A Tremendous Day of Racing

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

When the calendar pages turn to March, and the days slowly count down to the final Saturday of the month, the annual anticipation for one of the greatest days in horse racing begins to build. It all starts halfway across the world, in Dubai, where the always-amazing Dubai World Cup program showcases top-class international competition over a variety of distances and surfaces. And just when the action in the desert is wrapping up, American race fans can turn their attention to their own tracks, which will play host to twelve excellent graded stakes races at Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, and Santa Anita. Those twelve races include two eagerly-anticipated Kentucky Derby prep races: the $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the $1,000,000 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I). So get ready, everyone—we’ve got a lot of handicapping ahead of us!

Louisiana Derby (gr. II)

The Louisiana Derby is shaping up to be a virtual rematch of last month’s Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), with seven of the ten Louisiana Derby entrants having made their last start in the Risen Star. Those seven include Intense Holiday, Albano, and Vicar’s in Trouble, the top three finishers in the race.

Intense Holiday and Albano, who were separated by just a nose at the finish of the Risen Star, appear ready for encore performances this Saturday. The former, who possesses a strong finishing kick, should appreciate the additional sixteenth of a mile in distance that the Louisiana Derby offers, and has recorded a solid trio of half-mile breezes that suggest he is maintaining his form. Albano has also been training well, posting a pair of bullet five-furlong breezes at Fair Grounds.

But while this may be stubborn of me, I’m going to stick with Vicar’s in Trouble. I picked him to win the Risen Star, and thought his performance was strong given that he was caught wide throughout and forced to try and rally from off-the-pace, something he had never done before. He actually put in an eye-catching run around the far turn to reach contention before tiring in the homestretch, and since he has drawn a more ideal post position today (gate six) than he did in the Risen Star (gate thirteen), I believe he is capable of rebounding in a major way.

An interesting newcomer to the scene is the speedy In Trouble, who returned from a lengthy layoff to finish a close third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct earlier this month. Now making his second start of the year, he could be sitting on an even sharper performance this Saturday, although having drawn gate nine—sandwiched between fellow speed horses Rise Up and Albano—could make his task of getting to the lead a bit difficult.

Selection: Vicar’s in Trouble

Florida Derby (gr. I)

There’s little doubt that Cairo Prince will be favored in this race off of his romping victory in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), which he won by 5 ¾ lengths over Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday. But that race was nine weeks ago, and a number of worthy challengers have emerged in the meantime.

First and foremost in my mind is General a Rod, runner-up by a head in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) after battling for the lead throughout with eventual winner Wildcat Red. It’s possible that he was helped that day by the track, which seemed to be favoring speed, but it’s more important to note the fast fractions that General a Rod helped set: an opening quarter in :23.03, a second quarter in :23.22, and a third quarter in :23.88. Those three sub-:24-second quarters are what separated him and Wildcat Red from the field, giving them a 3 1/2-length edge over their closest pursuers entering the final five-sixteenths of the race. The deal was sealed through a fourth quarter in :25.11, which was more than respectable given the fast early pace, and more than enough to put the race away. Track bias or no track bias, this was an excellent performance.

As a result, I really like both General a Rod and Wildcat Red in this spot, the former in particular because I feel he is a bit more tractable than his rival and should be able to work out a nice stalking trip if Constitution applies some early pressure to Wildcat Red.

Selection: General a Rod

I wish I had enough room here to analyze every one of the major stakes races coming up this Saturday, but I’m afraid that would get a bit long! However, I will be sharing my thoughts on many of the races, including the Dubai World Cup, in the comments section of this post. I hope you’ll join me!

176 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Minnesota Kid

Keelerman--

I do not want to jinx your Florida Derby selection, but I also like the general in this spot. Obviously, his connections will be hoping that Constitution will do the dirty work of hounding Wildcat Red through the first 6 or 7 furlongs, and then Rosario will ask him the ?

A perfect, stalk and pounce trip is a very real possibility in this race.

My ? to you--What do you think the post-time win odds will be for the 4 most logical choices (gen,con,wr,and cp)?

27 Mar 2014 12:49 PM
Rusty Weisner

I would like to get off the schneid, but I don't think it's going to happen this weekend.  I missed the boat at Fairgrounds and Gulfstream when I had the Risen Star and FOY pretty well sussed out but didn't cash in.

In the Louisiana Derby I'm interested in what kind of trip Intense Holiday has.  I don't like him as the favorite with his style, and posted inside.  If he runs back close to his previous performance I'll consider him a strong "underneath" contender in the Derby.  It seems Albano will try again for the lead, but In Trouble may challenge him.  

I'm interested what kind of yardstick In Trouble presents for the two who finished ahead of him in the Gotham.  The other newcomer is King Cyrus, who seems like a plausible longshot.

If you like Vicar's in Trouble take him because he had good excuses last time.

I don't know what to make of the Florida Derby.

27 Mar 2014 2:11 PM
iceman92

my picks for a fun weekend of racing. florida derby-general a rod-can't see past him. louisiana derby-exacta box using king cyrus, louies flower and intense holiday. easiest prep to get some points for both king cyrus and louies flower. king cyrus must be doing good for pletcher, I did not expect to see this horse surface.

27 Mar 2014 3:01 PM
Ranagulzion

Florida Derby: Wildcat Red should wire the field taking the shortest route around the track.

Gulfstream Oaks: In Tune cannot be opposed

Fairgrounds Oaks: Fiftyshadesofgold !!!

La. Derby: Rise Up from pillar to post.

Dubai World Cup: I've got to go with Ron The Greek over Ruler of the World

UAE Derby: Geovani Boldini

27 Mar 2014 3:03 PM
Ranagulzion

The Pan-American: Joe's Blazing Aaron

The New Orleans H'cap: Normandy Invasion has the weight advantage to defeat Palace Malice.

27 Mar 2014 3:42 PM
Rusty Weisner

Ranagulzion,

I did not know Normandy Invasion was in that race.  That sounds great.

27 Mar 2014 3:56 PM
-Keelerman

Minnesota Kid;

That's an interesting question -- I think Cairo Prince is going to receive a lot of play, and possibly drop below 2-1 in the wagering. I'll guess 9-5. There seems to be a lot of support for General a Rod, so I would think he'll be the second choice at around 5-2 or 3-1. For the third choice, I think it's a toss-up between Wildcat Red and Constitution, with both at around 4-1. I think 9-2 is the highest price we'll see on any of the four favorites, which means that supporters of Spot, East Hall, Matador, and Allstar should get at least 10-1 on their choice.

What do you think the odds will be? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

27 Mar 2014 10:14 PM
El Kabong

I think two are stand outs. Albano and Intense Holiday. No surprise. One needs the points the other needs a good prep. Three horses loom in a race that has produced some out of the clouds winners. I'll put Albano, who I think wins, on top with Intense Holiday, Louies Flower, Commanding Curve and Flat Gone for a super and a tri. The back up has the group with Albano second. The pace has so much to do with this race and you never know how that is going to go. Albano will deal with it best.

In Florida, where I love the turf and hate the main track I almost don't want to say a word. Cairo Prince is the best horse. Is he cranked to perform? Perhaps not for the win. We are far enough out for a trainer who has been playing the reserve game to settle for a good effort. Constitution, General Arod, and Spot are my guess here. Wildcat Red will fold with the added distance. May still hit the board but I don't like him for the win or place.

I need to figure out how much shrimp I'll need for the étouffée. The ribs are a go, and oh yes, a couple of Fuentes to fill the air with character. I wish you all a fine afternoon and winning tickets at some point in the card.

27 Mar 2014 10:52 PM
Minnesota Kid

Keelerman--

I think the post-time win odds will depend upon how the main track is playing throughout the day, maybe even more so than usual.

A few days before the FOY on 2/22, I posted on your blog that Wildcat Red would wire the field and pay $17.60 to win. I did not realize that GP would be even more of a conveyor belt than usual that day, and we received "only" $11.00 for the win.

If early speed is holding this Saturday, I actually think that WR could end up being a co-favorite, along w/ CP, possibly both going off at 9-5.

How about a gentlemen's wager on Constitution's odds? I say he drifts all the way up to 6-1 (or higher) by 6:48 p.m. EDT Saturday.

27 Mar 2014 11:22 PM
Coldfacts

“Cairo Prince is the best horse.”

Is he? Cairo Prince defeated Harpoon on debut. Harpoon still has only a MSW victory to his credit. Cairo Prince defeated Financial Mogul in the Nashua. Financial Mogul still has only a MSW victory to his credit. He gained the lead in the Remsen and Honor Code rallied to defeat him in a race where the fractions are still baffling.

He sat just off the pace in the Holy Bull and ran by the leaders who stopped liked they were stop by a sniper. The two horses that closed from far behind, fattened out as the speed favoring track was not accommodating to closers. Intense Holiday left town as it was the 3rd time he was being beaten by Cairo Prince. He is now the horse to beat in the LA Derby. Go Figure!

Cairo Prince has not run as fast a Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Constitution at Gulfstream Park. How can he be the best horse? His two victories in stakes races were achieved with just off the pace moves. He ran by lesser opponents an distance himself. Is he capable of running by Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Constitution and go about his business as usual? That is highly unlikely. Cairo Prince’s figures and performances do not support the best hors conclusion.

The Cat, The Prince and The General are likely to be exposed to the Constitution and all might be put to the sword by the Matador.

28 Mar 2014 2:19 AM
HannahWTC

My pick for FD is Cairo Prince. He has been off for 9 weeks but his works are sharp. The general could pull an upset if constitution keeps WCR busy. I am also going to take a risk that spot could surprise people.

28 Mar 2014 9:24 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Why no thought to In Trouble or Vicar's In Trouble?

If I bet this race I'm betting that a livelier pace develops than in the Risen Star.  Albano is primed to go for the lead, Louie's Flower fits this profile, too, Rise Up gets blinkers, and In Trouble should be pressing.  That pace, the track dimensions and the extra distance are making me look for someone coming late.  Though he's logical, I just don't like Intense Holiday's post and odds, and I don't think he's due to advance, or meant to.  King Cyrus looked well meant last fall, but has been slow.  I'll take him anyway underneath; he should be better at 9f and second back, and I excuse his bad effort in slop and the one at Keeneland.  I like Vicar's In Trouble on top but heard he had had a hoof abcess - Know anything about that, Keelerman?  

Since it's obligatory that I entertain the possibility of a 100-1 shot, I took a look at Flat Gone.  I don't like him.  I've Struck a Nerve was at least competitive in a few stakes; same with Hero of Order.  I don't like Commanding Curve, either, a model of consistency with three straight low-80 Beyers, whose class was exposed last out.  Gold Hawk is unsettled before every race he runs.

