Looking for Longshots on Memorial Day Weekend

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

Well! It looks like a pretty exciting set of graded stakes races are on schedule for this Memorial Day weekend! Granted, they aren’t quite as exciting as a certain set of graded stakes races scheduled for June 7th at Belmont Park, but hey—as much as I’d like to fill up this week’s blog post with early thoughts on the Belmont Stakes, there are still two weekends remaining before the big day, and there really are some appealing races on the agenda this weekend. So let’s see if we can’t hone our handicapping skills for Belmont Day by unlocking a few winners and uncovering a few longshots during the coming days!

Of all the graded stakes races being run on Saturday, I believe that the Hanshin Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park is by far the best in terms of betting value. The one-mile Polytrack event has drawn a full field of fourteen, and with only four horses listed at single-digit odds on the morning line, this looks like a prime opportunity to try and find some longshots that can win or hit the board. Even if you like morning line favorite and defending winner Hogy to win the race—and his record on the Arlington Polytrack suggests he could be tough to beat—there may be tremendous opportunities to be found in the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta.

In handicapping the race, three longshots have caught my eye—Fordubai (15-1), Pataky Kid (30-1), and Tulira Castle (30-1). The first-mentioned horse is 2-for-3 over the Arlington Polytrack, and turned in some good efforts earlier this year at Fair Grounds, including a victory in the Louisiana Handicap over Grand Contender and Prayer for Relief. Last time out, he was soundly beaten by Palace Malice in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), but he should appreciate the return to Arlington, as well as the drop in class.

Pataky Kid is unbeaten in three starts over the Arlington Polytrack, including a three-length victory in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) in 2012. Interestingly, those are his only victories from thirteen starts. Last summer, after winning Arlington’s Coach Jimi Lee Stakes, Pataky Kid shipped to Del Mar for a run in the El Cajon Stakes, in which he finished fifth before heading to the sidelines for 7 ½ months. He returned in April to finish seventh in the Sam Simeon Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita—a downhill turf sprint—which is one of the reasons why he is a 30-1 shot on the Hanshin Cup morning line. But given his record at Arlington, coupled with the fact that he has a recent race under his belt, I think he is sitting on a big effort this Saturday.

Rounding out my trio of longshots is Tulira Castle, winner of the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last time out. He’s 2-for-2 this season, which is a major improvement over his 0-for-4 record last year, and he broke his maiden at Arlington as a two-year-old, so we know he can handle the track. With all this in mind, I’m willing to give him a shot at odds of 30-1.

Halfway across the country at Belmont Park, the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. II) looks on paper to be a very slow-paced race, and that could potentially help the chances of Viva Rafaela, a Todd Pletcher-trained filly that has been first or second early on in each of her last six starts. Coming off of two respectable efforts at twelve furlongs, she should appreciate the slight cutback in distance to eleven furlongs, and that might leave her with enough in the tank to hold off the closers in the stretch.

I really want to like Riposte in this spot, but the British-bred filly—a group II winner at Royal Ascot—has been beaten at low odds in all three of her U.S. starts, and while she should appreciate the extra distance of today’s race, she might be worth going against if she ends up as a short-priced favorite. Abaco, third in Keeneland’s Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. I) last time out, has been improving steadily over the last year and should also enjoy the additional distance, making her an intriguing choice if she goes off at a higher price than Riposte.

Another logical contender is Fitful Skies, who was beaten just a head in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-I) at Woodbine last fall, and while her record shows that she was ninth in the Jenny Wiley in her 2014 seasonal debut, she was only beaten 3 ¼ lengths, and should be much better with the extra distance. If I were to try and hit the trifecta, I would consider using Abaco and Fitful Skies on top, with preference for the former, while adding Riposte and Viva Rafaela underneath.

Since we’ve handicapped a Polytrack race and a turf race thus far, we’ll wrap up this post with a look at Monmouth’s Majestic Light Stakes on dirt. 2013 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Itsmyluckyday will likely be favored off of a three-length victory in Gulfstream’s Best of the Rest Stakes, but he did get a great trip that day while tracking a moderate pace, so perhaps Code West can give him a run for his money this Saturday. Last year, when trained by Bob Baffert, Code West was a very capable second-tier three-year-old that won the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) and finished second in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), defeating Oxbow and Palace Malice in the latter. Following a fifth-place finish in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), Code West went to the sidelines for nine months, then returned under the care of Wayne Catalano to finish second in an 8.5-furlong allowance race over the main track at Keeneland. Since then, he has recorded a pair of workouts, including a bullet :59 flat five-furlong breeze at Monmouth Park. He looks ready to turn in a winning effort in this spot.

Who do you like this weekend?


Leave a Comment:


I like Hogy over Nicki's Castle & Havelock in an exacta and same 2 over Hogy with All in the Trifecta

In the SheepsHead Bay box Viva Rafaela Fitful skies Abaco and Riposte

In the Majestic Light I agree with you box those 2 for$20

22 May 2014 7:47 PM
Little Bill

Currently my top pick for the Hanshin is Pass the Dice. Risky with all those lay offs and has never run a good one 2nd off. I thought Nikki would have a better price, she's in my top four. I like Fordubai with the distance cut back.

You have to look hard to find someone to break with Mongolian Saturday. Good post for that one. He seems to give up any time he gets looked in the eye, hopefully that doesn't happen til inside the 1/16.

22 May 2014 9:00 PM

Secreteriat and Little Bill;

Thanks for your thoughts! Little Bill, I agree that Mongolian Saturday should have little trouble getting the lead in the Hanshin Cup, and as a result, this could be the perfect spot for him to strike at a solid price. What a wide-open field this race has drawn!

Now, getting back to the Belmont Stakes... :) Do either of you have any thoughts on Matuszak joining the expected lineup for the Belmont Stakes? On paper, he looks overmatched, but the fact that Mike Smith will be aboard for trainer Bill Mott has me wondering if Matuszak might be worth a closer look. He's certainly bred to handle the distance, and his last two workouts -- both bullet five-furlong breezes at Belmont -- have been considerably quicker than his previous works. Might he be rounding into form at just the right time?

22 May 2014 10:45 PM

Will play the P4 and P3

.50 P4 $18.00 /  $1 P3 (Race 9-11) $18.00 :

Super Soldier, Big Tom Prado WITH

Mister Marti Gras, Fordubai WITH

Istanford, Affordable, Solitary Ranger WITH

Lafanciulladelwest, Sat Nav, Redhot Fillypepper

22 May 2014 10:55 PM
Little Bill

Keelerman, Matuszac is in my mix. Not by PPs but for the Mott/reasons you've stated. The article I read sounded like he went to the owners, not vice-versa. That's good enough for me.

23 May 2014 12:09 AM
Pedigree Ann

Since I didn't post the answer on the Preakness blog, I'll have to intrude a bit of Belmont talk here. Somebody asked my opinion on Samraat in the Belmont. My opinion is that he is a decent one-paced horse; no turn of foot, but he keeps on when the speed quits. That's how he 'came back' to beat Social Inclusion in the Wood - SI was stopping and he just kept on at his one pace. He's got plenty of 9f+ horses in his pedigree and is from a regional family like CC, only from Ohio instead of Maryland, so some names in the pedigree aren't all that familiar. One of them, Brent's Prince, was probably the best Ohio-bred for decades on either side, beating open company in the G2 Ohio Derby and G3 Round Table.

As an aside, Noble Causeway was a principal actor in a jockey/trainer incident of a few years back. In 2005, he looked a coming 3yo in Nick Zito's stable, after he won his maiden and n1x at Gulfstream. He was then a closing second to High Fly in the Florida Derby so he went into the wide-open Kentucky Derby with high hopes and 12.30/1 odds. He was checked early and never had a shot, so coming back in the Preakness wasn't totally irrational, but he found trouble again and again ran far back. Then Zito put him away for a couple months to get him ready for the Travers.

As a prep, Noble Causeway was entered in the Jim Dandy, with new rider Jerry Bailey. NC was bet down, the horses were warming up when Bailey rode over to the state vet and told him "this horse doesn't feel right." There was a late scratch and Zito was appalled, angry, and aggrieved. He said there was nothing wrong with the horse and wheeled him back in a 9f allowance a week later, with a new rider. NC was bet down to favorite, the gates opened, and didn't make it beyond the first turn before he had to be pulled up and vanned off. Soft tissue injury, I think, but I could be wrong. Suddenly JB looks like a real horseman and Zito looks like a fool.

23 May 2014 4:51 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Thank You for the info on Samraat. I think he can get 3rd or 4th in here. Horses who ran in the Belmont Wicked Strong, Ride on Curlin, Tonalist,Samraat could all finish in the money under the "FREAK"

This horse is a freak of nature who hit the genetic lottery. He has a unique God given gift. He has the will to win and has the spirit and heart to push him past natural ability and genetics. Some analysts say he has distance limitations. This horse has genetics from for sires that pass the X factor. On the dam side Mahmoud from Natalma, War Admiral, Intriguing, Price Quillo and Ribot.

