Will "Will Take Charge" Take Charge in the Stephen Foster?

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

With the Triple Crown having wrapped up last Saturday, it can be easy for racing fans to enter a post-Triple Crown depression. After all, it will be a full six months before next year’s Triple Crown trail really begins!

Fortunately, there is plenty of action scheduled for this coming Saturday, including a terrific card at Churchill Downs that features four graded stakes. Even though memories of the Belmont Stakes are still fresh in our minds, the Road to the Breeders’ Cup is ready to begin! So let’s take a quick look at the Churchill card and see who’s running…

Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I)

If this race had been run back in February or March, last year’s champion three-year-old colt Will Take Charge would have been heavily favored to win. Coming off of an exceptional 2013 campaign, which ended with a narrow victory in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, Will Take Charge began 2014 with a pair of tremendous runner-up efforts in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), earning Beyer speed figures that fairly tower over those of his Stephen Foster rivals.

But in his last two starts, Will Take Charge hasn’t been as sharp. In the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) on April 12th, he had to fight hard to edge Revolutionary by three-quarters of a length, and his Beyer speed figure dropped noticeably. Perhaps even more worrisome was the fact that he drifted a great deal throughout the homestretch, a trait he had not demonstrated in the past.

Three weeks later, Will Take Charge was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs, and proceeded to turn in his first poor showing in nearly a year. The colt was farther back than usual earlier on and never mustered a rally thereafter, finishing sixth by 10 ¼ lengths in a disappointing performance.

So the question is, which version of Will Take Charge will show up in the Stephen Foster? Will the six weeks of rest since the Alysheba prove sufficient to bring him back to top form?

My guess is yes. Will Take Charge has recorded four solid workouts since the Alysheba, including a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 1/5 on June 6th. And when you race as frequently as Will Take Charge, you’re bound to turn in a sub-par effort once in a while. So considering that Will Take Charge isn’t even the favorite on the morning line, and that his best effort would easily win this race, I’m willing to take a shot and hope that he returns to form on Saturday.

If you don’t like the chances of Will Take Charge, a logical candidate for the upset is Departing, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. III), West Virginia Derby (gr. II), and Super Derby (gr. II) last year. Following a seven-month break during the winter, Departing returned on April 30th to win a one-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs by almost two lengths, and—interestingly—flashed enough speed to be just off the lead after six furlongs in 1:09.88 seconds. That was considerably more early speed than Departing had ever flashed before, and may be a sign that he has improved considerably as a four-year-old.

Selection: Will Take Charge

Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III)

This seven-horse field is led by two-time graded stakes winner Tapiture, who most recently finished fifteenth in the Kentucky Derby. He looms as the horse to beat in this spot, but coming off of two so-so performances—and as the 9-5 favorite on the morning line—he might be worth trying to beat.

In my opinion, the other morning line favorites appear vulnerable as well. Rise Up (3-1) is unbeaten at bullring racetracks, but has been very disappointing each time he has stepped up into graded stakes company at a major one-mile racetrack. Almost Famous is 3-for-4 at Churchill Downs, but has lost every start in which he hasn’t secured a clear early lead. The presence of Tapiture, Rise Up, and The Admiral makes securing such a lead unlikely.

One horse that has caught my eye is Conquest Titan, a 10-1 shot on the morning line. Last November at Churchill Downs, Conquest Titan unleashed a breathtaking burst of acceleration to win a one-mile allowance race by 1 ¾ lengths over future stakes winner General a Rod, and—in doing so—ran his final half-mile in approximately :47 3/5 seconds. I am a bit concerned that he may be better around one turn rather than two, as all of his best efforts have come in one-turn races, but given the question marks surrounding the favorites, I believe that Conquest Titan has as good a chance as any.

Selection: Conquest Titan

There are many other top-notch races being run this Saturday, including a pair of grade Is at Santa Anita Park. I will be handicapping all of these and others in the comments section of this post, and I would love to hear who you like this weekend!