28 Mar 2014 10:39 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'm actually going to find some way to play Palace Malice in the New Orleans handicap after not considering this race.  Unless I'm mistaken, they had originally intended to debut him in this race, so the race three weeks ago, at the wrong distance, looks to me to have been an unusually tough workout.  Normandy Invasion, meanwhile, has never won beyond a mile.

28 Mar 2014 11:31 AM
Rusty Weisner

I have a hard time picking between In Trouble and Vicar's In Trouble, and not just because of the names.  I think one of them gets first jump.  I think it sets up nicely for Intense Holiday and he probably hits the board.  I think I'll play my longshot, King Cyrus, with these three chalks.

28 Mar 2014 11:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

Why was Vicar's In Trouble at Gulfstream?

28 Mar 2014 11:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Clueless Rusty running in R9 at Fair Grounds tomorrow!

How do I interpret this omen?

28 Mar 2014 12:59 PM
El Kabong

Rusty,

It would be one thing if I felt Vicar bounced last out, or had an excuse with health, etc., but he didn't. He just clearly got beat by two horses who are really showing solid improvement. Albano turned the table on him by 10 lengths and Intense Holiday has been the poster child for taking it up a notch each race. I really think the vicar is in trouble. He's run into class and distance issues with these two horses and it's not going to get better going 9F for him. Compare his works since last out to those of Albano and Intense Holiday. Where is that turn around going to come from? I can't wait to see how much Albano and Intense Holiday are going to show us. They're getting better, and I don't think Albano needs the lead. He'll rate fine in 3rd and stay close if the pace heats up in front.

28 Mar 2014 1:15 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I meant he had the excuses of a bad post, a wide trip, and a premature move.  He crushed Albano two back.  It just seems like the case of a talented horse being disadvantaged by circumstance.  Albano got a soft pace last time and by his workouts seams geared to try for the lead again.  I liked VIC in the Lecomte, got off him in the Risen Star, and am back on here.  My only concern is the rumor of his hoof problem.  But this horse is one I'd heard of as Derby-bound already last fall, and I think he'll get in with this race.

What are you doing with In Trouble?

28 Mar 2014 1:56 PM
Rusty Weisner

I will try the 1 in R13 at FG tomorrow. If R12 is still on the turf I find the 6 an interesting longshot.

28 Mar 2014 2:02 PM
Secreteriat

I have In Trouble @ 80 to 1. I just want him to get in the Derby and save his best for that day

My pick 's Albano, In Trouble, Intense Holiday Gold Hawk exacta box.

Florida Derby Cairo Prince wins this Race. Everyone said Orb would not be fully cranked up last year. Those who felt that way put money in my pocket and he still won the Derby. Cairo over and under General A Rod

28 Mar 2014 2:16 PM
El Kabong

Cold Facts,

I call Cairo Prince the best horse at GP because of what he has done and what I believe he is capable of doing, most importantly, improving off his last effort which was his first off a two month layoff. So after two months off on Jan. 30th Cairo Prince runs the 1 1/16th at Gulfstream Park in 142.1 With a full month more of training and growth and maturity, Wildcat Red and General Arod run the 1 1/16th in 141.85 and you feel confident to say "Cairo Prince has not run as fast as Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Constitution at Gulfstream Park." Are you kidding me and everyone else here with that half baked analysis? Look again at the Holy Bull and you will see a horse in cruise control, not an all out drive with another horse.

You even did a very poor job of down playing Cairo's company and took cheap shots at his two year old race company. Well my friend, He's three now, and you can't find a horse on General Arod or Wildcat Reds list of conquests that compares to the two talents, Intense Holiday and Conquest Titan, who Cairo humiliated at GP. I double dog dare you to even try.

Your conclusion that he his not as fast as General Arod and Wildcat Red does not hold water if Cairo has improved one ounce, and I'm sure he has in the last 60 days of training.

Put your "who has he beat" question to Matador! Oh whoops, Matador was beat by Harpoon recently. That doesn't look good from your own analysis does it?

Cairo's the best horse alright, but please, pretty please, with sugar on top, bet against him.

28 Mar 2014 2:31 PM
Rusty Weisner

Secretariat,

"Everyone said Orb would not be fully cranked up last year."

I agree with this thinking; why make things too complicated.  By the same token, I saw a lot of excuses made for a dull Union Rags in his Florida Derby, or even Itsmyluckyday last year.  Or look at how Creative Cause went off in the Derby at lower odds than I'll Have Another.  We bettors find ways to make things awfully complicated.

28 Mar 2014 2:34 PM
Kevin

I'm partial to the races in Dubai. Large fields and good odds. No secret who my pick in the Florid Derby is. Constitution to win at 5-1 or better

28 Mar 2014 2:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Good stuff.  I'll take him to win in two exactas: over General A Rod and Wildcat Red.

28 Mar 2014 4:08 PM
Brontexx

Those that think that Cairo Prince is not as good or better than GA-Rod, WR and Const.because his figures are lower, dont know anything about sports.In sports its ALL ABOUT WINNING,these figures were invented by humans in an attempt to game the gamble of a horseplayer.

Cairo Prince is a head away from being undefeated,he likes to win, and the figures are NOT DOMINANT for anyone in this field.BTW Social Inclusion has run top fig 111, and his fig IS MUCH BETTER THAN THE REST OF THE FIELD FOR THE FLORIDA DERBY,I bet you dont understand why his trainer decided to bypass the Fl Derby on a track where he ran a 111 Beyer besides the time between races.

28 Mar 2014 4:12 PM
-Keelerman

Rusty Weisner;

I did hear something about a foot abscess, but I'm not sure why Vicar's in Trouble was at Gulfstream. Perhaps he was taken there so that trainer Mike Maker could keep a closer eye on his foot? Just speculation, of course.

Minnesota Kid;

Sounds good to me! I'll guess that Constitution goes off at 4-1. Would anyone else care to take a guess on his post-time odds?

28 Mar 2014 4:45 PM
Coldfacts

El Kabong,

You have expressed in no uncertain manner your overwhelming disagreement with my comments regarding Cairo Prince. Wow! I never figured they would have angered you to such an extent.

You raise some valid points and missed some. The same day that CP won the Holy Bull, Top Billing won an Allowance race that many viewed as being more impressive than CP’s victory at the same distance. TP winning time was slower but he appeard to be cruising to the line under a hand ride as opposed to the severe whipping to which CP was exposed.

Top Billing immediately rocketed to the top of Many Derby lists including that of the highly regarded Steve Haskin. He and not Cairo Prince was the overwhelming favorite to win the FL Derby off his FOY effort. He was the favorite in the FOY and was defeated by General A Rod and Wildcat Red in a time faster than that recorded in the HB by Cairo Prince.

“I double dog dare you to even try.”

To suggest that neither General A Rod nor Wildcat Red have defeated a top Derby contender is incorrect. The best horse CP faced has been Honor Code and he suffered his first defeated. Honor Code was always ranked above CP and Top Billing was ranked ahead of both.

“If Cairo has improved one ounce, and I'm sure he has in the last 60 days of training.”

Cairo Prince does not have a monopoly on growth and development. The speculation that he will improve with time between races would also be applicable to those that have been faster as well. General A Rod and Wildcat Red engaged in a slug fest in the FOY that could have led to their respective race demise. However, neither retreated and both were resolute to the line. CP cruised past lesser and ran away and hide under sever whipping. On the only occasion he was eye to eye with another he lost.

Matador: A P Indy line horses have won the FL Derby five times and the last four renewals. Three of those victories were @38-1, 20-1 and 8-1. Historically those line of horses tend to show up in the FL Derby when least expected. The Tampa Bay Derby was Matador’s start on dirt and he was last on a track that very few closed on. He made up tremendous amount of ground to finish 5th. The blinker have been added and the rider with the best record in the FL Derby in the last 3 years has chosen to stick with him. Why not take a gamble from a historic perspective.

29 Mar 2014 7:59 AM
Coldfacts

“Cairo Prince was a head away from being undefeated”

What’s the relevance of the above? Wildcat Red has contested 6 races and won 5. He was disqualified from 1st in one although he was much the best. He lost to General A Rod by a HD in the GP Derby. He was therefore only a HD and a disqualification away from having a perfect record.

Constitution is undefeated in two starts and has run faster than CP in both.

“The figures are NOT DOMINANT for anyone in this field”

Wildcat Red has been consistently the fastest 3YO male at GP and consequently dominates the field in the speed department. Can he carry his speed over 9F? That is left to be seen.

“I bet you don’t understand why his trainer decided to bypass the Fl Derby”

Eskendereya destroyed the field in the 2010 FOY and bypassed the FL Derby for the Wood. I wonder why? How many would have gone elsewhere if Social Inclusion had stuck around for the FL Derby? Races that are perceived to be easier are deemed to be less stressful on inexperience horses seeking points. Both races carry the same number of points and one appears easier.

Big Brown and Monarchos won Allowance races impressively and then humble their opponents in the FL Derby in their next start.

“ALL ABOUT WINNING”

Where exactly has the importance of winning been  dismissed? Wildcat Red won 4 races from 6 starts and lost one in the steward room and one by a HD. Constitution has won his only two starts. General A Rod has won two form 4 starts. Cairo Prince has won 3 form 4 starts.

The facts and figures associated with victories are not used to dismiss the ultimate objective of winning.

29 Mar 2014 8:43 AM
Coldfacts

“Cairo Prince was a head away from being undefeated”

What’s the relevance of the above? Wildcat Red has contested 6 races and won 5. He was disqualified from 1st in one although he was much the best. He lost to General A Rod by a HD in the GP Derby. He was therefore only a HD and a disqualification away from having a perfect record.

Constitution is undefeated in two starts and has run faster than CP in both.

“The figures are NOT DOMINANT for anyone in this field”

Wildcat Red has been consistently the fastest 3YO male at GP and consequently dominates the field in the speed department. Can he carry his speed over 9F? That is left to be seen.

“I bet you don’t understand why his trainer decided to bypass the Fl Derby”

Eskendereya destroyed the field in the 2010 FOY and bypassed the FL Derby for the Wood. I wonder why? How many would have gone elsewhere if Social Inclusion had stuck around for the FL Derby? Races that are perceived to be easier are deemed to be less stressful on inexperience horses seeking points. Both races carry the same number of points and one appears easier.

Big Brown and Monarchos won Allowance races impressively and then humble their opponents in the FL Derby in their next start.

“ALL ABOUT WINNING”

Where exactly has the importance of winning been  dismissed? Wildcat Red won 4 races from 6 starts and lost one in the steward room and one by a HD. Constitution has won his only two starts. General A Rod has won two form 4 starts. Cairo Prince has won 3 form 4 starts.