As to Matuszak I will also use him for the same reaons stated.

Tonalist will be on top if it comes up sloppy. He glided away in the Peter Pan and left Commisioner in his wake. I know no Peter Pan has won since 1999 but on a sloppy track he could do it

23 May 2014 8:15 AM

drf.com has free pp's for today and tomorrow if you wish to use the.

They had a massive power failure and are giving away free pp's.

Good luck this weekend

23 May 2014 8:32 AM

According to DRF.com, 2013 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Strong Mandate had been retired with a knee chip. :( Such a shame. After last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, I really thought Strong Mandate would end up as one of the best colts in this crop. I wonder if the knee chip was at least partly responsible for his last-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.

23 May 2014 9:13 AM

Also from DRF.com, Commanding Curve turned in a sharp workout at Churchill Downs this morning, breezing five furlongs in :59 4/5 (out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5) while in company with Perfect Title. The colt is expected to ship to Belmont Park on May 29th and record one breeze there prior to the Belmont Stakes.

Also, it has been reported that Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable will skip the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) on Belmont day and instead await the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) on June 28th.

23 May 2014 9:20 AM
Rusty Weisner


How could anyone bet Matuszak on anything but a superfecta ticket after he spent the spring playing second fiddle to a horse that was hopelessly overmatched in the Preakness?  

23 May 2014 9:50 AM
Rusty Weisner


Saying Tonalist will win if it's sloppy is confusing correlation with causation.  He won because he was better - indeed, he was the heavy favorite by virtue of his second in the key Gulfstream allowance race.

By the way, if it's sloppy I'd consider betting on California Chrome, at presumably better odds, to pull a Seattle Slew.

23 May 2014 9:56 AM
Rusty Weisner


"Also, it has been reported that Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable will skip the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) on Belmont day and instead await the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) on June 28th."

They really are avoiding the Triple Crown races this year.  It's like they're rubbing it in.

23 May 2014 10:01 AM
JJs Rocket

I will also take a second look at Matuszak with the trainers comments and getting Mike on board. Now I think that Pletcher wont run Intense Holiday because he would of put pressure on Mike to ride him if he was really going.

Commissioner will be a toss for me and will use Tonalist if the track is sealed for sure. I want to toss him too but Keelerman and some others on here are pretty high on him. Im trying to keep an open mind as he did come in second to Constitution on a dry track. Not much foundation and his bris E2,LP and final speed figure total increased from 277 to 316. That's a 39 point increase and the horse that came in second Commissioner total increased from 273 to 303 in the Peter Pan with a 30 point increase. I do use numbers but only when they make sense with the previous numbers. Maybe they both just improved that much but I don't have that much respect for Commissioner so im cautious. Its early yet and I will probably change my mind twice before the race goes off.

23 May 2014 10:26 AM


The connections are not rubbing anything in.

Untappable needs time between races will go to the Mother Goose with another race at Saratoga and the Distaff as the final objective.

Tapiture was banged up in the Rebel and the Derby,

He will be pointed to the Jim Dandy and the Pennsylvania Derby

23 May 2014 10:56 AM
Little Bill

I don't think Mike smith will be a factor in the decision to run IH. There are plenty of jocks that can ride the right horse to the winners circle. Johnny V could not wait to jump off IH.

23 May 2014 11:02 AM
Little Bill

Rusty, on Matuszac, there are a few trainers I put confidence in that a horse belongs, Mott is one of them. I'm pretty sure he's entering not based so much on his previous races but on whats going on since. Mzac is bred to get this distance. He might not get to CC but he can go by those other busters. Like you said, exotics.

23 May 2014 11:15 AM

Thanks for pointing out the Hanshin, my kind of betting race.

Love Fourdubai.

.10 cent super - Key Fourdubai to win with 1,2,3,4,5,10,13,14.

Hoping pass the dice does not like poly.

23 May 2014 11:16 AM
Where You From?

Somebody wake me up.

What would the outcome be should Untapable challenge CC at Belmont?

I truly believe the filly is Junior's only competitor.

23 May 2014 11:19 AM

Rusty Weisner;

I agree that it's hard to envision Matuszak actually winning the Belmont, but he could offer value in the fourth spot of a superfecta ticket. I'm hoping he's this year's version of Incognito, who finished fourth in last year's Belmont after a distant fifth-place effort in the Peter Pan. The $2 trifecta in last year's Belmont paid $931; those who added Incognito to the fourth spot of a $2 superfecta were rewarded with a payoff of $20,602. If Matuszak hits the board this year, I can envision him triggering a similarly massive payoff, especially if another 10-1+ shot finishes in the top four.

On the other hand, if Matuszak trains really, really well during the next two weeks, who knows? Perhaps he might be worth adding to the third position in trifectas or superfectas, or even on top in certain situations. I got to thinking about 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice, who was beaten two lengths in the Federico Tesio Stakes by Concealed Identity, a colt that could only manage a tenth-place finish two weeks later in the Preakness. In any case, it will be interesting to see how Matuszak progresses during the coming weeks!

23 May 2014 11:24 AM

BREAKING NEWS: Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) winner Ring Weekend, most recently fifth in the Preakness, will not run in the Belmont Stakes.

23 May 2014 12:05 PM
JJs Rocket

Little Bill

My point on IH is that pletcher would of tried to lock up either Johnny V or Mike S if he was thinking IH was likely to run. There are lots of good jockeys.


Thanks for the information on Matuszak. I will be using him underneath if he continues to look good.

23 May 2014 12:36 PM
El Kabong


Commanding Curve is a strange horse that doesn't wake up until he has 6f of gliding under his belt, but he is a classic grinder who has the potential to spoil the Triple Crown party. HIs derby was amazing and he did not take the short way home. He will have less work to do as far as saving ground and if he does relax and start his roll up on the far turn, he will have plenty of time to wear down the field. He does not have turn of foot, but you don't need that in the Belmont. I hope California Chrome holds on in game fashion, but CC2 is going to make it a race from the 1/8th pole and he is the only  horse in my opinion who will be close to Chrome. The rest will run for third. I loved ROC enough to single him second in my Preakness tri but Commanding Curve will out perform ROC and maybe CC. He just looks the type on film to be the type that really keeps rolling and rolling and rolling.

23 May 2014 12:48 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I hope everyone thinks the way you do, because my preference is Wicked Strong.  Commanding Curve had a very clean trip, never broke stride for a second and didn't lose momentum coming wide into the stretch.  Wicked Strong had a lousy trip early and late.

23 May 2014 1:25 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'd like to know what you think the trainers' instructions to their jockeys are.

23 May 2014 1:32 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Just compare Graham's ride to Borel's, both with the same type of horse from about the same post.

Wicked Strong's jockey couldn't get him to a more forward spot, where he wanted him, early in the race.  He'll be closer up in the Belmont.

23 May 2014 1:52 PM
Monarchos Matt

Hello all,

Apologies for my disappearing act prior to the Preakness, I was in California indulging in my other life passion of wine tasting for a solid week and simply did not have the time to weigh in. My only strong opinion on the Preakness was that Ride On Curlin would hit the board, and I bet accordingly for small size, but at a pretty measly payoff given his 10-1 win odds. After supporting him in every race all year it was nice to actually make a small profit though. I'm on the fence regarding his Belmont chances, but I really like his competitive nature and how he keeps running back. Reminds me of WTC and Oxbow last year.

I am also of the mindset that Wicked Strong is the most likely horse to win the Belmont other than CC. I was fully behind him in the Derby and nothing that happened there changed my mind about him in the least. He'll be fresh and the added distance should only help. He's the type of horse that can be successful from off the pace in the Belmont because he still has tactical speed, he isn't one to fall too far behind early, which can be death for closers in that race.

23 May 2014 2:07 PM
Monarchos Matt

My main play this weekend will be in the Hanshin Cup at Arlington, my home track.

I'm with Keelerman to some extent as I really like Fordubai on top. There is no way he will be 15-1 as the morning line indicates, but he should still be good value in a deep field.

He suffered from a rough trip in his last against a much tougher field, now cuts back in distance on an AP course where he has won twice at 8f, his best dirt Beyer (103)tops the field and he can certainly contend for the win by translating that back to poly at an ideal distance.

Logical candidates like ML favorite Hogy and the consistent Nikki's Sandcastle seem logical to complete the exacta. I'll look towards two "horse for the course" types to complete the tri, including one that Keelerman tabbed, Pataky Kid, who has been consistent on synthetic surfaces and is 3/3 at AP, albeit against lesser. The other is Francois, who has 6 wins over the AP poly track and shows 3 straight increasing Beyers on dirt heading into the surface switch.