62 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Brontexx

I will take Revolutionary and Prayer For Relief the two horses that KY Vet wrote will go off form.If you look at the PPs these are the only two in the race that ran 29 days ago,the rest of the field last ran at least 43 days ago.

12 Jun 2014 5:19 PM
cigarsmom

Prayer For relief and Revolutionary are my picks for the Foster. Conquest Titan is also my pick for the Matt Winn based on how the race sets up. I also expect we may see a few upsets in some of the other graded stakes action.

12 Jun 2014 5:44 PM
jockey2be:)

I don't know who I am picking,but I a definitely hoping for the handsome,blazed faced Will Take Charge!Also I am a fan of Gary Stevens,so-GO Will Take Charge!And I like his name!

12 Jun 2014 7:47 PM
gonewest

The REAL Will Take Charge will win his ace.  If not, it's wide open.

12 Jun 2014 8:31 PM
BelmontBarb

Seems that it will be a very good day for racing and exciting one at that and hopefully will lift ur spirits along with choices.  Will take Charge is pretty exciting on his return and I'd like to see him take it! we are so questionable most of the time about "form" after lengthy lay-offs we forget the monster that is within. D.Wayne "my horses are live".

12 Jun 2014 9:03 PM
Secreteriat

Will take Charge/Departing Cold Exacta

12 Jun 2014 9:31 PM
Secreteriat

In the Matt Winn I like Tapiture Exacta over Almost Famous  for $50 and a  $10.00 Tri Almost Famous over Tapiture/Rise Up over Same

12 Jun 2014 9:40 PM
JayJay

WTC had a 1:12 workout so it looks like he's fit but I mentioned before, I don't know if WTC will ever win again with Stevens riding him.  IF Stevens finally figures this horse out, he should win easily against this field and he will not have a hard time getting past Revolutionary this time...that's a big IF for me though.   The one horse that I will probably keep losing money on is Mylute, but I really like the jockey switch to Graham.  He's a good stalking jockey and I believe he will have Mylute midpack but closer to the lead and will have the first go over Revolutionary and WTC.   I like his chances here and will play him on top to try and make my retirement money.

Tapiture should tower over this field in the Matt Winn but his recent workouts to me, screams prep race for something bigger later on.   I think this might be the race that Rise Up finally wins outside of bullring tracks.   I'll go with 3,4 with 3,4,5,6 with 3,4,5,6 for the tri and super.

I think the best betting race this weekend is the Regret Stakes.

13 Jun 2014 1:30 AM
rdmean01

I like Moonshine Mullin coming up the rail with Borel similar to the Alysheba. That horse has best recent form and loves Churchill. Tapiture will be tough to beat with Rosie Naps getting the mount, don't sleep on Conquest Titan and Almost Famous though. I like fiftyshadesofhay to nose out On Fire Baby in the Fleur de Lís as well. Great races this weekend from East to West, and up North at Woodbine.

13 Jun 2014 6:10 AM
Brontexx

No exacta for my Ky Vet induced contra pick of Revolutionary and Prayer For Relief.Its called dutching and the pick is for one of these two to finish in the exacta.It dosent hurt that each leaves the gate at extreme positions of the spectrum in a 9 horse field posts 1 and 9.Gl on your picks or should I say opinions.

13 Jun 2014 8:11 AM
Brontexx

To be a horseplayer and bet on multiple outcomes(dutching) so you have a good chance to  win more than you bet or that you will win some of your money back you gotta know how to bet.Betting is what wins money not studying a piece of paper(pps)that tells you the HISTORY of each horse in numbers.

The media which is mostly writers in this game try to make it seem like past performances are the key to making a profit but in reality that is NOT the case.A lot of these writers tow the company line because they work for a company that is primarily involved in selling PPs like the Daily Racing Form.If you think that by reading these stats as they are you will be profitable you have a lot to learn about being savvy and business in general.

13 Jun 2014 8:20 AM
Brontexx

Being street smart is not learned from any book you have to live it.