The facts and figures associated with victories are not used to dismiss the ultimate objective of winning.

29 Mar 2014 8:43 AM
-Keelerman

Looking over the field for the Godolphin Mile, Shuruq and Variety Club both look like solid favorites, but might Haatheq have a shot? He ran second in this race last year -- beaten just three-quarters of a length by Soft Falling Rain -- following a fairly unimpressive series of prep races. His form as of late has not been stellar, and he was soundly beaten by both Shuruq and Variety Club last time out, but perhaps he's been geared up for this race and will step up again at around 30-1.

29 Mar 2014 9:00 AM
El Kabong

Coldfacts,

I double dog dared you to come up with a horse that WR or Garod had faced that compared to Intense Holiday and Conquest Titan.  Your answer: Top Billing. Speculation on him was high but did he achieve the factual results to surpass Intense Holiday or Conquest titan.

Top Billing career to date 4-2-1-1 earnings 97,000. 1 G rated attempt. Best finish, FOY 3rd

Intense Holiday  c to date 7-2-9-1 earnings 352, 000. 5 G rated races, 1 win, 1 show, 2 4ths and a 5th.  

Conquest Titan c to date 6-2-1-0 earnings 191,000 3 G rated races,

Best 2nd Holly Bull.

So it appears by the facts my good man that you have failed the double dog dare! Nice try, thanks for playing, and to quote the greatest contest host ever, "You LOSE, You Get Nothing, Good Day Sir!"

"Why not take a gamble on Matador?"

I think you did a great job of pointing out the answer with the Harpoon litmus test. Matador couldn't get by the horse (Harpoon) who you berated, but you want us to forget that, and all that Cairo Prince has done, and wager on him? Not even with your cold hard cash would I do so.

Anger? Oh no, this is pure entertainment. Thanks for participating.

29 Mar 2014 9:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I'm in stitches over your responses, but now I'm actually kind of rooting for Matador to win.  That'll bring the website down.

29 Mar 2014 9:27 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'm listening to my reservations and taking In Trouble over Vicar's In Trouble.  I will take a stab at the plodding longshot, King Cyrus, I have underneath, with Intense Holiday and Rise Up with VIC, Albano and maybe others to fill out trifectas.  Something like that.

No opinions on the New Orleans Handicap from anyone?  It's a chance for people to test the proposition of weight.  I'll stick with PM (the mere three weeks struck me), who also gets the outside post he favors.  

29 Mar 2014 9:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

Last two legs of P3 and/or P4 at Fair Grounds, R12: ALL but 5,8,9,14, R13: 1,13.

29 Mar 2014 9:38 AM
El Kabong

Rusty,

Me Too! OLE! OLE! OLE!

29 Mar 2014 9:42 AM
-Keelerman

In the upcoming Dubai Gold Cup, I think Cavalryman is the most likely winner on the card. Saddler's Rock is my longshot to hit the board at a price.

29 Mar 2014 9:46 AM
El Kabong

Rusty,

It wouldn't bring the website down, but it would debunk the Harpoon litmus, and serve me up some steaming hot crow!

29 Mar 2014 9:47 AM
El Kabong

Fairgrounds,

Looks like the weather has cleared up. With FG closed yesterday, I'll bet the track will be fine if it's above sea level. Any locals want to help out with the conditions?

29 Mar 2014 10:00 AM
-Keelerman

There's an inquiry into the finish of the Dubai Gold Cup. 30-1 shot Certerach finished first by a neck over 6-5 favorite Cavalryman, but the former drifted in front of the latter in the stretch and forced Cavalryman to shift lanes. Watching the replays, I don't think there's going to be a disqualification, but it's definitely going to be a close call. Did anyone else see the race?

29 Mar 2014 10:01 AM
-Keelerman

Rusty Weisner;

I'll also take Palace Malice in the New Orleans Handicap. Granted, he'll be carrying six pounds more than Normandy Invasion, but I loved his run in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, and I think he can build on that this afternoon. It should be a great race!

29 Mar 2014 10:06 AM
Forbidden Apple

Cold Facts,

You beat me to it, I feel the same way about Wildcat Red. He is the fastest 3 year old colt and he has finished first in 5/6 career races. His loss in the Gulfstream Park Derby was more the jockeys fault to me. He did not have the smoothest of trips down the lane. Wildcat Red will be extremely dangerous on the front end today from the inside post.

Gulf. R3 #10 Thirteen Arrows simply needs a repeat of his only start to get his picture taken today.

Gulf. R10 #1 Aigue Marine should appreciate the added distance today, I'm expecting a swift closing kick down the lane.

Gulf. R11 #6 Tetradrachm is always in the mix, he could be a monster cutting back to a mile. A sneaky stalking trip will work best, win bet & D.D. w/Norumbega.

Gulf. R12 #9 Norumbega is up against a super speed favoring track, but his closing kick should be just enough at this longer distance. Win bet, D.D. w/Charming Kitten, P3 Norumbega/Charming Kitten & Slumber/Wildcat Red & Cairo Prince.

Gulf. R13 #6 Charming Kitten gets my vote in a wide open race. I like the 10-1 with Castellano up and he always shows up with a good effort. WP bet, D.D. w/Wildcat Red & Cairo Prince.

Gulf. R14 #1 Wildcat Red can steal this race from the inside post. I see no reason why he does not run another huge race today. Win bet and an exacta box with Cairo Prince.

F.G. R 10 #5 Normandy Invasion is my play of the day. I'm playing him to win and in a straight exacta over Palace Malice. I will also try a D.D. with Rise Up.

F.G. R11 #8 Rise Up deserves another chance today. I bet him last time and he stunk. I like the addition of blinkers and he should be much more fit today. Win bet & exacta boxes w/ Albano & Intense Holiday. If anyone is playing Intense Holiday, you have to also use Albano. Albano was stubborn last time and he is better than people think.

29 Mar 2014 10:09 AM
-Keelerman

No change in the order of finish for the Dubai Gold Cup. Upon reviewing the replays, Saeed bin Suroor -- trainer of Cavalryman -- has withdraw the objection filed by jockey Silvestre De Sousa, so Certerach is the official winner.

29 Mar 2014 10:09 AM
-Keelerman

Coming up on the Meydan card is the UAE Derby, which offers a total of 170 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the first four finishers. Three of the starters -- Giovanni Boldini, Toast of New York, and Sir John Hawkins -- have been nominated to the Triple Crown. My pick to win is Giovanni Boldini, who may very well head to Churchill Downs if he runs well, but Toast of New York has been very dominant winning his last two starts on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton. This is a huge step up in class, but perhaps his affinity for synthetic courses will help him outrun his present odds of 11-1.

29 Mar 2014 10:24 AM
-Keelerman

What a run by Toast of New York in the UAE Derby! Jockey Jamie Spencer seemed very confident on the far turn, even glancing backward approaching the homestretch, and when he asked his mount for run, the colt unleashed a powerful burst of acceleration to draw clear and win by several lengths over Asmar. Emirates Flyer narrowly held third in a photo finish over Giovanni Boldini.

When asked about the possibility of running in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Jamie Osborne said he would have to speak to owner Michael Buckley before making any decisions.

29 Mar 2014 10:35 AM
-Keelerman

In the upcoming Al Quoz Sprint, I think that Shea Shea will be much sharper today than he was when winning the group III Meydan Sprint three weeks ago, which should make him very tough to beat. But I'll be cheering for Joy and Fun, the remarkable eleven-year-old gelding that won this race in 2010. Runner-up last year behind Shea Shea, Joy and Fun has run just once since then -- finishing a troubled thirteenth in the group I Hong Kong Sprint in December -- but he seems to like the course at Meydan, and it would be amazing if he could end his career on a winning note today.

29 Mar 2014 10:46 AM
-Keelerman

And of course, I'm hoping that Berlino Di Tiger can give a good account of himself in the Al Quoz Sprint. One of just three American-based horses entered in the eight Dubai World Cup races, he's drawn well in gate seven, and will likely try to track the early pace and take command in the final few hundred meters. He's 12-1 right now in the American wagering pool.

29 Mar 2014 10:57 AM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

I agree Albano is better than people think.  He and Intense Holiday separated themselves from the field.  This reminds me of Mylute in last year's LA Derby, a longshot who remained a longshot in the KY Derby, despite being entirely comparable to Revolutionary, at least based on most recent performance.  I'm going against him anyway because I'll be betting he will be challenged like he wasn't last time.

29 Mar 2014 11:03 AM
Pedigree Ann

'Apple - Haven't you noticed that both times Rise Up has  tried a graded race at a major track, he's had his head handed to him?

29 Mar 2014 11:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

Early turf races at Fairgrounds are off the turf, late ones remain on turf.

If anyone is playing FG and has the time or the inclination, give me an opinion on a horse I'm considering, the 6, Intheblinkofaneye, at 20-1 in R12 at FG.  What does it indicate that the horse has been claimed in each of its last races, all wretched performances on dirt?  Anyway, Desormeaux is the trainer (and another Desormeaux jockey?).  Coldfacts reminded me that he had I've Struck a Nerve last year, but he generally seems to be betting man, winning with a lot of longshots.  This horse is back on turf, which he's run respectably on, and rising in class and price.  

29 Mar 2014 11:08 AM
-Keelerman

That was a very impressive performance by Amber Sky in the Al Quoz Sprint! The shipper from Hong Kong seized command of the early lead and held off all the closers to win the five-furlong turf sprint by about a neck over Ahtoug, with Shea Shea another head back in third. Joy and Fun ran fairly well, finishing about three lengths behind the winner in mid-pack. Berlino Di Tiger looked like he could contend with about four hundred meters left to run, but failed to accelerate and wound up toward the rear of the field, albeit just 3 1/2 lengths behind Amber Sky.

29 Mar 2014 11:09 AM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

Pedigree Ann called it on Rise Up, noting before the Risen Star that could only win on bullring tracks.  I don't like him; I don't think he'll win with blinkers and speed on the track with the longest stretch in the country this time, either.

29 Mar 2014 11:16 AM
-Keelerman

Does anyone like Gold Hawk in the Louisiana Derby? He's been well-bet in both the LeComte and the Risen Star, but was difficult to load into the starting gate on both occasions, in addition to getting hung wide during each race. In spite of these obstacles, he ran reasonably each time, finishing third in the LeComte and fifth in the Risen Star. Any chance that he puts it all together this afternoon?

29 Mar 2014 11:27 AM
El Kabong

Keelerman,

Gold Hawk is worth a look. His breeding suggests he will like going longer. His trainer knows this track and I too noticed the issues at the gate. So why no works at the gate? I'll use him under because of what I mentioned but as I mentioned earlier, I am very impressed with Albano and Intense Holiday, who have been working tremendously up to this race, as though the Risen didn't take anything out of them. That to me is a green light to the idea that they are improving off their last out. If so, hard to go against them.