So, Place Bet on Fordubai and a Tri Key:


Hogy, Nikki's Sandcastle/

Hogy, Nikki's Sandcastle, Pataky Kid, Francois

23 May 2014 2:27 PM
El Kabong


I really like Wicked Strong, he's a very good horse, I had him in the Wood and I agree he had a tough go in the Derby stretch. CC2 did have a clean trip, but he got it by racing farther and wide coming home. He will not have to do that in this field. He builds momentum and I don't think he will stop building at the crucial moment, the 1/8th pole which does separate the field in this race. With Chrome, ROC, CC2, and Wicked I believe you will have the tri, maybe the super, but CC2 just looks to be eating up the ground in a very fluid fashion and he runs out past Chrome in the Derby. Something else to watch is the hand ride on CCurve. Wicked, Danza everyone else but Chrome and CC2 are being ridden hard and whipped. The top two got hand rides down the lane. They both look like they are enjoying the distance more than the others. Worth another look.

23 May 2014 2:30 PM
Monarchos Matt

Little Bill,

I think the turf horse, Valentino Beauty, will break with Mongolian Saturday. Francois, who breaks between them should settle in right behind those two.

I've actually scored on Mongolian Saturday before on a lone speed angle, but that was against lesser foes than these I am afraid.

Pass the Dice certainly worries me, so instead of messing with him I am eliminating him altogether based on the fact he's never run on polytrack.

23 May 2014 2:32 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Welcome back.  In the Preakness I was all set to play the CC/ROC exacta  (I hated Borel's ride and loved the jockey switch), then went and spoiled it all by throwing money all over the place.  At least I came out ahead, but chalk it up as another flub like last year's.  I'm feeling strong about Wicked Strong (see above) this time; I think keeping your faith in him will pay off.  

23 May 2014 2:34 PM
Monarchos Matt


Thanks. Sorry I wasn't here to talk you into that straight exacta, but I'm sure you took some consolation in the fact that it wasn't much of a score to begin with, something like $9 for a $1 bet I believe?

I have no idea how I'll bet the Belmont, but I know that my outright money will be on Wicked Strong. Whether I single him again on top of my exotic wagers remains to be seen. Danza, again, will be a puzzling decision for me, and I lean towards including him this time, chalking going against him in the Derby as a learning experience. El Kabong doesn't include him in his top 4 for the Super in that race though...perhaps he can elaborate...

One thing I know for sure: I am definitely against Tonalist hitting the board.

23 May 2014 2:50 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

"Sorry I wasn't here to talk you into that straight exacta."

That's exactly what I was thinking afterwards:  why wasn't someone kind enough to grab me by the lapels and slap some sense in me?  $9.00 is good, if it's your only bet!

I can already anticipate a similar scenario with the Belmont.  I am willing to admit that it's a hard psychological obstacle for me to bet against a possible TC winner.  If signs are good for WS I want to maintain my resolve and really bet all my money on him to win.  So be there for me!

I'm betting big money with him singled in the P4 and P3 and hopefully live tickets will keep me from doing something stupid with verticals in the feature race. Danza is not running.  That makes things easier.  Check out NYRA and the card; they've completely loaded it with G1 stakes this year.

23 May 2014 3:04 PM
Monarchos Matt


Missed that about Danza. Makes things easier indeed. And yes I'm well aware of the card, it's going to be a crazy day on par with the Breeders Cup. Except on a track that plays fair!

23 May 2014 3:26 PM
Little Bill

JJs Rocket, I agree with all that.

Matt, V. Beauty is a concern for me but MS has been sprinting on dirt. I'm not worried about getting the lead so much as hanging on for a check.

Pass the Dice has run well on many different surfaces, he might just love poly. He's been training on it.

23 May 2014 4:20 PM


23 May 2014 4:49 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Arlington Saturday

R)10  5 Ry's the Man (8-1): robust 3yo gelding finished as well as could be expected in recent 5.5f turf sprint behind the w-w winner of a very speed favoring scenario. He jumps up significantly for his return to a distance a ground where he was last seen breaking his Alw1x in neutral fashion.  The work tab over last 13 days inspires, if you like that sort of thing.

23 May 2014 7:00 PM
El Kabong

Monarchos Matt,

This year, the Breeders Cup will benefit from EL Segundo!  Looking forward to seeing the difference at SA.

23 May 2014 11:31 PM

Even though the race is 12Fs and a wide track, I've always been suckered to thinking the closers have a big chance but I think more often than not, the midpack horses have been the ones that been hitting the board.  In the last 13 runnings of the Belmont, only Jazil has won from far back so I’m not going to play any closers at all in this race.   KC is an easy toss for me, so is Commanding Curve.  I think CC will set the pace by himself and outrun the midpack closers, open up a big lead and win easily and convincingly.  Again, I can't see anyone from this field beating him.  If he's fit and takes to the track, it's his race to lose, I don’t think 12Fs will be a problem for him against this field…he might have to use the emergency tank but I think he’ll make it.   I’m getting ahead of myself, I’m just really excited to be there to possibly see the next triple crown winner…it would just be awesome.

Pedigree Ann : Thanks for your thoughts on Samraat.   I'm starting to warm up to Samraat but I still can't see him hitting the board in this race.  He's learned to switch leads, he's a fighter and never gives up but something tells me this is not the race for him and it might actually start a string of bad runs for him.   I really wish they save him for the Haskell and then maybe try the Travers.  12Fs seems like a reach.   Having said that, I'll still probably throw money on him, I'm stubborn like that lol.  If I hit the superfecta in the Belmont, I might make an offer for Samraat, love this horse a lot, I want to own him lol.  Have you found a place to go bet the races there yet ?   I'm guessing you'll have to bet online for the Belmont (or any other US races for that matter) ?    

Keelerman : I'm not sure I'm seeing the angle on Matuszak, I'm a big fan of Bill Mott and Mike Smith.  I picked Hoppertunity in the Rebel specifically because of the switch to him but this is different.  Matuszak just looks outclassed, additional 10 lbs and going much longer is just too much for me to ignore and it really makes me wonder what kind of field KC beat in the Tesio.  I'm thinking now that ROC will actually be the play again to finish on the board now that he has JV on the saddle.   I’m kind of on the fence with Commissioner but I think he’ll be one of the ones close enough to might actually get a piece of the superfecta.

Also, what's the difference between "Breezed" and "Worked" when it comes to workouts ?

24 May 2014 3:30 AM
Rusty Weisner


I agree with you.  For CC to lose something has to go wrong:  I don't think the pedigree of his challengers is enough to undo him.  In 2001 War Emblem stumbled and was rushed up to the lead halfway through the race (to the roar of over 100,000 people).  In 2002 Funny Cide was probably pedigree deficient, but his rankness gave him no chance in the race (his trainer had overdone it the week before the Belmont with a sub :58 workout).  Smarty Jones was a little headstrong, battled on the lead, and his Jockey moved too soon (I don't think he had ever had a race at Belmont, but I may be wrong).  I'm not sure I see any of this stuff happening to CC:  I see him stalking and getting the lead with the push of a button in his usual manner and it'll be a question if his closest challenger after that at the quarter pole can catch him.  I like Wicked Strong a lot, but I just may be playing him more out of odds than a conviction that he'll win.  I also like CC better if it's wet, I don't know why.  

24 May 2014 8:37 AM
Rusty Weisner


"Worked" is a general word for workout.  The distinction in the pp's is between "breezed" and "handily".  They also sometimes run them around "dg" ("dogs"), I think usually for turf runners.

24 May 2014 8:51 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

I always like a turf router coming off a turf sprint, but I won't jinx you by betting on this one.  Good luck!

24 May 2014 8:55 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Hanshin

2 Sir Applesolutely - been a good one in our eyes for most of his career.  Comes in sharp as ever with two straight modestly 'better than looks' races.  

4 Hogy - quick move against the grain of both the track bias and the Flow. Versatile, but an underlay for me at the ML.

5 Nikki's Sandcastle - exits an Xtreme Race for Speed, turns back, and may catch a lively early pace.

10 Occasional View - odd running line in a Speed favoring race last out.  

The Bet:  Dutch Win Bet 2 & 5,  ExB 2-5,  Tri Boxes of 2 and 5 with the 4, 10

24 May 2014 11:19 AM

Hello everyone! The start of Memorial Day weekend has arrived! I'm really looking forward to watching the races this afternoon and seeing how everything unfolds. Hopefully one of us will land on the right horse(s) in the Hanshin Cup!

Now for a few quick thoughts...

First off -- Ky Vet, thanks for the heads up that Shared Belief has been entered to race on Monday! For those who haven't seen the entries yet, here they are: www.equibase.com/.../GG052614USA-EQB.html

Secondly, Candy Boy worked five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 this morning at Santa Anita Park. I would expect that trainer John Sadler will make a decision within the next couple of days on whether Candy Boy will start in the Belmont Stakes.

Speaking of workouts -- JayJay, it looks like Rusty Weisner already explained the difference between "breezed" and "worked" (thanks Rusty!), but I thought I'd add that the difference between "breezing" and "handily" varies depending on where you are in the country. At the majority of racetracks, "breezing" refers to an ordinary workout with an ordinary amount of urging, while "handily" refers to a work in which the horse was not urged at all. These terms are reversed in California, where "handily" refers to a normal work and "breezing" refers to a work without urging.

