This colt could stay close and pounce.

22 Feb 2014 10:10 AM
Coldfacts

Brontexx,

“I would rather go with his stable mate Commissioner.”

If Commissioner was in the BCJ he would be at the back of the field and with his grinding style he would have been badly beaten.

We Miss Artie broke from post #10. How many lengths did he loose to get to the rails from that post? An estimated 3 to 4. He was ranked with his rider applying the brakes twice due to horses rapidly backing up in front of him. He was matching strides with the very fast Havana down the back stretch and only lost tough when his rider had to check him. He was very resolute in the stretch against some very fast horses.  He was even in front of eventual BCJ New Year Day in the stretch.

This colt must have improved 4L or more since his BCJ effort. Commissioner will have of record a time of 1:42 to 1:43 to win. I do not believe he is that fast. If the leaders go 46, that time will be 2 to 3 seconds faster than anything Commissioner has ever experienced.

The more I review the race the more I cannot see We Miss Artie loosing with his post and the expected improvement he ha made in 16 weeks. I am going to lose a ton if he gets beat.

22 Feb 2014 10:56 AM
Rusty Weisner

Coldfacts,

I don't really like anyone for the FOY.  In fact, I was kind of arguing against Top Billing by comparing him to Orb -- everyone's making the comparison, but these things don't always repeat themselves.  

Your picks sound as good as any.

22 Feb 2014 11:29 AM
Brontexx

Coldfacts GL with your bet, I dont have much outlay yet on Commissioner,but if he wins he wont be 22-1 in the next KD future wager.BTW I hope he comes in 2nd because then his hype wont be enough to drop his odds so low that I cannot continue to add more exacta combinations at reasonable FUTURE odds.The future wager carries more risk because they are not running TODAY so it should carry more REWARDS as in higher odds.

22 Feb 2014 11:34 AM
-Keelerman

In the fifth race at Gulfstream today -- a nine-furlong maiden special weight for three-year-olds -- I really like the chances of Strong Stipulation. I've had my eye on this Graham Motion-trainee ever since his name showed up in the nominations for last years' CashCall Futurity (gr. I). He made his debut on February 1st, finishing a late-running second in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream, and given his pedigree, he should love the additional distance of today's race.

22 Feb 2014 12:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Oaklawn,  R5  7 Legend Forever pressed the pace of a closer favoring race last out.  The 3yo's previous was a pressing effort in an Extreme for Closers - that race winner was Ride On Curlin.  Today,  connections remove the blinkers indicating a return to the off the pace tactics that produced his lifetime best at Hawthorne.

22 Feb 2014 1:09 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keelerman -

With nothing in the 5th,  I'm in for a fin on your pick.

22 Feb 2014 1:33 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Eagerly waiting the return of Normandy Invasion.

22 Feb 2014 1:45 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'll play FG R9-12.  I'll do rolling P3s.  

I'll try a longish-odds horse in R9, the 7, who finished behind the very strong Unbridled Forever and Divine Beauty in a stakes on this track.

R10 has the shortened field now, maybe one can steal it from DNB:  4,5,8,9

R11: Intense Holiday

R12: the older ones: 2,5,7

R13: 4,8

I'll try the 8 in R12 at Gulfstream, second start dropping in class against a bunch of other logical contenders at the level.

22 Feb 2014 2:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

Aw, heck, I'll hope for a scenario like last year and consider Top Billing with two of the likely speed I prefer:

12,8,5

I'll try Penwith in R9.

I also like Kevin's Love's Last Chance in R8; didn't look like he had a good trip or a good ride.

R10 makes multi-race exotics for me hard: 9 horses so far.

22 Feb 2014 3:07 PM
Monarchos Matt

Here goes nothing:

Pick 3 9-11:

Untapable/ Gentlemen's Kitten, Skyring/ Intense Holiday, Hoppertunity, Quick Indian, Emmett Park

Will bet Untapable to place here as a hedge against losing Pick 3.

22 Feb 2014 5:10 PM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty- Your longshot play in the Rachel Alexandra is going off at SIX times the ML! Good luck!

22 Feb 2014 5:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

Nice pick with Untapable, Monarchos Matt.

22 Feb 2014 5:31 PM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty- Thanks, now let's see if I can just get to the Risen Star live to 4. Would feel pretty good about that, with a couple of long odds horses in there!

22 Feb 2014 5:44 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

What a bizarre race.  Try to ignore the outcome and savor the thrill you just had.

22 Feb 2014 6:07 PM
Monarchos Matt

Skyring second in a photo. Absolutely brutal beat.

22 Feb 2014 6:08 PM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty- That will be much easier to do if one of my 30-1 shots doesn't win the Risen Star! Oh my, what a crazy game this is.

22 Feb 2014 6:16 PM
Monarchos Matt

Alrighty then, moving along, won't make the same mistake I made last time and forget to bet my longshot horse to place. Dumb, dumb, dumb, especially with a Live Pick 3.

Place bets on Quick Indian, Emmett Park. Those two keyed underneath Intense Holiday in an exacta.

22 Feb 2014 6:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

That was fun, anyway.  I should have stayed away from the "action" and just stuck with my prep picks.  Pick the wrong other speed horse in the FOY.  Live to the late P3 at FG - maybe I can make my money back.  Have the 2,5,7 in R12, 4, 8 in R13.  Regardless, I'll live to play again.

22 Feb 2014 6:43 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Good news.  Neither of your 30-1 shots won the Risen Star.  I ended up playing Intense Holiday in exactas with all the longshots everyone picked here, plus Hoppertunity.  Nuthin'!  

I want to see the Beyer.  I figured Intense Holiday would step up a few points, for something between 90-92 for dull race figure.  I think Vicar's In Trouble has shot his wad, like Vyjack last year.

22 Feb 2014 6:46 PM
Monarchos Matt

Wow, what a run from Intense Holiday, who closed well into soft fractions. I threw some small win money on him after he drifted up to 5-1 so I wouldn't hate myself if he won and I missed the exacta (which I did), but that's a very small condolence for losing the Pick 3...although the payoff, at $158 for a $0.50 bet, seems a bit disappointing ($260 theoretical parlay...)

22 Feb 2014 6:48 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

You're playing multi-race bets.  You can't bet 'em all, much less win 'em all.  And Skrying wasn't your first pick!  That "Kitten" was.  So don't sweat it:  you'll get it when it counts.

22 Feb 2014 6:49 PM
Rusty Weisner

I didn't like the irrational impulse many of us succumbed to (including me to the tune of $8) to play this FG race as if a crazy longshot were likely to win it because it's happened a couple times in the past two years.  It's irrationality alloyed with greed. I'll have to laugh it off.

22 Feb 2014 6:53 PM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty, that's a true point. But that Kitten was also in the photo finish! Still not a bad day to hit 2 of my 3 win picks.

Since I'm playing with a small amount of house money now, why not roll it into the Mineshaft? I like Fordubai best here. Horse for the course and on the upswing, plus my Arlington bias. Would like to give Plod's Mister Mardi Gras a look as well. Trying to structure it...

22 Feb 2014 6:58 PM
Rusty Weisner

I've got the 4,8 boxed in the last at FG.  For $20.  To win it all back, see?  

And then it's back to betting one prep race a weekend until I can get away for a blowout day, hopefully in March, maybe Rebel weekend.  In the red $250 this year.

22 Feb 2014 7:23 PM
Rusty Weisner

Coldfacts,

I hate turf horses on dirt, particularly in preps for the world's premier dirt race.

23 Feb 2014 10:16 AM

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