29 Mar 2014 11:38 AM
-Keelerman

For those who like East Hall in the Florida Derby, there was an interesting quote from his trainer, Bill Kaplan, on DRF.com:

" “He had a major excuse in Tampa,” said East Hall’s trainer, Bill Kaplan. “He got knocked absolutely sideways and suffered a puncture wound in his left front in that, and we weren’t planning on running him in the Florida Derby. But he healed quickly, he worked very nicely on Monday, and looked great on the track this morning, so he’s telling me he’s okay to go, and I want to give him a little shot. There’s a lot of pace in this race, so we’ll try to lay back and come on late, just like we did in the Fountain of Youth.” "

29 Mar 2014 11:44 AM
-Keelerman

El Kabong;

Thanks for your thoughts! Maybe if the pace is quick, Gold Hawk's pedigree will kick in at the quarter pole and carry him to a top-three finish. Good luck today!

29 Mar 2014 11:50 AM
-Keelerman

Sterling City and Rich Tapestry led a 1-2 finish for Hong Kong in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Zee Bros, the American hopeful, took the early lead and maintained it into the homestretch, but gave way in the final 250 meters and wound up finishing fifth or sixth.

29 Mar 2014 11:56 AM
El Kabong

Keelerman,

I mentioned him in an earlier post, but for value and a breeding angle, I love the Flower Alley colt Louies Flower for a who, what, say that name again surprise. Flower Alley has been very successful, but this colt has to figure out much to be in this. Put a line through that last effort and you see some progression. His pappy is what scares me. I love Flower Alley colts. There is no comparing the results he is getting from his progeny when you line him up to someone like Tiz Wonderful who is getting much lower odds with In Trouble in a race where they are stretching out to 9. I'll go against that since we are dealing with 3 year olds who can respond to those genes at any moment.

29 Mar 2014 12:00 PM
El Kabong

Keelerman,

I have been watching Dubai and I replayed Toast of NY's victory. It looked good. We may have a shipper from Dubai again.

29 Mar 2014 12:08 PM
Coldfacts

El Kabong,

Always a pleasure engaging in exchanges conducted in the correct spirit.

“Matador couldn't get by the horse (Harpoon) who you berated”

I did not berate Harpoon. I merely point out that he has only a MSW victory in the win column He was 2nd in the Sam Davis. Palace Malice had only a MSW victory in the win column before his Belmont victory. However, he placed in the G1 Bluegrass and another graded race. Matador has never contested a MSW race. All his races have been in either graded or ungraded stakes.

Matado’r made his dirt debut in the Sam Davis. It was also his 1st start in 2 plus months. He was beaten by 1L. His TB Derby effort was better than the Davis. I am not requesting anyone to wager on him. I have provided a historic perspective of the success of A P Indy sire line horses in the FL Derby. They are never fancied in most cases.  There is a lot of speed in the race and He has the credentials to close rapidly.

Top Billing:

“So it appears by the facts my good man that you have failed the double dog dare!

Conquest Titan finished last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile beaten 26L. Wow! Beaten like a rented mule.  Intense Holiday has been beaten like a red headed step child in the 4 graded races he contested before his SH Risen Star victory. Five graded races with one victory by a SH after being forced to leave town. Neither Intense Holiday nor Conquest titan were as highly regarded as Top Billing despite their long résumés. If all three were in the FL Derby field, which colt would be favored to win?  A Long résumés comprising subpar performances does not denote quality.

29 Mar 2014 12:14 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Oaklawn

R4 1 Covert Ops

R7 5 Flattermejim

29 Mar 2014 12:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

GP  R9  11 Charlie A (12-1) recorded an impressive 'vs Plod Win' in her turf and racing debut.  Last on dirt is a workout. Looks like she'll get Flow today....

29 Mar 2014 12:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

Look, I'm not crazy about Rise Up, but he deserves some betting at or around 10-1. In his only race at a major track, he finished 6th in the Iroquois. What, Intense Holiday is a world beater based on one victory at the Fairgrounds? I'd take a smack in the face over betting this horse at 7/5. In reality the entire field is off my radar going forward towards the KY Derby. The same goes for Wildcat Red. He is most likely not a KY Derby horse, but he will be very game today in the FL Derby.

29 Mar 2014 12:27 PM
Coldfacts

King Cyrus must be an interesting exotic wager horse. Any horse that breaks its maiden at Saratoga must be respected.  

He was sired by a record setting Wood Memorial winner. His dam sire also won the Wood along with the FL Derby and the Belmont.

His 1st and 2nd dams were well bred but were unraced. His 3rd dam Dispute was a Kentucky Oaks winning millionaire. She also won the Beldame (G1,Bel,9F), Gazelle (G1,Bel,9F), Spinster (G1,Kee,9F), Bonnie Miss (G2,8.5F,GP). This colt has the pedigree and the pace to stay close enough and grind out a win.

29 Mar 2014 12:29 PM
-Keelerman

In the Dubai Duty Free, I like Just a Way to defeat this deep and talented field. Two starts back, he beat Gentildonna by four lengths in the group I Tenno Sho Autumn, and prepped for this race with a impressive victory in the group II Nakayama Kinen on March 2nd. I think the nine-furlong distance is a bit short for The Fugue, who is currently the 2-1 favorite in the American pool.

29 Mar 2014 12:38 PM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

The Louisiana Derby produced a bunch of horses who figured in the top five in the Derby, all slow horses who show something late and who thereby benefitted from last year's pace.  I think this track benefits that type of horse a lot (Intense Holiday is a perfect example), which is why I wouldn't discount the competition so easily.  

29 Mar 2014 12:46 PM
Rusty Weisner

Coldfacts,

I am trying this King Cyrus underneath.  I think you liked him in his wretched Hopeful.  I think the track and distance, and hopefully the pace, will do wonders for this plodding, wide-running horse.  Look at how it was a good fit for the similarly oft-beaten Intense Holiday.

29 Mar 2014 12:49 PM
-Keelerman

El Kabong;

I took a close look at Louies Flower after the entries came out, and I agree that he looks intriguing, particularly if one tosses his poor showing in the Southwest Stakes. But it does worry me a bit that Noble Cornerstone, close runner-up to Louies Flower in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes, has failed to contend in his two starts since then. I'm starting to wonder if the 91 Beyer awarded to Louies Flower and Noble Cornerstone may have been a fluke.

On the other hand, if Louies Flower is able to settle better this afternoon, perhaps he can track a fast pace and get first run on the leaders. At 20-1, he may be worth a shot. Good luck!

29 Mar 2014 12:51 PM
-Keelerman

Just a Way was breathtaking in winning the Dubai Duty Free! Rated well off the pace early on, he unleashed a tremendous burst of acceleration with around 550 meters to run and was on the lead with about 300 meters remaining. From there, he drew off in eye-catching fashion to win by nearly seven lengths in the course-record time of 1:45.52, which eclipsed the previous record by an amazing 2.42 seconds. That was something to see!

The previously unbeaten Vercingetorix finished second, while 2013 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) winner Dank rallied to be third.

29 Mar 2014 12:57 PM
El Kabong

Rusty,

I'm going to let coldfacts have the last word or it will never end, but here are some thoughts on Matador. I have the utmost respect for his trainer and his owner. They have raced him on Synthetic, Turf, and the quirky surface of Tampa. Now they have him on a speed favoring surface, added blinkers and stretch him out. Are they right? Maybe, but it all points to a we don't know why he's not performing situation. There is a lot of speed, and Lep brought home Dialed In from the clouds a few years ago. But Cairo's stalking approach and experience on the surface seems far more likely. You know I was having fun with the Harpoon Litmus because he brought it on himself. So, you have a a situation where the trainer is taking the blame, making some big changes to find out what Matador likes. Hey, maybe they'll send him to the lead? We just don't know. That's what I don't like about him.

29 Mar 2014 1:00 PM
-Keelerman

In the Dubai Sheema Classic, Mars strikes me as intriguing at 37-1. He's been well-regarded by his connections for a long time, and while his most recent efforts haven't been stellar, I think he could put it all together today at a huge price. That said, Gentildonna and Denin and Ruby, the two Japanese fillies, look like a formidable pair.

29 Mar 2014 1:19 PM
-Keelerman

It looked bad for Gentildonna in the homestretch of the Dubai Sheema Classic, for the Japanese mare was buried in a pocket behind Cirrus des Aigles and had to check hard a couple of times. But when racing room finally appeared, Gentildonna responded with a burst of acceleration that carried her past Cirrus des Aigles for a two-length victory.

The race was marred by an unfortunate accident that befell Mars, who went wrong on the first turn, dived to the outside, and went over the outer rail. Hopefully, both Mars and jockey Richard Hughes will be okay.

29 Mar 2014 1:31 PM
-Keelerman

It has been reported that Mars suffered some sort of cardiac issue during the running of the race, and did not survive. So unfortunate. :(

29 Mar 2014 1:40 PM
-Keelerman

One race remaining on the Dubai World Cup card, but it's the big one -- the $10 million Dubai World Cup. I've been a fan of Ron the Greek ever since he won the LeComte Stakes in 2010, and will be cheering hard for him today, but winning the Dubai World Cup is going to be a challenge. Not only will he be making his first start on a synthetic track, but he has drawn gate sixteen, which is far from ideal.

For the win, I really like the two Hong Kong shippers, Akeed Mofeed and Military Attack, with a preference for the latter. For a longshot, I'm intrigued by Godolphin's Cat O'Mountain, who rallied well to be fourth in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 despite lacking racing room through much of the stretch. Granted, starting from gate fifteen could be a problem, but at least it should keep him from getting bottled up in traffic again. He's 27-1 in the American pool right now. Does anyone else have a selection?

29 Mar 2014 1:52 PM
-Keelerman

I also like Side Glance, who was fourth in the Dubai World Cup last year and most recently a close seventh in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. He ran well against Akeed Mofeed and Cirrus des Aigles in the group I Hong Kong Cup last December, and won the group I MacKinnon Stakes in Australia three starts back. This will be his second start of the year, and I think he could come running late at around 30-1.

29 Mar 2014 1:58 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Good luck today everyone - very little to nothing to offer on today's Derbys,  and less on Dubai.  

Swamped of late with the racing game, so have only had time to power scan the comments.

On a side note,  I have it on good authority that the winner of the Rampart was the lone upgrade in the race.

29 Mar 2014 1:59 PM
-Keelerman

Good luck to you too, Plod Boy Phil! And congratulations on having the 49-1 winner of the Rampart Stakes!