Plod Boy Phil, thanks for pointing out Ry's the Man in the Arlington Classic! I'll be sure to give him a closer look.

Good luck to all! Let's unlock some winners!

24 May 2014 11:20 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Typo in my above - poorly done.

Sir Apples is the 3,  not the 2. Revise wagers to read as:  Win 3 & 5,  Exb 3-5,  Tri Boxes:  3 and 5 with 4, 10.


24 May 2014 11:24 AM

I know that CC can lose this race just like all the others that have won the first two legs and lost in the Belmont.Its up to the competition, he wont be at 100% for the last leg, the Preakness was a tougher race for him and eventhough he will look good as ever to his connections they view him with a biased opinion.

If someone takes the race to him it will only become obvious once the race is underway.I dont think he is better than all the others that had a chance for the TC and failed.One advantage he did get in the KD is that two top contenders Cairo Prince,and Hoppertunity dropped out weeks before the race.They might have not defeated him but they would have made him run much harder.

Thats what ultimately will defeat him that US bred colts these days are not made to run 3 races in 5 weeks, and it has nothing to do with the training methods, its more in the breeding of animals that have continued to run with the use of lasix and other meds and passing those dependent genes on to the offspring and infusing the breed with them.

I believe the Europeans are correct when they state US horses have good blood but bad bones.

24 May 2014 12:13 PM
Plod Boy Phil

For Sale:  

An original thought.

24 May 2014 12:51 PM

2 out of 3 is not too bad,

Chalky but better than loosing!

24 May 2014 7:15 PM

Nice job, Secreteriat! Two out of three is excellent! And JayJay, good try on the pick four at Arlington! With a little better luck, Mister Marti Gras might have gotten up to win the Hanshin Cup. I can't believe he went off at 16-1!

Looks like tomorrow morning is going to be a busy one in terms of workouts, with a number of potential Belmont Stakes starters expected to turn in works. Stay tuned!

24 May 2014 10:26 PM

Keelerman : Thanks, but I did hit the P4 at Arlington.  When the 11 scratched on the last leg, I put Nikki in on the 2nd leg.  Not a bad payout for .50 P4.   I also hit the exacta and .20 super on Super Soldier.  I'm so mad because I played a $1 box 7-10-12 exacta thinking I already have my tri but come to find out that I didn't even have a .50 trifecta.   Overall, it was a good day for me.   I got my Rainbow P6 money.   Will try and get it tomorrow hehe.

25 May 2014 1:56 AM
Pedigree Ann

Brontexx - Bone, good solid, dense bone comes from impact exercise, like running or even walking. Ask any physician. US horses spend too much time stalled and not enough time moving.

25 May 2014 7:55 AM

Pedigree Ann I dont need to ask one.They are born this way the exercise they do cant correct genetic deformities.

25 May 2014 8:03 AM
JJs Rocket

IH out of Belmont stakes, he was taken off the track by ambulance after his work with Commissioner. Lets hope he will be alright.

25 May 2014 10:38 AM

It has been reported that Intense Holiday suffered a condylar fracture in his workout with Commissioner this morning. :( He is expected to make a full recovery, but will miss the Belmont Stakes.

In other morning news, David Grening of DRF.com has reported that Tonalist breezed five furlongs in 1:01.94 (out six furlongs in 1:16.52) at Belmont Park. Tonalist wore bar shoes during the work, as he has for all of his recent training since he shed the frogs of both front feet in the Peter Pan Stakes.

Other workout times, as reported by Grening, were as follows:

Samraat: One mile in 1:41.28 at Belmont, final quarter in :24.11.

Commissioner: Four furlongs in :48.36, out five furlongs in 1:00.77.

Wicked Strong: One mile in 1:39.59 over the Belmont Park training track.

25 May 2014 11:04 AM

Congratulations on hitting the pick four, JayJay! Great job! Good luck in the Rainbow 6!

25 May 2014 11:09 AM
Rusty Weisner


I learn something new all the time around here.  What, pray tell, is "shedding the frogs."

Speaking of learning something new, I learned a lot about "cross firing" over at Haskin after the Risen Star and consequently should have been more wary of IH in the Derby.  I thought the only explanation for his poor performance was some ailment.  Do you think so, and do you see a connection between today's injury and the aforementioned issues.


Good job, keep chugging!

25 May 2014 11:21 AM

Brontexx : So you're saying you're not going to have CC in any of your tickets at all for the Belmont ?

25 May 2014 11:42 AM

JayJay as an exotic player, you know that I would be plain dumb to do that, but I had him in 2nd in the KD,but not in anywhere but 1st in the Preakness.The Belmont is where he will make history, and all the others know that also.I read somewhere that the last time a colt won the TC it was a 7 horse field and that NO TC winner has won the Triple Crown in the Belmont in a bigger field than seven.

25 May 2014 12:29 PM

Keelerman : Thanks, this is the 2nd time I've made money on Istanford.  I couldn't believe when he went off at 7-1...it would've been a lot better with Mister Marti Gras winning.  Also, thanks for the information on the workout terminology.

Rusty : Thanks as well for the workout explanation.  I do see "Handily" over here in CA but Downey Profile uses "Worked" vs. "Breezed".

I was going to play a big Rainbow P6 today but then saw the lineup and it doesn't make sense to play it.  It’s better to wait until the mandatory payout tomorrow.  There's going to be some big money playing it today so most likely there will be multiple tickets hitting the P6...pretty much all short fields with multiple favorites.  I’ll play the P3 and DD since I really like Hold On Honey in the 4th and Forged, Storm Haboob in the 5th.   Shannon Uske can be tough when she gets the lead.

R4 :  Hold On Honey

R5 :  Forged, Storm Haboob

R6 :  Blending, Alguna

25 May 2014 12:37 PM

Brontexx....stick to talking about something you know about.........which isn't much.....genetics isn't one of them...........the bones of the horse are not different.....humans are bigger, stronger than 100 years ago, horses are essentially the same.......they are prehistoric animals.....it takes hundreds of years to change the breed even a tiny bit........this is what i mean....PEOPLE HEAR SOMETHING, AND EVERYONE PICKS IT UP TO BE TRUE! Same thing about bute and lasix.....you people make so much about these things! IT'S NOT THE BIG DEAL EVERYONE MAKES IT OUT TO BE!........and pedigree ann ......simplistic, true statement that exercise builds bone.......true but uninformed.......a horse that runs every 3 days will be in great shape....so why not do it? Why not use interval training? Your view is way to simplistic........the trainers Know about the horse more than you i think, they are better than ever..............

25 May 2014 1:22 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Woodbine Sunday - The Marine, R5

3 Ami' Holiday (8-1) exits an upgraded run in the Lexington.  That was his first since a much better than looks 2yo finale in a stakes race.  Primed to deliver a lifetime best at a fair price.

25 May 2014 1:30 PM

KY VET OK I will listen to you Kimasabe you are the BOMB

25 May 2014 1:38 PM

KY VET good blood bad bone,dosent ring a bell to boneheads that have alcohol in their blood.

25 May 2014 1:41 PM

Brontexx......maybe they run on turf over there.......maybe they train differently over there........maybe horses get hurt when they run 45 mph over here more than 35 mph..........more sprints on harder surfaces........maybe the technology we have is so much better we see more injuries............ever think of these things?     oh......just say bone is weak.............i see..........

25 May 2014 2:46 PM

Thanks Keelerman, Rusty, Great job on the P 4

How deep do you all think we have to go to hit the P 6 tomorrow. I may go 4X4X4X4X4X4. It's expensive but that's what it may take to hit it.Does anyone have any thoughts on any singles or maybe 2 horses in some other race?

I did hit the P 5 twice in the Preakness but that was singling  CC .The cost was 10c on that one. The racing gods were smiling on me because when they scratched the  7 I ended up with the favorite which I already had so I got paid twice. it paid 360.00 twice so that was a nice score.

25 May 2014 2:46 PM

KY VET maybe,maybe,maybe they only run once a month because they arent close to 100% otherwise.Good Blood,Bad Bone is a diplomatic way of stating the dysfunction in the US breeding business.This(horseracing) is a business, do you actually think trainers and owners would leave their horses in the barn if it wasnt for a dominant difference making reason,instead of running them for more purse money.They cant run every couple of weeks effectively at their highest level, like they could when the a large majority of the breeders were not breeding to sell but to race.

25 May 2014 3:53 PM

Rainbow P 6 was hit for 6.6 million. ! person spent $7600+ using all in 5 races with 2 horses in another.The gentleman apparently has been playing this p 6 for quite a while and knows how to play it.

Read whole story on Blood horse.

Victor Espinosa will work CC on May at  31 and ride the whole card. That's exactly want I want to hear. Cant wait for the PP's and post positions.

Hit the 7th Exacta at Santa Anita today.