13 Jun 2014 8:20 AM
Brontexx

In the future the institutions will buy the PPs in bulk and give them away for free as a comp like for instance in casinos,or should I have wrote racinos.

There wont be as many races either but this will take a lot more years as the traditionalists are making plenty of money NOW with the STATUS QUO.

13 Jun 2014 8:25 AM
Secreteriat

Jay Jay,

You are right about Tapiture.

This is a prep for the Haskell but also a confidence builder and needs the win. Rosie is a plus and Tapiture loves Churchill his home base.

13 Jun 2014 8:46 AM
Brontexx

When you run too many races with small fields it takes away from the attraction of the game to bettors as opposed to less races with larger fields.

Then again the people that make a living in this so-called sport wouldnt have as many opportunies to make money, but as the traditionalists age and pass away and younger people with newer ideas come into power is when the revolution will take place.

Is it a wonder that this game dosent appeal to younger fans.

13 Jun 2014 8:50 AM
Monarchos Matt

Going to try to put a rough Triple Crown season behind me and get back to basics. I'm abandoning exotics altogether until I can pick a winner. Not going to pick the top two correctly if I can't pick the top one...

In the Foster, I feel like a lot of people are sleeping on Moonshine Mullin. Sure, he stretches out and steps up in class, but he looks like lone speed in here. He shows a 108 Beyer two starts back, which is actually the 2nd highest in the field to WTC, and has a win over the track in his last. I agree with Keelerman that WTC figures to run back to his old self and this will be as good a price as you'll see...he's beaten Revolutionary twice at this distance, and that one could be a bit of a bounce candidate shortening up following a career effort (not unlike WTC's Alysheba...) I'll use those two in the Pick 3 and bet Moonshine Mullin to win/ place on a scaled basis (win bet 50% of place bet).

13 Jun 2014 9:15 AM
Monarchos Matt

I like the idea of Conquest Titan in the Winn based on the pace setup, although I lost plenty on him during the prep season, but this might be his time...still think that Almost Famous shows the best current form, loves the track and may just survive this pace. I'll use those two in the Pick 3.

In the Fleur de Lis, it's very difficult to go against On Fire Baby, who is 3 for 5 on this track and towers over this field on figures. She must be used. The other short priced horse is 50shades, but she seems better at shorter distances and there looks to be a fair amount of speed in here. Looking for an off-the-pace type, I landed on Flashy American, who shows good form over the track as well as the strongest Bris late pace number. Her 90 Beyer last out is actually fairly competitive in this field.

So, to recap:

Pick 3:

Almost Famous, Conquest Titan/

On Fire Baby, Flashy American/

Moonshine Mullin, WTC

13 Jun 2014 9:33 AM
Brontexx

That is my pick on here but Im going back to playing the way I have been to break even or make a profit.I wont be wagering a cent on ANY CHURCHILL downs races.They raised the takeout and I hope there gross falls dramatically.

I agreed with the horseplayer although to be honest I dont bet Churchill and especially Calder as a resident of South Florida.Gulfstream has finally taken the dominant postion as far as live racing here.Now lets see how this track treats the bettors who support this so-called sport.

13 Jun 2014 9:56 AM
JayJay

Secreteriat : Well, you know what I meant...I don't think he'll run his best on here, it's his first start since the Derby and I don't think they'll go all out in this race so I'm going to play against him.   His 80% might be more than good enough for this field but I'm going to take a shot against him.   I'll play him on the bottom of some exacta, trifecta and superfecta tickets but I will try and beat him on the win.

13 Jun 2014 12:10 PM
food fight

Once again i will say i am a big fan of WTC and i believe if properly managed he would be one of the leaders for horse of the year but in my opinion this colt has been miss managed at the least. This colt was a nose away from possible horse of the year honors last year when being beaten a nose in the BCC. Then he beat GOD in the SF at Churchill Downs, this colt earned a layoff and instead after running in all 3 TC races and 12 times as a 3 year old he was given a mini break and was back in hard training within a month. Now his last 2 races look very suspicious he withstood a 5 minute inquiry for lugging in through the stretch in the Oaklawn handicap and finished 6th in the Alysheaba stakes. In both of those performances his Beyer numbers dropped significantly this horse should have been stopped on and allowed a break in training instead he is pushed once again to perform when clearly there is something that has gone wrong with this colt in his last 2 starts.I wish this colt well and hope that his connections listen to the horse if he has another sub par performance in my opinion he needs time to regroup and mend properly.  