29 Mar 2014 2:06 PM
-Keelerman

Mukhadram, making his first start since October, looked like a winner turning for home in the Dubai World Cup, but Godolphin's African Story came charging on the outside to win the world's richest horse race by 2 1/2 lengths. Cat O'Mountain came running late to be third, perhaps four lengths behind the runner-up.

Ron the Greek flashed good tactical speed from the start and tracked the pace for much of the race, but was hung wide throughout and could find no more when asked to challenge on the far turn. He retreated to finish toward the rear of the field.

On to Gulfstream and Fair Grounds!

29 Mar 2014 2:13 PM
-Keelerman

In Tune and House Rules put on quite a show in the Gulfstream Oaks! From the time they entered the homestretch to the time they reached the finish, there was never more than a head between them. It was a shame that one of them had to lose, but In Tune got her head down on the wire first to preserve her unbeaten record in gritty fashion. It wouldn't surprise me if both fillies head to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks. Wouldn't it nice to see Allen Jerkens with an Oaks contender?

29 Mar 2014 2:36 PM
Mary Zinke

Will catch up with the preps next week, maybe.  meanwhile, Blueskies should be relaxed in the Tokyo City today.  Big Fury will have to hold off Clubhouse ride in the Santana Mile tomorrow. GL to both TBG's.

Florida Derby, Constitution and General A Rod. My longshot pick is Allstar.

GL everyone. Will catch these races on replay.

Good to see Five Iron returning at GP today.

29 Mar 2014 2:50 PM
Brontexx

Coldfacts what you write are your edited opinions of the facts.I am not going to copy parts of your tirade and inject my opinion,the fact is you dont know how to make winning bets.Constitution and Wildcat Red are not as good ON PAPER as CP and GA-Rod in a 9 furlong grade 1 race.One is a sprinter that stretched his speed at 1 1/16 and the other hasnt beaten anyone in a stakes race.

The exacta in the Florida Derby is CP and GA-Rod either way.I dare you to make a different pick but you wont because you write a lot on here but you dont make winning bets,cmon I dare you.

29 Mar 2014 3:03 PM
Brontexx

Ed Kabong some people on this blog write in proper grammar but couldnt make a winning bet in a 2 horse field.IMO they should stick to writing about something they are good at, and not venture into making picks based on whatever opinions are considered facts by the writer.

29 Mar 2014 4:36 PM
-Keelerman

That was a huge performance by Untapable in the Fair Grounds Oaks! It looked like it was going to be a race when Unbridled Forever loomed up on the far outside, but Untapable left her behind in the stretch to win by six or seven lengths in the excellent time of 1:43.09 for a mile and a sixteenth. I have the feeling that she just stamped herself as the favorite for the Kentucky Oaks.

29 Mar 2014 5:15 PM
-Keelerman

I think Potomac River has a chance in the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds. He's won two of his last three starts -- both graded stakes, and both on wet turf -- and is currently 9-1. I think he can give the two favorites a run for their money.

29 Mar 2014 5:18 PM
Monarchos Matt

Looking chalky on top for me, formulating betting strategy, but here are my Top 3 inh the Big races this afternoon and evening:

Pan Am: 1) Admiral Kitten 2) Charming Kitten 3) Slumber

NO Hcp: 1) Normandy Invastion 2) Palice Malice 3) Bradester

Florida Derby: 1) Cairo Prince 2) General A Rod 3) Spot

Louisiana Derby: 1) Intense Holiday 2) Gold Hawk 3) In Trouble

29 Mar 2014 5:22 PM
predict

Florida derby- Wildcat Red

Louisiana Derby- Flat gone

29 Mar 2014 5:24 PM
-Keelerman

Congratulations to the connections of Skyring! After that narrow defeat to Potomac River in the Fair Grounds Handicap last month, it would have been too bad had Skyring gotten nosed out again in the Mervin Muniz. But after kicking clear of Burn the Mortgage at the top of the stretch, Skyring narrowly held off a late run from Amira's Prince to win by about a head at odds of 7-1. Potomac River was off slowly and never got involved, finishing well behind the field in a disappointing performance. Maybe next time!

29 Mar 2014 5:28 PM
-Keelerman

predict;

Good luck with Flat Gone!

29 Mar 2014 5:34 PM
-Keelerman

In the Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park, I like Csaba at 8-1. He compiled a great record at Gulfstream last winter, and while he hasn't been quite as sharp as of late, the favorites in this race include War Dancer and Nikki's Sandcastle, better known for their success on turf. Under the circumstances, I think Csaba is ready to strike this afternoon!

29 Mar 2014 5:38 PM
-Keelerman

With eighteen minutes remaining before the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool closes, I must admit that I'm surprised to see Albano as the longest shot on the board at 50-1. Should he win the Louisiana Derby this afternoon -- a 9-2 chance, according to the morning line -- he will be nowhere near 50-1 in Louisville. I know a lot of people like his chances in the Louisiana Derby, but I'm curious if anyone likes him to win the Kentucky Derby. Any thoughts?

29 Mar 2014 5:48 PM
-Keelerman

First-time starter Fabulous Kid, a late nominee to the Triple Crown, just won a six-furlong maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park by a nose. The colt flashed great speed from the start while blazing the opening quarter mile in :21.64 seconds, turned back a strong challenge from Duval in the homestretch, and just held off a powerful late run from The Big Beast to win by a nose. The final time was 1:11.58 seconds.

29 Mar 2014 6:07 PM
Brontexx

Keelerman I played Albano using him over and underneath my key bets in exactas, he already has 24 points and if he ads to that total today he will qualify baring a barrage of colts that have zero points jumping over him in the 100 pointers that will be run in the next few weeks.

29 Mar 2014 6:20 PM
-Keelerman

The turf is definitely fast at Gulfstream today! Newsdad just won the twelve-furlong Pan American Stakes in the remarkable time of 2:22.77 seconds, while earlier on the card, Hey Leroy took the one-mile Appleton Stakes in 1:32.49, and Quick Wit won an 8.5-furlong allowance race in 1:39.31 seconds. Now that's fast!

29 Mar 2014 6:22 PM
El Kabong

Keelerman,

After watching Gold Appointment run away with the Crescent City, I'm more confident about Albano's chances today. The fractions were fast and GA pulled away. Those were ridiculous odds on Albano, I almost bit on a wager, but I'm skeptical about 10F's for Albano. Like him today but 10 may be too far.

29 Mar 2014 6:25 PM
-Keelerman

So who will be favored in the New Orleans Handicap? With one minute to post time, both Palace Malice and Normandy Invasion are sitting at even money. I find it hard to believe that Fordubai is 31-1, given that he won the Louisiana Handicap earlier in the meet and was most recently a solid third in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III).

29 Mar 2014 6:27 PM
-Keelerman

El Kabong;

I had similar thoughts after watching the Crescent City Derby. If speed is indeed holding well, the run to the first turn of the Louisiana Derby -- with Louies Flower, Vicar's in Trouble, Rise Up, In Trouble, and Albano all likely to flash speed -- could prove critical in determining the outcome of the race.

29 Mar 2014 6:34 PM
-Keelerman

Palace Malice is such a nice horse! When Normandy Invasion moved up to challenge him on the far turn of the New Orleans Handicap, I thought that he and Palace Malice were going to put on quite a show down the homestretch. But Palace Malice turned it into a solo performance, turning back Normandy Invasion and drawing clear to win by several lengths in the solid time of 1:48.93 seconds. The older horse division continues to get more and more interesting with every passing month!

29 Mar 2014 6:39 PM
-Keelerman

Good point, Brontexx! Even if Albano finishes fourth, the ten extra points he would earn should be enough to get him into the Derby. Even twenty-four might be enough under the right circumstances. Good luck with your future wagers!

29 Mar 2014 6:40 PM
-Keelerman

With five minutes to post time for the Florida Derby, Cairo Prince is a surprisingly heavy favorite at even money, with Constitution the second choice at 5-2. Wildcat Red and General a Rod are 9-2 and 6-1, respectively. East Hall is 54-1.

29 Mar 2014 6:42 PM
Kevin

Woo hoo. Constitution.

29 Mar 2014 6:57 PM
Pedigree Ann

Because I've been busy seeing to the half-grown kitten we found on our two-story!! roof, I haven't done any 'capping this week. Will stick with A-Rod in Fla Derby (why not?) and the other Pletcher King Cyrus in N'Orlins. Newby won the last local race, why not another newby this time?

29 Mar 2014 7:01 PM
Pedigree Ann

I think Wildcat Red and the General ran better races when they let it all hang out; this time they backed up the pace and let Constitution stay in touch with them instead of making him work to keep up. Their speed is their weapon but they didn't use it today.

29 Mar 2014 7:04 PM
-Keelerman

Congratulations, Kevin! That was quite a run from Constitution! Too bad he couldn't have stayed at around 5-1. I hope you had him anyway!

29 Mar 2014 7:08 PM
-Keelerman

The question now is this: Will twenty-four points be enough to get Cairo Prince to the Kentucky Derby? And if it is enough, can he improve upon this effort enough to be a serious contender for the Derby?

29 Mar 2014 7:10 PM
-Keelerman

With two minutes to post time for the Louisiana Derby, Albano is 8-1, while Commanding Curve -- who was beaten 8 1/4 lengths in the Risen Star by Albano -- is 9-1.

29 Mar 2014 7:11 PM
Brontexx

Coldfacts you chickened out all you had to do was play Constitution and Wildcat Red the ones I wrote were not as good on paper as CP and GA-Rod and you would of had the exacta but no reply from you.

BTW its still very possible for both CP and GA-Rod to make the KD field with the points that they have and thats where I bet most my money today,on the derby futures.One more point the Apollo rule has two attempting to break it this year Constitution,and Hoppertunity and there are more chances to come.

29 Mar 2014 7:11 PM
Kevin

Now that constitution has shown ability to rate-kind of. He is a real threat to break the 2 year old curse.

29 Mar 2014 7:21 PM
-Keelerman

Any first impressions from the Louisiana Derby? Vicar's in Trouble was visually impressive opening up a commanding lead in the homestretch and maintaining it to the wire, but he seemed to be getting a bit leg-weary at the finish, and the final furlong was run in just :13.62 seconds. Also, the final time of 1:50.77 was nearly two seconds slower than Palace Malice ran in winning the New Orleans Handicap.

It's interesting to see that Commanding Curve got disqualified from fourth to fifth for interfering with Albano on the backstretch. In most cases, this wouldn't mean a whole lot, but in this case, Kentucky Derby qualification points were at stake. Thanks to the disqualification, Albano has now earned an additional ten points, bringing his total to a strong thirty-four. Commanding Curve, on the other hand, will remain at zero, and will have to run in another prep race to have any shot at all at making the Derby field.