Happy memorial day to All.

25 May 2014 7:47 PM

Monday Play of The Day Lonestar Handicap

$20 Straight TRI Grand Contender #3

                Called To Serve #1

                Donharm          #4

25 May 2014 8:14 PM

Was saving my money for the P6 and someone hits it today, but I'm wondering with such small fields today that ONE ticket hit it and there's not that many big longshots.  I think the jockeys, trainers and owners hit the P6 themselves.   How can this not be hit more than once :   $35 / $22 / $12 / $10 / $9 / $12

With a huge pool, I can't see how only ONE ticket hit that...looks fishy to me.  I've seen much longer odds win in the P6 where it was hit multiple times.  The 4th was the only true longshot at 15-1 ML and he went off at 8-1.  I demand a RECALL !  

Rusty : Your horse Wicked Strong had a freakin good workout, looked strong but I hope he didn't run his race in that workout...1.39 for a mile and galloped 9Fs in 1.55.   The downey profile has links to the workouts of Commissioner, Tonalist, Wicked Strong and Samraat.

25 May 2014 10:35 PM

Brontexx :  I'm curious now, how are you planning on playing the Belmont ?  If you believe he is not 100% for the Belmont then why play him ?  Do you think he's fit enough for 2nd or 3rd but not 1st ?   Or are you playing him on top as well ?  I guess I'm confused with your comment, and since you can't bet when the race is underway, how are you going to play him ?

26 May 2014 1:23 AM

“For CC to lose something has to go wrong”

Is the above a valid or invalid conclusion? In the last 30 renewals of the Belmont only two Derby winners have won i.e., Swale and Thunder Gulch. The Belmont  is therefore a race where Derby winners have a dismal record.

Of the 30 horses that entered the Belmont with a chance of winning the TC only 11 were successful. Does this mean CC has a 36.66% chance of winning?

Since Affirmed there have been 11 horses that entered the Belmont with a shot at the TC. They were all defeated. Was there consensus that something had to go wrong for them to lose?

Various issues have been cited for the defeats of Spectacular Bid, Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, Charismatic, War Emblem and Big Brown. I am not prepared to debate the merits of said issues at this time. However, it would be enlightening if the issues that caused the defeat of Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Real Quiet and Silver Charm are highlighted. I contend the aforementioned horses were legitimately defeated with no apparent excuses. They were simply out run to the line. Nothing went wrong for them and they lost.

What went right for Derby also rans Place Malice, Union Rags, Summer Bird Jazil, Birdstone, Commendable, Editor’s Note and Lemon Drop Kid? They showed up and won the Belmont.

What went right for Ruler On Ice, Drosselmyer, Da Tara, Sarava, Touch Gold? They did not contest the first two legs of the TC but showed up and won the Belmont.

You cannot win it if you are not in it! Each category has chance of winning. Some categories have better win percentages than the one in which CC in listed.

Ride On Curlin finished 7th in the Derby some distance from the winner. He contested the Preakness 14 days later with the Derby winner and got significantly closer. Commanding Curve got the closest to the Derby winner and with the absence of Danza Wicked Strong would be next. They will contest the Belmont off 5 weeks between races. Is it conceivable that these two talented and fresher horses might just experience better trips and be far more competitive?

If Ride On Curlin was able to significantly reduce his margin of defeat in the Preakness as compared to the Derby. Using his performance as a measure, those that finished ahead of him in the Derby should have legitimate chances to winning?

26 May 2014 3:29 AM
Mary Zinke

Phil, Good to see Nikki's Sandcastle get a win.  I remember being so ticked off at a loss of his at Gulfstream, several races back. Nice call. congrats.

KY, since you were right about him not making/winning the Derby, maybe you can enjoy Shared Belief's future success. Of course he may not ever pay that much.

Wish I could keep up with all of the racing, but not this Spring.  You guys/gals are a joy to read.

In the SA sprint tomorrow, I like the two wi's, Wine Police and Wild Dude. May take a look at the girl turf stakes at SA. Good field.

26 May 2014 3:35 AM

JayJay I know you have heard a sports commentator say 90% of so and so is better than 100% of most.I dont plan my plays that far in advance because I play vertical exotics I like to see the odds.

26 May 2014 9:40 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary Zinke -

Thanks (see 'blind squirrels and nuts').

Nice to hear from you.  Hope all is well with you and yours and this Memorial Day.

26 May 2014 9:51 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm not betting Samraat because I don't think he improves at a greater distance, but as a fifth in the Derby he's a logical contender, so don't let me talk you off him -- sometimes you have an intuition about a horse you've been following for a while.


I'm steeling myself to bet against CC, so I don't disagree.  I think running all three legs makes any contender vulnerable -- I'm willing to bet CC doesn't improve at this distance and then someone else can.  My point about "something going wrong" is that something usually does go wrong in this leg.

On the other hand, for people who complain about never having a TC crown winner, in the time I've been playing, since 2001, we've had seven who won the first two legs and two who won the last two (and the last two effortlessly).  So I think the bar is at the right height.

26 May 2014 10:14 AM
Pedigree Ann

The frog is the living part of hoof, visible only on the underside. It takes up maybe 2/3 of the entire hoof; nails for horseshoes are driven into the hard, non-living hoof that surround it. Every day, the groom uses a pick to clean the muck/straw/mud that tends to collect in the deep grooves on either side of the frog to keep it healthy. 'Shedding the frog' sounds like the surface, a rubbery layer, has sloughed off, leaving the more tender bits underneath exposed to abrasion or whatever. The bar shoe would somewhat protect the sensitive bits while the surface grows back.

26 May 2014 11:44 AM

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

It was a quiet morning in terms of Belmont Stakes workouts, as Matuszak was the only contender to record an official timed breeze. According to David Grening of DRF.com, Matuszak worked five furlongs in company with the grade III-placed colt Abraham, starting off two lengths behind his workmate before being "significantly urged" to catch Abraham and record a time of 1:01.56.

In other Belmont Stakes news, Matterhorn -- most recently fourth in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) -- is now under serious consideration for the Belmont. At the present time, the list of possibilities stands at twelve, with decisions on the status of Candy Boy and Social Inclusion expected to come within the next few days.

26 May 2014 12:21 PM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - things don't happen until they happen. No male-line descendant of Fair Play had won the Belmont since War Admiral. Until Da'Tara did it. No Calbred had won the Ky Derby since 1962, although Cavonnier only lost by a nose in 1996. Until Chrome did it. Just because something hasn't happened for a long time or ever doesn't mean it can't happen this time. I mean, the Broncos finally won a Super Bowl, after four rather lopsided defeats. The Mets won the '69 World Series. 'Nuff said.

Each year's Triple Crown involves a new group of horses, so they represent independent trials. What happened in 2013 or 2012 or any other year to other horses facing a different set of challengers means nothing. One must look at THESE horses, how they stack up against each other, not horses who ran 5 or 10 years ago.

If you want to know WHY some horses lost the Triple Crown in the last race, why not go back to the Bloodhorse magazines from those years and read up? You might find out, for instance, that tactical weaknesses of the Triple Crown candidate could have become apparent and exploitable by the time the Belmont rolled around. Silver Charm would idle on the lead but dig in if he was aware of another horse coming up on him; Touch Gold's rider made certain he was far enough away, laterally, from Silver Charm that Charm didn't know he was there until it was too late. A weakness found and exploited. Not fatigue and not lack of stamina.

Does Chrome have a weakness like this that can be exploited to beat him? Haven't noticed any myself but I'm not looking for one. Opinions welcomed.

26 May 2014 12:32 PM

Pedigree Ann,

“Nails for horseshoes are driven into the hard, non-living hoof that surrounds it.”

I am not sure I agree with the above description. While a portion of a horse’s hoof appear to lack blood flow or nerve endings, I would not consider this portion non-living. It is highly unlikely that something non-living will record continuous growth.

26 May 2014 12:38 PM

Rusty Weisner;

Sorry I'm a bit late in replying to your question about "shedding the frogs" -- looks like Pedigree Ann already answered! (Thanks, Pedigree Ann!)

One thing I thought I would add is that Drosselmeyer was dealing with similar issues prior to the 2010 Belmont Stakes, although his issue was "bruised frogs" rather than "shed frogs." I went back and found an old DRF.com article on the subject, and thought you might like to read it. Here's the link: www.drf.com/.../drosselmeyers-feet-seem-fine-work

As for Intense Holiday, my guess would be that his injury yesterday was just an unfortunate mishap, and not related to any of his cross-firing issues. Of course, I can't say for certain, but since Todd Pletcher said that Intense Holiday underwent a complete examination after the Kentucky Derby and no problems were found, it sounds to me like the injury was just an unlucky turn of events.