13 Jun 2014 12:54 PM
Monarchos Matt

The Shoemaker looks loaded with talent and loaded with speed. Pulpit's Express, as noted in the other blog, could be in here as a rabbit...I'll take Jack Milton to W/P.

13 Jun 2014 1:33 PM
Coldfacts

Long River is an interesting entry in the Foster. This 4YO colt has surprisingly only made 11 starts. He is bred to run all day and equally surprising is the fact that he has only contested two 9F races. He must have either serious physical or respiratory issues. Being an A P Indy he should be at his best as a 4YO .

His last two starts have been over 9F with his most recent being a 5th place finish in the Charles Town Classic. He was only beaten 5L and based on his grinding running style that 5th place finish at the Bull Ring is significant.

The Charles Town Classic was his 1st race outside NY. His second will be at a track with a long stretch that ideally suits his grinding style. With a handicap of 115Lbs and the long stretch at CD, this lightly race 4YO could finally produce a performance representative of his excellent pedigree.

A live longshot who could upset at a good price!

13 Jun 2014 4:04 PM
Brontexx

Coldfacts GL with Long River.I follow his trainer because right now and as long as he trains he will have a never ending supply of well bred animals supplied by his owners who in this case is either Darley or Goldolphin.I think his best shot is underneath in the vertical exotics.

McLaughlin does better as a rule of thumb with his stakes fillies and mares from the same owners,and he wins most of his stakes races in his home state of New York.

13 Jun 2014 6:10 PM
-Keelerman

Monarchos Matt;

Thanks for your thoughts! I agree that a speed duel is a possibility in the Shoemaker Mile, which could make things difficult for Obviously and Winning Prize. I'm hopeful that Tom's Tribute will be able to take advantage at a solid price. He has demonstrated a strong stretch kick when allowed to come from off-the-pace, and I think this race will set up for him well. I also like Jack Milton, but I'm a little worried about the cross-country trip on less than three weeks rest.

Have you taken a look at the Vanity Handicap? I think Let Faith Arise looks tough to beat as the probable favorite, but I believe that Scherzinger could spruce up the exotics if Unusual Way, Yahilwa, and Iotapa set a hot pace.

13 Jun 2014 6:30 PM
JayJay

foodfight : Makes me wonder if Saez told Lukas that the horse needs a break...now he's off and Stevens is on.

14 Jun 2014 1:51 AM
Coldfacts

Brontexx,

I agree with your overview regarding McLaughlin’s record with fillies and his limited success outside NY.

Long River was produced from the G1 winning millionaire Round pond. Her dam sire was the turf champion Trempolino winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Her second dam was sired by Green Dancer another turf horse who sired 89 stakes winners and whose broodmares produced 161 stakes winners and 8 champions. Why mention those cold facts?

The Churchill Downs surface is friendly to horses with turf type pedigrees. It is probably a stretch to assume that Long River would be better on turf but one never knows. Round Pond’s dam line screams turf. Long River has certainly underperformed his pedigree and the CD surface could make him step up several lengths.

I could be wrong and he could deliver his usaul sub-par performance and prove he does not belong at the highest level.

Godolphin/Darley horses have in the past scored at big prices. Most are well bred and there is always a possibility that they could surprise when least expected.

NB: The A P Indy sired Antipathy ran a big race against Close Hatches and Princess Of Sylmar when least expected. A P Indy progenies have a tendency to improving significantly as 4YOs.