29 Mar 2014 7:27 PM
El Kabong

Keelerman, good point on Cairo. He will be on the bubble but it just depends how chalky the last 4 preps go, and how many defections we have between now and May 3. He will be 15th I believe if Toast of NY runs 14th if he doesn't. Punch tickets to 1st and 2nd in the last 4, so he had better hope for 1,2 chalk in 3 of last 4 races. Chrome/Hopportunity helps but a Candy Boy 3rd bumps him down. Tapiture in Ark helps but Ride on Curlin bumps him with a 4th place finish there. Sam and Sigh running one two helps, but if Conquest Titan gets 3rd he'll bump him. The Bluegrass will be wide open so we could see as many as 3 horses get points enough to bump him. Its going to be very close. He really did need a 3rd place finish today.

29 Mar 2014 7:52 PM
El Kabong

Keelerman, In trouble was DQ'd, not Commanding Curve.

29 Mar 2014 7:54 PM
-Keelerman

Good catch, El Kabong! Thanks! That makes things even more interesting, since In Trouble is now really on the bubble with just ten points. It will be interesting to see if he runs again before the Derby, to try and pick up a few extra points.

29 Mar 2014 8:00 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Ole.  It's a tossup between worst picks of the day: Matador or King Cyrus.  I was right about that horse in one respect, though: he was sloooow.

I did stay on Vicar's In Trouble, though, so I made most of my money back on a Palace Malice P3; unfortunately got total chalk in R12, where I went 8 wide.  I still have the same horses plus the 1 in R13 for a P4.

29 Mar 2014 8:24 PM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

I noticed that about Commanding Curve, too.  He was actually 7-1 early.  

29 Mar 2014 8:25 PM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

Good call on Vicar's In Trouble.  He is a brilliant horse.  I watched this race on NBC, which is rare for me, and the comment was, "he had everything his way".  That's my last stop with him.  I get off at the Kentucky Derby.

Crude as it is, I'm curious to see the Beyer for Intense Holiday.  He has a distinct pattern: I thought he might run evenly, back to his previous, which would make him eligible for a nudge forward May 3, enough to maybe help him hit the board.

29 Mar 2014 8:27 PM
El Kabong

Keelerman,

I failed to hats off your choice in the Louisiana Derby. You and Rusty were right about him. See what you can dig up about his hoof. I'd be curious to know if he was ailing when he ran the Risen. Rosie did a great job of reading the track bias and really took advantage of the opportunity but the Vicar looked very keen today.

29 Mar 2014 8:54 PM
TnT

Cairo Prince is 16th, so very tight for him to get in now. I thought Commanding Curve looked good in finishing 3rd, if he gets in with 20 points he'll be somewhere on my tickets.

Consitution also very impressive today. Maybe the only horse I take out of The Florida derby

29 Mar 2014 9:05 PM
Rusty Weisner

That Fair Grounds crowd did know something about Commanding Curve, though, because he got demolished at the start.

29 Mar 2014 9:11 PM
Ranagulzion

Brontexx: Regarding your post 24 Mar 2014 4:21PM, You need to take a learning posture with respect to the sport of kings and not rush to silly statements about others not knowing anything about sport. Cairo Prince ran true to form against the competition in the Florida Derby ...the speed figures of the three colts that beat him should have informed you and tempered your remarks.

Speak easy next time my friend.

29 Mar 2014 9:31 PM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

I think that was a very perceptive, almost poetic comment.  

29 Mar 2014 9:51 PM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

Good pick on VIT and even more so on the one(s) in Dubai.  It's always encouraging to see the site host pick some winners.

Ranagulzion,

Good job with Wildcat Red; odds enough for the place to make you money?

Kevin,

Sorry about the odds!

29 Mar 2014 9:56 PM
Brontexx

Ranagulzion thats good that you speak up for your friend Coldfacts,but he needs to look at his style of copying others comments and injecting his OPINION to try to prove that HIS point of view is right and that none of those that he critisizes knows what they are talking about.

When he stops trying to trump my opinions with his own then I will listen to your advice and in your words

Speak easy next time my friend.

29 Mar 2014 10:13 PM
Brontexx

Ranagulzion btw I still think CP will prove to be better than those colts that finished ahead of him today that is ONE race there will be more down the road I hope,and if you think my comments were silly that is YOUR opinion and you have a right to voice it.

Cairo Prince didnt run his best today and the 3 that finished in front of him ran better but that is sports if he dosent beat them next time than maybe they are better than him at this point in their careers.

29 Mar 2014 10:18 PM
-Keelerman

Thanks, Rusty Weisner and El Kabong! I hope you both had as good a time today as I did. That was some great racing, and I can't wait to see what April has in store! Perhaps Palace Malice will join Game On Dude and Lea in the Charles Town Classic. That would be a race to see!

After reviewing the charts of the major stakes races at Fair Grounds, here are my guesses on what the Beyers might be:

Palace Malice: 108

Untapable: 101

Vicar's in Trouble: 91

Intense Holiday: 85

29 Mar 2014 10:34 PM
-Keelerman

What do you know! The Beyers for the Fair Grounds stakes races were just posted on DRF.com. Everybody ran a bit faster than I would have guessed -- Palace Malice received a 114, Untapable a 106, and Vicar's in Trouble a 97. Now I really want to see Palace Malice run against Game On Dude and Lea!

29 Mar 2014 10:45 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Random thoughts:

- Cairo Prince is done.  The Remsen had an odor to it;  a notion that was, at the very least, implied on numerous occasions on this board over the last few months.  No matter what the excuse,  move on.

- I might be mistaken,  but there were some here,  or at least one in particular,  that blamed Vicar's In Trouble's defeat in the Risen Star on his distance limitations.  Oops.

- On that note,  watching VIT's win today,  does ANYONE believe that he doesn't dance the next 1/8 of a mile if needed today ?

Here's what I say:

When dealing with rapidly developing 3's, FORM CYCLE is a more representative cause/effect for the successes or failures as distances grow longer.

- The Florida Derby winner is too small to win the Derby. He'll be banged around early and often.

29 Mar 2014 10:51 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keelerman -

Looks like AB needs to sharpen his tools a bit.

29 Mar 2014 10:57 PM
Coldfacts

“Coldfacts what you write are your edited opinions of the facts”

I have never before read such gibberish.

Tirade: ‘A long, angry speech of criticism or accusation.’ Revisit my post and it will be clear the definition does not fit.

Constitution and Wildcat Red speed figures compared favorably to those of CP. Therefore on paper, both should have been competitive and they proved to be.

CP is a very nice colt but not as fast and probably not as talented as the three that defeated him.

30 Mar 2014 2:06 AM
Coldfacts

Brontexx,

Let me explain to you once again the reason for highlighting the section of a particular contributor’s posts that I post comments on.

Firstly, it is not done to highlight a contributor’s lack of knowledge. That is absolutely not the intention. Most submissions contain many points and I certainly do not disagree with all. Those that I disagree with, I highlight so that the contributor will know exactly which point/s I am in disagreement with. I then provide the reasons for my disagreement. It does not mean that my opinions have to be accepted.

Contributors have the opportunity to respond without revising their original post to refresh their memories. I could reference the date and time of the post as well as the paragraph containing the comment/s but that would be too much. If other contributors choose to read one my post citing a disagreement, they have an idea of the either subject or issue being addressed.

The forum allows for exchanges on differences in opinions. The conclusions and pronouncements made by contributors are all open for dissenting views.

You have taken offence to a policy that you have made offensive. I hope the above will in some way clarify any misconceptions that might exist.

30 Mar 2014 2:43 AM
-Keelerman

El Kabong;

After doing a bit of research, it seems that Vicar's in Trouble's abscess was detected just after the Risen Star, so it certainly could have played a part in his sub-par showing that day. But perhaps more importantly, the abscess caused him to miss some training after the Risen Star, which is why he recorded no workouts for nearly three weeks after that race. As a result, Vicar's in Trouble probably wasn't 100% fit for the Louisiana Derby, which could possibly explain why he was getting leg-weary in the final furlong.

With this in mind, I'll be keeping a close eye on how Vicar's in Trouble is training during the next five weeks, because I think he could be a fitter and tougher horse on the first Saturday in May.

30 Mar 2014 8:59 AM
-Keelerman

Upon review of all the Fair Grounds result charts from yesterday, I'm not sure whether there was a speed bias or not. Granted, there were several front-running performances that seemed too good to be true, but there were also a number of off-the-pace winners throughout the card. If there was a bias, it didn't seem to be dictating the results of the races -- just influencing them, perhaps.

Does anyone else have an opinion?

30 Mar 2014 9:15 AM
-Keelerman

The Beyer for the Florida Derby was posted as a 99.

30 Mar 2014 9:16 AM
-Keelerman

In case Toast of New York does end up coming for the Kentucky Derby, I thought it might be useful to take a look at the fractional times that he posted in winning yesterday's UAE Derby.

Here they are in traditional form...

:26.27, :50.42, 1:15.07, 1:39.54, 1:57.92

...along with the times broken down into quarter-mile fractions, along with a final three-sixteenths figure...

:26.27, :24.15, :24.65, :24.47, :18.38

Remember, in Dubai, the timer starts as soon as the starting gates open, so the opening quarter mile fractions are always on the slow side. And thanks to Trakus -- which times each horse in a race individually instead of just the leader at each call -- these are the fractions recorded by Toast of New York, not pace-setting Safety Check.

30 Mar 2014 9:47 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

"On that note,  watching VIT's win today,  does ANYONE believe that he doesn't dance the next 1/8 of a mile if needed today ?"

Yes.  I'm not the one who attributed his Risen Star loss to pedigree, I attributed it to post and trip.  I don't think there's much of a difference between 8.5 and 9f, because there's not.

On the other hand, 9f and 10f, especially when the field size makes a taxing pace and wider paths likelier than usual, yes, I'll believe it.

30 Mar 2014 10:00 AM
Brontexx

Coldfacts you are one of the most comical posters on this blog just like KY Vet.You make a lot of bold statements but you dont pick winners.You do write in proper grammer maybe Steve will give you a blog like he did Keelerman,but your combative nature could prevent this.

Tiny humans armed with whips thats the funniest line I have read on this blog even KY Vet cant top it although he tries you on the other hand think you are writing serious stuff but all you do is whine and complain like a little .....

30 Mar 2014 10:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

Beyer methodologist!  Thanks for the figures.  I'm glad the Louisiana Derby didn't confound my expectations: it was the same caliber race as the Risen Star run by the same cast.  The top two, especially, have performed very predictably this year.  By the way, here's a something to put a person off VIT in the Derby:  "Rosie", though at least the name doesn't attract attention like "Pants on Fire".