26 May 2014 12:44 PM

Is anyone watching the match race at Churchill Downs today? Four scratches in the opening race -- a seven-furlong, $5,000 claiming race -- have left the event with just two starters. As I write this, there's one minute to post time, and both horses are 3-5. I'll take Theodore's Cash to win, although this doesn't look like a very good betting race... :)

26 May 2014 12:46 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keelerman -

Yes,  though I thought 3/5 was more than fair on the only upgrade in the race.....  Have the next three: 1, 6 / all / 7

26 May 2014 12:55 PM

Nice job, Plod Boy Phil! Good luck on the rest of the sequence!

26 May 2014 1:01 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I have no quarrel with the points you raised. I am well aware of the colt facts you presented. The cast of characters might be different but the game remains the same. All the horse that failed in their quest for TC glory faced horses from two categories i. e., Derby/Preakness also rans and new shooters.

On each occasion they were defeated by horses from one of the two categories. The historic perspective presented is relevant even with the cast change as the challenges faced by CC are not dissimilar to those faced by the 11 beaten before him.

Big Brown appeared to tower over his opponents in the Derby and Preakness. That did not prevent him from losing his TC bid. Both Funny Cide and Smarty Jones recorded more impressive Preakness victories than CC and they were defeated. What’s different in 2014?

CC is facing a more talented field than the ones faced by Big Brown, Smarty Jones and Funny Cide. There are those that will conclude that CC is better than all three. However, it would be a stretch as BB and Smarty were undefeated heading into the Belmont.

Did we see the best of Wicked Strong in the Derby? Unlikely with his troubles! He broke his maiden over the Belmont strip and now returns to the scene of his initial victory. Did Commanding Curve signal his arrival in the Derby which he would not have contested if not for defections? How much has he improved since?Will 12F be what the doctor ordered for the physical impressive but slow Commissioner? Tonalist was an impressive winner of the Peter Pan on a sloppy track. He is in the hands of a very dangerous routing trainer who is long overdue for a victory in a TC race. Kid Cruz ran no race at all in the Preakness. Is he so devoid of class and speed that 12F will not prove to be an equalizer?

Each of the eleven horses that lost their bids to become the 12th TC winner faced different casts. Whereas I am not trying to compare the casts of the past, I consider the comparison of what has not changed valid.

26 May 2014 1:16 PM

Plod Boy Phil;

That was quite an erratic stretch run in the second race at Churchill Downs, but I think the inquiry/objection is going to go your way.

26 May 2014 1:24 PM

Plod Boy Phil;

Two down, two to go! And with "all" in the third race, I guess it's really just one to go! Let's hope a nice longshot wins the next race -- perhaps Riviere D'or at around 30-1!

26 May 2014 1:31 PM

Pedigree Ann : Agree with your response to Coldfacts, never thought of it that way but makes sense.  

Rusty : I'm only warming up to Samraat, at this point he's still a toss for me in the Belmont.  I might end up throwing some money on him at the last minute depending on how he looks on the track but I just don't think he can go past 9Fs, I saw his workout and he really looked good but this is not the 2012 Belmont, this field is much much better.

Brontexx : Are you saying 90% of me is better than 100% of most here ?   As for the betting part, I see...so you don't know who you'll play until you see the odds.   Are you tossing anyone at all or is it based purely on what odds you see ?   Would you play Matuszak at the right price ?   Or Matterhorn ?  At what odds would you not play CC ?

26 May 2014 1:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil

maybe Joe Johnson can pick up win 1,000 right here in the 4th

26 May 2014 2:05 PM

Coldfacts :   I can't speak for Rusty but I think what he meant was that something has to go wrong with CC, and NOT the race.   If CC doesn't run, or he gets hurt or they gang up on him and he gets pinched back... those things but maybe I'm wrong.   You know what my thoughts are, if he's fit and he likes the track, I can't see him losing the race....I'll find out if he's short at 12Fs after the race but I'm betting on him to get the distance.

26 May 2014 2:29 PM

Off to play horses, going to bet a Maldonado Double in the 1st and 2nd at SA, it'll be tough to beat Wild Dude but for $2, it's worth a shot.

26 May 2014 2:56 PM

It was announced earlier this afternoon that Candy Boy will pass the Belmont Stakes in favor of a start in the Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) on July 5th.

Also, Social Inclusion is scheduled to breeze at Belmont Park on Saturday, and a decision on his next start will be made after that.

26 May 2014 3:59 PM

Uncle Sigh, who set the pace in the Kentucky Derby before fading to finish fourteenth, has been entered in Saturday's Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park.

Here are the entries: www.equibase.com/.../BEL053114USA-EQB.html

26 May 2014 4:21 PM

In case anyone missed this, Mexikoma -- third behind Constitution and Tonalist in a Gulfstream allowance race earlier this year -- returned to action on Friday at Pimlico, finishing second by a half-length against older horses in an 8.5-furlong allowance race.

Here's the chart of the race: www.equibase.com/.../PIM052314USA6.pdf

26 May 2014 4:41 PM
Rusty Weisner

Thanks guys.  I hope to never see a horse's hoof too close up; I have a feeling it'd be aimed in my direction.

26 May 2014 5:20 PM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

Silver Charm was just before my time, but I know of this race, and was actually thinking of it wondering whether CC can be tactically beaten any; I don't think so: he's either caught late or not caught at all.  The jockey was Chris McCarron.  Gary Stevens was on Silver Charm.

26 May 2014 5:28 PM
Rusty Weisner


"CC is facing a more talented field than the ones faced by Big Brown, Smarty Jones and Funny Cide."

Funny Cide faced Empire Maker, which automatically makes it a talented field.

26 May 2014 5:32 PM

Shared Belief could not have been much more impressive in his comeback race this afternoon, cruising to an uncontested victory over five older rivals in a six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields. The juvenile champion was sent straight to the lead by jockey Russell Baze and set modest fractions of :23.32 and :46.48 before drawing clear under a hand ride to win by about five lengths in the sharp time of 1:09.78 seconds. His future looks bright!

26 May 2014 5:34 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Was that you playing the P4?  Close!  That kind of a tough beat always whets my appetite, though.  

26 May 2014 5:41 PM

JayJay I was thinking about CC him at less than 100% might be better than the Belmont field.Its too far out for me to think about exactly how I will bet but CC will be in my bets.

26 May 2014 7:07 PM

Brontexx : Lol, I was kidding but yeah, I agree with you with 90% CC being better than this field.

26 May 2014 8:36 PM
Little Bill

Coldfacts, continuous growth, like a finger nail.

26 May 2014 9:31 PM
Little Bill

Pedigree Ann, typically, how long would it take to grow a new frog? Without looking would you say it's more like a scrape?

26 May 2014 9:37 PM

Keelerman : Yeah, I was watching the 5 horse to his outside who looked good tracking him and I thought Shared Belief might not be good for his first race back, when Alvarado started asking the horse, Baze just drew off without using the whip.  It was a pretty impressive win.  We still don't know how he'll run on dirt though but his stride is just amazing, I don't see him having any issues with the Classic distance.   I would love to see him and Chrome in the Travers.

The Phipps will have Beholder, Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar...can't wait to see who will be in the Met Mile.  Hope to see Social Inclusion in there.  Check out this list of races on Belmont Day :

Belmont Stakes / Met Mile /  Acorn  /  Ogden Phipps  /  Brooklyn Int’l  /  Jaipur  /  Manhattan  /  Just A Game  /   Woody Stephens  /   Easy Goer

26 May 2014 9:52 PM

What is it with the COLDCUTS?......anyone else tired of him "quoting" peoples posts, trying to say how innacurate they are? It's things that dont even matter.....hoof wall? not dead? really? we need your help to know what she meant?.....the guy hardly went to school, and he tries to correct people! It's like a retarded person trying to correct someone that actually knows 20x more than you.....everyone on here knows pedigree ann knows way more about breeding than you coldcuts...........it's not worth much, but she does.......stick to plagerizing your stats ...........

26 May 2014 10:01 PM

Relax froggers........horses shed their frogs a couple times a year............new fresh ones come in.......the trainers wouldnt run him if theres a issue...........relax........

26 May 2014 10:09 PM
Little Bill

That's what I wanted to hear KY, I figured as much, about the trainer.

26 May 2014 11:14 PM


I have nothing but respect for Pedigree Ann’s knowledge and I have advised her accordingly. I disagreed with a particulate point in one of her posts and specified the basis of my disagreement. She like any other contributor retains the option to either clarify a particular position or advice the party in disagreement where he/she is incorrect.

Pedigree Ann’s post covered several issue relating to hooves in general and frogs in particular. I merely highlighted the point I was in disagreement with. I regard this practice as being convenient to all parties. Obviously you are the exception.

Information provided in all submissions is secured from various sources. In the era of web sites, they have become the primary source. How said information is used to drive opinions is purely by choice.  There are enthusiasts that compile their own records. You have referenced the word ‘plagerizing’ in many of your posts in relation to historic information I normally provide. The correct spelling for the word is plagiarizing. It is quite likely that the misspelling led to misusage. I suggest you determine its proper meaning and usage and  spare yourself further embarrassment.