14 Jun 2014 8:14 AM
food fight

My pick for the SF is Departing his come back race was very good and should set him up for a big effort in the Sf handicap i like him with Revolutionary, Prayer For Relief and Long River. I am a big fan of WTC but i do not like the way this horse has been managed his last few races have been suspect and i believe this talented colt should have been given more time between races off those suspect performances there are plenty of races later on this year.

14 Jun 2014 8:28 AM
Secreteriat

Churchill

$5 P4 2,5w 4,5 w 1-4 w 4-6-7 chalky but profitable.

14 Jun 2014 9:17 AM
Brontexx

Coldfacts . A P Indy progenies have a tendency to improving significantly as 4YOs.

I agree with this statement,after all records are kept that confirm this fact.I think this factored into their thinking that he is ready to move up.They run their stable to win grade ones unfortunately there arent as many G1s as maiden and Nx1 races which is where the well bred horses in their stable excel because the majority of McLaughlin's runners at least break their maiden and win the Nx1 condition,graded stakes is another animal completely.

14 Jun 2014 12:29 PM
Brontexx

All champions in any sport have intangible qualities that cant be measured by stop watches or stats.

14 Jun 2014 12:32 PM
KY VET

i think brontexx makes fortunes for fortune cookies.......

14 Jun 2014 2:42 PM
Little Bill

CD P-4) 1,4 w 2,5,6 w 8 w 1,8,10

Played all doubles and threw in Rev. Played P-3s, Threw in Rev. and threw out 50shades in the 7th P-3.

14 Jun 2014 2:50 PM
Monarchos Matt

Keelerman,

I totally missed the fact tha Jack Milton was running back so soon. For some reason I read the chart as 5/14 instead of 5/26! Not sure that's enough to talk me out of him though, as he should be peaking third off the layoff and the race should set up perfectly for him. Maybe his odds will drift up a bit...

14 Jun 2014 3:02 PM
-Keelerman

Monarchos Matt;

I would be surprised if you don't get better than 3-1 on Jack Milton -- I have the feeling that Winning Prize will go off at lower than 5-2, allowing the odds on Jack Milton (and perhaps Tom's Tribute) to drift up a bit. Good luck!

14 Jun 2014 3:33 PM
Brontexx

Ky Vet i think brontexx makes fortunes for fortune cookies.......

I take your money when I bet on the same race.You wrote that Revolutionary and Prayer For Relief will go off form.Those are my picks since you should be played against anytime you pick you bring bad luck.

14 Jun 2014 4:08 PM
Plod Boy Phil

CD P4

2 / 1 / 4, 7, 9 / 9

14 Jun 2014 8:29 PM
Brontexx

There is ONLY ONE correct pick on this blog unfortuneately it was made in a horizontal exotic.Lets see who says they picked it.I watched the race but didnt bet a cent.I noticed Long River being bet down from 15-1 to 5-1 he finished next to last.His odds should go up for his next race at Saratoga, if he runs in a graded stakes and I hope its not a G1.

14 Jun 2014 9:54 PM
Brontexx

Correction Monarchos Matt did pick the winner congradulations.

14 Jun 2014 9:55 PM
KY VET

YOURE WELCOME!

14 Jun 2014 10:16 PM
JayJay

I guess I'm a pro, I said Long River will go off form...just about the only thing I got right at Churchill Downs lol.

15 Jun 2014 1:39 AM
JayJay

I'll say it again, WTC will probably not win another race with Stevens on the saddle...

KY Vet : What was the "YOU'RE WELCOME" for ?

15 Jun 2014 1:45 AM
Brontexx

To make more money than you lose you gotta know when to pass a race its not all about being right its about to use an anology from another game of chance you gotta know when to hold them and when to fold them.

KY Vet you are funny but you suck at this game.

15 Jun 2014 3:29 AM
Pedigree Ann

I didn't post pre-races because we were busy over here going to a Pipe Band competition. For the whole UK even. Kilts and knee socks everywhere. There were even competitions for the drum majors who carry a 'mace' and it does look like a deadly weapon; the juniors (kids down to 6-8) carried downsized ones. Good thing I like bagpipe music because it was coming from 5 directions at once.