30 Mar 2014 10:17 AM
Pedigree Ann

My problem with Vicar's in Trouble as a Derby horse is "Into Mischief-Vibrant." Sire only won at a mile as a 2yo, sprinter thereafter; dam won sprints only. Harlan's Holiday, as honest and tough as he was, had little impact past 9f; Into Mischief's dam won only sprints. Damsire Vicar was good enough early at 3 to win the Florida Derby, but never was that good again (early maturer); second dam won only sprints. I know that Affirmed and Stop the Music and El Gran Senor (the one who raced in Britain, not the gray El Senor we saw in this country) and Secretariat and His Majesty and Prince John and Pretense are farther back in the pedigree. I say, "Big whoop." The particular descendants in ViT's pedigree have shown no signs that they have inherited the staying abilities of this litany of staying sires.

30 Mar 2014 10:18 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

I'm asking could VIT have gone 10f yesterday,  when he was clearly in peak form ?

If and when he folds after 6f in KY,  will that be a question of distance, or form cycle ?

30 Mar 2014 10:23 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

"Cairo Prince is done.  The Remsen had an odor to it;  a notion that was, at the very least, implied on numerous occasions on this board over the last few months."

Can you elaborate on this?  

I was getting bad juju from his trainer and was originally going to stay away until El Kabong tickled me into throwing $4 away on him; I'll have to consider it the price of admission to this august forum's treatment of the race.

30 Mar 2014 10:45 AM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

Did you have a take on how Gulfstream was playing?

30 Mar 2014 10:46 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

"I'm asking could VIT have gone 10f yesterday,  when he was clearly in peak form ?"

That's a different question.  Sure, weaker field, less demanding circumstances.  But we'll never know, either.

His main competitor also didn't run his best race, I would guess form-cycle wise (interested in your opinion) and was also a bit nearer the pace.

I'll keep an open mind, but will probably be willing to take a gamble on "pedigree" in the Derby with VIT, especially as he doesn't get the best odds as the winner.

30 Mar 2014 10:53 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

LOL.  You're lurking on a Sunday morning.  Thanks for coming to my defense.  I will rely on your relative pedigree expertise as one of the tools in my limited handicapping arsenal for the Derby.

30 Mar 2014 10:55 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

The pedigree consensus was very fruitful in predicting the success of Orb, Oxbow in Palace Malice for the Derby.  Both Oxbow and Palace Malice outperformed all the other horses near that pace last year:  Goldencents, Verrazano, Itsmyluckday and all three of those horses were considered to have questionable Derby pedigree (Verrazano less so, but there was certainly no consensus that he would get classic distance).  The year before that Bodemeister, I'll Have Another (along with Take Charge Indy and Gemologist, the other two likely near-the-front possible winners I considered) all got the imprimatur of pedigree opinionists.  

Food for thought, but, hey, I acknowledge it's gambling.  I've got to find ways to winnow the field, and it beats names or lucky numbers.

Speaking of Gemologist and Verrazano, I'll take less frequently raced Pletcher stars, like Constitution, with a lot of skepticism.  Intense Holiday, on the other hand, seems like more of a "hard knocker", and has had three graded stakes races.

30 Mar 2014 11:11 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

I remember Monarchos Matt spotlighted Oxbow's pedigree last year on the eve of the Derby and on Derby morning  I woke up with the epiphany (you can see I was in a state of religious exaltation) his post would force him to go for the lead, and his pedigree made holding on plausible, so I had him as my fourth choice.  Didn't work out, but I wasn't embarrassed by the pick.

Nevertheless, I take your skepticism with utmost respect, and realize that this notion of "pedigree" can be a kind of circular logic, if not outright mumbo jumbo.

30 Mar 2014 11:20 AM
Pedigree Ann

Yep, on a Sunday morning. We rescued a half-grown kitten from off the roof (2 stories up!) recently and we are keeping him in my office, so as he won't get eaten by our Labrador and similarly-sized sleddog-collie mix.[This is a joke.] Also, he is too mild a cat to deal with our street-fighter calico cat (she came with slices in her ears and lacking half of a hind leg) as of yet. So he gets lonely and meows. So I am here, minding the cat/kitten as he gradually gets used to the 'family.' And I am the one who is getting shots for my cat allergy! But the dogs own my husband's office, formerly our son's bedroom, and the calico owns my daughter's room, so this had to it; better here than in my bedroom. The daughter is calling him 'Rufio', ie. 'Roof-io.'

Also watching racing from Leopardstown. O'Brien loses one, wins one. Ho-hum.

30 Mar 2014 11:20 AM
-Keelerman

Rusty Weisner;

I thought the main track at Gulfstream yesterday was playing very fairly. The results seemed logical when considering the pace of each race, and we saw winners come from all over the track. What did you think?

30 Mar 2014 11:23 AM
-Keelerman

It has been reported on DRF.com that Vicar's in Trouble and General a Rod will be traveling to Louisville today. Great to see them shipping early to get in some serious training at Churchill Downs!

30 Mar 2014 11:29 AM
-Keelerman

Rusty Weisner;

Your comparison of Constitution to Verrazano and Gemologist is something that I've had in the back of my mind as well. Intense Holiday is definitely cut from a different cloth. He reminds me more of Super Saver, with plenty of experience heading into Louisville -- including a graded stakes victory -- but with a number of respectable defeats as well.

It's also interesting to note that Super Saver, as well as Revolutionary last year, were training very well leading up to the Derby and received a lot of positive comments from people at the track. There didn't seem to be as much excitement surrounding Gemologist and Verrazano. With that in mind, I'll be paying close attention to the workout and training reports in the final two weeks before the Derby, to try and get a feel for how Intense Holiday and Constitution are progressing as the first Saturday in May approaches.

30 Mar 2014 11:44 AM
-Keelerman

Pedigree Ann;

Do you have any thoughts on Australia, Aidan O'Brien's promising three-year-old? I read that O'Brien considers him to be the second-best horse he's ever trained. Any chance that his connections give him a shot at sweeping the English Triple Crown?

30 Mar 2014 11:48 AM
Brontexx

Nobody including the trainers knows for sure(100%) if a 3yo will be able to run competitively at 10 furlongs the first Saturday in May in a 20 horse field.Just to cover the simple circumstances,none of them has run that distance and none of them has been in a 20 horse field.

This is the ONLY race of their lives for most of them where they will encounter these circumstances.I think closers have an advantage because they are able to conserve energy until the end of the race, at least for the win.IMO an offtrack definitely hampers early speed presser types,speed dosent hold well at Churchill on an off track over a distance of 10 furlongs.

The pace also is involved because there are so many horses in the race that have the same early speed, presser style that makes the front runners run faster than they want to,but I believe if a colt was able to set slow fractions relatively speaking, without much pressure, and if that performance  is on an off track he wont hold for the win.I think speed has a better chance on a dry fast track where the weather has been dry for a couple of days.I think the chances of this happening in this part of Kentucky for that time of year are a lot less than having an off track.I am going by recent history(5yrs) of the race since 2009 to be exact.

30 Mar 2014 12:28 PM
Little Bill

I am left uninspired, so far, with any of these at 1 1/4. My hope is that Noble Moon gets right in the Wood. Tall order after injury and training in NY this winter. Moving on.

30 Mar 2014 1:37 PM
El Kabong

Plod Boy Phil,

I know I believed Vicar would have distance issues after his defeat in the Risen, given his pedigree and poor showing, but then again I had no idea of his health issues. As Keelerman has noted, we do not know when they began, only that they were detected soon after the Risen Star, which could very well explain his short effort. I do believe he has definite distance issues for 10 F's regardless of how he trains. That does not mean he can't hit the board if he is fit and feeling good. Horses do outrun there pedigree, they just rarely win in extreme tests like this.

Rosie ran a perfect race yesterday and there was indeed a bias. If you were not on the lead or within 1 length of leader at the top of the lane, you did not have a chance. This is one of the longest stretches in the country, and no one can make up ground in the lane? Two races, with horses who were moved to the dirt from the turf showed a minor exception to this bias but I would attribute that  to the natural running style of turf horses. Still, those horses were off the lead at the top of the lane by a head and by 2 lengths at the top of the lane. The bias explains to me why with all the speed in that race, Rosie made no hesitation to get the lead. Afterwards, Mike Smith gave her credit for a "brilliant ride." She saw the advantage out there and took it away from everyone. I'm with Pedigree Ann and Rusty, the Vicar is not a viable Kentucky Derby winner, danceable healthy hoofs or not.

30 Mar 2014 1:50 PM
Plod Boy Phil

El Kabong -

I didn't know of any injury either, have no opinion one way or another about ViT as a horse,  and was not referring to you specifically,  though thanks for the follow-up.

My point was more of a general one,  one I've made a few times regarding the great race.  I just don't buy into the notion that some of it's participants can look strong winning comfortably at 9f , then after the are fried at 3/4s in the Derby,  the performance is explained on distance limitations.

30 Mar 2014 3:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

I didn't play Gulfstream except to tune in briefly to the Florida Derby, to make a small losing bet and to cheer on Matador (Ole!).  I saw the leaden skies and imagined stifling humidity, and was curious if it had an effect on times and maybe dulled the speed bias.  I found out from NBC that Gulfstream's is the "shortest" stretch in the country (tracks a mile or longer?).  I did not know that.  

30 Mar 2014 4:07 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty-

The 'Cairo Prince is done' comment was poorly phrased.  Let's say,  he's been 'Derby' done for some time in the eyes of many - I have to think his race yesterday would have connections pointing elsewhere.

Regarding the Remsen,  as a Flow guy, this one came back as an obvious Xtreme for Speed, yet none of those deserving upgrading out of the race have ever inspired me. As I see it, the race was an aberration, worthy of some caution.

Regarding the favorite's sub-par performance in the LaD,  I'd venture a guess that it was 'just a horse' regressing off what was clearly a lifetime best. I'll offer an pertinent tidbits from Flowville later in the week

30 Mar 2014 4:14 PM
El Kabong

Plod Boy Phil,

And if I'm hearing correctly, they found 3 Empty Super Size boxes of Junior Mints in Cairo Prince's stall. Newman!

30 Mar 2014 4:18 PM
-Keelerman

Here's a question for any and all -- with five weeks remaining before the Kentucky Derby, which horse(s) do you think will run big on the first Saturday in May?