With regards to my educational background, I do not recall sending you a copy of my résumé. I advised in a particular post that I was a primary school dropout and you were gullible enough to believe. You have serious limitations that cannot be addressed in anyone lifetime. I hope you have seriously embraced the concept of reincarnation as all here are optimistic that in your reappearance in whatever form, you will possess at a minimum, a functional brain.

27 May 2014 5:57 AM


There was no confusion from my end regarding Rusty’s statement. I concede several horses attempting TC glory had issues that impacted their performances. However, there were several for which nothing went wrong and they were beaten.

To speculate that something has to go wrong for a horse to lose is to suggest it is far superior to its opponents. CC won a strangely contested Derby. He was impressive in the Preakness but did not blow away ROC. He will now be facing fresher horses with talent and the pedigree to a handle 12F. Some of these horses have home court advantage that cannot be discounted.  

Many if not all the 11 horses that failed in their TC quest since Affirmed were regarded as superior to their opposition. Being superior to the opposition does not always equate to a victory. The history available is a less than desirable reminder.

27 May 2014 7:35 AM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - your fingernail is living at its base, but new growth pushes the old, dead growth out beyond your fingertip, where it can be cut and shaped with no pain. A horse's hoof is made by the same process. Are the protruding parts of your fingernails living or non-living?

27 May 2014 9:18 AM

Pedigree Ann:

1-I am tickled by some of your attempts.

They remind me of the admonition in Matthew 7:6

2-As an aside:

My own contribution is to post below the meaning of the word historic. Its use has become nauseating.

Webster:”Full Definition of HISTORIC : historical : as a : famous or important in history < historic battlefields> b : having great and lasting importance <a historic occasion ...”

I take this to mean that an event such as the first Trans-Atlantic flight was historic.

But a Boeing jet today flying from NY to London is routine and not in any way historic.


27 May 2014 11:45 AM

The nominations for all of the Belmont day stakes races have been released! Here's a link to the list: www.equibase.com/.../eqbHorsemenAreaSNHW.cfm

27 May 2014 12:27 PM

Pedigree Ann,

“While a portion of a horse’s hoof lacks blood flow or nerve endings”

The above quote was extracted from my post. I am therefore well aware that a nail or a hoof has a section that can be considered non-living. However, if that section is not removed it continues to expand. I much prefer out growth section as opposed to non-living.

Your supporters remain vicious. What have you been feeding them?

27 May 2014 12:49 PM

It has been reported that Medal Count, runner-up in the Blue Grass Stakes and most recently eighth in the Kentucky Derby, has joined the expected lineup for the Belmont Stakes.

Medal Count has worked twice at Churchill Downs since the Derby, breezing a half-mile in :49 on May 17th and five furlongs in a bullet :59 2/5 on May 24th.

27 May 2014 3:01 PM
Rusty Weisner


You don't have to shed a frog about it.

27 May 2014 3:24 PM

Coldfacts : I'm not sure why you posted your last comments to me but regarding your comment :

"  Being superior to the opposition does not always equate to a victory. "

There's a flipside to that, inferior horses, most of the time does not equate to victory...as obvious as that is..it seems you prefer to ignore it when it comes to Chrome.   I'm a longshot player, I always try to beat the "best" based on paper and specially the odds so I'm very well aware that the best horse doesn't always win, I think that's common knowledge if you've been playing horses for some time.   Having said that, I've told you before, sometimes the best horse does win.   He won the Kentucky Derby and he won the Preakness, two totally different races, two totally different fields and two totally different tracks.  I've seen enough to believe he is much better than any colts this year.  I'm not going to question you for trying to beat him.   If this was any other horse, I'd be salivating at the juicy prices of the other horses because Chrome will be very heavily bet.   I'm in it to see him win the triple crown, there'll be a lot of races where I can try and will bet against the favorite, but not this one.    I understand you're in it for the money and that's perfectly fine.

If he loses, so be it, but I'm going to root for him to win...

Anyway, which horses are you betting to beat him ?

28 May 2014 12:16 AM

Coldfacts : My bad, I forgot about my post to you with regards to Rusty's comment.

28 May 2014 2:29 AM

Unlocking Winners sounds like a name for a locksmith blog.

For any UW historians when was the last time a TC winner won the last leg the Belmont where he raced in more than a 7 horse field.

28 May 2014 6:08 PM

Keelerman since you are the head cheese for this blog I think you should be allowed to pick a NEW NAME for it.

I dont think any of us will try to tell anyone he or she is a SAFE CRACKER well maybe the KENTUCKY KOMIC might.

28 May 2014 6:15 PM

With a name like UWs it seems like someone was implying the PPs are encrtpted and a neophyte will need to serve an apprendeship to deciper it.PPs are just historical stats the player has to make projections to win at the track not be a historian.Its not bad to be good with numbers also because the odds are the meat and potatoes of this game.

28 May 2014 6:27 PM


That's a good point about the fields sizes of each Belmont Stakes in which a horse won the Triple Crown -- I went back and looked at the charts of those races, and found that the Citation and Seattle Slew faced the most rivals in their Triple Crown-clinching victories, heading to post against seven rivals apiece in the Belmont Stakes.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sir Barton and Count Fleet faced the least number of rivals, each one defeating two rivals in the Test of the Champions.

So it seems that if California Chrome is to win the Triple Crown, he'll have to defeat more horses in the Belmont Stakes than any of the other Triple Crown winners. It will definitely be a challenge!

28 May 2014 10:05 PM

I would be surprised if Commanding Curve is not an improved colt after his KD effort. I have reviewed the KD several times and his race was more impressive than that of the winner.

He broke from either post 18 or 19 and gradually made his way over to the rail. He was switched from the rail to secure room to make his mid race move. He passed horses at a steady clip to the top of the stretch where he had to go 8 to 10 wide and still had enough energy to close on CC. While CC covered 10F en route to victory, CC2 covered 10 1/4F en route to second in placeless race.

It’s hard to believe the Derby was only his 3rd start as a 3YO. With five plus weeks between races this colt is going to be a totally different animal on Belmont day. With expected improvement he has the best chance of preventing the TC from being achieved.

28 May 2014 10:40 PM

Coldfacts : Curve had 4 weeks rest from the Risen Star to the LA Derby, then 6 weeks rest from LA Derby to the Kentucky Derby... why is this 5 week rest any special ?   I'm curious as to what your reasoning is...why are you expecting an improvement?  What did you see from him since the Derby that made you think he'll improve ?  Is it the workouts ?   Did he gain weight ?  Did he muscle up ?  I'm genuinely curious...

I remember our discussion about Chrome with me saying that if he's fit and takes to the track, that I can't see him losing the Preakness and you argued how he can get "unfit" in the two week span...so I'm asking a similar question to you.   Looking forward to seeing who your other horses are for the Belmont.

28 May 2014 11:34 PM
JJs Rocket


I kind of agree with you about Commanding Curve as being a pretty good horse. He is a lot better dirt horse than Golden Soul is. On the negative the Belmont doesn't exactly set up too well for his running style. He is basically a 25 second quarter horse all the way around. So for him to win the horse up front will have to slow down to a 26 plus to a 27 second final quarter. He will probably run a 2 minute 30 second time which might not be good enough to win. I made good money in the derby on him and will certainly be using him underneath. The LaDerby race is the one that convinced me on him. He had so much trouble in that race.

If I was pushed I would probably think if CC gets beat it will be either ROC or Wicked Strong. The 1 mile workout and gallop out looked pretty good to me. Commanding Curve had a little home field advantage in Kentucky and WS probably has a little in Belmont.

Keelerman stated it nicely about the urging that Matuszak needed in his latest workout. His workmate was under tight wraps not to leave him. Does anyone know why he stuggled so much compared to his previous two workouts? I don't get it...

28 May 2014 11:43 PM

JJs Rocket,

Most of the horses CC2 finished ahead of entered the Derby with much higher Beyers than he was ever assigned. However, he was one of 3 horses that exited with higher Beyers signaling he ran an improved race over his LA Derby effort.

Commanding Curve and ROC were at the back of the Derby field. ROC has more pace than CC2 as he won at 5.5F in a NTR. ROC also closed like a runaway train in the Champagne completed in 1:35 and a bit. Despite this fact, when CC2 made his mid race more he left ROC for dead.

He also ran by some very fast horses. The mid race moves he made must have been faster than 25 splits. If 2:03.66 is divided by 5 the result id 24.73 If CC2 was splitting 25s for the Derby distance he could not have finished that close to CC1. In fact, he must have been running faster spits than 24.73 as he cover 10 1/4F.

Do not discount the fact that the Derby could have moved him forward as he has improved in every race since his 3YO debut. CC2 has been unfortunate in his last 2 races. In the LA Derby he was pinched back and in the KD he got an unfavorable draw. We therefore have not seen whether he can sit close to the pace. I happen to think he can based on his 2nd start.