As to these races, much as I love On Fire Baby and her mommy Ornate, I know she doesn't run best at 9f. 1 1/16, yes, but with her sprinting sire, she just doesn't get any further.

I see plenty of folks still don't believe what they read (and reading is useful for us folks far away from the tracks) about Rise Up. Minor tracks, bullrings? - great; real 8f ovals against better horses? - no bueno.

Will Take Charge is too big for his own good. He probably has intermittent ankle trouble, like Forego and Point Given had - should have been cut before he got so big. Big-striding horse like he is would probably do best at Belmont, where he doesn't have to deal with sharp turns like Churchill's. Easy Goer, another big one, certainly liked Belmont best.

How about that tour-de-force by Obviously? :22.06  44.50  1:08.03  1:20.11  1:32.55. And the mile course isn't downhill, either. The California drought must be limiting the amount of water the track can use to keep the grass growing, because it is a speedway right now. His Aussie sire was a serious speed demon who won twice at a single Royal Ascot meeting (a G1 and a G2) while still a 3yo, although weighted as a 4yo because of NH conventions.

15 Jun 2014 7:11 AM
Rusty Weisner

I was going to bet Departing, who I thought was the third best 3-yo left standing last year.  Didn't have the stomach for the races, though. Glad I didn't!  Moonshine Mullin shouldn't have been 10-1; after he beat me last month I probably would have respected him and made my pain worse by playing an exacta.

15 Jun 2014 9:53 AM
Rusty Weisner

KY VET, the horse whisperer, said Revolutionary and Prayer for Relief were going off.  Looked right to me.

15 Jun 2014 9:56 AM
Brontexx

Rusty Weisner the spirits of dead clowns might have whispered that Revolutionary and Prayer for Relief would  go off,but actually only the Prayer went off Revo got too far behind and his late sustained drive couldnt even get him into the money.

If anyone thinks that you can look at PPs for any graded race and pick out the horses that have been off the least amount of time 29 days in this case, and thus determine that they will go off form well then they got a few screws loose.Then again that is what I would expect from the same.

15 Jun 2014 11:34 AM
Brontexx

RE Long River someone is reading something that is not there either in the PPs or speed figures.Long River won a couple of ungraded stakes and his odds dropped from 15-1 to 5-1.The winner Monshine Mullins won a G2 his last race at the same track and the odds on him where 10-1 inefficient indeed.

15 Jun 2014 11:38 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Revolutionary was 30 back at the first call at Pimlico -what was different yesterday ?

Perhaps big figures achieved under perfect scenarios are difficult to repeat under less Xtreme circumstances.

Give credit where it's due.....or continue with incoherent ramblings.  

Soups on.

15 Jun 2014 1:15 PM
Brontexx

Plod baby boldly done hit the nail on the head

15 Jun 2014 2:05 PM
Rusty Weisner

From soup to nuts.

15 Jun 2014 5:16 PM
Brontexx

Albano win place in the Pegasus

15 Jun 2014 5:25 PM
Brontexx

Thats the way to win by 5 or 6

15 Jun 2014 5:53 PM
Rusty Weisner

Columnist Ed DeRose (upstairs) picked this $5700-2 P4.  Go take a look.  Quite a handicapping opus.

16 Jun 2014 12:05 PM
Brontexx

Rusty Weisner If you would have been in the moment on this blog instead of writing names back and forth with PLod Boy you would have gotten Albano in the Pegasus and not live in the past with a pic 4 you wouldnt have played.

16 Jun 2014 3:35 PM
Brontexx

You were the one that wrote I should post more picks and less banter now look whos writing

16 Jun 2014 3:36 PM
Little Bill

LMAO, what's really goin' on?

16 Jun 2014 10:27 PM
-Keelerman

Monarchos Matt, Congratulations on your score with Moonshine Mullin in the Stephen Foster! 10-1 in the win pool and 7-2 in the place pool -- great job!