I've had Candy Boy near the top of my rankings for a long time, and with a fast early pace appearing likely for the Derby, I see no reason to jump off the bandwagon now. But even more so than Candy Boy, I like Conquest Titan, particularly if the track is wet on Derby day. He has a strong off-track pedigree, a powerful stretch kick when allowed to drop far enough off the pace, a proven affinity for Churchill Downs, and -- to tie it all together! -- jockey Calvin Borel. With five weeks to go, he is my top-ranked Derby horse. Anyone else?

30 Mar 2014 4:47 PM
-Keelerman

Pedigree Ann;

The situation with Cairo Prince reminds me a lot of Shanghai Bobby last year. It will be interesting to see if trainers start changing their strategies in future years, putting more emphasis on the second-tier Derby preps that offer fifty points to the winner.

30 Mar 2014 4:53 PM
Pedigree Ann

Keelerman - I hadn't noticed Australia before - the only one of 20 horses named Australia on Pedquery who isn't/wasn't a female! The earliest one listed was a GB mare from the 1820s. But I digress.

Obviously, there is little doubt that he's likely to run his race at the St. Leger distance - his sire got the St. Leger trifecta in his first crop while his dam was an Oaks winner who loved 12f. The questions are durability and class.

So far, Australia hasn't faced much; he beat a maiden field and 4-horse G3 field. And there is no yardstick from the second in the G3, since that one came straight in from HIS maiden win. And the third was dead last in the subsequent Royal Lodge (G2) on the Champions Day card. On paper, he could be anything.

Actually, he might find the Guineas too sharp for him at 3 - his full sister Filia Regina didn't win a race until she got to a 14f race (at 3). Kingmambo half-brother broke his maiden at 8f, further were at wins at 10f and 12f. Surprising he won at 2, really. Argues for a positive assessment of his class.

30 Mar 2014 5:05 PM
Brontexx

Keelerman I also like Conquest Titan but hes down to his last shot to even make it in the gate.I like Hoppertunity if its an off-track Derby Day.The track at Oaklawn most closely resembles the one at Churchill and he won the Rebel Stakes on an off track,he has 55 points so I would be surprised if  he didnt make the field.I wagered on him in the last derby futures in my usual exacta pool bets.I also bet on General A-Rod who was the one Conquest Titan beat in that race at Churchill and he has 40 points and I expect him to make the field.If CT should make it in I have earlier bets on him in the futures, and ditto for Strong Mandate and Commissioner.

30 Mar 2014 5:34 PM
-Keelerman

Pedigree Ann;

Thanks so much for your thoughts! I really appreciate your taking the time to research Australia's pedigree. I'm looking forward to seeing how he progresses during the course of the season!

30 Mar 2014 5:52 PM
Rusty Weisner

Conquest Titan will be in the Bluegrass, won't he?  I'll be inclined to bet him there.  I think the fact that he closed at all at Gulfstream would make me give him a chance in the Derby.

Brontexx,

Oaklawn is dirt, like CD, but short stretch.

30 Mar 2014 6:20 PM
Ranagulzion

Keelerman: This year's  Kentucky Derby is not looking like a closer's race. The speed horses are not one-dimensional and are carrying their speed. In any case there's a very special horse that's going to be strutting his stuff in the Wood Memorial on Saturday. After that race the topic for discussion may change to "Wow!! the Apollo curse is doomed this year". Can't wit for Saturday at Aqueduct.

I also thnk that California Chrome is going to sparkle again in the Santa Anita Derby ...he'll toy with Candy Boy. Watch out for Bob Baffert's 'lambourgini' named Bayern to rev things up at Oaklawn in the Arkansas Derby. These are top class colts with a lot of pace and stamina ...with Honor Code out I don't see any closer with the class to run down these types ...except perhaps Kobe's Back if he can show that he stays a distance of ground. Conquest Titan is outclassed amongst these IMO.

30 Mar 2014 7:22 PM
-Keelerman

Rusty Weisner;

Conquest Titan is actually heading for the Arkansas Derby, where he will be ridden for the first time by Calvin Borel.

www.bloodhorse.com/.../borel-on-conquest-titan-in-arkansas-derby

30 Mar 2014 7:35 PM
-Keelerman

Ranagulzion;

Thanks for your thoughts! I'm really looking forward to seeing how Social Inclusion fares in the Wood Memorial, because I agree that he might just be something super special. It will be particularly interesting if both Social Inclusion and Bayern run well enough to advance to the Kentucky Derby, because then there would be four colts -- Social Inclusion, Bayern, Constitution, and Hoppertunity -- heading to Churchill Downs with a shot at breaking the Apollo Curse. Perhaps this is the year it finally falls!

30 Mar 2014 9:40 PM
Coldfacts

Brontexx,

A Bit of humor is good for the soul. I try to inject some in my posts occasionally. However, there are many other contributors that are far better at it.

You have done me a disservice my comparing me to the KY Vet. You clearly suffered an assessment lapse.  

“You make a lot of bold statements but you don’t pick winners”

Am I the only contributor that makes bold statements?

El Kabong  - “Cairo Prince is the best horse.”

Brontexx  - “CP will prove to be better than those colts that finished ahead of him today.”

The above examples are just a few bold statements that have been posted. We are all guilty of same.

On the subject of picking winners in advance of a race, it’s really not my focus and consequently I have developed no strengths in this area. I make wagers after viewing post parades. A horse’s physical condition and demeanor can tell a lot more than his PP’s. Irrespective of my positive opinions of a particular horse, if its physical condition and demeanor do not satisfy me, I pass on it.

“You on the other hand think you are writing serious stuff but all you do is whine and complain like a little ???”

You clearly have a problem with the evaluation of submissions. You also tend to be unnecessarily rule. It is certainly not my fault you are deficient in this area. However, you will be happy know that you can improved your evaluation skills if you make an effort.

NB: Try to avoid being rude as is it totally unnecessary. This policy does not enhance your status but rather indicates that you have not been schooled in the social graces.

31 Mar 2014 8:13 AM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

I'm surprised by that. I wonder why that is.

31 Mar 2014 8:33 AM
Brontexx

Coldfacts good reply, I was hoping to stir up KY Vet but he has his tail between his legs after proclaiming and reiterating his future bet back in November on Honor Code and Cairo Prince and it has gone KAPOOF.

Coldfacts     You can critique my submissions when ever you like, and submit your contra selections because I know you dont focus on picking winners and you yourself have stated the same.Dont get angry if I decide to copy parts of your submissions, and inject my opinion.BTW I still think you should get a law degree, because the manner in which you post contra submissions on this blog gives one the impression you are writing legal briefs or objections to a line of questioning.

31 Mar 2014 9:35 AM
-Keelerman

Hoppertunity has been confirmed as a starter for the Santa Anita Derby:

www.drf.com/.../santa-anita-derby-next-hoppertunity-says-baffert

31 Mar 2014 1:42 PM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman,

I have the feeling right now the winner of the Kentucky Derby comes out of that race.

I just read Mike Watchmaker's weekend recap and couldn't figure out if we was insinuating that John Velazquez let Constitution win.  He also echoed Pedigree Ann's opinion that the pace was too forgiving.

31 Mar 2014 1:54 PM
El Kabong

Coldfacts,

Please review Websters definition of the word bold before you invite me into an arena where you have been rightly tossed.

Bold:  very confident in a way that may seem rude or foolish.

I don't know how my statement regarding Cairo Prince, agreeing with the majority of the public and oddsmaker Ron Nicoletti that Cairo Prince was the best horse coming into the Florida Derby can be considered bold by anyone who understands the word. Especially since I went on to clarify about Cairo Prince that he may not be trained well enough to win given his trainers statements. I asked the question, "Is he cranked to perform? Then replied, "Perhaps not for the win. We are far enough out for a trainer who has been playing the reserve game to settle for a good effort."

31 Mar 2014 4:29 PM
Forbidden Apple

Norumbega will win next out at Belmont or Churchill, wherever he lands. With his closing style he had little chance at Gulfstream.

For me the FL Derby proved that Cairo Prince was flat and not the least bit scary. He should have had a second prep race before the FL Derby. Quit crying about weights and race the horse already. Now he might not even qualify for the big dance. I also learned that Wildcat Red is far better than I gave him credit for. He was dead game even when he was out of his speedy comfort zone. 24,48,1:12,1:36 was surprisingly slow, I feel like he finished with plenty of fight left in him for a 1 1/4 mile race, sneaky good! He's a fighter and I think he is a must use in exotics for the KY Derby. One negative is that he's never raced anywhere except for Gulfstream Park.

A juicy win bet on Majestic Harbor in the Tokyo City made up for all of my losing tickets. He was sharp, I liked how he pounced on the field around the far turn and put the race away.

01 Apr 2014 8:47 AM
-Keelerman

Here's an interesting article from DRF.com regarding the chances of Toast of New York running in the Kentucky Derby: www.drf.com/.../trainer-osborne-mulls-kentucky-derby-option-toast-new-york

02 Apr 2014 11:20 AM
-Keelerman

While the Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial will rightfully attract most of the attention this weekend, it will be important to keep an eye on what transpires in the $250,000 Calder Derby as well. The nine-furlong race does not offer any Kentucky Derby qualification points, but has nevertheless drawn Ring Weekend, impressive winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) last time out. Another notable entrant is Cleburne, unraced since winning the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs last September. It should be a good race!

02 Apr 2014 11:28 AM
Brontexx

-Keelerman IMO the only things that Ring Weekend will accomplish running at Calder(which is primarily a claiming track except for the 2yo series in the summer and fall)is to win more money and run a race at 9 furlongs,if he is good, he wont be tested and if he is KD quality he should win easily without much effort,that could be another trainer intent to give him an easy race before the toughest one in his life.How do I know I live in S.Florida.

02 Apr 2014 1:44 PM
Forbidden Apple

My KY Derby contenders:

1)Candy Boy 2)Social Inclusion 3)California Chrome 4)Wildcat Red 5)Cairo Prince 6)Constitution

As much as I love California Chrome, I have a feeling that Candy Boy will prove that he is the top colt for the S.A. and KY Derbies.

02 Apr 2014 3:23 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Florida and Louisiana Derbys

- The Hallandale main had a pinch of closer kindness over the 8 race dirt card.  The Flow of the Florida Derby was 'negative' (favors front-runners) enough for us to label the race as a whole as speed friendly, but not of a magnitude to be grade-worthy on it's own merits.

- At the Fair Grounds,  we detected a modestly speed friendly surface, though nothing remotely significant enough to impact results on it's own accord (few are). That said, the Flow of ViT's wire to wire win had a hint of closer kindness, resulting in the LaD being fair for all.

02 Apr 2014 9:55 PM
-Keelerman

Plod Boy Phil;

Thanks for your thoughts on the track biases!

03 Apr 2014 1:01 PM

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