In his 2nd start he was beaten by a NK in a mile race completed in 1:36.89. He was no further than 2 to 3 lengths off fraction of 22.71, 46.19 and 1:11.22. He was in the lead when 7F was completed in 1:23.79 and got caught close home. CC2 appears to be a genuine colt who must be bursting at the seams to run at this time.

I really believe this ridgling can win the Belmont.

29 May 2014 6:48 AM

JJs Rocket,

Matuszak has been puzzling to me ever since he was picked up on my radar. His sire Bernardini had great tactical speed and his dam sire Mr. Prospector was every fast and injected a lot speed in his tail descendants. Based on the aforementioned, Matuszak should have tactical speed. However, he spends the earlier parts of his races competing with the emergency vehicle.

Did his last work indicate that the problem/s that have caused his lack of early speed has/have been identified and fixed? He is certainly not running to his pedigree and Bill Mott is certainly overdue for to win a TC race. I do not believe Mr. Mott would expose this colt needlessly.

Horses sired by tail descendant of Mr. Prospector have won 14 of the last 20 renewals of the Belmont. Mr. Prospector sired Belmont winner Conquistador Cielo and I see no reason why one of his mares cannot produce a Belmont winner. Interesting entry!

29 May 2014 7:03 AM


CC2 has improved in every race since he made his 3YO debut. This is an obvious trend. The Derby was by far his most demanding race and I believe it has moved his forwards in a significant way. The improvements he showed between the LA Derby and The KD represents the biggest improvement by any 3YO.

By my estimation he covered 10 1/4F in the Derby and was still running at the end. With 4 weeks to recover and re-energize I expected him improve further. In a smaller field and with the extended distance, he is expected to be closer to the pace with less work to get to the leaders.

I paid close attention to both the strides of CC1 and CC2 in the final furlong of the Derby and both horses were powerful. The difference is, CC1 had a perfect trip, whereas CC2 took the overland route and closing from 20L back. No ordinary horse is capable of same.

His trainer has declared his sound, fit and well and based on the video I saw with him, he appears to be sharp as a razor.

29 May 2014 7:20 AM
JJs Rocket


In all due respect CC2 was never 20 lengths back. The farthest he was back at any call was 12 lengths. CC2 times were 49 and 2 for the half, 113 for the 3/4ths, 138 and 4 for the mile and 204 at the wire. He made a powerful move from the half to the 3/4 pole in 23 and 3/5ths. Then rested for a 25 and 4/5ths and came home in 25 and 1/5th. This middle move will put him in good position at the corner. The question is the pace and how much everyone else will have left.

Everyone kind of lost ground to CC between the 3/4 pole and the mile in the derby. That's where CC put them away. That burst and his ability to place himself towards the front is what makes him so dangerous.

29 May 2014 8:59 AM
Little Bill

Sat. Penn race 2- So many with speed, so few spots in front.

I'll play the two that have won from the back. 9 Sensible Lady and 11 Great Attack.

29 May 2014 9:55 AM

JJs Rocket,

CC2 got to the rails gradually and consequently the 49 you cited would have been less for the distance if he had been drawn on inside. He was guided away from the rails for his mid race more and again lost ground to the leaders. He lost further ground at the top of the stretch and was full of run in the end. The average closing 2F split for the Derby is 25 and a bit so his final 2F split should not be considered slow under the circumstances he faced.

The times you cited were influenced by of his draw and the size of the field. They are not are a reflection of his lack of tactical speed.

I am not fearful of CC1’s speed over 12F. CC2 will be taking dead aim after 10F and I believe has the good to out run him to the line. There is no way MSW winner should close from the back of the field and get that close loosing so much ground.

29 May 2014 10:35 AM

RE CC2 If he comes in the money or wins he will be unlocking(winners)CASH FLOW for Stewart and West Point.

Ditto for any colt that is the only one that finishes ahead of CC1.Why do you think there are so many entrants,for example even if they kept running another furlong or two in the KD CC2 dosent get by CC1 he wasnt even asked to run in the KD  ifhe would have been asked the margin of victory over CC2 would have been much greater and only colts behind them that were blocked in the stretch would have had a chance to come close to CC in the KD.You gotta know how to watch the race and not get caught up in the circumstances of that particular race because if you watched the same 2014 KD as I did CC won easily even though ON PAPER THE MARGIN WAS LESS THAN TWO LENGTHS.

Im not buying into the notion that the pace will be slow in the Belmont because of the distance of the race being 12 furlongs.To beat CC you gotta make him run faster than he wants to for the first mile, otherwise thats where he excelerates and opens up the lead.

On the same note if I was Dallas Stewart talking to prospective clients I would talk about my last two KDs,but if CC2 fails like his colt last year, his credibility is dimimished.

29 May 2014 12:01 PM


Well stated! Mine That Bird’s rider eased him long before the line and he won by the biggest margin the last 40yrs. If MTB had run another 2F he would have won by a furlong. He was defeated in the Belmont by a colt that had only a MSW victory to his credit. You know the ‘Other Bird.’ Different track, distance and fresher horses can make significant difference.

Golden Soul was sired by a turf horse and CD is kind to turf type. To compare the two colts is unrealistic.

By my estimation CC2 covers 10 1/4F because of his draw and trip. It was his 3rd start of he year. His excited the Derby with a Beyer higher than the one he entered with, while CC1 exited with one lower.

Palace Malice 12th in the Derby won the Belmont with only a MSW victory in the win column. Summer Bird 6th in the Derby won the Belmont with only a MSW victory in the win column. Ruler On Ice did not contest the first two legs of the TC. He won the Belmont with only a MSW victory in the win column. CC2 2nd in the Derby …………………………………………. you can fill in the blanks as its possible as it has happened 3 times before. You never know!


29 May 2014 1:47 PM
Rusty Weisner


I really like your notation, "CC2", by the way.  

I think he had a very easy trip and a really, really nice ride (especially when you compare to ROC's really bad ride).  He didn't run wide the whole race, and who cares if he came 8 wide when what was more important was that he maintained his his momentum.  CC had a better trip, but he will always have a better trip unless he has a very bad break because he's better and faster and can be put wherever his jockey wants him.  I think CC2 will run well in the Belmont but will be late.  

29 May 2014 1:50 PM
Rusty Weisner

I agree about changing the name of the blog.  That was what Pete Denk called it (he actually had a handicapping product called "The Locksmith").  And he never picked any winners.  

29 May 2014 1:55 PM

It looks like there's a nice set of races scheduled for Saturday at Penn National! Here's the link to my new blog post analyzing the Mountainview Handicap and Penn Mile Stakes: cs.bloodhorse.com/.../passing-some-time-at-penn-national.aspx

29 May 2014 5:20 PM

Rusty Weisner Im glad you agree about the name change.I think the whole speil about naming a service locksmith and a blog unlocking winners is to try to sell the fact that there are codes that need to be deciphered in the past performances and the fallacy that locksmith held the key to unlocking these codes.It is an implication that in a way PPs are encrypted and you have to be one of the chosen few that know the secrets.Its a bunch of malarkey if you ask me.

29 May 2014 6:13 PM

I just saw the 10 definite starters for the Belmont and I see Samraat and Tonalist setting the pace.  I’m starting to cool off of Tonalist, I don't know how far he can go with having an additional 9lbs and going much longer and it’s very possible, the sloppy track helped him a lot in the Peter Pan, still I think he can hold the closers for a piece of the superfecta specially if it’s sloppy.

California Chrome, Commanding Curve, Commissioner, Matterhorn, Matuszak, Medal Count, Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Tonalist, and Wicked Strong

30 May 2014 12:11 AM


I had to revisit the definition of ‘Plodder’ as I was sure my definition did not match yours. A fairly comprehensive definition is listed below:

“To walk heavily or move laboriously; trudge: to plod under the weight of a burden. 2. To proceed in a tediously slow manner”

Firstly, I revisited CC2’s 2nd start where he was beaten by a NK in a mile race completed in 1:36.89. He was no further than 2 to 3 lengths off fraction of 22.71, 46.19 and 1:11.22. He was in the lead when 7F was completed in 1:23.79 and got caught close home. A plodder than can run 7F in 1:23.79 and a mile in 1:36.89 I have never seen.

Secondly, I revisited CC2’s 3rd place finish in the LA Derby. He was pinched back at the start and raced in last position for the 4F. He made a big mid race move to get into a challenging position and ran into problems again. He was sandwiched between horse and blocked momentarily. After securing room he rallied to fall short of catching Intense Holiday for second.

Thirdly, I revisited CC2’s 2nd place finish in the KD. He raced just ahead last place horse Ride On Curlin. He made a big mid race move leaving the Preakness runner-up for dead. He was taken wide for his stretch run and had to check off a horse for clear passage. He closed willingly to secure second. By my estimation he ran about 10 1/4F based on his draw and trip.

CC2 has not move laboriously or proceeded in a tediously slow manner in any of his races. In fact he has accelerated impressively in his last two starts. I firmly believe he will finish ahead of CC1 in the Belmont.

02 Jun 2014 10:15 PM

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