After watching the Shoemaker Mile and reviewing the chart, I'm not sure which fact is more surprising -- the fact that Jack Milton went off at lower odds than Winning Prize (I really didn't see that coming) or the fact that Winning Prize -- a grade I winner at Santa Anita! -- was absolutely run off his feet by Obviously. I mean, I thought Obviously could beat Winning Prize, but I didn't expect to see Obviously set the fractions that he did, draw off in the stretch, and hang on to win while Winning Prize retreated to finish next-to-last. It just goes to show what a spectacular performance Wise Dan unleashed in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile, when he tracked Obviously all the way around and then reeled him in like it was a walk in the park...

Brontexx, that was a nice call on Albano in the Pegasus Stakes! That was a very impressive performance by a colt that may be on the verge of making some major noise this summer.

Will anyone be watching the races at Royal Ascot tomorrow morning? I'm really looking forward to seeing Verrazano take on Toronado and Soft Falling Rain in the Queen Anne Stakes. But the best matchup of the day may come in the St James's Palace Stakes, in which Kingman, Night of Thunder, Outstrip, Toormore, and War Command will all battle for the title of leading three-year-old miler. It should be a terrific race!

16 Jun 2014 10:47 PM
Pedigree Ann

I will certainly be watching Royal Ascot; already have watched the Channel 4 program "Morning Line" at 8am and now have Racing UK, which started at 10am. Right now, its being a 'lovefest' where jocks and trainers saying how important it is to them to race at Royal Ascot. Previously, attheraces (the other racing network) had exclusive rights to Ascot racing all year long, so this is a big deal for Racing UK.

Weather forecast for both islands for the rest of the week looks pretty good - high pressure in control, it's sunny today in No. Ireland and also in Berkshire. Isolated spots of rain are expected to pop up randomly so keep fingers crossed.

Verrazano was beaten comprehensively by Olympic Glory, who hacked in, in the Lockinge. More damning is that the G3/handcapper Tullius also beat him, relegating him to third place. The straight mile at Ascot is a stiff one, downhill at the start, then over a rise between the 6f and 4f poles, then uphill for the last half-mile. Takes a nimble horse to keep its balance over the up-and-down and one with guts to keep on up the hill, with no easy patches on the turns to get a breather. I don't know if Verrazano is best suited to this sort of course.  The big ones that run well on flat courses can't always deal with undulations as well. We shall see.

17 Jun 2014 5:40 AM
Pedigree Ann

This is the way the Brit announcers have been speaking of big, muscle-y horses like Verrazano - "Looks like Tarzan, runs like Jane." A few were impressed by his turf debut, but most were not, although they expect him to come on for it, just not enough to beat a horse like Toronado.

17 Jun 2014 8:02 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'm sorry I missed the $4.60 Albano in the five-horse Pegasus field.  It took genius to beat Ring Weekend there.  

17 Jun 2014 11:26 AM
Brontexx

Rusty Weisner Ring Weekend? when they scratched Uncle Sigh I knew it was easy pickins.BTW Albano was 2-1 and RW was the favorite for most of the wagering a big bettor dropped a wad on the captain, or the tracks tote system didnt post it until less than five minutes to race.It happens a lot, when I learned to beat this game in 2010 and played daily I learned so much about this business that they call horseracing.

17 Jun 2014 12:15 PM
-Keelerman

Well, one day of racing at Royal Ascot is in the history books! I was very pleased to see Verrazano perform so well in the Queen Anne Stakes, finishing second by just three-quarters of a length behind Toronado. I was also thrilled to see Hootenanny win the Windsor Castle Stakes for Wesley Ward and Victor Espinoza.

But as exciting as today's races may have been, day two of Royal Ascot promises to be even better. Will Treve rebound from the first defeat of her career with a victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes? Here are my thoughts on the race: cs.bloodhorse.com/.../will-treve-rebound-at-royal-ascot.aspx

17 Jun 2014 9:54 PM

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